Hamilton!!

16 Mar

Like much of the US I’ve been obsessed with the Hamilton soundtrack. And also like much of the US I’ve been unable to see the Broadway show because tickets are freaking impossible to get.

I was briefly excited to find out that Hamilton was coming to San Francisco (from March until early August) but almost all the (regularly priced?) tickets sold out to theatre members before they were released to the public. Our friend’s girlfriend actually became a member just so she would have guaranteed early access to Hamilton tickets.

The venue released some $850+ premium tickets, but ugh. I didn’t want to pay that when we’d paid $200 for similar seats for Book of Mormon and Jersey Boys.

Not really expecting much, I entered the Hamilton lottery … and won it on my second try! When I collected our tickets the guy at the box office told me that over 27k people had entered! James called me his lucky cricket. =)

(He actually calls me that more than you might assume)

IMG_20170312_130222Yes, tickets were $10! Alexander Hamilton is on the $10 note – that’s why it says Ham4Ham. I saw on the venue website that shitty partial-view seats  were $200 (I checked out the vantage point after the show – those seats were terrible) so this was an absolute bargain.

We arrived early to take in the atmosphere and take photos outside. (It was sunny and 24C that day – James said he had intense jacket regret).
IMG_20170312_120152This spot on Market street was in great demand for photo taking (also note James’ lack of jacket in this later photo).
IMG_20170312_121017It was at the Orpheum Theatre, which isn’t too far from our place. You can kind of get an idea of the crowd about 30 minutes before the show.
Burst_Cover_GIF_Action_20170312120722And here was our view!
IMG_20170312_124054I think the best seats would probably be 10-15 rows back. But for $10 I had been expecting the aforementioned shitty, partial-view seats, so the seats we got – 2nd row and right in the middle – were amazing and far exceeded my expectations.

It was interesting being up close. You could see the performers sweating and, at the emotional parts you could see the tears in their eyes. I didn’t realise that the singers wear microphones – I’d always assumed they were just amazing at projecting their voices!

This was part of the orchestra pit – I’ve never thought to look in before and it was really cool.
IMG_20170312_125509The performance was sooo much better than just listening to the soundtrack. Honestly, if I’d bought the $850 tickets I don’t think I would have been disappointed. The choreography added so much to the music, and I was enthralled during songs I know word for word. During Satisfied I think my mouth was open the whole time. I’ve seen a fair few Broadway musicals and this blew them all away.

The stage had a giant lazy susan that they used a lot during the songs. James and I had both thought the performers were just really good at walking on the spot.
IMG_20170312_144444The atmosphere was really great – everyone there was obviously a huge fan, and we were all so excited to be there. Every song got huge cheers (except It’s Quiet Uptown but I think that’s because everyone was too busy crying to cheer).

It was such a memorable show. It was sad, funny, witty, wise – just an incredible performance and I feel so fortunate we were able to experience it. Best $20 I ever spent!

A List of Things That I (Currently) Covet

6 Mar

Lots of stuff to blog about but I’ve been sick. =( I had a mild cold for like .. 2 days and then bronchitis for 2 weeks afterwards. The ensuing bronchitis is always so much worse than the cold. /sigh

White Oak Chopping Board by Jacob May.

Super expensive but I love buying deluxe versions of things I use every day (like my Mud Australia plates!) I can’t decide between the medium ($400 – regular chopping board size) or going for the large ($500).

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image from Jacob May

In general I’m thinking of upgrading some of my kitchen stuff – getting a new non-stick pan (my current one is missing a lot of teflon which I know is really bad), a new chef’s knife and paring knife, some new mixing bowls, and maybe a cast iron pan.

TSA Compliant Liquids Bag

On the less extravagant side of things, this re-usable liquids bag ($11.95) from The Clear Bag Store is a nice upgrade from the ziploc bags I normally use (but unfortunately out of stock).

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image from The Clear Bag Store

Mansur Gavriel Bucket Bag in Rosa

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image from Barneys

It doesn’t look like much but this bag looks really cute on. I already have a lot of bags so I don’t know if I could justify buying it for the price ($610).

Dariya Tshirt

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image from Amour Vert

This tshirt from Amour Vert – it’s nice and simple but with some detail that sets it apart from the other plain tshirts in my wardrobe. There was another shirt on the website I liked but it was dry clean only so I slowly backed away.

CB2 A Frame Shelf
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image from CB2

Shelves ($89.95) that double as art! I think maybe I’ll put these in the living room or possibly the TV/guest room.

Omakase at Sushi Sam’s!

6 Feb

OK apparently there is some super famous sushi place in San Mateo? AJ and his friend James were visiting from Seattle, and they were super hyped about Sushi Sam’s, so we headed there Saturday afternoon.

