September 27, 2015

Nostalgia

Today I looked at thousands of photos. For hours, I went through nearly every photo file on my computer, remembering idyllic childhood birthday parties, my favorite outfits as a preteen, the dramas and awkwardness of high school, family deceased and distant, first, tentative travels to New Orleans, Paris, and Egypt, to more confident,"we got this" adventures.

I have a photo of my train pass from when I studied abroad in Italy in 1996. It reminds me how much the world has changed since then. Less than twenty years ago there was no real internet, let alone cell phones. Printed guide books, often out of date, told one where to go to get a train pass (American Express). When traveling I wrote in where I was leaving from and going to, and a smartly-dressed gentleman on the train wrote in and deducted the kilometers from the 3,000 I paid for. I think the pass below looks like it could have come from 1886 or 1926. I wonder what train passes look like now. I hope they still get a human hand. 




July 12, 2015

Paris

I had to go to Paris for work - yes, I HAD to, (tear!) - but it was over the Easter holiday weekend so I had a few entirely work-free days. What to do with myself? Invite my best friend to join and have at it!

Springtime in Paris
Eclairs from L'Eclair de Genie

Contemplating Koons at the Pompidou

Paris from the Pompidou
Au Passage, my favorite restaurant in Paris

Last call at Au Passage


Easter Mass at Notre Dame


Twilight at Sacre Coeur






Vintage Fiat at Merci


David Bowie exhibition

kitchen at Au Passage

Pate, pickles, peas, green at Au Passage

Cauliflower soup with foie gras at Au Passage


Closing down Au Passage and the staff offered us a shot of this digestif. 


Mass at Notre Dame



Dirty Dick's tiki bar


Musee de la Chasse et de la Nature

Behind the scenes installation of Ellsworth Kelley paintings

Working lunch when in Paris

Totally not ironic - Pierre Cardin is still a thing


Macaroons from Lauduree



This last photo I took at sunrise on the way to the airport. I love it. 

Here is a link to all of my favorite things to eat, drink and do in Paris, or: https://www.google.com/maps/d/edit?mid=zHKjuPnbcOsc.kbD-2f7UpwCQ&usp=sharing

Instead of stay at a hotel for more than a week, I opted to rent a less expensive studio apartment near where I was working. I'd choose an Airbnb over a hotel in Paris every time. 

February 28, 2015

Missed Connections

Especially sassy airport style. 


It's been ages. How will I ever catch up?!? In the last few months we've been to Miami, Key West, Sedona, LA, Guatemala, and Seattle, and I've never even posted about our travels last summer. Hopefully soon! 

December 13, 2014

Sandra's Birthday Weekend in SF


Sam & Sandra in Florence, 1996
Sam & Sandra, 2014

These photos crack me up. We have the very same look on our faces! Me and my shy ugh-take-the-pic-and-get-it-over-with smile and Sandra's it's-picture-time! grin. More than 18 years have passed but look how cozy we still are.

In May we hosted my best friend Sandra's 40th birthday celebration weekend in San Francisco. Over twenty people came to town from places such as Austin, Orange County, and Palm Desert. 

Our visitors were people who love to eat and drink, so the pressure to impress was on! They also don't usually get around by foot or bus. So, I devised two walks, one a Friday night bar crawl through NOPA and another on Saturday from the iconic Ferry Building through Chinatown.

Saturday night started at Maven, then La Urbana, wrapping up with karaoke at a too-awesome to-be-disclosed-or-the-word-will-get-out spot. We didn't even make it to two places I'd planned to go - The Page and Fat Angel

Mescal margaritas at El Mercado at La Urbana, San Francisco

Karaoke!

Saturday's start was at the ferry building farmer's market, then on to Hard Water, City Lights bookstore, and Vesuvio (had planned on Comstock Saloon but that didn't work out). After, some of he group grabbed at bite at Tosca

San Francisco's Ferry Building Farmer's Market


Cocktails at Hard Water
Tank firecracker, Chinatown 
Vesuvio
City Lights Bookstore

All this good food, drink and fun lead up to Saturday night's birthday celebration at our place.







Except that wasn't the end of the weekend. Sunday's Hangover Brunch at Stacks happened to be right on the Bay to Breakers route. Yup.

Not pictured: Naked people.

May 11, 2014

Madrid


Madrid at Twilight

Several months after returning home I am finally sharing some highlights of our trip to Spain! In Madrid we tapa-ed our way through most meals, dipped greasy churros into thick chocolate at San Gines, and ate an unreasonable amount of jamon iberico.


La Casa del Abuelo
La Casa del Abuelo is a casual little restaurant just a few short blocks from the Plaza Mayor and Plaza del Sol serving hearty tapas and good beer and sangria. For us, it was the highlight of Madrid Food Tours's Ultimate Spanish Cuisine tour! Although both busy with locals and on the tourist-track, our group of eight arrived early and got a table. We had so much great bar food, including fried squid, blood sausage, patatas bravas, mussels, and grilled peppers.


Fabrica Maravillas
This tiny little bar and craft beer brewery is about the closest thing to 'hipster' that we found in Madrid. It's located in what seems to be an emerging neighborhood north of the Plaza de Sol: Fabrica Maravillas ("Manufactures Wonders" - love it!). The beers were solid, especially the saison and stout.

 


The Prado and Reina Sofia Museums
European city museums are just astounding. In Madrid, within blocks of one another, the Prado and Reina Sofia museums have collections that span centuries and include many of the most compelling and important works of art in history.

At the Prado, I especially enjoyed seeing in person Bosch's The Garden of Earthly Delights, Fra Angelico's Annunciation, and the gallery of Goya's "Black Paintings". At the Reina Sofia, Picasso's Guernica was surprisingly moving given that it is so well-known through images.

Reina Sofia museum 
Guernica as it appeared in San Francisco in 1939 @SFMOMA

Mercado de San Miguel
Just a few minutes away from our rented apartment, the Mercado de San Miguel is a restored beaux-arts upscale food market that is popular with tourists. The Mercado is an ideal spot for a snack, grazing meal, or drink. We stopped in every day to sample the foods and drink offered. Our favorite were the vermouth (vermut) stall featuring locally-made, strongly herbal varieties, and angules. "Gules" are tiny eels marinated in garlic which are seasonal and considered a delicacy.

Mercado de San Miguel
Gules 

Tapas
Local Vermut


Practicalities
Anytime we stay somewhere three nights or more we try to rent an apartment instead of stay at a hotel. With apartments we fell like we have a more authentic experience, usually meet our neighbors, and it's just more comfortable and cost efficient. We like to make our own coffee and have lazy mornings- it is vacation after all!

I exhaustively research places to stay. In Madrid we chose a small loft apartment managed by Spain Select. I also really like this one.

Following Madrid we went to Sevilla before coming back for one more night. We chose to stay at Hotel One Shot 23, a fantastic modern and well-priced hotel in a great location.

We look forward to visiting more of Spain!

Jamon vending machine in the train station.