Ocean Beach Fire Pits

15 May

Just before we left for Disney (a whole bunch of posts about that coming soon!) we hung out with some friends at Ocean Beach. There are 16 fire pits and apparently they go pretty quickly – Patrick showed up at 2pm to claim one and said they were all gone within half an hour.

James and I rocked up around 2:30pm to keep him company. It was an intermittently overcast day and for awhile the clouds made this cool shape.
IMG_20170422_150443As we waited, people kept walking around and eyeing the pits hopefully – maybe 4 or 5 groups came up to us to ask if we were going to use the one we were sitting around. So yeah, arrive at/before 2pm if you want one. Probably even earlier during summer – an article I read recommended 11am!

The Safeway near Ocean Beach sells firewood and we used 3 boxes, plus a whole bunch of firewood scavenged from old illegal fires that people had made in the sand.

We were by far the least prepared group on the beach. Everyone else had chairs, tents and food. The group next to us were chopping vegetables, making salads and had brought a portable Weber to grill. We … we had to ask to borrow their lighter to start our fire.

Here is a photo of our initial attempts (in the background you can see the superior group).
IMG_20170422_170609Success!
IMG_20170422_172026 For a long time it was just the kindling that burned and we couldn’t get the logs to catch. We babied that fire like crazy to make sure it didn’t go out. I was pretty proud of us for not using lighter fluid like most of the other groups. Look at our magnificent fire!
IMG_20170422_175421We didn’t bring a corkscrew, so James hacked at the wine cork with his leatherman to mixed results.IMG_20170422_173317When Patrick’s girlfriend arrived she brought a dog that she was dogsitting (apparently it was half coyote?). James was instantly overjoyed by the dog but the dog didn’t quite know what to make of James.
IMG_20170422_195552It got cold very quickly once the sun went down. I was wearing a fleece jacket and regretted not bringing an additional layer. The (magnificent) fire helped but I was definitely on the chillier side of comfortable.

Patrick’s girlfriend also brought ingredients for s’mores. What a champion! Yes, until she arrived we didn’t have s’mores ingredients. I told you we were unprepared. Here is the exhaustive list of the things we brought:

  • football
  • guitar
  • Jelly Bellies
  • Malteasers
  • Funions
  • almonds
  • wine-with-no-corkscrew
  • beer
  • cider
  • wood-with-no-lighter
  • supermarket sushi for one

We made it work, but as you can imagine the s’mores were very well-received.
IMG_20170422_202903 (1)The lighter embers from the fire kept getting blown out by the wind. They look like yellow streaks in the photos which I think is pretty cool.
IMG_20170422_202323So yeah, that was a fun evening. =) Until the next day when we woke up and realised that all our clothes smelled like smoke and there was sand everywhere. Ah well, such is (fire pit) life.

A Pre-Birthday Celebration: Liholiho Yacht Club and Into the Woods

13 Apr

The Saturday before my birthday James and I had a fancy(ish) night out. I’d gotten rush tickets for Into the Woods that morning, so it was a bit of a last minute decision to move my birthday celebration a couple of days earlier.

We started with dinner/drinks at Liholiho Yacht Club – an upscale Hawaiian restaurant in Nob Hill. We arrived about 10 minutes before it opened and the line was already around 20 people long. Luckily we were among the last people who were able to get a seat at the bar.

I should have taken a photo because the restaurant interior was gorgeous (and super spacious!). Have some entrance floor tiles instead.
IMG_20170318_190135We only saw them on the way out, and James sagely (and somewhat drunkenly) said “it means hello and goodbye”. Thanks James, for that piece of information that LITERALLY EVERYBODY ALREADY KNOWS.

We ordered a couple of cocktails before dinner (and then during dinner). Unfortunately a lot of them were rum-based, which James is historically not a fan of. I liked them though! No photos, but my favourite was the Coconut Telegraph ($13).

We started off with the Tuna Poke ($17.50). It was small but delicious.IMG_20170318_173230Poke seems to be everywhere these days.

Anyway, next we had fried oysters and beef carpaccio ($14.25).
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Then some duck liver toast with jalapeno and pickled pineapples ($11). IMG_20170318_174622
I was worried James wouldn’t like it because he doesn’t really like pineapples but he did!

Beef tongue in a poppy seed bun ($14)
IMG_20170318_173801Our main (to share) was grilled shortribs ($42.75)
IMG_20170318_180036The marrow was amazing – it was very cheesy but lactose-intolerant James had a bite anyway and started laughing because of how incredibly full of cheese it was. I had major food envy when I saw the rib-eye that the couple next to us had ordered – maybe next time!

James wasn’t quite full yet so he ordered some sashimi ($17.50).
IMG_20170318_182102 (1)And I had dessert (that James couldn’t share because of the ice cream). It was a Baked Hawaii ($11).
IMG_20170318_183450Isn’t it pretty? It looked like a little beehive. =) It was so densely packed with ice cream that it tipped me from “pleasantly” into “roll me out the door” full. No regrets.

Afterwards we made our way to the theatre to see Into the Woods. The seats were pretty good – here was our view:
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We both enjoyed it but felt the second half dragged a bit. It was supposed to be a stripped down/minimalist production but the concept was more clever than effective I think.

We were both super exhausted afterwards (because we’re both so very old now), got a car home, and pretty much went straight to bed. It was fun to do a full night out – dinner, drinks and a show to herald in my 34th. =)

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).

CCB-01-AIR-800

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

dariya_black_4691_web_1024x1024

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
a-frame-shelf

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:
IMG_20170204_120104

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.
IRIGLOPL

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!