I texted Daphne, who lives in San Mateo, that we were going and she said to expect a wait. This was the queue about five minutes before it opened:
IMG_20170204_113247It actually wasn’t too bad though, because the restaurant was a decent size and once it opened almost everyone got a seat. It definitely makes sense to get there 5-10 minutes early, because if you missed that first seating you would have to wait 60+ minutes for a group from the first batch to finish. We were near the back of the line and got seated at the counter, which was the complete opposite of what I was expecting!

James was less excited than I was:
IMG_20170204_122428Also, check out those tea cups – they had a nice weight to them, were a great size and I loved the design, with a cat, a fat vampire(?) and the restaurant logo. But more on those later!

We started off with miso soup and green tea. The main sushi chef was super fun and the waiter was very friendly and efficient. We got the omakase, which was delicious (omakase? For Saturday brunch? How decadent!).

I should have written down what we ate because I’ve forgotten a lot of it. =( This was shrimp, shrimp heads and something else I can’t remember:
IMG_20170204_114740I asked James if he could remember any of these and he just started randomly naming fish.

James (when he saw I wasn’t listening to him): Kaye doesn’t want my guesses. She wants cold, hard facts.

He did remember that the one on the right was a scallop. I think the other was amberjack:
IMG_20170204_115200And here we have Spanish mackerel and arctic salmon, with a tea cup background:
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James: I remembered that was the Spanish mackerel because it was all twirly.

Next we had fatty tuna and baby lobster. I loooooved the fatty tuna – it pretty much melted in my mouth.
IMG_20170204_120951I think one of these is Japanese mackerel and the other is yellowtail. The one on the left was topped with Japanese seaweed.
IMG_20170204_122103One of these is barracuda and I can’t remember what the other is (sigh). The one on the left had kiwi and was very dessert-like.
IMG_20170204_122731On the left is miyazaki beef, which was amazingly tender, and on the right is crab with crab organs:
IMG_20170204_123713We decided to call it there. You all know I could have kept going, but I guess we were aiming for “pleasantly full” rather than “roll me out the door”. I took a photo of James and my plates stacked up (and in the background you can see the head chef):
IMG_20170204_123900But James shook his head and was like “no, you have to make the stack look more epic.” And he grabbed my phone and took this picture:
IMG_20170204_123918But we weren’t quite done yet! For dessert I had green tea tiramisu. I remember having one at a restaurant in Seattle that was very unimpressive but I really liked this one – it much lighter than regular tiramisu:
IMG_20170204_124642I remember the head chef was laughing at (other) James and AJ because  of how quickly they finished their desserts. It was crazy how fast they ate – they were done by the time I’d taken two bites!

James had the almond tofu which was also very good:
IMG_20170204_124655So yeah, back to the tea cups! I asked the waiter if they sold them and he said they used to until they started to run out. But he said they’d recently gotten a new shipment (the only difference being that the ones we used were light blue and the one I bought was white) so to talk to him afterwards and I could buy one. It worked out to be a pretty cute souvenir. =D

Price-wise Sushi Sam’s was in the same ballpark as our other omakase experience at Shiro’s in Seattle – $170ish vs $210ish before tip (I think James ate more at Shiro’s and we also had booze). The nigiri at Shiro’s was constructed with a bit more care (a couple of my pieces here collapsed when I tried to pick them up) but I really enjoyed the service at Sam’s, it was less of a hassle to get in, and it was overall more fun.

Look at us! Having fun!

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photo stolen from James

The New Pull-Up Bar!

25 Jan

I’ve been meaning to get a pull-up bar pretty much ever since we bought this place. But I don’t really like the look of door pull-up bars and James was worried they wouldn’t be sturdy enough for him, so our options were pretty limited.

Until I came across the ceiling mounted bar from Gronk Fitness. It’s about as nice-looking as you can expect a piece of exercise equipment to look and it’s mounted into the wood so it’s super sturdy. This is the view sitting in bed and looking up:
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Because we were so sporadic about going to the gym my pull-ups suffered a lot.I’m back down to single pull-ups but as long as I can do one extra pull-up a day I’m slowly improving.

I’m currently up to eight single pull-ups and hopefully next week I’ll be able to get a set of two in and work up from there. Is a set of eight an unrealistic goal for the end of the year? I guess we’ll see!

Christmas at Mammoth and June

10 Jan

We finally made it to Mammoth for Christmas! Last year our flight kept getting cancelled but this year we managed to get ahead of the storm (we also got upgraded! Yay!)

