Friday, March 24, 2017

A sunny escape from the office & tacos at TACOS CALA

TACOS CALA in San Francisco

Yesterday brought a rare glimpse of sunshine to a week of dreary downpours, so spotting the Achilles Heel pop up on Instagram was the perfect excuse for an impromptu escape from the office, heading down to the secret taco stand that is TACOS CALA, tucked into the back alley behind CALA.

As it turned out, we were too late to savor Lee Desrosiers' specials {grilled on the sidewalk on a portable Francis Mallmann parrilla traveling in a fancy leather traveling case}, but plates of Mexico City style tacos de guisado {lengua en salsa verde, carnitas & pollo en pipian} with agua fresca {lemon ginger mint} still made for the perfect fix while taking in CALA's cool interiors ...

TACOS CALA in San Francisco

Saturday, February 25, 2017

When life gives you oranges ... help supporting the Big Sur Bakery

It has been a crazy winter in California. After five years gripped in a near existential drought, this has been the wettest winter on record, with near biblical storms causing destructive landslides, flooding and irreparable devastation to the state's infrastructure.

One region hit especially hard is Big Sur, the wild coastline between Monterey and Santa Barbara and one of our favorite destinations for an escape from the city ~ e.g. this fall Big Sur road trip and a memorable Big Sur Thanksgiving a couple of years ago. After a summer of ravaging wildfires, evacuations and longtime road closures, Big Sur once again finds itself cut off from the outside world: with a canyon bridge damaged beyond repair by a recent landslide, Highway One was closed indefinitely last week, cutting off access to this remote coastline and to Big Sur Bakery, one of my favorite Big Sur destinations.

With another rain storm approaching this weekend, Big Sur has been on my mind as I find myself browsing the Big Sur Bakery Cookbook, a favorite in this kitchen. And with a basket of sunny citrus on the kitchen counter, I thought I would share an all-time favorite recipe from the archives along with some Big Sur photos ...

Monday, January 9, 2017

A rainy day in Antwerp { & stay at Boulevard Leopold }

guest room details Boulevard Leopold bed & breakfast in Antwerp Antwerpen Belgium

After spending the past holidays at home, this winter we felt a sudden rather sentimental urge to hop across the pond for Christmas in the "old world" among family and friends.

And with the affordable last-minute airfares flying into Amsterdam, we decided to get on the plane a couple of days early for a pre-holiday detour ~ revisiting Amsterdam and Antwerp along the way.

After a chilly first day in Amsterdam and rainy day arrival in Antwerp, checking into Boulevard Leopold more than made up for gloomy skies, jet lag and tired eyes ...

Boulevard Leopold in Antwerp Antwerpen Belgium

Saturday, December 3, 2016

A cheese fondue under the moon and stars

We couldn't have asked for a more perfect first weekend of December: a crisp and sunny fall day turned into a glorious sunset and an almost balmy evening under the moon and stars. 

After a long beach walk everyone gathered in the backyard with a glass of wine or bottle of beer, watching the sun set over the ocean, while the kids set up a sidewalk stall selling "Sunset Lemonade", lighting fires in the Mexican chimenea on the patio and the wood burning stove inside the house, before sitting down along long tables set for an authentic Swiss cheese fondue ... along with new world additions like tomatoes, roasted potatoes and whole grain breads.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

A Thanksgiving picnic with friends

Thanksgiving Friendsgiving picnic

Even after calling California home for almost eighteen years now, I still have a somewhat ambiguous relationship with the Thanksgiving holiday.

As expat orphans we have been lucky to be graciously invited into friends' homes in the past. Our very first Thanksgiving at a friends' home in Sebastopol is still a fond memory, as is an alfresco dinner in an enchanted garden with the same friends many years later. In between there were Thanksgiving dinners in the desert, sharing the dinner table with other holiday orphans at a favorite desert hideaway. An escape to Big Sur and Thanksgiving at Big Sur Bakery. And two years ago I got to watch my friend Maxine set a rustic holiday table.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

I { heart } San Francisco

SF AMATRICE Italy Earthquake Fundraiser San Francisco Piccino Dogpatch
SF AMATRICE Italy Earthquake Relief Fundraiser
 San Francisco. This pretty much sums up the experience of SF AMATRICE,  the Italy Earthquake Relief Fundraiser I was honored to support {with web & graphic design} for my dear friends Marcia Gagliardi, aka Ms. tablehopper, and Gianluca Legrottaglie of Montesacro & 54 Mint

Two weeks of string pulling, fund raising and ticket selling ended with an epic all-day event last Sunday - and we could not have asked for a more glorious Indian summer day or a more generous outpouring of support from community and friends!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

A full moon gathering in West Marin

Disclaimer: this post was supposed to go live months ago. Let's blame the jet lag ... returning from Europe just a  couple of days prior to this dinner, I ended up getting distracted with work/life, eventually misplacing the camera chip and only re-discovering the photos this week {well into fall!}

It was one of those rare balmy summer evenings with no coastal fog in sight, as we headed across the Golden Gate Bridge and over the ridge to Stinson Beach. joining our friend Renee for a sunset gathering and dinner with friends in celebration of the summer night's full moon known as Full Buck Moon, symbolizing the time of the year when male deer {bucks} start growing new antlers.

Follow along on Instagram ...


all photos © dinners with friends

{ for good karma, please kindly ask before pulling an image & please link/credit when re-posting }