Monday, 31 August 2009

San Francisco: Day 3 - Have Muni Pass Will Travel

I slept like the dead the first night in San Francisco, courtesy of staying up for 20hours straight due to a 4am EST alarm call to be in time for our 7am flight to California. I wasn’t so lucky on the Saturday night when a domestic woke us up at 2.30am.

"You're a bitch, you're a f***ing bitch," I heard a guy shout out in the hallway followed by much slamming of doors.


I peered through the spy-hole wondering if I needed to call hotel security to see a man in a grey argyle jumper angrily stabbing the button to call the elevator.

Isn’t love grand? ;-)

At 6am I woke up for real and since I couldn’t manage to doze a bit longer and had no patience for my book I decided to take a very long shower and allow Sara to snooze a bit longer. Seriously I must be a nightmare to travel with as I wake up so early, although if Sara had protested and wanted to sleep in longer I would have taken a newspaper and whiled away a couple of hours over a latte at Starbucks if necessary. We were both good to go come 8:15am so we headed down to Powell St station, bought an $11 Muni day-pass and took the Judah line streetcar out to Ocean Beach for brunch at a restaurant, Outerlands, that I’d read a glowing report of in the New York Times.

As it happens we arrived much earlier than expected, about an hour before the restaurant was due to open, so we headed a few blocks to the beach clutching tea from Java Beach CafĂ© – love that place, it had such a nicely eclectic bunch of people in there when we stopped by - to warm ourselves against the frigid temperatures. It was much colder than I was expecting and my lightweight raincoat didn’t provide much protection from the elements.

While I’m not exactly what you’d call a beach person in the sense that I don’t like to lay on a towel in 80plus degree heat, smothered in coconut oil and burning to a crisp, I do love to walk along the beach once the heat of the summer has abated. I love to walk along the sand on a breezy 50-60 degree day and inhale the fresh ocean air. This is one of the reasons I love Ocean Beach in San Francisco. It’s not the prettiest of beaches and my parents – two people who love to slather themselves in coconut oil and frazzle like bacon (I think I must be adopted) – would hate it, but for me it has a certain serene beauty and I found it very calming to be by the ocean, a welcome respite from the insanity of my life in Manhattan. I felt so wonderfully calm there I practically attained enlightenment that Sunday and not a smidgen of yoga necessary. I think the argumentative couple back at the hotel last night could have benefitted from a trip to Ocean Beach ;-)

After our brief walk on the beach we headed back up to Outerlands to find they were readying to open at 10am, but since it was already 10minutes to and there was no-one clamouring at the door like there would be at popular brunch spots in Manhattan - especially in my neighbourhood, these Upper East Siders brunch early!!! - we whiled away a few more minutes by wandering the streets of Outer Sunset.

It's not something I can put my finger on, but there's something about this area of San Francisco that appeals to me immensely, although in theory it should be just the opposite. Like Russian Hill it suffers from a lack of greenery on the streets and has a desolate, barren feeling, maybe it's the proximity to the ocean that does it. Outerlands restaurant certainly helped. It was as wonderful a restaurant as the NY Times suggested and our fellow customers had a laid back vibe I wish I could have bottled and brought back with me.

The tiny place was heaving come 10:30am.

The food was incredibly delicious, Sara ordered the Dutch Apple Pancakes which were so tasty I almost wished I'd ordered them myself and would if I go again, however I'm generally not one to pick sweet foods for brunch, but generally go for eggs and that Sunday was no exception. I ordered the interesting sounding eggs in jail which turned out to be a dish my mum occasionally made for me and my sister as children, but which in our household was called sunshine toast, that is a thick slice of bread with a circular hole cut from the middle, lightly fried with two eggs cracked into the hole and fried and served with crispy bacon and the fried bread 'hole' on the side. Scrumptious!!

Pics of the food pilfered from Flickr below since again I got shy about whipping out my camera and looking like a tourist ;-)

Eggs in jail photo courtesy of Premshree Pillai.

Dutch Apple Pancakes courtesy of

Hunger pangs satisfied we vacated our table for other hungry diners and walked north along the side of the beach to Golden Gate park, which is 20% larger than Central Park apparently. I never would have guessed. We only skirted the edge of it as far as I could glean from my map, but my navigation skills leave something to be desired and Sara was desperate for the loo by this point, so we didn't want to venture too far away from potential conveniences.

