Tag Archives: San Francisco

Celebrating our 11th Wedding Anniversary

13 May

The latest coronavirus news is that the lockdown will continue to June and James will be working from home until the end of the year. In the meantime, I will continue to document the fun things we did last year (maybe if this goes on long enough I’ll eventually catch up!)

Swan Oyster

Last year for our 11th wedding anniversary James took the day off work and we finally went to Swan Oyster Depot. Since it was a weekday we thought the line wouldn’t be too bad, but we got there 10 minutes before opening and still didn’t make it for the first seating.
IMG_20190808_110938 Service and food were amazing and prices were reasonable but more than you would expect to pay at a cash-only restaurant.IMG_20190808_113201We were chatting with our waiter, and apparently you can call them before opening time and order for takeout! I think that’s what I would do next time since we live within walking distance.IMG_20190808_114504

Capo’s

We had a fortifying nap in the afternoon and in the evening we went to Capo’s. It’s by the same guy as Tony’s but with more of a focus on Chicago style pizzas. Again, it was busier than we expected and we could only get a seat at the bar. We were initially disappointed, but our bartender turned out to be super friendly, and when he found out it was our anniversary he showered us with free food and drinks.

It’s hard to tell in the photos, but this is an absolute shit ton of prosciutto! Normally when you order it you get a couple of delicate slivers, but nope, this free prosciutto was bountiful.
IMG_20190808_191202Our fantastic bartender also steered us away from a cocktail (it was listed prominently on the menu so James thought it was a really good drink but apparently that brand had an arrangement with the restaurant), was really friendly, and kept plying us with celebratory shots.

Look at this pizza!
MVIMG_20190808_194309Also we were pretty tipsy here since there had already been a couple of rounds of free shots, plus the drinks we actually ordered.

The pizza was so filling and we ended up taking most of it home. But not before our bartender gave us a free tiramisu (and goodbye drinks).
IMG_20190808_202459It was a super fun dinner and by the time we left we were wasted – absolutely wasted.
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Coronavirus Update

17 Mar

What a start to 2020. =/

Last night SF (and most of the Bay Area) banned leaving your house for non-essential reasons. You can still do grocery shopping, go to the pharmacy, walk your dog, get takeaway food, etc. but obviously it’s affected a lot of businesses. We are more fortunate than most in that it doesn’t impact us that much – James has been working from home since last week and we’d already been staying in to help flatten the curve.

A couple of months back I bought some yeast and a few kg of flour because I wanted to try making no-knead bread. Which was really lucky because now everywhere (including the online store I bought the flour from) is sold out of bread and all bread-making products.

This was attempt #2 (#1 didn’t rise enough and made a very stingy loaf):
IMG_20200311_172546 (1)I was pretty pleased with it! That night I made some tomato soup to go with it for dinner and it felt really nice and homey.

James went for a run this morning (which we’re allowed to do as long as we stay 6 feet away from others) and popped into our local Safeway just in case.

Meat:
IMG_20200317_090943 Bread: IMG_20200317_090807(He said the tortillas were completely cleared out too and suspects that people have been using them to wipe their bums)

Toilet paper:
IMG_20200317_090643_MPI know that the shortages are logistical and that if people calm down then supply should go back to normal, but it’s hard not to panic a little when you see empty supermarket shelves, then go online and see that Target and Amazon are both sold out. Plus Australia started their panic buying before us and they still have shortages.

If there are still toilet paper shortages in a month we’ll be in trouble, but as of right now we’re OK. I did my usual bulk buy a couple of months back and this is our current stash:IMG_20200310_132021They’re the mega rolls as well, so they last a lot longer than normal ones.

But like I said earlier, we’re in a much better position than most since we keep a well-stocked fridge and pantry to begin with. (All Will has in his fridge is beer, seltzer and hummus – how does he live like that??) James’ job is safe and tech companies switched to working from home very early on. I’m mainly worried about friends and family in more affected industries.

But anyway, in happier news, yesterday we brought up a desk from downstairs so James could have an office nook instead of working off the dining room table:
2020-03-17He went to work yesterday to grab his big monitor and some other WFH things since he wasn’t sure he’d be allowed to today. Also there at work: a big pack of ginger beer we bought earlier this year. Score!

The cats have been thrilled at the additional James snuggle time and have been attending his video conferences to keep up company morale. It’s usually Mouse jumping on James’ shoulders, but James said sometimes Kyoto will peer at his webcam and all everyone can see is a close up of his nose and whiskers.

It’s my 37th birthday later this week and I guess we’ll be celebrating by ordering in. =) Though James’ parents are sending me a gorgeous pie plate from this Etsy store which I’m really excited about:
il_1588xN.989340577_o2wwI’m going to make quarantine quiche! (Or we’ll see, depending on egg supplies – we have eggs but maybe I should be rationing them. But I’ll make something).

