Friday, March 29, 2013

Notes From The Country

Friday Afternoon Tea
I've adopted the Good Friday afternoon tea tradition from Tasha Tudor, which consists namely of hot cross buns.

These really are the best hot cross buns I've tried. I love her recipe (or receipt as Tasha would say). They're easy to make as far as yeast doughs go.

And they're light and airy and sweet and cinnamon -y

And perfect for an afternoon tea. And apparently I never put enough frosting on them. But, I say, any more frosting and it would ruin the integrity of the cross and they are, after all hot Cross buns!

Happy Friday.

Tasha Tudor's Cookbook is available here:

If you want to learn more about Tasha Tudor, who I have loved for years, here is her family's website:

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Sweet Dreams

This is the time of year I have to remind myself winter is not over yet here in Colorado. March oftentimes is our snowiest month. I don't even bother looking at weather forecasts. I just go to sleep and look forward to a new day. It may be 70 degrees and I can revel in the sun, or it may be 20 and snowing. Sweet Dreams!

Afternoon Pick Me Up

No this isn't San Francisco. Just thought I'd throw it in to make you as confused as I am. There are so many beautiful places in the world. This is my idea of an afternoon balcony break.
p.s. Just in case we're not friends on facebook and you haven't seen latest favorite song....I currently listen to it - well - several times a day (Still a teenager at heart?). This to me is one of life's little joys - the collaborating of artists - and I mean artists of any medium at any level. And since music is one of the motivating factors in my life, this is an example of joy in my book.  Pink and Nate

Lunch Break

 Pizza Napoletana in San Francisco
If you can't make it to Naples, Italy and have access to San Francisco try Tony's in North Beach. 11 time World pizza champions.

 The Caesar salad is wonderful too.

We sat at the bar and had a lovely bottle of Sangiovese Grosso and their classic Margherita pizza

as well as a prosciutto, tomato, arugula and shaved parmigiano pizza. Heavenly. It was raining outside and inside was welcoming and cozy and Italian. Enough said.

Morning Wake Up Call

A rainy morning view of San Francisco from the viewpoint of The Birdman of Alcatraz and Al Capone among many others. Although in their day I imagine the skyline was quite different.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Random Thoughts

Trying to organize my thoughts but this is what inevitably happens to my brain when I come back from my other lives. When I travel...whether back to San Francisco where I grew up, or Miami Beach, or New York, or London, or Key West, or Cayman, I don't think in terms of "Nice vacation I'm glad to be home". When I'm in these favorite places of mine I imagine what it's like to live there. We entertain the notion of living there. We often times figure out a plan to live there. We feel like we're living there. So when I end up back on my dirt road in the country in Colorado, I go through an adjustment period. Here's a random example in pictures of images in my head from last week. I'll expand on them when I sort everything out.

The street where I grew up

Chinese Mai Tai's at Li Po's

 St Marys

One of my favorite people

My favorite classic bar in the city - Bix

Turkeys walking down the street where my Mother-in-law lives

Oak trees

Italian Ricotta Dumplings 

Wonton Soup

One of San Francisco's finest. (I used to make scrambled eggs for him after school when he was a kid)

Japanese tea garden

St Francis shrine in North Beach


The ocean

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Notes From The City - St. Patrick's Day

Here is a picture tour of our St Patrick's day wanderings in San Francisco

We started out with a full Irish Breakfast at 9:30 in the morning, at a pub called O'Reillys in the North Beach (largely Italian) section of the city, accompanied by black and tans. (Guiness beer for the black, and a pale ale for the tan). And it was already crowded with people drinking when we got there.
This is coit tower which we viewed here from Washington Square Park. It was a beautiful, warm, sunny day. Coit tower was built in 1933. It was funded primarily by Lillie Hitchcock Coit who left a third of her fortune to have something built to beautify the city that she loved. She also love firefighters and firefighting. She eventually became an honorary member, after supporting them for years. The tower resembles a firehose nozzle, and is one of the most recognizeable landmarks in the city.