Apparently this windmill by Ocean Beach boasts the world's largest windmill wings. Fancy that.

We headed out of the park when we saw a busy looking street off Lincoln Way that looked like there might be a loo in the vicinity, happily relieved we headed for the Judah Streetcar and down to explore the picturesque streets of Cole Valley - where I was rather taken with the boulangerie, a very cute little independent cafe and bakery, the likes of which seem to be somewhat abundant in San Francisco compared to New York where high rents seem to force out everything smaller than big box chain stores - which we'd passed along the way out to Ocean Beach.

This is a crap photo, but it's the only one I snapped of the area, but do you see what Cole Valley has on it's streets that certain other neighbourhoods don't? Yes....TREES!!!! And it's all the lovelier for it!!

A couple of days later, following a visit to the Golden Gate Bridge, I took the following photo looking down Judah St from 18th St in Outer Sunset as we waited for the tram. I was intending to show how barren the streets looked without any trees, but ironically I think the photo shows off the stark beauty of the area. I'd still like there to be trees though.

After a brief exploration of Cole Valley we walked down Cole to the Haight Ashbury where we had to laugh at the couple of crusties sat on the street corner holding up a hand written sign which said 'smile if you masturbate' while loudly counting the number of people that read the sign and smiled. "Oh oh oh look, she does, she does, that's four!!"

Houses in the Haight Ashbury

We rounded off the afternoon with a brief walk through Buena Vista parkdown to Castro St and briefly through the Castro before hunger pangs started to set in for Sara so we hopped on a ye olde F tram along Market St to the Ferry Building for a snack at Taylor’s Refresher – salad for Sara, diet coke for me followed by nectarines - love them - back at the hotel for me - to put us on before our 7.30pm dinner reservation at Scala's Bistro, happily just a short walk across the street from the hotel. After covering so much ground during the day I wasn't in much of mood to travel far afield for dinner and the buttermilk mashed potatoes were divine.

Sunday, 30 August 2009

San Francisco: Day 2 - I could move here for the nectarines alone

We took advantage of still being on East Coast time and therefore being up with the larks on Saturday morning, our first full day in San Francisco, and after applying copious amounts of cover up and sunblock to our sunburned faces – the redness of my nose alone made me look as if I was suffering from a severe case of gin blossoms. W.C. Fields eat your heart out.

Listening to the forecast for the Bay Area we dressed prepared for 74degrees and headed for Starbucks across the street to fortify ourselves for the day ahead. Ha…74degrees my arse; it was 54 at best and pigging freezing – oh San Francisco - so post latte (me) and tea (Sara) we popped back to hotel for our lightweight coats which we clutched around us as we headed down Post St to Market St and on to the famers market at the Ferry Building.

Mmm mmm mmmmmmm, wow, all the produce all looked soooooooo good and when I tasted a slice of nectarine I thought I’d died and gone to heaven. You can eat really well in San Francisco!! We certainly did. For some stupid reason I was shy about taking photos at the Farmers’ Market – I get that way sometimes – but here’s a lovely photo of SF Farmers’ Market nectarines by Kittykatkards via Flickr. Doesn't it just make you want to eat a bit o' fruit?

After nibbling on slices of plums and nectarines I was so in the mood for fruit and yogurt for breakfast that we decided to pass on the delicious looking – and smelling – dishes being created by the food vendors on the North East corner side of the Ferry Building – 10am was far too early for rotisserie chicken no matter how good it smelled – in favour of breakfast at Market Bar instead and I was looking forward to something with market fresh nectarines or plums, but can you believe…there was no stone fruit in my seasonal fruit salad with Saint Benoit yogurt and balsamic vinegar? Strawberries, grapes, blueberries and I think blackberries, but no plums or nectarines. What’s that about? Shape up Market Bar!! It was still good, but I was a little disappointed given the stone fruits were clearly in season.

