blame her

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

I spent the morning with the doctor, discussing ways to "obsess less." Maybe I should have brought this article in with me. I should have said: "It is not entirely my fault. I probably have the parasite."

I can also blame the cats for how dirty my house is and why it constantly smells like poo. They are also behind why I always look like crap because they (a) make noise and keep me up at night and (b) shed so much that all my clothes have a layer of cat hair.

it has begun

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Harvest started today! We began bringing in Syrah from a vineyard in the Sierra Foothills. (Napa grapes aren't ready yet -- maybe in the next few weeks?) Had a sparkling wine toast to ring it all in, everyone outside by the crushpad, glasses raised.

still full

Monday, August 28, 2006

My trip to L.A. ended Friday, but I am still recovering from the extremely decadent doughnuts I ate at Grace Restaurant last Wednesday. This photo doesn't even come close to doing these fabulous fried pastries justice.

The thing to know about Grace: Every Wednesday is Doughnut Shoppe Night. (Thank you to the fabulous Amy Reiley for the tip!) Grace pastry chef Elizabeth Belkind swaps out the usual dessert menu and replaces it with a list of doughnuts that range from the traditional (chocolate glazed) to the unexpected (grey tea mousse-filled). And each order of doughnuts comes with a choice of ice cream or milkshake.

I went for the three-doughnuts-and-a-vanilla-milkshake option, which was $9. I got the grey tea mousse-filled doughnut, the hazelnut glazed and the powdered sugar. All amazing. All worth the bellyache that followed.

Thank goodness I don't live in L.A., or I'd be at Grace every week, with doughnut crumbs on my chin.

family winemakers tasting

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

I am still reeling from Sunday's Family Winemakers tasting. Not because I got drunk (which I didn't -- I spit, thank you very much), but because there were just so many damn people. I mean, look at this photo. It's like half the Bay Area went to Fort Mason to drink wine. (And there were some fabulous drunks there. Very entertaining. We're talking mouths turned completely blue. Lots of stumbling. And shouting for no reason. And constant toasting and clinking of glasses.)

Obviously, I didn't make it to all of the more than 400 wineries that were pouring. (Honestly, the drunken masses kind of made me want to flee.) But these are my favorites of the ones I visited:

* Rotta (the Dessert Sherry will make you want to get naked and roll around on a plush carpet)

* Barreto (loved the Verdelho)

* Ceja (white table wine -- interesting blend)

* Skewis (great Pinot)

* Heidrun (mead!)

* Corison (pouring a 96 Cab -- amazing)


Tuesday, August 22, 2006

What I learned tonight during dinner in L.A.:

1. You can meet a boy in Vegas, get married to him after 10 weeks of dating and stay married for 44 years. (And you can be the one who does the proposing and makes all of this happen.)

2. It is possible to draw on white napkins with crayons.

3. Don't let the waitstaff choose what you will be eating; you will end up with a ginormous bill afterwards.

4. No matter how much I've eaten, miraculously, there is always room for warm flourless chocolate cake with vanilla bean ice cream and fresh berries.

5. You don't have to be a Reviewer to have Power.

6. It may not be possible for fish to be 100 percent organic. (There was a very heated discussion about this: Does organic beluga caviar exist, as the restaurant so proclaimed?)

7. In the 1960s, a 59 Bordeaux cost about $1.

tired of being tired

Friday, August 18, 2006

Every Friday morning I walk in the door and the woman at the desk says, "How are you?" and I say, "I'm so freaking glad it's Friday." And then we both laugh.

the truth is

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

I had a terrible time. It was loud and there were too many voices and everyone sounded too alive. I kept staring at a woman at the table behind you. Her hair was cut short, bangs in a straight line against her forward. She talked with her hands, and when she laughed, she leaned back, so far back. I hated her because everyone at her table looked like they were listening. But where we were, it was impossible to hear.

The truth is, I don't need the food. I don't need the restaurants and the dim lighting and the walls that are hung with art that was lifted from someone else's dream.

If I could, I would let myself starve. Maybe then I would small enough to fit into the space between your palms.

brunch in mill valley

Monday, August 14, 2006

On our way home we stopped at The Dipsea Cafe. We love a weekend brunch. We love trying new places.

We hate when they have tiny parking lots full of SUVs and trying to park your car is like navigating a minefield.

But the food was good. I would definitely go back. Though I probably wouldn't order the vegetarian Benedict again (not a fan of Dipsea's Hollandaise), but the home fries were damn good. And the ginger carrot juice (freshly juiced right there behind the counter) was fantastic.

By the way, tonight we go to A16 for the first time. This restaurant has long been recommended to me by one of my favorite wine writers, who also happens to be a fantastic cookbook author. His book is truly the bible.

me want cookie

You Are Cookie Monster

Misunderstood as a primal monster, you're a true hedonist with a huge sweet tooth.

You are usually feeling: Hungry. Cookies are preferred, but you'll eat anything if cookies aren't around.

You are famous for: Your slightly crazy eyes and usual way of speaking

How you life your life: In the moment. "Me want COOKIE!"

mmm. sushi.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Went to Kabuto tonight for dinner -- I am now so full I can barely keep my eyes open. (And the Man who Wears Mismatched Argyle Socks? He's already asleep. Totally passed out on the couch at this very moment. Will he oversleep tomorrow or will he wake up in time to get a haircut and go to the Ferry Plaza farmers market as he planned? That's anyone's guess. It's funny how you so easily reschedule your entire day for 15 minutes of additional sleep. I do it nearly every morning.)

By the way ... I heart aji. I also like the sammy roll. And the hamachi topped with a slice of pear and a dab of mustard was unbelievable (sounds strange, but trust me -- it was amazing).

