Wednesday, June 25

More San Fran pics

China Town was one of the best I've ever been in. This street was mostly shops and restaurants while the next street over was like a massive vegetable market.

The Chinese restaurant we dove into when we first arrived, famished after 7 hours in transit and a 4am start (plus we lost two hours), but the chow fun was an excellent hunger buster! Pity we didn't score one of the curtained booths to the side.

There were lots of these (ivory? bone?) sculptures in the windows of the the more 'glamorous' shops in China Town. This one was huge, couch sized, and so intricate.

A random lamp in China Town.

We weren't the only conference geeks in town...Mac were running their developer's conference so the streets were filled with ipoded youths.

The San Francisco MOMA. Hansom building!

I love good street art and San Fran had quite a few notable pieces. This one was near our hotel.

If you're going to San Francisco... sure to wear some flowers in your hair.

Well we skipped the flowers but we had such a brilliant time in San Francisco. The city was gorgeous - hilly and near the water and full of good shops, great food and variety! I was there for the American Diabetes Association meeting (huge conference!) and Jo managed to join me from Friday to Sunday.

The fountain outside our hotel which squirted into a pond full of rubber duckies!

Our hotel (Hotel Triton) was pretty nuts but great! It had a 'pop culture' theme so the walls were covered in murals, the furniture had touches of Dali and our bed was part zebra and part Alice in Wonderland. However, under the brightly coloured exterior it was a pretty good pick and located right at the gates of China Town and on the edge of the shopping district - perfect!

A wobbly shot of the lobby. They offered 'wine tastings' every evening which were fab since the 'tasting' consisted of a full glass or 3!

Our crazy room with the Ghibli-rabbit pillows

The hotel was also attached to a gorgeous French restaurant called Café de la Presse which I wish we had discovered on the first day, but made up for lost time in the end. They made a very good macchiato and an excellent chocolate croissant. I spend my last few hours in San Fran treating myself to lunch there (including a glass of wine - gasp!) The soupe de jour (asparagus) was a little insipid but the 'Assiette de Charcuterie' I had to follow more than made up for it (roughly assorted cold meats). Both the paté and the rillette were gorgeous and made me want to try everything else the menu had to offer. Next time gadget...

All I can say is yes, it really was that good.

While we were in town we did lots of walking, through China Town (which was a really good one!) and through the shopping districts (also a welcome relief after the same old shopping circuit in San Antone) and out around the edges of town, visiting the San Fran MOMA gift store (they were prepping for a big Frida Kahlo exhibit so we figured no point actually going in). Really pretty city to walk around. Lots of diversity, a surprising number of homeless people but in general it all felt very safe if even a little overly cuddly! There were rainbow flags everywhere (I had no idea they originated in San Fran until today) and a fair amount of enthusiasm for the same-sex marriage bill that was just about to come into effect (it became official on June 16).

While I was attending the conference Jo managed to see not only the dragon parade through China Town (why did I have the camera??) but also a bunch of naked people on bikes protesting oil dependency! (Google 'world naked bike ride' if you're interested - it is huge)

Random streetscape

A couple of other notable meals. Friends of ours were also attending the conference so one night we walked through China Town and stepped out into Little Italy in search of Capp's Corner, a family style Italian place. The walk was satisfying enough (so much to see) but the food was also very good! We had minestrone soup (cooked to perfection - no soggy pasta to be seen) and a beet and chickpea salad to share (ala family style), which was followed by wonderful home-cooking style Italian mains.

I had this wonderful dish of linguine with mussels and clams in a white wine and garlic sauce...mmm

Jo had lasagne that was well worthy of the effort required to pinch some off her plate!