After breakfast we headed to the back of the Ferry Building to buy tickets for the 10.40am ferry ride to Sausalito, touted on the Golden Gate Ferry website as being “ranked second best in the world.” I don’t know about you, but this just made me wonder which ferry ride took first place. Well readers, I can put you out of your misery and let you know that the Sausalito ferry ride was pipped at the post for first place, as ranked by the Society of American Travel Writers, by the Star Ferry in Hong Kong. As someone who has taken both journeys I can tell you I didn’t feel at all nauseous on the 30minute ferry to Sausalito, but I was positively green around the gills on the brief – it’s like 7minutes - trip on the Star Ferry from Hong Kong to Kowloon should that help you make your choice of ferry ride.

We snapped photos of the Bay Bridge as we waited for the ferry to arrive.

The ferry ride was lovely, if a little chilly and God knows why I’d spent 20mins flipping out my hair that morning since it completely deflated after numerous sprays from the ocean as we stood on deck furiously snapping photos of the Bay Bridge and the Ferry building and resolved itself into the bob shape it would have dried into naturally without effort. Why do I bother? Sigh!!

Oooooh Sausalito. Pretty!!

I have to say I was glad I had bothered with the hair when I discovered that Sausalito was full of fit men on bicycles and in kayaks. Helloooooo boys!!! Phew!!! Suddenly I was feeling quite a bit warmer.

We wandered along the coast line and admired the beautiful houses, like this one, set into the Sausalito hillside.

Part of me wanted to walk up the hillside and look at the houses set further up, but Sara was suffering from an aversion to hills after Friday’s walk to Fisherman’s Wharf and I didn’t want to push it and wear her out on day 2 with 3 more days of our vacation left, so we looked at a few art galleries and had a leisurely lunch at Poggio instead before heading back to San Francisco on the 1:55pm ferry, followed by the BART to 16th and Mission Sts to go for dessert at much recommended Bi-Rite Creamery.

I have to say I would recommend an alternative route to the Mission District and avoid the BART at 16th and Mission if I were you. Taking this route makes the neighborhood seem totally sketchy and we passed many a suspicious looking loiterer, panhandlers and a gaunt older woman who was sucking on a tab like her life depended on it, her cheeks concave with the effort to get the last shred of tobacco into her lungs. The experience more than coloured my initial perspective of the Mission, it was only the fact that yuppies with strollers, hipsters and working class families who strolled the streets seemingly unconcerned that stopped me from scurrying like a scaredy cat back to Union Square - admittedly I am quite the coward - and I couldn't quite reconcile the fact that so many people I knew in New York who'd lived in San Francisco had chosen to live in that neighborhood.

"Oh yeah, that area around the BART station is totally full of drug dealers and addicts" said former Mission District resident, Megan when I met her for dinner at The Redhead last night, "I used to live between the 16th & Mission and 24th & Mission BART stops and it was definitely sketchy. It has a lot of character though and it's the area of San Francisco that gets the most sun."

Ah character, is that what they're calling it these days!! I remember Megan once telling me that when she lived in that part of San Francisco she would quite often hear gunshots. Call me an uptight Upper East Sider if you will, but gunshots aren't my kind of character, no matter how sunny the neighborhood.

As it turns out if you take the J train metro to Church and 18th by Mission Delores Park - as we did a few days later - you get an entirely more positive perspective of the Mission and Bi-Rite creamery is definitely worth the trip, although it's quite the wait if you stop by on a weekend afternoon as we did and the line already snaked around the corner. How good could this ice cream be I wondered. The line was even longer than the one seen at Magnolia Bakery in the West Village - they're just cupcakes people - and I wondered, after all the hype, would I be disappointed?

Happily that was not to be the case and the taste was so worth the interminable wait - well okay, 40minutes - stood in line ahead of an annoying twenty-something girl who verbalized every thought that popped into her vapid little head.

"She's driving me crazy," I mouthed to Sara

"You too? I thought it was just me being impatient because I'm not feeling well, but I'm finding her incredibly annoying. It's like nails down a chalkboard."

I was reminded of my sister turning to me once as we drove home from a day of shopping in Leeds and I was chattering on and saying 'do you EVER shut up?' I dearly wanted to turn around and say something similar to the twenty-something, but instead tried to tune her out by focusing on which ice cream flavour I would try.

