November 25, 2011

gobble, gobble...

I hope everyone had a fantastic Thanksgiving!  We were missing a few members of our family--my sisters were both with their significant others and their families and one family of my cousins was home in New Jersey because Hurricane Irene did a number on their CT house--but we were thankful nonetheless.  

My Dad was particularly thankful for a successful first fried turkey.  After hearing all the horror stories, our turkey fry was pretty uneventful!  The end result?  "Perfect."  Or, at least, that's what everyone else thought.  I might be the only person on earth to feel this way, but I hated the fried bird.  It was moist and flavorful, and it was perfectly seasoned, marinated, and cooked, but it just didn't do it for me.  Call me traditional or unadventurous, but I prefer the roasted version.  Thankfully, we had both!  

how many turkeys does it take to fry a turkey?

We're off to the paddle courts for the day and have another huge dinner with 20 family members tonight.  We've transformed the livingroom/dining room and prepared the meal.  On the menu?  Lasagna and left over Thanksgiving sides.  Yum.  

I hope everyone has a fantastic weekend.  Gobble, gobble!

November 21, 2011

a weekend in jupiter

...And I don't feel any stupider.  In fact, I feel very smart, well-rested, and refreshed!

My boyfriend's family bought a house in Jupiter, FL last April, and it is the best place to escape for the weekend.  First of all, traveling from Boston (at least if you live in the city) is the best experience ever, and I realize all of us Beantowners are very spoiled.  I leave my apartment one hour before take-off.  Walk 15 minutes to South Station.  Take the 10 minute Silver Line bus/train ($2) to Logan Airport.  Breeze through security.  Buy a water, snack, and magazine for the trip.  And board the plane.  That JetBlue flies directly to West Palm Beach, which is a 15 minute drive from said house in Jupiter, is the icing on the cake in this ideal weekend getaway.

Making for the perfect weekend, the weather Gods gave us this nice little nod....

And it also helped that we had nothing planned.  We drove the golf cart to the beach, had jumping contests in the pool, ate meals outside, napped on the couch, and spent some great quality time with the fam.

They say beauty is only skin deep.  Here's to hoping it works for ugliness, too!

We are also very, very tan on the inside.  The skin is just a facade.

The unsinkable Molly Brown...

A huge thank you goes out to my boyfriend's family for hosting us for such a spectacular weekend.  We had so much fun and enjoyed relaxing and recharging so much.  If the Farmer's Almanac is even half-way correct for Winter 2012, we will be back for some relief very soon!

There is an exciting winter coming to the Northeast!

If you're thinking to yourself, "Geez, Jawsie has really traveled a lot recently!"  I can assure you, so is Jawsie. October and November were quite busy: BOS-->LEB (x2)-->BOS-->SFO-->BOS-->PBI-->BOS-->NYC-->HOME SWEET HOME (CT).

This week I am so thankful to be home with my family in Connecticut.  Thanksgiving is my absolute favorite holiday, and this week is just what the doctor ordered.  

November 18, 2011

biking across the bridge

DUH! An east coast tourist doesn't just cross the bridge by car on her first day in SF and then forget about it!  I had to go back!  The Golden Gate Bridge is the iconic San Francisco attraction.  There isn't the city by the bay without the bridge that gets you there.  And what a bridge it is-- so vibrant, so magnificent, and so mind-bogglingly-suspended above the entrance to San Francisco Bay.  The Golden Gate Bridge was my final conquest on my SF trip last week, and I took it by bike. (Tip #8 [ride]: They say you have to ride a trolley if you're going to San Francisco.  I say you have to ride a bike.  I borrowed a friends, which was uber cheap (free!), but they also rent them all over the city!).

There you have it.  There are no words to describe it.

But the sandwich I brought with me to enjoy on the other side?  HA! I'll give you some words to describe that: good luck every finding one better.  Sweet ACME Rosemary bread, roast turkey, sun dried tomatoes, avocado, pesto, and goat cheese.  Fresh. Huge. Amazing.

It came from Lucca Deli (2120 Chestnut Street), which looks like heaven on earth.  And it tasted so good, too.  I couldn't even put down the sandwich to take a picture of it.... woops!

Before my red-eye flight back east, my friends and I went to Pizzeria Delfina in Pacific Heights.  (Tip #9 [eat]: go to Pizzeria Delfina for an amazing slice after a long day).  If you love gourmet pizza and amazing meatballs, meet your favorite new restaurant in San Francisco.  And they let us have a glass of wine while we waited outside for a table to open up...  Um, hi. I'm Jawsie.  Have we met?  Yum, yum, yum.

It was the perfect end to a perfect trip.  

from the hills to the piers

After a long day on foot, my adventure in San Francisco continued with a visit to Alcatraz, The Ferry Building, Fisherman's Wharf, Lombard Street, and China Town.  As far as Jawsie's guide to seeing SF goes, these sights are a must. (Tip #7 [see]: all these things.  The only thing you'll pay for on this full day of sight seeing is a boat ticket and your lunch...)

The boat to Alcatraz left at 11am, and I ran to make my reservation with breakfast in hand.  

You could say that Alcatraz was cool and that the views were OK...  Too bad the weather was so bleh....

