I’m not shy when discussing the joy associated with my living situation. In addition to having a great apartment and great roommate, I embrace my neighborhood and take advantage of its riches frequently. There are many things to love about San Francisco’s Sunset neighborhood. I love brisk after-work urban hikes to the top of Grand View Park and Strawberry Hill (in Golden Gate Park). I love the delicious cheap dinner spots like Lime Tree, King of Noodles and Crepevine, and its classier joints like Pasión and Nopalito. I even love Donut World, open 24 hours a day.
My roommate (Austin) and me at the top of Grand View Park, one of my very favorite vantage points from high above the Inner Sunset. Along your urban hike up to the park, be sure to stop at Moraga and 16th Avenue and discover one of the two nearby sets of mosaic tile staircases. (Photo credit: Nicolas Smith)
The Inner Sunset has a hot dog joint, comic book store, and shoe repair shop that’s been open since 1900. From its streets you can look in various directions and lay your eyes on Sutro Tower, the Pacific Ocean and Golden Gate Park, an oasis where you can run on trails, run on a track inside a former NFL stadium, run a half marathon, hike, paddle boat, golf, frisbee golf, cycle laps, geocache, play baseball, soccer, kickball, attend a music festival and more. Our glorious park is home to a world-class science museum and art museum, Japanese Tea Garden, carousel and bison paddock.
There is never a shortage of things to do and see in Golden Gate Park. Starting clockwise from top left: a butterfly inside the Academy of Sciences, ducklings and their parents at Stow Lake, a Burning Man tent set-up dress rehearsal with Brian, and a geocache discovery with Austin.
In celebration of my adoration for my neighborhood I recently contributed to my dear friend Andi’s travel, food and France blog, Misadventures with Andi. As part of her new series on SF neighborhood profiles from locals, I share more of my favorite Sunset neighborhood gems including a worker-owned bakery and a magnificent cheese shop. Check out my Sunset profile here.
He eats simple homemade meals. He tries to eat lots of protein and vegetables. He eats a lot of bananas, tries to include fiber and tries to always consume something for breakfast. He tries to not order pizza too much and doesn’t know many fancy cooking techniques.
For breakfast this weekend he hard boiled eggs Friday night and got a package of peppered bacon. He slept in both Saturday and Sunday. When he awoke, he prepared his meal with a chopped banana and some apple juice to kick off relaxing days.
For dinner earlier this week he grabbed some fresh green beans from the produce department and joined forces with some delicious jalapeño mango sausages. He chopped both items up and cooked together so they soaked up each others juices. He desired a little starch and made some spinach linguini with his favorite artichoke sauce from Andronico’s.
And tonight he ventured into the world of Brussels sprouts. He baked them after tossing in olive oil, fresh ground salt and pepper, and soy sauce. He combined with diced up chicken breast, sautéed also in soy sauce. Paired with root beer.
In general, he also eats a lot of Raisin Bran.
On Thursday I made myself one of two Zesty Southwestern Style Stuffed Chicken Breasts from Trader Joe’s. I glanced at the directions, 20 minutes at 350 degrees, and threw it in the oven with some squash zucchini. After 20 minutes I removed my meal from the oven, put it on a plate, poured myself a glass of apple juice and plopped in front of the TV to eat my dinner. After eating about a quarter of my chicken breast I started to notice pink meat. It looked a little raw. So I sliced the rest of the breast up and looked around to see if this thing was cooked or not. I ate around what looked raw and finished a little over half of my chicken before thinking this is not good.
round 2 - a success
Tonight I made the other chicken breast from the pack. I took a look at the directions and confirmed that it said, bake for 20 minutes. I took an even closer look and saw that the full directions said, cover in foil, bake for 30-35 minutes. remove foil, bake for 20 minutes.
Oh boy, I ate half of an undercooked-by 30-minutes chicken breast.
Thankfully I am not ill. And thankfully the well-cooked chicken breast was delicious.
I wanted us to do something silly and unique on Christmas Day that the girls would always remember so I convinced Dave and Patty that we should have a deluxe cheeseburger bar for dinner! Who needs ham or turkey or turducken when you can have cheeseburgers with fries, onion rings and all the fixings. We had homemade canned pickles and I made the most perfect bacon. I think it was a big hit.
After dinner we played Ticket to Ride, one of the two games we got the girls. Patty ended up winning and I finished respectively in second, followed my Sequoia, Dave and River.
By the end of the night we were all exhausted. Especially Booger!
Someone could be persuaded
When I have questions about something I want to do or something I want to eat, lately I’ve been asking myself, “what would occur naturally?” This has been helping guide me. The litmus test is sort like this, “Would a caveman have eaten this Big Mac?” Sometimes the answer is no. “Would a caveman have run a marathon?” And sometimes the answer is maybe, yes.
This weekend when Dave, Katie and I were camping in Yosemite the topic of milk came up. I don’t remember what on earth we were discussing but it started getting me thinking about how many cows must have to be milked to produce as much milk as we drink in this world. And I thought about all those miserable cows getting milked their entire life. And I started to think of my litmus test…
Did caveman drank milk?
No, cavemen did not milk cows and therefore did not drink milk. Therefore, I should probably not drink milk.
I made my case to Katie and Dave that I wanted to stop drinking cows milk. Transitioning to soy milk, almond milk or rice milk will be difficult yes, but to be honest, so was switching to Diet Coke for Dave and I. But we did, and now that’s what we prefer. I think the same thing can happen with milk.