Unfortunately, I don't think I like abalone, which I tried for the first time tonight. The texture reminded me of a chicken tendon (and I hate chicken!), but with zero flavor. But maybe I'm just complaining because I haven't had the "real" abalone yet or whatever.

Final observation: At Kabuto, tamago is listed in a special section called "Popular and Unique." This makes me laugh. Because the only other person I know who orders tamago as often as I do is my 8-year-old cousin.

je suis fatigué

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

going to extremes

Monday, August 07, 2006

Last night: There we were, sipping some Perrin Côtes du Rhône and commenting on the wine's gorgeous nose and bright fruit.

And simultaneously stuffing our faces with pepperoni pizza from Victor's while learning to say dirty things in French (I can now say "hot piece of ass" and would share it here, except I don't know how to spell it).

I was also sitting on the floor. By choice.

Naturally, the conversation turned to the extremes of the food world: foie gras and 7-11 nachos with the pump-it-yourself cheese. I freaking love both. (And both are so politically incorrect for such different reasons.)

Apparently, it's not so weird for foodies to crave both really, really good food and awful, embarrassing, crap food. I've been told the "chef palate" is naturally drawn to extremes -- I guess because foodies don't like things that are bland, unmemorable and average. And that to me makes sense. Because food should be an experience -- either good or bad (or so bad it's good). I hate the in-between places that play it safe: the Olive Garden, Chevy's, Chili's, etc. I'd much rather eat something that could be considered somewhat scary (i.e., ordering from the random taco truck that's always parked behind the gas station) than something I know is going to be completely boring.

In my world, there's nothing wrong with going through the Wendy's drive-through for a Biggie-size fries while on my way to the Slanted Door. (Which is actually what may happen in, oh, say an hour or so when I leave work and head to dinner tonight.)

cat rant, part II

Sunday, August 06, 2006

I'll admit it: I am one of those people.

I leave two-page, single-spaced, typed instructions for my neighbor when she watches the cats while I am on vacation. I include vet information, as well as my trip itinerary, so she knows exactly what to do and where to reach me, should anything happen. To thank her for watching my cats, I bring home organic treats for her cat. (I also give her a lot of wine. It pays to watch my cats.)

I go to pet stores and wander the aisles, reading the back labels of all the food packages. Without fail, someone always asks me if I need help. And then I make it a point to complain when the food I like to buy is out of stock. (By the way, you will never, ever catch me in the pet food aisle at the grocery store. Blech.)

I also get really annoyed because most boutique pet stores here in San Francisco are devoted to dogs. The ratio of dog-cat items in these stores is usually 9-1. I don't understand this. I think cat owners are just as obsessive as dog owners and would love the opportunity to buy fancy-pants pet stuff for their cats. In fact, I spent a good hour online the other day looking for a silly collar for Meep that doesn't have a bell dangling from it because he hates bells and wants to eat himself when he wears one. And the only collar I found is from the U.K. Hello, American designers! Where are you?

I also cook for my cats. Because it bothers me when I eat really amazing food, and they have to eat bowls full of hard, dry pellets. I own this book. And I don't care what you think of me.

And finally, yes, I am throwing Meep a birthday party this week. The theme? Sushi.

I take it all back.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Dear Meep:

I was wrong. You are a genius. You could be the reincarnation of Nostradamus. Or maybe you really are a cat Buddha, the way we sometimes joke.

I am sorry I misread your strange behavior over the past two days. I am sorry I yelled at you for running around and meowing incessantly at invisible objects. I am sorry for being angry because you kept me up at night.

Because tonight we had a magnitude 4.4 earthquake. And I really think you knew it was coming.

I am craving

The halibut I had Monday night at Va de Vi. It arrived topped with mangoes and surrounded by a red curry sauce.

I love that feeling. You know, the one when you go to a certain restaurant for the first time. And you are finally (yes, finally!) going, after listening to so many of your friends rave and rave about this restaurant for months and months. And then you happily discover their reviews are correct and this restaurant is not overrated and you don't know how you put off going there for so long and now you can't wait to go back.

Let's make a date for this weekend. Or next week. Or the week after. Let's make a date soon. Because I want to try the scallops you keep saying I can't possibly live without.

why I am still tired

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Dear cats:

I do not understand why you find it funny to spend most of the day sleeping so you can wake up at 4 a.m. and decide it is the perfect time to open all the dresser drawers, roll golf balls across the hardwood floor and repeatedly tap the windows with your paws as you try to catch the moths you see fluttering on the other side of the glass.

I do not understand why you bite my fingers and toes while I am trying to sleep. Or why you have to chase each other across the bed, often jumping on my stomach or my chest in the process. (And Meep, you probably weigh at least 10 pounds now, and you're so fat that your belly sags, and it hurts when you land on me.)

Mari, why do you have to knock the water glasses over? And claw at your reflection in the mirror -- over and over and over? And whine incessantly, like you are the saddest cat in the whole entire world and you are about to die because everyone hates you? (Which is completely untrue, since we are always picking you up and carrying you around and telling you what a pretty girl you are. And you have more toys than third-world country children. And you eat premium food and organic, human-grade cat treats. And you even drink filtered water.)

Meep, I do not understand why showing your love involves sticking your butt in my face. And why your butt is so often dirty. And why you spend 20 minutes digging in your cat box, but you never really cover your poo.

I also do not understand why both of you took all of the cherry tomatoes out of the bowl on the dining table. Why is this fun? Cats aren't even supposed to like vegetables! But I am still finding cherry tomatoes all over the house.

There are also teeth marks on all of our magazines, kitty litter crumbs all over the floor and cat hair just about everywhere.

Please explain.

Thank you.
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