Holy crap.  You guys, that was a joke!!! It was absurdly pretty and so interesting.  I pretty much relayed the entire audio tour to my boyfriend back in Boston through 109834 text messages because I thought every fact was SOOOO cool.  I mean, this is was jail? A maximum security penitentiary?  What do I have to do for real estate like this?

Next was the Ferry Building for lunch at il Cane Rosso.  One word: yum!  

That was fresh broccoli root soup with a hot chili relish and half a slow-cooked pork shoulder sandwich with mustard greens,  caramelized onions, and aioli.  Do you need me to repeat that sentence?

Then I headed back down to Pier 39, where I met my new best friends...

I watched them for at least 25 minutes....  not kidding.

And then my iPhone 4 took this photo of the Fisherman's Wharf sign:

And I walked up the hill to the curvy block of Lombard Street.

Did I mention that you get these views for free in San Francisco?  Everywhere you turn there is something beautiful.

Next, I circled back to China town to check it out.  Strolling the streets lined with Asian markets was amazing.  Though the hanging chickens in the window and drying fish in buckets don't lend to the greatest olfactory experience, this part of town is not to be missed.

That night, I met up with some college friends at Mamacitas in the Marina.  If you like Mexican food, and you're in San Francisco, you must try this place.  It was so fresh and delish!  If you go here, the Chilaquiles Casi Listos is to DIE for (as is the ceviche, enchiladas, and everything else on the menu).

I'll be back later today to detail my last adventure in San Francisco.  I'll give you a hint.... I didn't get any less touristy.  

November 16, 2011

sf on foot

Hills.  People have said it, people have said it like they mean it, I have heard it many times before, but the hills truly are something you have to see to believe.  San Francisco has hills!  A walking tour of SF, therefore, is a great butt workout.  I had no idea until this morning, when I used mapmyrun, that the walk I took last Monday was nearly 10 miles (ok, 9.45... close enough).  I am so relieved to learn this because Tuesday morning I woke up with a soooooooore tush, and I was worried that I was really, really out of shape. (After two days at The Bar Method, I am quick to add that the jury is still out on this fact.)

Here's a glimpse of what I did.  I had heard these words from friends and family-- their must-sees of SF if you will: "Lyon Street Steps," "Presidio," "Golden Gate Park," "Museums," "Haight and Ashbury," "Buena Vista Park," but I had no idea how well those things lined up for a day on foot.  I added "Full House House" to the list and bada-bing.  I did it.  

Check out the map below to see what I mean re: perfect walking route!  (I started on the top right, where the green dot is).

And here it is zoomed in a bit.  We had seen a bunch of the Presidio, Sea Cliff, and Golden Gate Park from the trolley, so I felt okay staying on the periphery.  

Lyon Street Steps.  A street so steep they had to put in stairs....

First set of "steps"... I would categorize this as a full fledged staircase.

Second staircase...

View from the top.  To the left is the GGB to the right of this beautiful house is Alcatraz.

And at the top of Lyon Street Steps is an entrance to the Presidio.

View from the edge of the Presidio.  Tanker in the distance in the Bay

And, into Golden Gate Park I walked.  Past the Conservatory of Flowers, into the California Academy of Sciences, and through the Japanese  Tea Garden  (Tip #5 [plan]: the Conservatory of Flowers is closed on Mondays. the Science museum has happy hours for 21+ Thursdays at 6pm, where you can see all the same exhibits with a glass of wine while listening to music!, and the Tea Garden has free admission between 9-10am Monday, Wednesday, Friday).

Conservatory of Flowers

Tea Garden

The roof of the CA Academy of Sciences is ALIVE!

Then I walked down Haight Street, where I had been told to look out on the left hand side for the Ben and Jerry's store, above which, around which, and down the street from which (before it was B&Js) lived the Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, etc, etc, etc.  Kinda cool.  Interesting history.  Kinda full of drugs.  Kinda terrifying.

Down the street was the entrance to Buena Vista Park, where I climbed scaled the trails to reach this lookout, which had a veryyyyyy buena vista complete with a full city vantage, Golden Gate Bridge, and amazing angle of the national park surrounding the bay.

I couldn't visit SF without giving-in to the child inside of me,  i.e.,I had to see where Michelle, Stephanie, and DJ grew up.  Though I felt a twinge of nostalgia, if I were being completely honest it was a sight for sore eyes.  I'm pretty sure Danny Tanner would not approve of the state of his home's paint job... chippy, pealy, and tired looking.

And then it was downnnnnnn the hill for some much-deserved rest and recuperation.

For dinner, we ordered Vietnamese take-out from Sweet Aroma.  We shared the Imperial Roll (yum!), and I ordered the Pho Ga for my entree (Chicken noodle soup that is out of this world).  The addition of fresh basil was absolutely perfect.  And the best part? It was so affordable and HUGE.   (Tip #6 [eat]: order out or go to Sweet Aroma.  Two could share the soup and appetizer and spend under $10).

This was the day I went to sleep knowing I was in love with San Francisco.  I felt the first twinges of the "I have to move" sickness I am currently battling back here in Boston.  I loved walking around and seeing the city on my own.   It was amazing.