my SF

dining out for life tonight!

dining

Tonight is your night….go out, eat some good chow, and spread a little love in the Bay Area. I’ll be at Sol Food in San Rafael spreading the word and collecting some love, but you have other restaurant choices as well. 25% of your bill goes to the San Francisco Aids Foundation and 100% of your straight up donations go to SFAF. Plus you might win a great prize!

The SFAF mission statement should be encouragement enough, right?

‘San Francisco AIDS Foundation works to end the HIV epidemic in the city where it began, and eventually everywhere. Established in 1982, our mission is the radical reduction of new infections in San Francisco because we refuse to accept HIV as inevitable. Through education, advocacy and direct services for prevention and care, we are confronting HIV in communities most vulnerable to the disease.’

Come out, invite some friends, have a little fun and do a really good deed. SFAF needs our help to continue to do their good works. Here are your action items:

  1. NOW:  Buy a raffle ticket on my page by making any size donation you are able. A $25 donation gets you two tickets, $50 gets you five, $100 gets you twelve and $500 gets you sixty tickets!  Grand prize is a vacation in Costa Rica and there are seven other great prizes as well. Plus you are helping to end the scourge of HIV and of course that’s why you’re really doing this.
  2. TONIGHT: Join me at Sol Food for dinner (I’ll be there from 4-8) and the restaurant will donate 25% of proceeds to the San Francisco AIDS Foundation. Plus we get to hang out and eat great food. You can also get take out at the Bodega next door.

I got a late start and I’m at ZERO DONATIONS (kinda embarrassing) so please don’t delay….buy your raffle tickets now and meet me for dinner!

Thank you for your support,
Leslie

found art

San Francisco is full of museums and galleries and concert halls and theaters. But if you look around you’ll find even more art on street corners and in back alleys. If you enjoy treasure hunts, you just might like what you find on the street more than what you’ll find inside. Check out these bits and pieces of my favorite discoveries in SF.

mural by Max Ehrman, photo courtesy oduwaerts/sfmuralarts.com

mural by Max Ehrman, photo courtesy oduwaerts/sfmuralarts.com

Clarion Alley, Mission District

Clarion Alley has provided a local canvas for the last 20 years. Art is ever changing in a neighborhood filled with shops and awesome restaurants. Make an afternoon of it…and thank the people of CAMP for their good works in the local art scene.

The Presidio

British Artist Andy Goldsworthy, in conjunction with The Presidio Trust and For-site Foundation, creates art in place and he has graced the Presidio with three of his unique installations over the course of the last several years.

photo courtesy tiledsteps.org

photo courtesy tiledsteps.org

16th Avenue steps

Several years ago the Golden Gate Heights Neighborhood Association and their fiscal sponsor, The San Francisco Parks Trust, worked with locals to create this beautiful mosaic stairway. Visit it at Moraga and 16th Avenue.

photo courtesy 7x7.com

photo courtesy 7×7.com

Hotel Zetta public stairwell

The Hotel Zetta opened early 2013 on 5th Street next to the Westfield Shopping Center. It’s young and hip and has a very cool stairwell by a prominent (now) local artist, Jonathan Matas.

photo courtesy 7x7.com

photo courtesy 7×7.com

Golden Fire Hydrant

When the great fire of 1906 followed the earthquake, much of the city burned as fire hydrants ran dry. This little hydrant at the corner of Church and 20th saved the Mission District. As reward it is repainted gold once a year at 5:12 am on April 6th, the time that the earthquake hit.

photo courtesy yelp.com/Molly T.

photo courtesy yelp.com/Molly T.

Fort Mason Community Garden

The Fort Mason Community Garden is made up of 125 plots most of which are 20′ x 5′. There is a 7-8 year waiting list for a plot. No pesticides are allowed and each gardener must plant at least two seasons per year. These are some serious gardeners growing both flowers and edibles. And yes, gardens, in my opinion, are art.

photo courtesy exploratorium.edu

photo courtesy exploratorium.edu

The Wave Organ

Created by Peter Richards and George Gonzales in conjunction with The Exploratorium, this 1986 musical sculpture is worth a little walk out onto the Marina jetty. Just check the tides first because they create the music.

