Saturday, February 12, 2011


This weekend John came up for a surprise visit!
To celebrate I have been cooking up a storm...

Here we have fingerling potato and shiitake mushroom flatbread, lasagna soup, blood orange avocado arugula salad and homemade tiramisu for dessert!!!!!!

White truffle oil, to my unsophisticated palate, tastes weird.
The jury is still out on this one.

Lasagna soup is good, though.
Paula Deen says, It tastes like lasagna, y'all!!!

John's hand drawn lolcat-inspired card and homemade tiramisu...

 Small new friends.

Next day we had to visit the Chinese consulate
in San Francisco for a travel visa.
Nothing like lunch at Brenda's to ease the pain
of long lines and bureaucratic red tape.
I had chicken etouffee and John had the catfish po'boy.

Then we checked out the latest exhibit at SFMOMA:

This vine was 25 years old!
(before it became art)

Giving it a sniff.

We followed our MOMA visit with cocktails
at the Thermidor on Mint Plaza and then we watched Bottleshock,
which chronicles how California wine first schooled the French.

 This morning's menu:
  Blood orange mimosas with bacon egg avocado tostadas...
[It must be a miracle that we do not weigh 500 lbs.]

Then we brewed an overly hopped Porter, aka Black IPA.
Hops, yeast and malt ready to go.

 Whoa, that is a foamy boil!

Tomorrow we are going to the Lunar New Year Celebration
at the Oakland Museum of CA!!

Here are some photos:

Sha mo mo!
Himalayan dumplings!

Vietnamese music.

Sweet jackets.

Mochi pounding.

Inside there was a new art exhibit:

It was Creepy!

There was rain falling on this house.

You could cross a bridge and sit inside.
 This was the only picture on the wall...

We spotted this on the way home:

Time for fish tacos!

What a good weekend!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Going back to Zhongguo

I just confirmed that I will be heading back to China over spring break!! This semester I am enrolled in an interdisciplinary class that will tackle the issue of Chinese village development within the sprawl of Guangzhou. We fly into Hong Kong, with a connection in Taipei, and then jump on a train to Guangdong province, and then we will spend ten days interviewing villagers with the help of our colleagues at South China University of Technology. I can't believe we leave in a little more than a month... too much to do before then!

John and I did not make it to Guangdong province (aside from an hour in Shenzhen in order to transfer from a Hong Kong train to a Xiamen bus) when we went to China in 2009. I look forward to trying their famous Cantonese dishes!!! But I am sad John and I won't be spending spring break together :(

Here are some entertaining highlights from our previous trip:
Outdoor wedding photoshoots are very popular in China...

Sounds delicious.

Sunset in Hangzhou

Scooters are popular in Shanghai's French Concession

At the Tsingtao brewery in Qingdao

This little boy does not approve...

Air pollution or sea haze?

Beer by the kilogram!

 Obligatory peace signs at the Great Wall.

Pingyao kitteh!
John borrowed this cat as a surprise for my birthday!
I wonder how it is doing today?

These characters may be useful for the next trip.


Dehang - our favorite!

Heading westward toward the Himalayas...
 Prayer flags in 'Shrangri-la' aka Zhongdian
on the border with Tibet.

You can see the rest here.

Making sourdough pretzels!!!

I saw sourdough pretzels at Trader Joe's this week
and thought, I could make those....

So I made sourdough pretzels!

After mixing the sourdough starter with flour and water, 
I cut the dough into smaller portions...

You stretch out the dough and fold into a pretzel!

Like so.

Eight sourdough pretzels ready to go!
 After waiting for them to rise, you boil them.

Then you cover them in salt and bake them!

The finished product!

Then you eat them with pub cheese :)

Now I am ready for the SuperBowl...
if only I had a tv!

Surveying in Napa isn't so bad...

Especially if we could finish early enough to taste some wines!