i'm sorry i've been neglecting you. blame the winter. i blame everything on this winter. it takes all my will just to go outside, so obviously, these are not optimal conditions for generating new material. just wait til spring - you won't know what hit you! there will be blog posts every day! (well, don't hold me to that.)
it seems as good time as any to go back a few months to warmer times. in december, i was in the bay area for about 10 days. the goal of the trip was for hhh to clean out his childhood room (a gargantuan task then documented in this talk at the museum of chinese in america), but we managed to go up to berkeley, oakland, and san francisco twice. (the rest of the time was spent sifting through mountains of records, 20-year-old pez dispensers, gum, old homework, shoes, and gifts from ex-girlfriends....) we visited some new places and an old favorite.
first up, umami mart. it's a super cute shop (both brick-and-mortar and online) opened by kayoko akabori and yoko kumano a few years back. they carry all kinds of japanese kitchen and barware, and have a selection of grocery/pantry goods in the back. they recently opened up their bottle shop as well. it is the first japanese beer shop in the u.s.! check it out if you're in oakland.
hhh and i also made it to the ferry building, which neither of us had visited before. it reminded me of chelsea market - i love these kinds of big indoor markets. my first experience with this type of shopping was probably the food court levels of department stores in taiwan. those places were amazing - you could eat to your heart's content, and then buy specialty snacks, chocolates, or fancy teas to take with you. so i always love these kinds of places. since we were at the ferry building in the middle of the afternoon, we just grabbed a couple snacks (hhh headed for boccalone for a meat cone (sounds gross, hhh claimed it was delicious), while I headed for the sweets at the pastry stand outside bouli bar. there was also plenty to see in the non-edible category: heath ceramics, and a garden shop where i picked up some paperwhite bulbs.
and we also returned to chez panisse, an old favorite. we always go here with hhh's parents when we visit - once we met them there straight from sfo. it's always so good. we eat in the cafe upstairs, since it's so impossible to get a reservation in the formal dining room.
and of course, no visit to san francisco is complete without a visit to the home of good friends. maybe one of these days, they will let me do a home tour of their place!
ps. wnyc just told me it feels like -11F in central park. i am not going outside today.