Archive for October, 2009

New York Things I Miss – #1 Food Trucks for Foodies

October 25, 2009

I never got around to blogging about the things I’d miss in NYC. There was too much going on that last month that it was difficult to process what was even happening. I knew it wouldn’t really start to sink in until we were already gone, already in a new life in San Francisco. So here’s a new regular segment called “New York Things I Miss”. Could there also be a series of companion posts called “New York Things I Totally Don’t Miss”? Most likely, yes. And I also understand, that in time I will come to have new favorite things in San Francisco, just as I realized I would miss certain aspects of living in Chicago before leaving for New York. Back then I wrote about my Chicago favorite things (#7, #6, #5, #4, #3, #2, and #1). So without further ado, here’s the 1st thing (and not necessarily in order of importance) I miss about New York – Food Trucks for Foodies.

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New York is such a foodie town that even their food trucks serve ridiculously good food. The food trucks that I encountered the most back in Park Slope were: Wafles & Dinges (awesome Belgian Waffles)

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Le Gamin – French food – we’d have  a breakfast croissant from their truck parked near Prospect Park.

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And Rickshaw Dumpling Bar for tasty dumplings.

I regret never having tried another food truck that made its way to the Slope often – The Treats Truck.

I’ll miss you, food trucks. Any chance you’d be willing to drive out to the Bay Area?

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Dogwalking SF Style vs Dogwalking NYC Style

October 25, 2009

It’s taking some getting used to the dogwalking model here in SF.

Back in Brooklyn, we had a great dogwalker who would take our pup out, walk him (individually) around the neighborhood and leave us a detailed handwritten note of how the day went (“he pooped, he peed, he said hello to a Boxer, he laid down in the middle of the sidewalk, etc.). In addition, the dogwalker, armed with a Blackberry, would e-mail us shortly after the visit to tell us how it went.

It didn’t matter that each day’s activities were essentially a canine “groundhog day” with each day repeating itself, it was the fact that this woman was providing us (doggie parents) peace of mind.

Fast-forward to SF and the model is a little different here with doggie playgroups dominating the scene. Basically, this means the dogwalker will pick up your dog (and maybe 6-7 others), load them up in a car, and take them to some site be it the park, a beach, etc. and let’s them run off-leash. This introduced a number of new anxieties for us: our dog having to travel with other dogs in a car on a daily basis, our dog running off leash, and our dog going God knows where (as opposed to the friendly confines of his hood).

Needless to say, our anxieties have been assuaged as he’s taking a liking to these playgroups and truth be told, it’s better for him to socialize with a pack as opposed to being a New York individualist canine. Yes, he’s adjusted much better than his neurotic owners. However, my only pet peeve is that we don’t get as frequent or detailed updates as to what he’s up to. Where does he go? Who’s he hanging out with? Who are his buddies? He’s living an alternate out life out there, enjoying Nor Cal even more than us as we sit chained to a computer and desk all day. Alas, it’s just as well. I’ll take whatever infrequent updates I can get as long as I know he’s safe and happy.

Parents’ Visit to SF

October 24, 2009

Last week my parents visited us in SF and it was nice to have them around. Since we had to work on Thursday and Friday, we sent them on tours of the city and of Napa, respectively.

Here are some cool pics they took:

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On Thursday evening, we celebrated my dad’s birthday with dinner at Aqua.

On Saturday morning, we took them to the Ferry Building Farmer’s Market.

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We strolled around the booths and then had breakfast at Market Bar.

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Afterwards, we walked around South Beach Harbor and in the evening we had dinner at Acme Chophouse.

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On Sunday, we headed to Golden Gate Park and checked out some cool sites such as the Botanical Garden….

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….and the deYoung Museum, including the observatory deck with spectacular views of the city….

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….and the tranquil Japanese Tea Garden

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It was a nice visit and hopefully they’ll be back before too long.

So I’ve Read

October 24, 2009

New York Magazine In “Who is Barack Obama?”, Philip Weiss articulates the ugly anti-Obama movement in America.

New Yorker – In “Happy Feet”, we get an inside glimpse of customer service darling, Zappos.