Entertainment-wise we’re pretty set – it’s like we’ve been training for this our entire lives. I have a library membership so I can borrow all the e-books I want, we have Netflix, a PS4, and a massive supply of board games. I think we’ll finally be able to finish the Gloomhaven campaign that we’ve been slowly chipping away at for over a year.

So anyway, that’s my update. Hopefully we all come out of this OK. =)

A Summer Hike

9 Mar

Last year we went on a mini hike with some friends to the Tourist Club near Mt Tam. It’s a member’s only German-style beer hall that’s open to the public a few days a year, so we thought we’d go check it out.

We parked at the trailhead and hiked to the lodge. We climbed a billion stairs on the Dipsea trail, then walked through some nice fields and forest.
MVIMG_20190825_114214I see you in the distance, fog!

The Tourist Club was charmingly tucked into the forest.
IMG_20190825_175428Even though we got there early there was already a line. We could bring our own food and snacks but they asked people to buy drinks there, which was pretty reasonable. I think they even had some pickles for sale.
IMG_20190825_174857 We got a good table and had brought some games to play so it was just a really nice, chill afternoon.

This photo was taken at close, but during the day the stage and the ground were completely covered in people.
IMG_20190825_175316Us and our precious, precious table: MVIMG_20190825_175217On the walk back the fog was definitely rolling in and it was even a bit chilly.IMG_20190825_180158 I just thought this was a nice photo. =)
IMG_20190825_180700One last group shot before the stairs and then the drive home.
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Outside Lands 2018

26 Sep

This year we went to Outside Lands again. We decided to take it easy this time and not get too close to the stages, which was fine because there weren’t many must-see acts for us.

Here we are with the Ranger Dave statue:
MVIMG_20180812_125355(I wonder where they keep him the rest of the year)

Friday

James said his favourite part of the festival was seeing the comedy shows. We went on Friday afternoon because there weren’t any music acts we were interested in. The comedians we saw were really funny and we got great seats without having to wait too long – like 4th row near the middle!

Waiting outside:
IMG_20180810_154740And inside the tent:
MVIMG_20180810_160356We also saw some improv later that day, with Paul Scheer and Phil LaMarr which was pretty funny.

Something else we quite enjoyed was the Chase Sapphire Lounge. If you had one of their Sapphire credit cards you could go in and hang out inside or on their rooftop deck. Can you spot James?IMG_20180810_143821There were drinks, snacks and chargers inside, and the roof had a pretty good view of the Panhandle Stage:IMG_20180810_142338Also the lounge had the best toilets at the festival (I would walk across the park so I could use their toilets instead of the gross portaloos).

We also wandered into the cocktail section, where the cocktails were overpriced and unimpressive, but we did see this colourful statue:
IMG_20180810_184938We also saw Beck, which was a good show. I really like the hill to the side of the Twin Peaks stage because you get a decent view but still have a ton of elbow room. =)IMG_20180810_212702

Saturday

The line to get in on Saturday was pretty intense – I think it took over 30 minutes to get to the front and through security. IMG_20180811_155740The main act James was interested in was Chvrches and we broke our “don’t get too close to the stage” rule for them.IMG_20180811_165652Even though James liked the upcoming acts, he wasn’t interested enough to brave the crush of the crowd, so we retreated to a hill where we could sit down on our blanket without getting jostled around.

We did see some weird clouds above the stage. I’ve never seen weird, smudgy clouds like that before, and James and I were quite mesmirised.IMG_20180810_192723

Sunday

On Sunday we arrived much earlier so we could avoid the entrance crowd. =) We set up our blanket on the same hill spot and just camped there all day because we are old and lazy.

I did nick off to the Gastro Magic stage to watch members of Portugal. The Man make sausages.
IMG_20180812_153306(Two of them are on the stage and the rest of the band are to the left).

Then afterwards I hung around to see the Bounce and Beignets show because I was hoping to score some free beignets (which I did – I caught one of the many beignets they chucked into the crowd!)

The beignets were from Brenda’s, and here is the eponymous Brenda, making it rain with powdered sugar.IMG_20180812_164724(This was the most star-struck I was all weekend)

They also handed out King cake, and I managed to get a slice. =) I held it carefully in my hand until after the show, then scuttled back to James to share it with him.

Here it is, and here I am, all covered in victory sugar.
MVIMG_20180812_170131You might be able to tell from the photos, but the Sunday was actually quite foggy and chilly. We huddled in our blankets to watch Portugal. The Man and Janelle Monae. James  likes Janelle Monae but he’s already seen her perform this year (at a private Google concert /sigh) so he didn’t care about getting close.

