Fan Delirium

It’s quiet around the neighborhood this weekend. Everyone seems to be getting ready for the 49ers game.  The Bay Area is on a sports roll and football is heating up again just when I thought we were finished with it. The only reason I’d know anything about football season is that I’d been noticing that I’m not weaving through Cal football fans lately when I go for swims at Hearst pool on campus.  Since I don’t follow sports, that personal observation is always my first clue that Cal’s season has fizzled out.  I kind of miss those fans.  Their whole schtick reminds me of the scenes in Harry Potter where everyone is going to the World Quidditch Cup.  It almost makes me want to be a fan.

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New York, New York!

I’m mad at everybody, everyone I know.  Every single important person in my life is on notice. You are all IN TROUBLE.  Here’s why.  None of you – not one – told me about how great New York City is.  Why am I just discovering this?  Why am I the last to learn that New York City is fantastic.

I mean, all these people seem to know.  Why else would they be massing on the streets like that?

Fifth Avenue on a Saturday

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A Perfect Night Out

per·fect:   [pur-fikt; per-fekt]

I looked up the word perfect in the dictionary and definition number three went like this: Exactly fitting the need in a certain situation or for a certain purpose.  And that is exactly the kind of culinary experience I had the other night in San Francisco.

It all started with a text from my friend Debbie in the late afternoon.  I was at work.  She was barreling up the 101 with her two boys for her annual trip to Northern California.  She visits the Bay Area just about every year between Christmas and New Year’s Eve. It’s usually a combo trip – a little Oakland and Berkeley,  a night or two at our house, a dinner, a trip to Cole Coffee, her favorite, a stop at Bake Sale Betty’s, maybe a stroll through Berkeley Bowl– and then we pack them off to the city.  But this trip they lost time on the road, with a blow out.  They were just barely going to make their hotel reservations in San Francisco so we decided to meet them there. Continue reading

Holiday Help

Happy Thanksgiving!  I am so excited!  I’m finally finished with my Thanksgiving table centerpiece.  I’ve been working on it for days.  My husband has been quietly observing this activity. He asked me, as he walked around the table last night, “Why are you going so crazy here?”

I said, “Jonna told me to.”

Then he weirdly asked, “Do you always do what Jonna says?”  I looked at him.  He should know better by now.  I said, “Of course, if I can.  Why wouldn’t I?”

I mean look at this centerpiece! Continue reading

One Thing

I’ve been thinking lately about something Jack Palance said in the movie City Slickers. Do you remember?  It’s when he talks about the “One Thing.”  Watch it right here and then continue reading.  It will take 32 seconds.

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I KNOW – Curly – the character, is talking about the secret of life.  I’m trying out some ideas of what that one thing might be, but we’ll get to that later.  In the meantime, I have begun developing a whole “one thing,” theory when it comes to food. Have you noticed that you go to certain restaurants for- yes, you guessed it – one thing?  That’s what  I’ve noticed.  I find it… the one thing…  a certain dish, a food, I have a mind bending OMG that is so great experience, and then I keep going back for the same one thing.  I have a whole list of restaurants I go to for just one thing. We’ll get to that in upcoming posts, but right now I want to talk about my very latest one thing culinary discovery. Continue reading

Halloween Ghosts

These Halloween Ghosts are a little frightening — I know.  Don’t be scared. This candy makes up for itself when it comes to taste.  In fact, those of you who are fans of my Rocky Road, might have already figured this out.

Chocolate Halloween Ghosts

It’s my Halloween version of the Rocky Road I give out every Christmas!  I’ve been making that candy for years.    It all started when – suddenly – I  had three kids in school and each child had at least  a few teachers and Christmas was bearing down on me – Mom Who Works Full Time – and I had to do a little something for ALL OF THEM. So, like The Universal Sock, I came up with The Universal Holiday Gift.  I found this crazy easy recipe for Rocky Road. Continue reading

Marking Time

My mother always said to me on my birthday, in her beautifully accented voice, “Joyce, darling, when you were born, the angels sang.”  In fact, the angels sang when all five of us were born.  She told us all the same story.  We waited for it.  We loved it.  But I did not hear the angels singing when my first child was born.  I thought I would.  Instead, I heard a nurse, marking time.  So that’s the story I tell my daughter on her birthday which is today.

It all started when I told my husband, 25 years ago, that I was in labor.  I believe he, a newsman, has a deep-seated desire to be a fireman or a policeman.  I swear I saw him flip on his lights and sirens.  I think maybe he had been dreaming about that emergency run to the hospital for some time… maybe since his youth.  Maybe that’s something men dream about like some women might dream of their wedding day. Continue reading

Michigan Avenue Crawl

There we were, in Chicago. It was about ten o’clock at night. We checked into our hip boutique hotel on the Magnificent Mile. We were about a half a block off Michigan Avenue at Ohio.  We swished open the drapes in our room and it became clear we were not going to be sticking around for the view — as charming as it was.

No, we were hungry. My husband wanted to check out a bar (preferably dive). Always. I wanted to check out the food scene (preferably slow, locally grown, organic, grass fed). If possible. So, we decided on a crawl. When you crawl you go from one bar or restaurant to the next. You don’t stay long. You just check it out… have a drink… a bite to eat…move on. That way you can get a little more out of a night on the town. Continue reading

The Missing Sock

Who knew?  It’s a secret about parenthood people never talk about.  But I’m going to spill the beans right here, right now.  The secret is this: You will be chasing socks around from the time that baby comes home from the hospital until baby leaves for college. It hit me when I spotted a missing sock on the ground at the Oakland International Airport. The parents of the now single socked baby don’t know any of this yet. The baby and her socks are tiny but as that baby grows and more babies come into the family, one thing those parents will be doing among the millions of other things they’ll do for that baby and its siblings is — The Great Sock Chase.  And it lasts for about eighteen years — per kid. Continue reading

Hello, Dolly!

Something new is happening in Oakland.  It’s a food thing – a doughnut shop.  I had to check it out.  So, on Saturday morning I tested the waters. I didn’t say, “Boys, do you want to go on one of my crazy food adventures?”  No, I’m smarter than that. I said, “Guys, do you want to go get a doughnut?”

That was easy.  My husband and son and I hopped in the car and headed to Oakland’s Temescal neighborhood.  I knew it was on 49th and Telegraph, in an alley.  We spotted the Doughnut Dolly sign first.  I didn’t tell my boys that these doughnuts were all about the filling. They’re not really into filling when it comes to doughnuts and I thought that might have killed the deal.  We walked in and there were about ten doughnuts in a basket, on the counter  – all the same. Continue reading