Enjoy my little tryst through San Francisco. Let me know if you discover other little gems you’d like to share. Have a great week! And don’t forget about Dining Out for Life tomorrow.
Leslie

vacation in color

palette-sunset

our last Hanalei 2013 sunset

It’s April and school is still in, I’m a little frustrated with a project I’m working on, the weather is unreliable….time for a vacation. But time or not, there is no vacation in my near future, so I’m creating palette vacations today. See if these take you where they took me….back to Hanalei ten months ago. Happy sigh.

palette-path

the pathway alongside the taro fields behind yoga hanalei

hideaways....our favorite snorkeling beach

hideaways….our favorite snorkeling beach

Have a great weekend….find me at Picnic in the Presidio this Sunday!
Leslie

Dining Out for Life update

photo courtesy solfoodrestaurant.com

photo courtesy solfoodrestaurant.com

Update…I’m the Dining Out for Life ambassador at Sol Food in San Rafael!

Come visit me, eat some great food, support a great cause on Tuesday, April 22. See all the info in my post here. If you can’t join me at Sol Food, please find a restaurant that is convenient for you, but dine out somewhere! And buy your raffle tickets off my page!

dining out for life: April 22

all photos courtesy dining out for life website

all photos courtesy dining out for life website

Mark your calendar. This coming Tuesday night, April 22, you will need to be going out to dinner in the SF Bay Area. This is our local restaurateurs annual night to participate in giving back in the fight against HIV/AIDS, Dining Out for Life.

dining out

Once upon a time in the late 80s, when AIDS was younger and deadlier, I was a newcomer to San Francisco and volunteered at all of the summer street fairs signing up volunteers for the AIDSwalk. Yes, I was one of those loud people standing in the middle of the throngs with a clipboard shouting ‘sign up for the AIDSwalk here….help find a cure for AIDS’. Maybe we even met at one of those events. I’m sure you signed up for at least one AIDSwalk, right?

dining out3

Well here we are several decades later and, while HIV/AIDS is still a very bad thing, because of all the research and outreach, it doesn’t make headlines the way it used to and it doesn’t elicit quite the same drama and fear.  But it is still out there and we still need to support those who have the disease, prevent others from getting it, and find a cure. So this is what I’m doing today (I’m much too old to shout at street fairs anymore). I’m dining out, and so should you. The restaurants involved donate a minimum of 25% of sales to the San Francisco AIDS Foundation. And to sweeten the deal even more, there’s a raffle and you can win a vacation. All you have to do is show up, eat and make a donation (or make an online donation if you can’t attend…you can even register for the sweepstakes without donating, but I’m sure you can eke out at least five bucks).

I hope to see you out to dinner on Tuesday!
Leslie

april 15, 2014: pesach 5774

 

Passover photo courtesy sf.eater.com

photo courtesy sf.eater.com

Thank you SF Eater for getting me out of a little fix. Passover begins Tuesday, which means the first Seder is Monday night. For the uninitiated, that means that we Jew-folk are crazily buying food and cooking it beginning about 3 days ago. Hence the tardiness of this post. SF Eater to the rescue….today in my crowded little inbox they sent me a list of 14 restaurants that are serving Seder fare. I share with you the list.  And even if you don’t do the whole Seder schtick, you can still participate in a bit of the yumminess of our most gastronomic of holidays.  Not to mention all the wine that we are COMMANDED to drink!

Chag Sameach to the Jews out there….and happy Friday to the rest of you!
Leslie

 

eating fish in a barrel

a rant aside

If you’ve been reading me for long, you know that so-called ‘edison bulbs’ drive me crazy. Yes, they are pretty and trendy and give that old-timey back to the farm feel to things. But they also use a ridiculous amount of energy (versus their light output) and create a significant amount of heat which then needs to be removed (unless you are building your restaurant in the very far north I suppose). So all in all, there is absolutely nothing sustainable or earth friendly or green about them. IMHO, there is no reason to use them….be creative people!

So, as I perused the entries in one of my favorite contests, the Restaurant & Bar Design Awards, in search of something interesting that has been entered from my neck of the woods, you probably heard the cursing. Nearly every US entry not only used the dang things, but they also feature them as a highlight in their photographs! At Barrel House Tavern in Sausalito the designers at least had the decency to use them very sparingly, and did not use them as a detail shot (at least not for the contest). Maybe some people are finally getting past this very over used and tired design trend. Rant over.