This was the view James had at his work concert:

Burst_Cover_GIF_Action_20180531214655.gif

And this was our view: =P
MVIMG_20180812_165811We skipped Janet Jackson because neither of us are super into her and we didn’t want to get caught in the Uber surge at the end of the night.

There were fewer must-see acts for us this year, but that just meant we had a more relaxing time – though it’s still quite tiring going for three days in a row! But it was OK because James took the following Monday off and we just chilled at home with the cats, like the boring oldies we truly are. =)

Clusterfest Comedy Festival 2018

17 Jun

Time for Clusterfest again! Unlike last time though, they didn’t release the line-up in advance, so we made a leap of faith based on the strength of last year.

Ehhh …

The line-up wasn’t as good as last year and also they changed the seating so that VIP was way better than General Admission. Last year anyone could get to the seats at the main stage but this year they were only for VIP, resulting in this for Third Eye Blind on Friday:
IMG_20180601_183230 (1)(James and I were standing in the front row right behind the barriers).

We could see organisers with walkie-talkies (walkies-talkie?) trying to figure out how to fix the situation – because they wanted to let some regular people in to fill the seats and make it look less awful, but a VIP ticket guaranteed a seat, so they couldn’t let in too many non-VIPs.

Luckily James and I were part of the batch they let in!
IMG_20180601_215850Unluckily though, non VIPs didn’t have in/out privileges, so we made the decision to skip John Mulaney since we’d seen his show earlier this year, and stay for the Daily Show Correspondents set and Trevor Noah so we would have seats for The Lonely Island.

I heard John Mulaney was really good, but we were happy we got to see The Lonely Island because they were fantastic. =)

On Saturday we repeated our “get there earlier and camp Bill Graham Auditorium” strategy from last year to see “Drunk History and Friends” with Kyle Mooney, and a comedic set with Jim Jefferies. We had to leave to get tickets for Middleditch & Schwartz, which was an improv act by Thomas Middleditch (Silicon Valley) and Ben Schwartz (Parks and Rec).
IMG_20180617_093240The whole ticket situation was stupid. It was held in a tiny venue relative to the demand, so the line for tickets started two hours earlier instead of one hour earlier like all the other acts (which was confusing because there were two long lines at the ticket booth – one for the act beforehand and the other for Middleditch & Schwartz).

Then at the venue there were three lines – a line for VIPs with tickets, one for GA with tickets and a standby line for everyone without tickets. There were a lot of people in the wrong group, who were then really upset when they had to go to the back of the other line.
IMG_20180602_182214This photo doesn’t really convey how massive the line was, but the people on the right are in the ticket line and the people on the left are in the standby line. About half an hour before the show the standby line extended another hundred meters.

It was totally worth it though, because the show was hilarious. The absolute highlight of the festival for me. =)

After the show we went back into the auditorium to see a set with Michael Che, then explored some Daily Show exhibit of Trump’s tweets. (Oh yeah, and earlier when I was waiting for James to go to the bathroom, Jim Jefferies walked past me!)

But anyway, here is James sending out his own tweet:
IMG_20180602_214851When Australia sends its people, they’re not sending their best.
IMG_20180602_215218Afterwards we went outside to sit on the grass for Amy Schumer – neither of us find her very funny, so we were OK with missing the start of her set. And her set was awful – she pretty much just re-did her SNL monologue from a week ago. We were at a comedy festival – did she think the people there didn’t watch SNL? She also finished half an hour early, possibly because she was bombing so hard. So yeah, that was pretty shit.

On Sunday the festival cancelled the one thing I’d been looking forward to – the screening of Arrested Development with David Cross, Tony Hale (and, for some reason, also Kyle Mooney). =(
IMG_20180602_131814Instead we watched an interview with Jon Stewart, and a live read of Planes, Trains and Automobiles with Thomas, Middleditch, Ben Schwartz, David Cross, and Sasheer Zamata.
IMG_20180603_171134Then afterwards, a comedy set with David Cross (who was really, really unfunny).

In the evening we sat on the lawn to watch Jon Stewart’s set. It was OK but I think he is more clever/thoughtful than funny. A lot of people we talked to absolutely love him – hey, guy who told me to imagine my favourite comedian, then double it and double it again? YOU WERE SO INCORRECT.

Overall I think this year was very heavy on the political material, and not nearly as funny as last year. Last year the headliners were better and the undercard was heaps better – we laughed non-stop last year and this year there were multiple comedians I didn’t even crack a smile for, and (aside from Middleditch & Schwartz) even the better ones I just laughed once or twice.

James and I still had a good time, but agreed that we would wait for the line-up next year.

A Cocktail Making Class!

