Ooh, my favorite!

Baggu bags
June 17, 2010, 12:17 pm
Filed under: Clean, Farmer's Market, Green, Home

I love my Baggu grocery bags. They’re completely functional (they hold a ton of stuff), durable (holds 50 lbs.), and most fun of all they’re gorgeous. I’ve mentioned before that when I first started bringing my own grocery bags I needed a bit of an incentive to remember them each time. I found these Baggu’s, in their rainbow of colors and knew that I’d almost never be able to leave them behind. Come on, a fashion statement while shopping…fun, right? Well, it worked; I rarely ever forget my bags and I always get lots of compliments on them.

Aside from my rainbow of grocery bags, I also have a small collection of their mesh produce bags, which I ADORE! They’re a light nylon mesh that comes in small or large sizes, so they’re the perfect accessory for farmer’s market or grocery store shopping. I just throw a few in my grocery bag and I’m off to the market. They’re especially useful at the market with the loose produce like brussel sprouts or baby potatoes.

I’m going to get a bit catty here, but it drives me crazy when I see people grabbing plastic produce bags and throwing two lemons or an onion in. I’m sorry dear friend, but where do you think that plastic ends up at the end of the day? There’s absolutely no reason to house any of your produce in a plastic bag. I say go bag-less, or grab a set of these wonderful produce bags!

Visit Baggu online and check out they’re wonderful line of reusable bags.

Grocery bag: $8.00 each / 3, 4, or 5 bags $7.50 each / 6 or more $6.50 each

Small produce bag: $3.00 each

Large produce bag: $4.00 each

Design crush: Sweden apartment
June 16, 2010, 8:34 am
Filed under: Home, Organization

We’ve been in our apartment since January, but I’m still sorting through our stuff in at attempt to purge all things unnecessary and cluttery. It’s an endless task it seems, continually organizing and then re-organizing what you just organized, but somehow it’s great fun. I’m constantly amazed and inspired by Swiss interior design philosophies. How do they do it? Always so clean and slick, but still so vibrant and comforting. I love the stark white with the pops of bright color.

Check out these pics for my latest inspiration and click through to see more. I can’t get enough pink lately, so I’m totally crushing on the couch, and I’m also loving the dreamy bedroom wallpaper. All the natural lighting throughout is key too! (And, how great is that rooftop deck.)

[via DigsDigs, images too]

June 15, 2010, 12:31 pm
Filed under: Gift guide, San Francisco

Do you remember walking into the toy store when you were young, and the wave of euphoria that would come over you as you eyed the zillions of potential items you’d have to first test out, and then decide which you wanted to persuade mom and dad to take home with you? I haven’t felt that way forever, and I’d kind of forgotten about that feeling until we went for a little Sunday trip to Japantown’s New People center.

New People is a gorgeous glass front, three story building in the heart of Japantown that boasts all things J-Pop–and not just the typical kitschy trinkets you often associate with Japanese  culture–but really cool and interesting toys that you won’t find just anywhere.

The building hosts a cinema that screens contemporary Japanese films, a small cafe serving Blue Bottle Coffee and Delica snacks, a retail space with Gothic Lolita and other Harajuku-style clothing and accessories, and the New People Store, which is where I had my flashback. Now that I think back, my sweetie and I must have looked insane, or maybe I’d even venture to say rabid with giddiness. We’d each go our separate way for a minute, then attempt to casually stroll back (when what I really wanted to do was run) to take turns showing each other what we’d found. We did this for a good hour.

One of the toys that caught my eye was the Aerobase “micro MUSEUM series” models that you assemble from pre-cut parts on a sheet of paper or metal.  They’re tiny, tiny but so cool. The perfect gift for model lovers, but it’d really be a great little project for anyone since not all of the kits are super intense.

Image via New People

Image via Aerobase

I was dying to sneak in a few pics, but they’re pretty explicit about cameras in the stores. (The packaging on some of the stuff was gorgeous!) It would have been a bit overwhelming anyway, I would have left with a ton of pics, and of course not being able to pick a few, I probably would have posted them all. Really, there was that much cool stuff! In the end, here’s a pic of the goody bag we took home. We really did a good job in practicing restraint and left with a few gifts for friends.

Our goody bag!

Rights for Future Generations
June 10, 2010, 11:04 pm
Filed under: Clean, Green, Nature, Simply Amazing

Jacques-Yves Cousteau

Another one of my childhood heroes celebrates an anniversary today. A decorated French Naval officer, co-developer of the “aqua-lung,” the grandfather of underwater exploration, and a true conservationist, Jacques-Yves Cousteau would turn 100 today!

Joyeux anniversaire le Commandant Cousteau!

His Rights for Future Generations campaign is something very dear to my heart; it’s because of his work that I am so passionate about clean water and working to save our oceans from pollution. My heart is heavy recalling the day of his passing in 1997, but it’s most heavy knowing that on this day, in this year, we are fighting to save our oceans on a bigger scale than ever before.