I always love de-planing at Mammoth. The mountains are so pretty and the air is so cold and crisp. =)
IMG_20161219_162507On James’ birthday his aunt and uncle took us out for a fancy meal which was super nice of them. We had a couple of sunny, not-too-busy days to get our snow legs back before the storm. Plus lots more eating and drinking!

On the day of the storm it was cold, wet, and the visibility was pretty bad.
IMG_20161223_120034Storm days are always my favourite because the snow keeps getting refreshed and hardly anyone is on the mountain, and everyone who is there is so happy! It was definitely the best day of the trip. =)

The weather was pretty cold this time – I wore five layers most days. My gloves are pretty ratty now, so for the next trip I bought a bright pair of mittens so I’m nice and easy to find.
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All the days leading up to Christmas were pretty decent crowd-wise – last year the Christmas to New Year period was awful, so we were pleasantly surprised.

This is James looking majestic on Christmas Day.
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The highlight of the day had to be meeting up with Woolly and a random Santa!
IMG_1116 (2)It was a great way to spend Christmas morning/afternoon – the snow was nice, the sun was out, and everyone was in a good mood.

But then … disaster! As we were walking back from the resort James got paged. =( He spent the rest of the day (4pm-1:30am) on a work emergency. Here he is, looking very depressed with his festive hat and champagne flute.
IMG_20161225_184938Poor thing. =( We were all eating our delicious Christmas dinner and he was in the corner on a conference call with a plate of food.

The next day Ian, James and I headed to June Mountain to escape the Boxing Day crowds. It was busier than the last time we went but not too bad.

This is the view from the resort – gorgeous!IMG_20161226_141636I can’t remember which run I took this photo on – it was a green run that had beautiful views all the way down which made up for the fact that the snow was fairly crappy.
IMG_20161226_140628Last time Ian and I were at June we took the ski-back trail, but there wasn’t enough snow this time so we had to take the chairlift back to the parking lot.

Going down was a very different experience to going up! I was holding my snowboard and had the bar down because if the chairlift suddenly stopped I didn’t want to go tumbling down the mountain.

The most nervewracking part was when I took my phone out for some photos – the board was wedged between me and the bar, and I had a death grip on my phone … which I couldn’t even feel because my hands were so cold.

No regrets!
IMG_20161226_142151Then our last day we spent at Mammoth again, and that was our Christmas holiday! I snowboarded seven out of the eight days we were there, which isn’t bad.

It was great seeing James’ relatives again, and I’m looking forward to our next trip out!

Google Christmas Party 2016

31 Dec

The holiday party this year was Peter Pan themed. Weird, but it could have been weirder I guess – Anne Marie’s party theme was Mythbusters!

It was in the same location as last year (though no oyster bar, boooo!) and everyone agreed that this year seemed much more crowded. The food and bar lines moved quite quickly though, so it wasn’t inconvenient – just busy.

Helen got there right as it started so was able to take this photo with almost nobody in it:

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photo stolen from Helen

As usual the party had casino games, cigars, bourbon tasting, various food stalls, wandering entertainers and foosball/ping pong/shuffleboard games.

The new stuff they had included a room of giant teddy bears to chillax in, a lovely lady with a snake and caricatures (apparently the line was crazy long so we didn’t bother).

The food and booze were much better this year! I did miss the oyster bar, but the sushi bar helped make up for it.
IMG_20161217_202123(Wow, red-eye – haven’t seen that in awhile!)

The sushi bar only provided teeny tiny plates but we used larger ones from one of the other food stands – people kept coming up to us and asking where we’d gotten them from.

The evening’s signature cocktails (though they could make other stuff if you wanted):
IMG_20161217_194701I also met James’ manager. He was very nice and introduced James to his wife as “the guy whose coattails I’m going to ride to get promoted”. =D

This snake was called Lola and she was my favourite part of the entire night:
IMG_20161217_215513She was so docile (which apparently they are bred for) and her scales were surprisingly moist. And here we are with her handler:
IMG_20161217_213905 (1)There was a big pirate ship in the middle of the hall, with lots of comfy seating next to it:
IMG_20161217_223855Which I didn’t need because I swapped to ballet flats about 3/4 of the way in.

There were the customary photo booths. This one took three photos in quick succession:
Google Holiday Party 2016 with Nick and KellyLook at that expert prop exchange. It took a lot of planning.

And here we are in the giant pile of teddy bears at the end of the night. It was hard to get too comfy in them because I saw a guy leap into the bears, and as he did, a huge layer of dust went up in the air like a mushroom cloud.

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photo stolen from Alex

We caught up with friends, ate and drank in moderation like responsible adults, and had a really great night. =)

A Visit to Google NYC

15 Dec

James has to go to New York several times a year for work and sometimes I decide to tag along because we both love the city.
IMG_20160713_135543Though I love it a lot less now I know how humid it gets in summer. I’m not sure if New York is particularly disgusting when it’s hot or if living in Seattle and San Francisco has spoiled us. Probably a little from column A and a little from column B.