New York Magazine – In “Lust for Lulu“, Brian Urstadt examines the genius of marketing a luxury yoga brand whose critics decry its “ironic model of charging people good money to pursue an essentially ascetic practice.”

Where I’ve Been

October 24, 2009

Friday, 10/9/09 – Had some friends visit from Santa Cruz. We had dinner at Tres Agaves. Recommendation – stick to the tacos and the margaritas. Any deviation from this advice may result in disappointment.

Wednesday, 10/14/09 – Sunday, 10/18/09 – My parents were in town to visit us. More on that in a separate post.

Wednesday, 10/21/09 – Met up with our friends (visiting from Queens) at South Food & Wine Bar. It’s the second time we’ve been to South and it’s been consistently good.

Friday, 10/23/09 – We tried out neighborhood newbie Ironside. Great space but food was just okay. Hope this newcomer gets better with time.

Saturday, 10/24/09 – Ran errands on Market St. Tried out Pan-Asian place called Straits (in Westfield Centre Mall) and it was pretty good. Liked the veggie samosas and the lemongrass mint soda.

Car Shopping Not So Fun

October 24, 2009

A couple months ago we made the leap from being immobile New Yorkers reliant on Zipcar and public transportation to Californians with a car.

However, the process of buying a car was not very fun. We probably visited 10 dealerships or so in the area, including some in Redwood City, Palo Alto, Colma, Burlingame, San Bruno and Daly City.

Why was this process painful? A few reasons:

1) Really bad car salesmen. We saw it all, from “silent guy” who barely spoke a word to us while showing us cars to “the quizzer” who quizzed us on obscure auto-related acronyms to a variety of individuals who were difficult to understand due to language issues. We expected the stereotypical sleazy car salesman who would try too hard to sell you a car, but instead, we felt the majority of them were hardly selling us at all (and certainly weren’t willing to deal).

2) Low inventory. Thanks a lot, Cash for Clunkers Program. Thanks to you, Toyotas, Hondas and in some cases, Nissans were in low supply. Many dealerships were depleted of popular cars totally or had limited selection.

3) Dickhead Finance Guy. You were super friendly at first and then turned to an aggressive approach to have us sign up for things we didn’t need. We resisted you and your mood seemed to sour. You even said: “You guys are tough”. Clearly, you didn’t have our best interests in mind.

In the end, we did buy a new car, an espresso black 2010 Nissan Sentra and it has treated us well so far. But the process sure wasn’t fun.

Anniversary Dinner

October 24, 2009

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Nearly (gasp) a month ago, we made our way to Jardiniere for our 6th wedding anniversary.

It was a great meal except for the fact that the waitress forgot the amuse-bouche.

Here’s a near replica of that evening’s menu:

Maine Diver Scallop Carpaccio,

Tsar Nicoulai Caviar, Dashi Gelée, Hearts of Palm and Jalapeño

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Locale Petrale Sole,

Mussels, Lipstick Peppers and Housemade Guanciale, Saffron

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Tasting of Sonoma Game Birds:

Duck Breast and Crispy Squab Leg,

Marinated Chanterelle Mushrooms, Creamed Nettles, Grapes and Pinenuts

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Prime Ribeye and Braised Shortrib,

Cherry Tomatoes, Heirloom Squash and Niçoise Olive Jus

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Caprotto,

Lavender Honey, Almonds and Peach Farm Figs

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Tahitian Vanilla Tart,

Huckleberries, Kashiwase Farms Yellow Peaches and Peach Glacée

Songs I’m Feelin’

October 4, 2009

Little Joy Evaporar

MewBeach

David GrayNemesis

Air You Can Tell It To Everybody

Where I’ve Been: Weekend Edition

October 4, 2009

Friday: Got burger and a beer at local brewery 21st Amendment.

Saturday: Did some shopping at Macy’s in Union Square and then headed to Mission Creek Park for the inaugural Howl-O-Ween event. It was pretty fun – dogs in costumes, lots of freebies, raffled prizes and cool vendors.

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Afterwards, we headed to Hayes Valley and had some Chicago style pizza at Patxi’s. It was definitely good and reminded us of some our favorite places when we lived in Chicago – My Pie and Art of Pizza.

Sunday – Spent a couple hours and a lot of dough at The Container Store. God bless Elfa shelving.