I’ve been following his grandson Philippe Cousteau as he is leading cleaning efforts in the Gulf of Mexico (he was the first diver to enter the polluted water). Please visit his blog and his non-profit EarthEcho to see how you can help clean up the gulf, but also to see how the Cousteau legacy is still alive and well.

P.S. – Check out Google’s homepage today to see another great logo tribute.

Sons & Daughters
June 9, 2010, 11:24 pm
Filed under: Food, Restaurants, San Francisco

Last Friday my favorite foodie friend Brian invited me to attend a soft opening of his friends’ new restaurant on Nob Hill (taking over where Cafe Mozart left off). Sons & Daughters is a joint venture between Matt and Teague, two young and talented chefs who’ve worked endlessly for the last six months to get this going. I’ve had the pleasure of eating their food at Brian’s house before (an amazing goat ragout with fresh pasta) so I was beyond excited when they decided to start their own restaurant.

They did a beautiful job with the renovations so I had wanted to share some interior shots with you, but alas, I was so focused on the food that I completely forgot. Since the plates are so beautiful there’s still plenty to see, so here we go…

Lobster carpaccio with pea foam, lobster butter reduction, and caviar

My first taste of raw lobster and I don’t know that I’ll ever appreciate cooked lobster as much as I used to. It was so good! Sweet and ocean-y with a more concentrated flavor than when it’s cooked. And let’s talk about the butter reduction for a second; well, actually I guess there’s not much to say, there are no words to describe how good it was.

Herb salad with garden shoots, eucalyptus, curds and whey

This was an in your face plate of fragrant herbs. The eucalyptus came as a dressing of sorts after being pressed and served at the base of the greens. The herbs were lovely, and I enjoyed the contrast of saltiness from the curds and whey.

Sweebreads with oysters, crisp pork, and grapefruit

Crispy, yummy sweetbreads with bacon. This was so good. I love sweetbreads, I love bacon even more so I was in heaven with this one.

Lobster, foie gras, oysters, uni, black cod, sea beans

This dish was gorgeous! In spite of the rich and luxurious ingredients here, it was surprisingly light with very clean flavors. This was probably due to the broth that surrounded the proteins, so flavorful and delicate. I can’t remember all of the details, but the cod and foie were prepared sous vide.

Squab with aprium, parsnip, and horseradish

This may have been my favorite dish of the evening. The squab was cooked perfectly with the breast having been prepared sous vide, and the leg confit. The earthy flavor was matched perfectly with the sweet and tart aprium reduction, and the hint of horseradish coming from the parsnip puree was a lovely touch.

After dinner we filled out our comment cards and hung around to chat with the guys to hear about all of the craziness that was happening behind the scenes. In spite of the troubles the guys did a beautiful job and have so much to be proud of. It was a great night and I had felt so lucky to have been able to test out their first menu. I can’t wait to go back for their ice creams and tea service.

Hip-hop violin
June 8, 2010, 10:56 am
Filed under: Music, San Francisco, Videos

Last Thursday night I had the chance to go to a party hosted at the Redwood Room at the Clift Hotel in downtown San Franciso. It’s a gorgeous bar that is paneled from floor to ceiling with wood from a single redwood tree, and the original art deco chandeleirs and sconces from 1933 still adorning the walls and ceilings. As a cool contrast from the richness of the wood there are digital frames projecting portraits of people with the eyes that follow you throughout the room.

The night was glamourous and luxurious, and hence, was a great spot for people-watching. But even with all of the eye candy, we were there for the music. We all know I have a thing for a good DJ, but I also love the symphony and I try to go a few times a year. On this night Inka 1 and violinist Paul Dateh came to perform a joint set of smooth hip-hop beats accompanied by the classical sounds of the violin. It was bananas! When they transitioned into Ghostface Killah’sCherchez la Ghost oh my god, I was in heaven…two of my favorite musical genres rolled into one. Add a glass or two of bubbly and there’s the cherry on top. It was a great night.

Check out the video below of the guys in the studio, it really is great stuff.

Vintage cake boxes
June 7, 2010, 2:56 pm
Filed under: Sweets

I adore these little cake boxes. I was instantly smitten with how charming they are, and I only wish I could think of an occasion to use them. Coming in only a millisecond after ogling the boxes I noticed the Christmas cake! Oh, how I love Christmas cake.

My sweet heart’s sister and her lovely family live in England, so we don’t often get to see them, but when we do it’s always an amazing holiday. A few years ago we all managed to get away for Christmas in Oregon and they introduced me to wonders of Christmas cake. It must be in my blood because I was instantly hooked. Fruitcake stateside has a bad rap–and for good reason, mostly–but this cake was different. It may be because I’m a sucker for marzipan, but that combined with the crumbly-moist cake was a little slice of heaven; with a proper cup of tea of course.

Ah, maybe one of these days I’ll get around to hosting a quaint afternoon tea complete with Christmas cake and vintage take-away boxes.

Check out the cake boxes at Cox & Cox.

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