But yeah, James worked during the day, and in the evenings we did fun touristy things like …

Book of Mormon!
IMG_20160714_184320We got pizza afterwards. =) The top one had pepperoni and honey and it was delicious.
IMG_20160714_220500On one of James’ travel days we visited the Museum of Natural History. The insanely massive Megalodon was my favourite – it was so big its head was peeking out of the room.
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The t-rex was also cool.
IMG_20160715_103154But the main reason I joined James this trip was because I’d managed to get dinner reservations to Eleven Madison Park!

Here are our pre-dinner cocktails:
IMG_20160713_174615The food (and wine matching – with frequent refills!) was wonderful. These were our appetisers – the boxes were handmade and arrived stacked on top of each other.
IMG_20160713_175313When stacked, they looked like the chandeliers above us. =)
IMG_20160713_201044I am such a sucker for fancy butter – I just spoon it into my mouth like ice cream. The bread was also amazing and they kept offering me more and I kept taking it.
IMG_20160713_181022This one was really fun. A picnic basket was delivered to our table with little jars of condiments. (The drink was the only dud of the night. I thought it was cider but it was some sort of gross tomato flavoured thing)
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Fast forward to the end, and this was part of our dessert being made:
IMG_20160713_202649The second part was a chocolate game (apparently dessert used to involve a magic trick so I was a little bit bummed … until I saw how much chocolate they gave us!)

There were four bars of chocolate and we had to guess which was which out of coffee, smoke, maple syrup and chilli.
IMG_20160713_204922James and I guessed identically … identically wrong. We only got one out of the four correct. =(

We couldn’t finish that much chocolate so we asked for a little bag for the leftovers and they were like “oh we’ll give you a fresh set!” (We ended up taking that extra set AND our chocolate leftovers – because duh).

Afterwards we went to a swanky bar with James’ coworkers and made them play the chocolate game while we all drank cocktails. It was an awesome night. =)

James also gave me a tour of the Google NY campus. He always talks about how much cooler it is than Mountain View, and how it must be so disappointing for the NY employees whenever they visit HQ.IMG_20160715_151912The building is opposite the Chelsea Market and basically takes up a whole city block:
IMG_20160713_140539There was a cool lego room where people could make and store their own lego projects:
IMG_20160714_123900And a project display wall and a weird ladder that only Google employees were allowed to climb:
IMG_20160714_123927Someone made a replica of the Google building:
IMG_20160714_124041The area also had a lego-themed micro kitchen:
IMG_20160714_124238 With brain food.IMG_20160714_124224James really liked the temporary work spaces at the New York office. He said he normally goes to a high floor and sits somewhere with a nice view of the city but he was also fond of these impressively orange honeycombs:
IMG_20160715_160841We also found a couple of trams:
IMG_20160714_124726James was super jealous that the New York office has Killer Queen. It’s an awesome 10 player arcade game that our friends introduced us to. There’s one at Brewcade in San Francisco … but it’s not free like this one! There were a couple of guys playing while we were there so our group joined in and we had a mini battle (we won, primarily because of James’ queenly skills).
IMG_20160714_130741And this is the bouldering wall. There’s also one in Mountain View but it’s so far away that James never bothers going.
IMG_20160715_162136(Oh, and you know how you travel on bikes around the Mountain View campus? In the New York building you get little kick scooters to ride around on)

Here’s James and his team on one of the decks. It was so hot and humid that we all sought shelter inside as soon as I took the photo.
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The New York campus has a lot of cool food options – they bring in a lot of guest chefs to cook for the employees. I saw David Chang (of Momofuku fame) featured on their wall of fame. =O

This was a food truck that was inside the building, though it was closed when we toured it at the end of the day.
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Above the Chelsea Market there’s a Google cafeteria decorated like a cool loft.
IMG_20160714_133046 We ate upstairs in one of the meeting rooms. I really liked the fancy animal portraits. =)IMG_20160714_133819We did a bunch of other stuff – saw Then She Fell (an interactive play like Sleep No More), ate and drank a lot, and I did some shopping while James worked. Did you know New York has no sales tax on clothing that costs less than $110? That was a pleasant surprise. =D

Cat and Mitch are planning to visit New York next year so hopefully we can time a trip to coincide with that (although ugh, it will be in summer again).

So it looks like there will be a lot of trips to NYC in our future! (Though I hope it’s not like how we visited San Francisco a lot while we lived in Seattle and then ended up moving there and thinking … well that was a waste)

Bye NYC! See you soon!
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