Leaving my heart in San Francisco…

Want the truth?

It is dangerously easy to fall in love with this city…

I had the teensiest of legs up coming to San Francisco for the Dance/USA conference in that I was born in the area and had family I could stay with.  Because we’d often come back to visit, I’ve seen the major sites already: The Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, Fisherman’s Wharf, Pier 39, Ghiradelli Square, Lombard Street, and the list goes on.

So, knowing I had limited time outside of a conference room during my three days here I didn’t want to revisit things I’ve already seen.

I chose, instead, to just walk.

Even though I’ve been here a countless number of times, this is the first time I’ve visited as an adult.  I was surprisingly disoriented, being used to a really strict grid system, but SF is quite small by comparison to Chicago and after I got my bearings I really started to enjoy my walking tours and trips on the BART.

Produce market in The Mission

Without any goals or preconceived destinations, I feel like I got to walk among San Franciscans as if I was one of them, and, I gotta tell you, I could get used to that.  In both neighborhoods I visited (Union Square and The Mission) I found happy accidents such as live music performances, farmers markets, and fantastic murals to gaze at.  Not to mention the fantastic weather and interesting mix of Victorian and Spanish Colonial architecture.

In most cities I feel like I have to squeeze it all in. I have to see as much as possible in a limited amount of time, and take the city by storm.  Rarely do you get the opportunity to sink in and go at a normal pace, and maybe it’s for that reason that you start to miss home or feel like “it’s a nice place to visit but I wouldn’t want to live there”.

San Francisco was dangerously different.  I never felt like a tourist (even when I was wearing a big conference name tag).  I fit right in.  I didn’t feel like walking the bridge or hitting the nightlife; I felt like shopping for deli meat and bananas.  It felt like home.

Does San Francisco have this effect on everyone, or is it just me?

What’s in the box: Week 3/4

With being in San Francisco since Tuesday, most of my CSA box is still at home in the fridge.  But I managed to make some bang up meals before I left.

Ravinia date with myself:

An on-the-fly Spinach Artichoke Dip used up all the spinach I had left over, plus cream cheese in anything is delicious.  Simply sautee the spinach until wilty (add a little water to the pan so it doesn’t burn.  Mix with a jar of drained artichoke hearts and equal parts cream cheese and sour cream.  I took this beauty on my Ravinia picnic before attending the live broadcast of A Prairie Home Companion and paired with grapes, crusty bread, homemade pickles and a bottle of red.

Shrimp Something-Or-Other

In an attempt to throw as many of my box ingredients as possible in the same dish, this delight (not being facetious) started off with sauteed onion, kohlrabi, garlic scape and kale with a bit of soy sauce and a bit of adobo seasoning.  I added ramen noodles and shrimp that were sauteed separated in butter, and was pretty much the envy of my Facebook newsfeed for the evening.

I’m thinking that at some point it would be helpful to find actual recipes to complement the ingredients that I find in my box, but honestly, I’m short on time and seem to be doing just fine throwing a little of this and a little of that into a pan and seeing what comes out.  Maybe that’s the beauty of having fresh produce around all the time… it tastes amazing no matter what you do with it.

If only baking was that easy… but what with it’s chemical reactions and such measuring cups and recipes come in quite handy for that…

Starbucks Around the World: Madison, WI

I love happy accidents on vacation.  Like running into the Taste of Madison when you have nothing to do the night before a spontaneous Labor Day beer tour of South Central Wisconsin.  And even though the barista put whip on my no-whip hot chocolate, the Starbucks across from the Capital Building was a nice place to get out to the rain for a bit.

Because of its proximity to the heavy metal-themed music stage of the Taste of Madison, I was embarrassed enough to have this picture snapped in front of the ‘Buck, which is why I opted to not give the thumbs up this time.