"What are you going to have" I asked Sara.

"Mint Choc Chip I think. You?"

"I'm pondering salted caramel"

"I considered that, but the salted part puts me off"

"Me too, but the Yelp reviewers say it's really good and...well how often do you see that as an ice cream flavour?"

Twenty-five minutes on line and still a good 20 people ahead of us. Seriously how long can it take to scoop ice cream? Scoop faster people; scoop faster. The impatient New Yorker in me was showing.

40 minutes on line.

Omigod salted caramel ice cream!!!

Omigod!! Omigod!! Omigod!!

It's the best ever, like cinder toffee in ice cream form, it's the best ever, although outside Bi-Rite creamery sit groups of blissed out people proffering wooden spoons to each other and saying 'here, taste this and tell me it's not the best thing you've ever tasted'

The salted caramel from Bi-Rite creamery has replaced the espresso gelato from Il Laboratorio Del Gelato on the LES as my favourite ice cream EVER!!! It's completely to die for.

I was going to have to do a few jumping jacks back at the hotel before our 7:30pm reservation at The Slanted Door if I was going to squeeze in any more food into my belly that day.

Who ate all the San Francisco pies? I did!!

San Francisco: Day 1 - Sunburn & Sore Feet

Ugh, I’m not feeling my best this morning. Since arriving back from San Francisco I’ve been alternating between waking up really early – 4:30am – and quite late – 10am – well, that’s quite late for me anyway. I thought I would have acclimatized to the east coast by now, especially since I didn’t exactly acclimatize to the west coast – I was up before the larks at 6am most days and fighting to keep my eyes open by 9pm - so I am not sure why my sleep pattern is so disrupted now that I’m back. This morning I woke up at 2:30am and slept fitfully from that point onwards. My tiredness causes me crave coffee and sugary things to keep me awake, but it probably wasn’t the best idea to consume the double chocolate cookie I received last night as a post dinner treat, compliments of The Redhead restaurant, for breakfast. It’s sat like a stone in my stomach now!! I think I need to get out and about for a walk to burn a few calories. My poor stomach is not up to my usual Pilates class today.

As for San Francisco, well our flight arrived at 10am last Friday, 30minutes early and after fiddling about getting tickets for the BART from SFO to Powell St - what is all that subtract $1, add 5c etc nonsense you have to go through to buy BART tickets San Franciscans? - we arrived at our Union Square Hotel by 11am by 11:10am we were checked into our room. Whoo hoo, nice one!!! I love it when hotels let you check in early. I thought that we would only be able to check out bags, so I was thrilled that a room was already available. Admittedly not the room could have done without the 2-inch step up into the bathroom that caused me to go flying a couple of times during our stay, but nevertheless checking in early was worth the risk of a twisted ankle and I have to say the complimentary Terra Pure toiletries were divine, especially the green tea body lotion. I secreted a couple of minis back with me to NYC.

Happily ensconced we headed for the Westfield shopping center where I planned to check out Martin & Osa, a store I’ve heard a lot of good things about, but which has yet to materialize in New York City, once I had some food in my grumbling belly. Unfortunately, despite a multitude of restaurant recommendations from friends who’ve lived in San Francisco I lacked a recommendation for good cheap eats around Union Square and Yelp wasn’t that helpful in identifying anything other than delis. We were way too hungry to wander and find something so we decided to make do with whatever was on offer inside the Westfield Center. Now, it could well have been the fact that I was so hungry I could have eaten a scabby horse, but the tri-tip thin sliced beef sandwich I had from the Buckhorn Grillin the food court of the shopping center was unbelievably delicious. I can highly recommend it, oh and by the way that noise you hear in the background are the friends who know me as a food snob keeling over backwards at my admission that I ate at a shopping center food court and liked it. Oh the shame!!

After lunch we popped upstairs to Martin & Osa and I have to say I was pretty impressed although most of the clothes are cut so that they are too long on 5ft 1 me, I get that great look where the bit that is supposed to fall at my waist instead falls at my hips and everything above sort of balloons out attractively. Not!! They do have nice stuff though in a very similar vein to Banana Republic and J Crew and I found a cute green top on sale that I was tempted to buy before I realized I’d left my wallet and the 25% off voucher back at the hotel. Doh!!