10 Jun

Last month James and I did a cocktail making class with some friends of ours. Here we are before the class, all chipper and eager to learn:
IMG_20180519_120107

We did the Introduction to Mixology class here – it was a two hour class with maybe 10-15 participants. We learned about the history of cocktails, and how to balance sweet/bitter/sour in drinks (with little educational taste tests along the way).

About to learn about gimlets!
IMG_20180519_132214We also learned about all the different barware, and James was so inspired that he came home and ordered a Boston shaker, cocktail strainer, jigger, mixing glass, bar spoon and ice cube tray (apparently our tray doesn’t make the correct sized cubes).

Then at the end of the class everyone got to make their own cocktails. Here is James putting the finishing touches on his drink (a sazerac):
IMG_20180519_140040And me!Burst_Cover_GIF_Action_20180519141420Looking back on that gif I’m so embarrassed by the large amount of booze that doesn’t make it into the drink. At the time I thought I’d done well.

Also that was not my biggest drink malfunction of the afternoon:
Burst_Cover_GIF_Action_20180519141307I did better the second time, but apparently that attempt wasn’t caught on camera.

James and I thought the class would largely be theory based, and didn’t realise the … er, samples would be so generous. We didn’t have breakfast and, not going to lie, we got absolutely tanked.
IMG_20180519_141717James signed up for the more advanced course in August. It’s 6 hours long!! He asked a friend of his from NY if he wanted to do it with him and his friend was like “I’m offended you even had to ask”.

After the class we walked to Chinatown and had some cheap Chinese food, played board games, then napped drunkenly. It was a lovely afternoon. =)

Outside Lands 10th Anniversary

22 Aug

James went to Outside Lands last year as part of a team bonding trip, but this year was my first time. Festivals aren’t normally my thing – I prefer sitting down at a concert and I hate how pushy people can get – but how can you live in San Francisco and not go to Outside Lands at least once?

Obligatory windmill pic!
IMG_20170811_144924
On Friday I was mainly interested in Gorillaz so was happy just to follow James, who had a full schedule of who he wanted to see. It was really chill for the earlier acts – at Grace Mitchell we got really close and still had a decent amount of personal space – but in the afternoon it got more crowded.

We were in a reasonably good spot for Gorillaz, they brought out a shit ton of guests, and they played almost everything I wanted. =)

Saturday was James’ big day. He wanted to see Royal Blood, Cage the Elephant and Metallica, who were performing one after the other on the main stage. Our starting position was better than our Gorillaz spot the other night, and as people left for other acts we kept moving up. We got pretty close!
00002IMG_00002_BURST20170812185149_COVERKyle and Ximena got to Outside Lands partway through Cage the Elephant, but by that time there was no way they were going to be able to get to us. One guy who had left and then re-joined his friends said that when he was trying to get back, someone grabbed him by the neck to prevent him from moving forward. People were getting very territorial – I saw one girl yelling at a group of people who had sat down between acts (she thought they were taking up too much room).

This was the crowd about 30 minutes before Metallica, going as far back as the eye could see:
IMG_20170812_193006Our patch of the crowd was great, but a couple of songs into the set some insane hobo-looking guys violently shoved their way to the front. Everyone hated them and I was a bit scared that a fight would break out – James said the guy next to him said if something happened he had his back!

A side benefit was that I was shoved so aggressively that I went from 4th row to 2nd – which doesn’t sound that impressive, but was actually insane because people weren’t moving for anyone. And instead of them hating me (neck grab-ee, never forget!) I had several people ask if I was OK. =)
00000IMG_00000_BURST20170812213422_COVERThis was James’ third (maybe fourth?) Metallica concert and the closest he’s gotten by far. He was so happy!

His childhood idol:
IMG_20170812_211741(James: #noscope)

You know you’re close when they’re larger in real life than on the giant screen!
IMG_20170812_220614After the concert Metallica threw some guitar picks out to the crowd and I managed to grab one. When I made my way back to James he said he wanted to scavenge for a pick that might have fallen on the ground (along with pretty much everyone else in the first ten rows). Then when I handed it to him, he just lit up with happiness. =D
Screen Shot 2017-08-22 at 2.58.30 PM (1)
It is now living in a fancy display case as a cool souvenir of that night. =)

On Sunday we were pretty tired and there weren’t any acts that James was super excited about, so we sat far away from the action. It was very much needed after the intense Metallica crowd! Though also, being so close made me regret we weren’t at Gorillaz earlier to get a great spot – though then we would have missed out on a couple of acts James wanted to see. Decisions, decisions.

So that was our Outside Lands. I still really hate crowds, but I think it was worth braving them for this experience. I haven’t decided if I want to go next year though – maybe, depending on the line-up. We’ll see!