Barrel House Tavern

Barrel House Tavern was 2 years in the making in a building over a century old on the Sausalito waterfront. According to the website this was the original ferry landing for the SF to Sausalito Ferry pre-Golden Gate Bridge (1936) and has since been home to Water Street Grille and Houlihan’s. CCS Architecture and the owner, Chris Henry, crafted a warm wood and leather seafood restaurant with soaring ceilings and gorgeous bay views in the neighborhood where Mr. Henry grew up fishing and crabbing. There are touches of earlier CCS projects throughout, but it all comes together to create a singular feel without forcing the heavy ‘concept’ touches of its Houlihan’s past.

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And by the way, if you have a project to enter, you only have until April 20!

Happy Thursday,
Leslie

 

 

cheese, beautiful cheese

photo courtesy cowgirlcreamery.com

photo courtesy cowgirlcreamery.com

Here in Marin we are lucky to have the best cheese on the planet in our very own neighborhood.  And my friend and food writer Brooke Jackson, who was kind enough to invite me to attend the Cowgirl Creamery cheese event that she discusses in her article, wrote a lovely piece on this most amazing food and this most amazing place. So check out the article, then take a drive out to Point Reyes Station and visit the girls and their cheese.  There is a huge lawn in front, so pick a sunny day, take a blanket, bring your fancy picnic basket and a nice bottle of wine, and buy some of the best cheese you’ll find anywhere. You’ll thank me for sure. And if you take home leftovers, I’m told by the Creamery gals that the plastic you’re cheese comes wrapped in is very very bad.  Use paper instead. In my case there is rarely anything leftover…

Hope you’re having a great weekend,
Leslie

painting in bars

images courtesy paintnite.com

images courtesy paintnite.com

paint nite2

If facebook is any indication, then everyone is painting in bars these days. Have you noticed? So many renditions of Van Gogh’s Starry Night, Hawaiian sunsets and flowers a la Georgia O’Keefe posted on my wall in the last few weeks. Even the AP has noticed. I’m starting to feel a bit left out and think maybe I need to get on this. Wonder if the new bar in my ‘hood would be agreeable?

Based on my extensive research, if you do this with Paint Nite, the largest organization I’ve found, it’s about $45 plus the cost of whatever reduces your inhibitions. Check their website and choose by date, location or the piece of art you want to (try to) recreate. They provide all supplies and an artist to teach. You can also contact Social Artworking to purchase supplies and organize your own event, which means you need to teach the painting techniques from written instructions.  Eek.

Sounds like fun….anyone want to try it with me?

Keep in touch,
Leslie

awards time!

One of the things that I love about San Francisco is that people will forego paying the heating bill if necessary in order to eat great food. There is so much amazing food going on in Bay Area restaurants that sometimes something has to give. I can always burn old chairs for heat, but never in this lifetime will I be cooking like Kim Alter or the Rich team. This time of year is always a little frustrating because there are so many great places that I still haven’t eaten and they’re all in the news at once…awards time. So I’m just starting a list of who’s in contention for which award in the Bay Area and I’ll start pecking them off one by one.  Please don’t let on to Steve that this plan is in the works.  He might shut me down.

Food & Wine, the People’s Best New Chef (Bay Area contenders)

Matthew Accarrino, SPQR

photo courtesy spqr.com

photo courtesy spqr.com

Kim Alter, Plum

photo courtesy sfgate.com

photo courtesy sfgate.com

 

Brett Cooper, Outerlands*

*but the restaurant is closed for renovation and Chef Cooper won’t return, so guess this might save one chair

Evan and Sarah Rich, Rich Table

Ari Weiswasser, Glen Ellen Star

photo courtesy glenellenstar.com

photo courtesy glenellenstar.com

 

James Beard Foundation Award Nominees (Bay Area contenders)

Best restaurant design or renovation:  Jensen ArchitectsShed

photo courtesy healdsburgshed.com

photo courtesy healdsburgshed.com

Best Chef: West

 Stuart Brioza and Nicole Krasinski, State Bird Provisions

photo courtesy statebirdsf.com

photo courtesy statebirdsf.com

 Corey Lee, Benu

 Daniel Patterson, Coi

Best New Restaurant: Coqueta

photo courtesy coquetasf.com

photo courtesy coquetasf.com

 