Since shopping was out of the question we decided to head down to Fisherman’s Wharf. Not my favourite spot in San Francisco, but Sara was keen to stop by so after stopping by the hotel so I could pick up my wallet we walked down – or should I say up and down and up and down – via a meandering route that took us up Nob Hill, by Grace Cathedral and down Russian Hill, a part of San Francisco that I find surprisingly barren, at least on the streets I walked down. A few more trees or shrubs would improve the area enormously. Sara postulated that the lack of greenery could be earthquake related, but I’m not convinced of that, since things clearly grow - have you seen The Presidio or Telegraph Hill - but for some reason there are areas completely devoid of a few trees. We arrived at the tourist laden Wharf quickly skirting the most touristy bits to an unusually quiet pier, opposite pier 39 where other tourists flocked to photograph the basking sea lions, and breathed in the sea air and the view across the bay. Stunning!!

Unfortunately we sat there a bit too long as we both started to smart a bit from sunburn. I fared a bit better than Sara, since I’m in the habit of slapping on a daily sunscreen first thing which probably hadn’t completely worn off – I’ve become a total wrinkle-phobe this year, you should see all the lotions and potions taking up the top shelf of my fridge – but Sara’s sunburn was quite painful, likely as a result of the antibiotics she was taking for bout strep throat which made her more sensitive to sunlight. Take heed of the warnings on your medications kids as she was really was quite unwell as a result. I have to give her credit though as she didn’t let it spoil her vacation even though she must have been sorely tempted to curl up in bed.

After a stop in a tourist shop where we armed ourselves with a strong sunscreen we headed away from Fisherman’s Wharf and over to Fort Mason where we stopped and admired the view of the fog rolling in over the Golden Gate bridge.

Afterwards we looped back around skirting the edge of the Marina district and up to North Beach via Columbus Avenue.

Phew we deserved a drink after all that walking and the lovely Jake at 15 Romolo - a nice little spot up an alley around the slightly seedier bit of North Beach - was more than happy to oblige with a Pimms Cup for me and a Sauvignan Blanc for Sara. We sipped at our drinks while taking surreptitious glances at Jake's loveliness. Seriously it was hard to look away. I’d turn to talk to Sara only to find my eyeballs trying to escape out of the side of my head to further drink in his scrumptiousness. Sara who was positioned at the end of the bar and turned in to face me was in a much better position to ogle without being obvious about it.

Sadly hunger forced to tear ourselves away from the lovely Jake and we trotted around the corner to Franchino, an Italian restaurant on Columbus Avenue between Grant and Vallejo recommended by Yelp. I have to say that if I'd been going on looks alone - yes I am that shallow - I would have walked right by it, but I am so glad we didn't since we hard the warmest welcome from the family that ran the restaurant and the food was delicious. I dare say the pasta I had with salmon, asparagus and what was described to me as 'pink sauce' - what's that? Tomato sauce with a touch of cream? - was even more scrumptious than Jake, it was heavenly.

We walked back to the hotel via the hill free Financial District with a quick stop at Martin & Osa so that I could get the top I liked. By 9pm we were back at the hotel collapsed in a heap in front of What Not To Wear, but towards the end of the show I needed a couple of matchsticks to keep my eyes open and had to give Monk a miss.

Friday, 28 August 2009

Pondering A Move

I got back from my 4night/5day trip to San Francisco on Wednesday at the hideously early hour of 5.30am. Ugh, I hate the red eye, but it was the cheapest fare by far and Sara and I wanted to maximize our time in California so we took an early flight out there and a late flight back. I didn’t get much sleep on the return flight and after a strong cup of coffee I forced myself to stay awake to acclimatize to being back on East coast time thinking an early night was just the ticket, but my plan backfired as come 9pm I got a second wind and was up until midnight and then slept right through to 10am. Luckily I didn’t have to be in work; I had a lot of vacation to use up, like all of it plus two summer Fridays, so I booked the rest of the week off.