No more cows milk.
Anyone with me?
Coming in for a landing!
I spent the better part of the past week in New York City for a work event. This was my third visit to the Big Apple this year, but it was by far my favorite trip. I left the last two stays with a little bit of a sour taste in my mouth and very uninterested in the city overall (it was hot, I didn’t go out, I was lazy). This time around however, I sorta feel in love with the city. I don’t think there was one or two particular thing about this visit that made it a stand out trip, rather the compilation of many positive factors.
Evening run around Central Park
First of all, I was traveling with great company (Kevin and Whitney from my team at work) and we spent quite a bit of time out enjoying nightlife, including time in fun neighborhoods like the West Village, Chelsea and the Meatpacking District, with plenty of chill time at fun places like the Standard Hotel Beer Garden, a few random gay bars and an awesome bar with Jenga tournaments.
Second, the weather was beautiful (oh, except for those tornado warnings in Brooklyn on Thursday night). Third, I loved my hotel location (Midtown this time, versus Gramercy Park and SoHo the last two times). I took advantage of my proximity to Central Park (and the great weather!) and did some great mid-week runs.
My favorite NYC pastime!
Fourth, quality time with Meagan is always great, especially because it’s so easy to convince her to see Broadway shows with me. This time around we saw A Little Night Music starring Bernadette Peters and Elaine Stritch and it was great. I had no desire to see this show when Catherine Zeta-Jones and Angela Lansbury were in it but Bernadette and Elaine were a big draw (justifiably so). If you are a discount ticket fan, I highly recommend getting TKTS tickets from the Brooklyn booth. Times Square is always packed and the South Street Seaport location is hard to get to. The Brooklyn booth is two subway stops past where you’d get off for South Street Seaport and there was no line when I went on a Thursday afternoon.
Frozen hot chocolate at Serendipity
And finally, it’s especially awesome when Meagan is down for hitting up tick-tackity tourist traps like Serendity 3. Not only was the service awful but the prices were completely out of whack, the food was not that great and they sold some really stupid crap in their little gift shop.
The big takeaway from the whole trip was that this city and the people that live here really never do sleep (and I question whether the people actually work). I know its an overused saying but I’ve always carried with me this story of when Dave and my sister came here in 2001. We stayed in Murray Hill and we got back to our hotel late one night after a show or day of touristy activity and couldn’t find a single open pizza place nearby. This made me question that whole “city that never sleeps” mantra. No one that lives here ever believes that story but I swear it’s true. This time around I spent more time out late into the night (and in a few instances early into the morning) and I can definitely say that people are out and about until the very wee hours and there are pizza places open at single digit hours… during the middle of the week, no less.
Overall it was an amazing 4 day stay and I look forward to coming back very soon and continuing my explorations!
I have suspected for quite sometime that I’ve been developing a pretty serious allergy to fruit over the last few years. Back when I was a kid I had a few bad experiences with cherries. I got really sick. I assumed I was allergic. I avoided cherries for many years.
Since then, over the last five years or so, I’ve noticed odd allergic reaction-like experiences after eating pears, peaches and more recently, apples. This started validating my cherry allergy theory and made me think, “jeez… it seems to be legit AND it seems to have started including other fruits.”
Given that all of the fruits that were causing reaction had thick skins, I started to attribute the allergic reaction to the eating of the skin specifically. It seemed to make sense because bananas, which I love, caused no reaction. I had eaten fruit that doesn’t encourage its skin to be eaten, like oranges, and had no reaction as well. A lot of people I told thought this was all just too specific and weird though, and that it didn’t make any sense. I even started to agree with them after I realized that grapes, which I would consider a relatively thick skinned fruit, cause no reaction at all.
Then I started thinking that I should go see a doctor and see if I could get tested for allergies and find out exactly what it was that I had become allergic to.
I went to the doctor and he kind of ignored my request.
So, as I was sitting here tonight I thought to myself, “maybe I should just Google all this and see what’s out there about possible fruit allergies.”
There’s a ton of stuff out there on fruit allergies. They are legit. Well-documented. And while relatively rare, completely possible.
Here are a few key takeaways from a very informative site I found:
- Once the fruits are cooked, canned, microwaved, processed, baked, or heated in any way, the allergic effects are reduced. (Hence why I have enjoyed many cans of peaches without reaction, and also why I can eat apple chips and apple sauce.)
- Kiwis, strawberries, apples, pears, cherries, plums, peaches, nectarines, papaya and pineapples are usual culprits. (I’ve had reactions to strawberries, apples, pears, cherries and peaches. No bananas, grapes or oranges on the list! The only pineapple I ever eat is not fresh and hence have had no reaction.)
- Note that the most allergenic part of the fruit is the skin, however, not due to the pesticides, chemicals, or wax on its surface. (Told you so!)
- The most common symptom is oral allergy syndrome, characterized by allergic reactions in the mouth and throat. There can be tingling, itching, and swelling in the mouth, lips, tongue, throat, and palate. (That’s just about all I experience too. Nothing more serious.)
There you have it; I wasn’t crazy after all! Does this mean I have an excuse to not eat all of my recommended daily fruit portions? No? I guess I’m subjected to a life of currants, gooseberries, guava, mango, figs, persimmon and pomegranates then.
Posted in Food, Looking back, Pointless, Storytelling
Tagged allergy, apples, fruit, kiwi, oral allergy syndrome, peaches, pears, pineapple, skin