Friday, August 31, 2007

Michelle, denizen of the Mission, too embarrassed to speak Spanish

Ah, fruit lady and her friend, you make me so nervous. On a hot afternoon, I ride the bus home, preparing my request for fruit in Spanish, getting hungrier and more sure of myself. Then I arrive at your cart, and mumble, "Mango, please."

Yesterday was no exception. I decided on the way home that I wanted to try these elotes that everyone is carrying about, so I rehearsed my request in my head: "Quisiera un elote, por favor." I even played out the possible ways that the conversation would go, so that I would be prepared. But, as usual, when I got to the cart, I chickened out. Corn, please. If only she was alone, I would be less nervous.

Kara says that someday we will go to the fruit cart together, and she will order in Spanish first. Then I can just say, "lo mismo." Sounds like a cop-out.

On a more food-related note, the elote was not exactly what I was hoping for. It seems that there are different preparations for these goodies, but what I got was corn slathered in mucho mayo (as fruit lady's friend commented), sprinkled with cheese and powdered chile. It was delicious, but smelled rank. And really not a treat for a hot day. Maybe next time I will skip the mayo, or ask for a little bit. In Spanish.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

By special request.

A devoted reader needs to know: how did my brothers' visit go? My three brothers and their friend, Skow, visited many, many days ago, during the week of my birthday. This was also the week after the marathon and the week after the first of many post-marathon celebrations. I was tired, and sore, but strove to be a delightful host. We saw many sights, including the Golden Gate Bridge, Sutro Baths, Golden Gate Park, and Chinatown. We also went to Stinson Beach, where we expected to see sharks thrashing about in the water, eating seals and surfers, per Nate's recollections, but alas. No sharks. Most of these sights were seen in the company of Francesca, who sat on laps in the backseat of the beleaguered Pathfinder.

The BEST and funniest thing that happened during this visit was the "Great Frisbee Rescue." After Skow and Willie purchased frisbees from the Presidio SpoBa, we went to Marina Green to try them out. In the parking lot, Skow punted his frisbee, which promptly caught a gust of wind and zipped into the bay. Undaunted, Skow rushed to the car, jumped into his boardshorts, and dove into the bay after it! The bay that is 60 degrees on a good day. The bay that is filled with sharks and drowned Alcatraz escapees and rough looking waves. But the frisbee was saved.

The WORST and lamest thing that happened during this visit was the "Great Suppenkuche Switcheroo." Our house and others met at Suppenkuche for what was going to be a great feast. Closed! For renovation! Set on German food, we trucked over to Walzwerk. A poor substitution. Disappointment all around, except for the waitresses, who kept exclaiming - We have been so busy all week! Sam (I think) was kind enough to point out that Suppenkuche was closed. Poor Walzwerk.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Post-marathon laze-about

I've fallen into a degenerate state of sloth. In the two weeks since the marathon, I've had more to drink and eat than I did during the whole of training (exaggeration, I hope). This weekend was no exception.

During my birthday celebration last weekend, me and some marathon buddies pinky-swore to spend an afternoon and evening in Sonoma. This plan was made many, many times during marathon training and never happened, so we were all surprised to show up in Sonoma on Saturday afternoon. Upon arriving at Rob's fiancee's grandpa's house, we set out on a major shopping trip to Sonoma Market. We spent outrageous sums on groceries, and then trucked it all back to the house. Josh and I made a pitcher of white sangria in preparation for several hours by the pool.

Having never used a high-tech juicer before (the kind that can juice an entire peach, let's say), I assumed that the juice would fall into the clear container on the side. Instead, the pulp fell into that container, and the juice streamed out of the spigot. That I had not noticed until that point. A good start to the afternoon.

Post-swim, we started to prepare the feast. Fried zucchini flowers stuffed with feta, caprese salad, five varieties of stinky cheese with baguette, garlic olives, crackers with smoked salmon and creme fraiche, and the piece de resistance, courtesy of food-magician Josh: Georgian chicken. I think this is something of his own creation. A chicken, stuffed with carmelized onions, brown rice, cherries, pine nuts, and fennel, barbecued until crispy while being basted with cherry butter. Yes, barbecued. It was amazing.

I will also say that the zucchini flowers were better than expected. I had never made or eaten them before, but I found some at the farmer's market on Saturday morning. They are quite simple to prepare, and oh how delicious! I will be making them more often.