I had a fantastic time anyway, although I have to admit I was somewhat on the fence about San Francisco, as I have been there many times in the past - I realized, as I totted up the hotels I've stayed at in and around Union Square, that this recent visit was my 7th - and would have ideally preferred to go somewhere I’d never been before, but Sara suggested it and San Francisco was a better option than using up my time off staying in New York and as it turned out I am really glad she suggested it, I enjoyed the city a lot, a lot more than I have in the past, which surprised me as I’ve never felt a great love for San Francisco, well that's not strictly true. I've always liked the city, I was just never instantaneously smitten in the same way I was with New York, but after this visit San Francisco is definitely creeping it’s way into my heart. I think part of the reason is that living in NYC has begun to wear on me a little bit this past year, I think the long hours working at something that’s definitely a job rather than a career has taken it’s toll and it’s probably coloring my perspective more than a little bit. I’m also someone that craves change every few years by nature, so maybe it’s just something innate that’s driving me to consider moving on at least for a while. I’m not sure I could give up on NYC permanently, being away for 6-12months is very appealing and maybe it’s that I’m taking NYC for granted at the moment, but every time I’ve travelled to a US city in the past year I have a ‘could I live here?’ perspective. So far I’ve considered Charleston, DC, Austin and now San Francisco and I am thinking that San Francisco might well be an option, at least for a short while. There's a lot about the crunchy granola lifestyle of the west coast that appeals to me immensely. Funnily enough a recruiter emailed me about job opportunities in San Francisco today, but hmmm...too soon. I plan to be here at least another year!! In fact ideally I’d like to be wealthy enough to not have to work, have a home base in NYC, but go and experience living in other cities for 6months or so. Wouldn't that be nice to have the option to move somewhere and just enjoy living there rather than having to have a pesky job taking up all the hours of the day? I would love that. Maybe I should try and make my dream come true and throw my hat in for a share of tonight’s $333million lottery draw. It could happen, the odds are only 176million to one, but hey, someone has to win ;-)

We'll see anyway, but this view, the scent of the ocean and the nectarines alone could convince me. In fact throw in Chris Isaak and we have a deal San Francisco ;-)

Thursday, 13 August 2009

Oooooh don't mention alcohol.

Its hangover central in the office today - we had a team drinks thing last night and I did that old chestnut of drinking on an empty stomach!! Oh!! Sadly I have to go to a client team shindig at my account director’s apartment tonight and drink mojitos!!! I was hoping it would be rained off as we were supposed to BBQ on his roof - is it wrong of me to be doing a rain dance in the copy room? No such luck. The worse thing is that I wake up so damn early when I have been drinking. 5:50am this morning. I just want to go home and watch the Real Housewives of Atlanta!! I had Goldfish crackers for dinner at the bar on 83rd and 1st as Debs got out of the cab and said 'shall we go in here for one more'. I had an Amstel Light - showing some sense at least - and she had a Guinness and is not in the office today. You be the judge. We got chatted up by a couple of 23year olds, the Matts from Greenpoint, much to the displeasure of the women who they'd arranged to meet. I think they seriously thought we were moving in on their men. Ahhhh give over.....the kids I babysat for have children older than them!!

It was quite a night and I am amazed I didn't lose the bag I had which had $900 worth of jeans that I had ordered from Anthropologie - can you believe that is only 5 pairs??? They really are shockingly expensive aren’t they? I’m willing to do it for jeans as the cost per wear is low, but I suppose I could save money by shopping at the Gap instead. For some reason I find Anthropologie sell a good number of petite styles online in washes that seem to be more flattering than the ones I’ve seen in Bloomingdales, so I ordered 3 brands - Joe's, AG and Citizens and a number of different sizes. I shall be returning at least 3 pairs, but trying to work out whether I can afford to keep two pairs. I have to say I was really hoping it was Saturday when I rolled out of bed this morning. I walked to work to burn off the residual alcohol that remained in my system. Yup, I'm staying classy!!!

I’m planning a quiet one this weekend, I shall be scouring my apartment - how does it get so messy when I am barely there - and prepping for my trip to San Francisco next week with Sara, making sure all my clothes are clean etc and, like a challenge in the style of Krypton Factor, I shall be working out how to best pack everything into a carry on bag so that I can avoid paying the $15 baggage check fee. $15!!!! I have been giving Sara tips on packing lightly as she is one of those "I'll just pack these snow shoes and this ballgown, because you just never know" type people that packs for every eventuality. Of course I am the geek that makes lists of outfits that mix and match so that I pack as little as possible while still maximizing my usual sartorial splendour. Ahem!!