Outstanding Wine Program:  A16

Outstanding Bar Program:  Bar Agricole

Outstanding Service:  QuinceThe Restaurant at Meadowood

photo courtesy therestaurantatmeadowood.com

photo courtesy therestaurantatmeadowood.com

Outstanding Pastry Chef: Belinda Leong, b. patisserie

Outstanding Restaurateur:  Cindy Pawlcyn (Mustards Grill, Cindy’s Back Street Kitchen)

Rising Star Chef of the Year:  Jessica Largey, Manresa

Outstanding Restaurant:  The Slanted Door

photo courtesy slanteddoor.com

photo courtesy slanteddoor.com

 

Outstanding Chef:  David Kinch, Manresa

photo courtesy manresarestaurant.com

photo courtesy manresarestaurant.com

It’s a long list!  Congratulations to all of our local semi-finalists. I’m looking forward to trying at least a few before Steve catches on.

Keep in touch,
Leslie

a feast in the field

my weekly produce box from Capay Farm

my weekly produce box from Capay Farm

weekly produce

I love getting my weekly box from the good people at Capay Farms.  It’s like a present every Tuesday. Sometimes I get something new….something I’ve never tried before, like kiwi berries. Party in my mouth people! So when I received an email from Farm Fresh to You last Friday about a party in their field I turned on my best ‘please please honey’ smile.  How could Steve say no when I was looking at him with such pathetic beggary? So yes, we are going.  Let me know if you are going as well….this will be our first time and we’d love to go with friends!

photos from last year's event courtesy farmfreshtoyou.com

photos from last year’s event
courtesy farmfreshtoyou.com

farm fresh2

outstanding in the field

Outstanding in the Field throws those awesome parties that you see in magazines where there is a very long table in the middle of a field or farm with people yakking it up and drinking wine and eating food that you are just certain they picked off the trees moments before. And everyone is all smiling and happy. Well I’ve been to the farm that provides my weekly produce and I know how beautiful it is, and how lovely are the farmers that own and work those fields. A group of brothers who are carrying on their mother’s legacy of growing and sharing her organic produce. So attend if you can…I’d love to sit with you…

ps…and by the way, this is NOT a sponsored post. I truly love getting my produce from Capay Farm. Every week they send me a discount code to share. If you want to try them out use code 6164 and mention my name. Farm Fresh to You (Capay Farm’s delivery program) will give you $10 off your first box. Or stop by their booth at the Ferry Building in San Francisco. That’s where I met them!

Happy Monday….keep in touch,
Leslie

unexpected art: what I’m doing when I should be doing something else

my neighborhood reflected in my grandmother's piano

(my neighborhood reflected in) my grandmother’s piano

This is what I do when I should be doing something else. I spend time trolling for creativity, usually through music. Sometimes this happens at my grandmother’s piano.  Sometimes it happens when I’m searching for something else on the internet. The ideas are all out there waiting to be found.

Jarbas Angelli saw this photo of birds on wires and he saw a song.

In San Francisco, the year 2014 will be the year of the piano, thanks to Sunset Piano.  Pianos will be set in unlikely places all over the City by the Bay. And to get the party started Brian Goggin and Dorka Keehn unveiled a massive sculptural installation of glass and steel pianos that are lit in sync with the music of Enrico Caruso. Music as light.

Where do you find your inspiration?  Please share!
Leslie

chilaquiles!

The Little Chihuahua in my new SF hood (nopa) is now serving brunch and they have chilaquiles on the menu! Steve and I cruised the neighborhood yesterday morning and found the Grove Street farmers market (complete with a little cooking exhibition!), about three hundred cafes serving breakfast, and every shade of neighbor.  It was awesome.  But we haven’t made it to The Little Chihuahua yet….next weekend.