I also had the pleasure of dining with a co-worker of mine at The Slanted Door - a much raved about Vietnamese restaurant in the ferry building (one part of the waterfront near the bay bridge). We didn't have a reservation so getting a seat was impossible, but we were able to eat at the bar (which restricted our menu choices to anything up to and including salads, still leaving a lot to pick from!) Having similar tastes we decided to split an order of mixed oysters (all sweet, salty and delish), a plate of the sardines (below) and some fried sweet potato cups filled with sweet coconut milk and sesame that I can't seem to find on the menu! All very good. I'd love to go back there someday and order off the full menu.

Citrus and olive oil cured local sardines with shaved fennel, pickled red onion and pink grapefruit - these were soo good and just so pretty too!

The Bay Bridge from the Slanted Door (no, not the Golden Gate but I did get to see it)

We also hooked up with my friend Kaos (one of my best World of Warcraft friends) who lives in San Fran. He gave us a driving tour and a bit of local perspective, and it was great to spend our first night in a new city kicking back at a friend's place an eating wonderful pizza (from Little Star Pizza by the way, and like everything else we ate it was gorgeous!) Kaos and I also had dinner at a restaurant called Foreign Cinema, a neat place where we sat outside watching old movies projected onto the courtyard wall, listening along using old drive-through speaker sets that you could place on the table and eating gourmet food! The film was Parallax View which confused the heck out of us (especially given that we were under the impression it was an entirely different film!) The food was great and again we decided to just split and share everything, which included baked cheese with crudites, steamed mussels (yes, I do love them that much), a caesar salad pepped up with slightly bitter tangerines and the most surprisingly good fried chicken I've ever eaten (it had a sweet paprika glaze inside the crispy fried skin!) The menu seems to change often (it has already changed since I was there) which is another good sign, and there were so many other dishes I'd like to take a stab at! No pics this time, I was too busy eating :D

As you can probably tell, we had a great time and hopefully we'll make it back again before we leave. Definitely worth a second (or third) visit and so much more to do and see.

Friday, June 6

House-sitting luxury

Howdy y'all.

We've been house-sitting for the past week and as you can see from the photos we sure haven't had any complaints about that situation! It's been close to 40 degrees all week, so we were grilling and swimming every chance we got!

Back in the itsy bitsy apartment now, but off to San Francisco at 5am tomorrow for another conference! Jo is joining me for most of it so we'll be sure to update you on our return.

Oh, and the corn in San Antonio at the moment, heaven :)

More of the's over 25 degrees in that water!

The pool, spa and grill, which got a good workout (such a lovely BBQ to use)

Jo's steak and my salmon, plus vegi extras (all grilled) and a mozzarella/cherry tomato salad

Hot paprika, lemon and butter on grilled corn is such a good combo

Another of our grilled dinners, this one all vego (I think we had 10 vegies?!)

Thursday, June 5

More scribbles!


These guys came out of my attempt to pay attention to the speakers at the last conference (I honestly listen better when I'm drawing!)

I'm posting them for Lily and Charlotte, and for Prachet (for his birthday) and for Kath, who I miss as a conference buddy!

Dear deer

Drippy... (I was hungry!)

Hope is in the air!

"HOPE" by Shepard Fairey

I don't usually delve into the political realm, but it has been such an interesting time to be in America leading up to the election, and watching the way the primary system works in terms of deciding who will run etc.

Now I'm not mentioning any of this to be provocative and I don't really care what your political leanings are, but Josie and I are both huge Barack Obama supporters and the democratic party campaign has been fascinating to watch. It has been a pretty fierce battle between two great candidates... Hillary (go girl!) and Barack, but last night Obama made history by becoming the first black presidential nominee in the United States! He's young, he's gorgeous, and he makes a lot of sense. Not only that but his campaign has been filled with the most incredible posters! We're lucky enough to have scored one of the HOPE posters (thanks Cass!!) which will grace our walls for years to come in Oz and hopefully remind us of that feeling of a whole, hope filled country balancing on the threshold of something incredible. Here's hoping it actually spills over! I'm so excited!

"PROGRESS" by Scott Hansen

"CHANGE" by Shepard Fairey