It's funny I've reconnected with a former colleague recently – Facebook strikes again – who moved to San Francisco 4years ago and is moving back to New York at the end of the month. She is having her SF farewell drinks on the Saturday we are in town at a bar not far from where we are staying in Union Square, so very convenient for us to stop by and have a cheeky one as we head back toward the hotel after dinner at the Slanted Door. When I looked at the online invite I realised two other people I used to work with when I first started here will also be there who I didn’t realise had moved to the west coast.

I am so strangely excited for the SF trip. I am not sure why to be honest as I have been there so often but I have some great recommendations from people I know who lived there. Of course my recommendations are all food related.… Tartine Bakery, Nopa Restaurant, Pizzeria Delfina, Bi-Rite Creamery, Delancey St Restaurant, Mamas for breakfast. Sight seeing is just something I do to burn calories between meals ;-)

My only concern about the SF trip is whether Sara and I will get along as travel buddies as we’ve never travelled together before and I do tend to like to pack a lot in when I am on holiday. My vacations are never exactly what you would call relaxing, but it works for me. Melissa is the same which is why we travel well together, we have a trip to Iceland coming up in October that I am really looking forward to, I can almost feel the water of the Blue Lagoon lapping at my toes!!

Fingers crossed Sara and I get along okay. I keep reminding myself that it’s probably good for me to travel with someone who will force me to slow down a bit.

Wish me luck with the mojitos tonight!!

Sunday, 9 August 2009

I had the weirdest dream the other night...

Ugh, it was an unsettling one; I dreamed I was in a hospital about to have a baby. I had the world's smallest bump, but was due any day and the nurse said "oh this is going to be a big one, a sixteen pound baby."

Sixteen pounds!!!!!

Good Lord!!

That put the fear of God in me I can tell you. Thankfully my alarm went off before the baby could be born; giving birth to a 16lb baby is not something I need to experience even in my dreams. Shudder!!

I Googled 'pregnancy dream' when I got into work and was relieved to read the following on this site "your dream is a very common one and usually represents a new beginning or a new creation in your life. It is generally very positive and indicates growth in your life!"

Not a prophecy then!! Phew!!!

I'm also rather liking this interpretation on another site which reads "for a woman, this dream forecasts a happy increase in material wealth, but for a man, it is a warning against indiscriminate sex relations."

Nice!! I think I might try my luck with a lottery ticket!!

I've been a bit of a sloth this weekend and due to the joys of woman's week I wasn't really up to getting out and about beyond getting a haircut. My hair was getting a bit long side and I have to say I was starting to look a bit Morticia Addams with such poker straight hair, which put paid to any ideas I was having about growing it long again, so I am back to my short choppy bob and much happier about it. This is the picture I took into show David the hairdresser and for once he did exactly what was on the picture.

I ventured out last weekend due to unexpectedly sunny weather this weekend so on Friday night I emailed my friend Andrew, notorious for not making any plans until the last second, to see if he would be interested in a trip out to PS1's Warm Up in Queens.

Every year MoMA's PS1 invites up and coming architects to enter the competition to design the temporary installation for the former playground. This year MOS architects won with their Afterparty design.
From a distance I find it to have spider-like qualities. It's definitely not among my favourites of the PS1 installations, but I did appreciate the cooling vapors emitting from the chimney looking things. Very refreshing in the summer heat.

Inside the museum the star attraction was Swimming Pool by Argentinian artist Leandro Erlich, which I thought was very clever since it looks just like a typical - if rather small - swimming pool, but when you look down you can see people stood underneath it.

Then you go downstairs and under the pool and you can look up and see everyone goggling down at you.

"I could totally see up one of the girls' skirts when we were stood under the pool" said Andrew as we walked back to the ground floor.

Typical man!!

Afterwards we went for a cocktail at Dutch Kills, a lovely little place definitely worth seeking out if you are in Long Island City.