Green lanterns at O'Reillys pub.

Well, it's not orange juice!
Passed by Ghirardelli Square down by Fisherman's Wharf. Yes you can buy the chocolate everywhere, but it's not the same!

We were a bit drowsy after that big breakfast and beer so we found ourselves down by the Wharf at The Buena Vista for coffee. Oh c'mon, it was St. paddy's Day. We all had Irish Coffees. Picture down below.

This is the place where Irish Coffee originated in the States. In 1952, Jack Koeppler, then-owner of the Buena Vista, challenged international travel writer Stanton Delaplane to help re-create a highly touted "Irish Coffee" served at the Shannon Airport in Ireland. ( Oddly enough, it was said to have been created for some American travelers in the 40's who ended up in Ireland at the airport on a particularly cold and dreary night, and the bartender added some whiskey to their coffee to help warm them up. When they asked what it was he came up with the name Irish Coffee on the spot.)  Anyway, Stan Accepted Jack’s invitation, and the pair began to experiment. They eventually came up with a recipe - of coffee, Irish Whiskey, sugar, and cream. The cream was what tripped them up for awhile because it wouldn't float like the Irish version. They figured out if they aged the cream for a period of time it would work. Of course, it goes to the breed of cow and how rich their milk is, but we won't get into that here.

Here's the Irish Coffee. Oh. So. Good.

We passed a lot of Irish pubs on our wanderings,
as well as the Cannery, which was once the largest peach cannery in the world. Now it holds restaurants, shops, and clubs.

View of the Golden Gate Bridge and sailboats in the Bay
Birds eye view of the Buena Vista. They've served something like 30 million Irish Coffees. Upside - a classic, and part of SF history. Downside - very crowded and touristy.

Real cable opposed to the fake ones that are really just buses that you see in most movies.

More Irish pubs

We eventually ended up back at the pub we where we went for breakfast. We had to pick up our car and we were hot and tired from all that walking! Plus they closed off the street and had Irish music.

And everyone was quite festive looking. And it was quite a hot spot for people watching. And can I say how many good looking men there are in San Francisco. In skirts or pants...

We also passed a lot of Dungeness!

The end.

Random Thoughts

Happy Birthday Dad.
It's my Dad's birthday today. I think of him every day. I think about him in terms of his whole life, not just his being my Dad. I think of him being a child in Aliquippa, Pa. I think of him leaving home at a young age, traveling the country hopping trains, joining the Civilian Conservation Corp when he was 16 in the late 1930s. He was in Army Intelligence during World War 2. He was a boxer, a bus driver, and worked in the US Post Office for over 30 years. He was a husband, father, grandfather. He was well over 6 feet tall and could waltz, polka, and jitterbug like nobody's business. He was a gentle, patient father who rarely raised his voice. He taught me to drive, dance, swim, play poker. He demonstrated unconditional love as a father to me every day of my life. I am a better person because of him.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Apron Inspiration

Spring/Summer aprons
Here are a few pictures from my new runway inspired apron line.

 For spring/summer, a very trendy peplum style full apron. A peplum is basically a short flounce or an extension of a garment below the waist, covering the hips. I've made some in plaids, black and white prints, vibrant blues and pinks.

I really liked this look of mixing colorful plaids on some of the runway fashion for Spring/Summer.

And here's....hmmm

this is a better picture...a black and white floral. 

Black and white is in for Spring! (When is black and white not in?) This one is Marc Jacobs.

Here are two beautiful peplum dresses from Lanvin

This is one of the mixed plaid ensembles that I liked from Dries Van Noten. And finally, my interpretation of the plaid on plaid peplum couture - apron style.
Headed for San Francisco for Spring Break. Will keep you "posted".

Here's a little song to keep you company and send you back in time... San Francisco memories