The backstory:  chilly killys. That’s what my coworker Shirley called the dish she was famous for. I was the new designer in the office and had no idea what to expect. The next morning Shirley arrived at the office with a giant pyrex filled with a blend of tortilla chips, cheese and eggs. It was good, but I was still not as impressed as my office mates. And I was still confused by the name.

photo courtesy facebook/john ater

photo courtesy El Huarache Loco facebook/John Ater

A few years after my first exposure I saw chilaquiles on a menu and finally understood the name, although I’m sure I still mispronounce it. It’s a ‘leftovers’ dish of fried corn tortilla chips, verde sauce (although some use a red sauce but I much prefer verde), Mexican cheese and crema, cilantro, onions, lime juice and over easy eggs. I’ve come to love this dish as much as those office mates of long ago, just not the casserole style that I was introduced to. I order it whenever it is on the menu and have found the absolute best rendition at El Huarache Loco in Marin Country Mart. Not only are these the best chilaquiles so far, but the story behind El Huarache Loco is pretty sweet too.

best chilaquiles EVER! photo courtesy El Huarache Loco facebook page

best chilaquiles EVER!
photo courtesy El Huarache Loco facebook page

can they match El Huarache Loco? photo courtesy The Little Chihuahua facebook page

can they match El Huarache Loco’s chilaquiles?
photo courtesy The Little Chihuahua facebook page

So next on my breakfast agenda is to hit The Little Chihuahua on Divis. Fingers crossed it’s as good as ELH….dang….so many days to pass before my next fix!

Please please please let me know if you have a spot with awesome chilaquiles….I’m always up for another go. Have a great week,
Leslie

friday nights at the deYoung

okeefe

all photos courtesy deyoung.famsf.org

Friday nights get more interesting beginning March 28 with the opening of the tenth season of the deYoung Museum’s ‘Friday Nights’ series. Art, music, food and special events beginning about 5 (see the website for specific times each week) and ending about 8:45.

Here’s the line up for the first Friday (3/28)

  • Create a mixed-media landscape inspired by Georgia O’Keefe’s summertime work from her visits to Lake George in upstate New York
  • Get to know Georgia O’Keefe a little better at a talk by Dr. Cody Hartley (the Director of Curatorial Affairs at the Georgia O’Keefe Museum)
  • Learn to swing dance and listen to the sounds of big band
  • Hear from four cut paper artists about their inspiration and process
  • Have a photo taken with the good people from Smilebooth

You’ll find me in the lobby making art. Come over and introduce yourself (but no judging my work…)!  Or let me know ahead of time and we can go together.

Keep in touch,
Leslie

okeefe3

what do biorhythms have to do with silicon valley?

biorhythms

photo courtesy procato.com/biorhythm and my biorhythms

Two of my biorhythms are down today.  It’s one of those ‘I just feel crappy and I want to go back to bed’ days so I went online and checked.  Yup, physical and intellectual are down, but at least emotional is up.  So I can laugh.  Around May 17 it’s even worse, so you’ll want to give me a wide berth.  But come the end of May it’s party time in my world!  When I was in high school, my math teacher, Mr. Headley, installed a computer that filled a classroom.  He created a program that told us all what our biorhythms were doing.  My math teacher was also Steve Jobs’ math teacher.  I lived in a world of super nerds amongst apricot and cherry orchards that would eventually all be razed to create Silicon Valley.  And raze they did, then they built it all up.  And unfortunately, not in a very nice way.  The last orchard was levelled about a decade ago, and in its place yet more concrete.  Probably another parking lot.  Silicon Valley was designed around cars, not people.

can this

can this

and this

and this

become this? photos courtesy fastcodesign.com

become this?
photos courtesy fastcodesign.com

I’m not the only one who left Silicon Valley as soon as I was able.  Silicon Valley was another name for the area around Santa Clara, where all of the tech companies were building their headquarters.  But it has sprawled east, west, north and south from there, and one concrete town bleeds into another.  The young tech crowd, while still a nerdy bunch, have a different ideal for environment than the techy nerds I grew up with.  And they don’t seem to want to live in this concrete jungle.  They all want to live in San Francisco.  And let me just say that San Franciscans aren’t all that happy about it.  It’s kind of like the way the Arizonians and the Texans feel about their border crossers. But saying ‘go back where you came from’ isn’t working when all that money is changing hands. Now San Jose, a town that wasn’t even part of Silicon Valley originally, has a 30 year plan that hopes to change all that.  Fast Company has done a really interesting story on the urban future of San Jose.  Can a city built around a deliberate suburban framework reshape itself to be a more compelling urban environment? San Franciscans can only hope it can, and it will.

Here’s hoping all your biorhythms are up!  Keep in touch,
Leslie