Kindred Spirits

IMG_8888The sudden desire to go to Cafe Jaqueline – the french restaurant in San Francisco – came to me while I was reading the book Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson. I was curious. Steve Jobs was – by most accounts – one tough customer. So, when I read Jobs loved it there – I wanted to know why.  In the book, a couple of Jobs’ friends planned a bachelor party for him and it started with a dinner at a very fancy hotel restaurant in San Francisco. It didn’t say which one – or I might check that out too – I’m like that about things I read about. Anyway – they sat down and got cozy and the bread came. And that’s when Jobs announced he didn’t want to be there. He made them get up, walk out and move to a different restaurant – Cafe Jaqueline – which Isaacson described as “the soufflé place that he loved.”

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Coming and Going

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I noticed something this summer.  It’s something I kept hearing from the college kids who returned home for break. Well, besides the footfalls on the front porch which came with much greater frequency when my daughter Margaret – my college freshman – was home. From my perch in my bedroom – I noticed there was a lot more traffic out there on the porch.  It started with the footsteps – quick energetic ones – and then the door bell would ring.  Our bell is a bit old and anemic so if you’re not used to it you’d never know it’s the door bell, but we do.  After the bell, I would see the kids.  And from them I heard a chorus – so happy to be back in Oakland and so excited to get to their favorite places and enjoy their favorite foods – food they’re not finding in their college towns.  In fact One of my Favorite Girls of All Time looked at me when I asked her how much she loves Villanova  – she said, “Well, the food isn’t good.” Continue reading

Girls Gone Hollywood

I have always wanted to swim in the pool at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel.  It’s the one the artist, David Hockney, was commissioned to paint.  It finally happened for me. I slipped into the water to swim laps and every time I took a breath I looked up to see palm trees or the Hollywood Roosevelt neon on the roof of the hotel.  And when I looked down I would see Hockney’s big long brush strokes on the bottom of the pool.  I might have been in heaven.

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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

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.


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

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

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