around town + tasty things…dynamo donuts!


We had an unexpected treat delivered to us this morning by a friend…fresh Dynamo Donuts! The shop on 24th Street is in our "hood", and I've been keen to walk over there and check out what all the hype is about. Although I missed certain components of the Dynamo Donuts experience such as, the coffee, the literal square hole in the wall with counter and the lines, the donuts were out of this world!!

These aren't your Dunkin' Donuts or Winchell's type donuts. These are gourmet donuts [an oxymoron I know], super fresh with just the right balance of light, soft and chewy combined with spectacular flavor combinations like maple and bacon, lemon and pistachio, and chocolate chipotle. Yummy!

So, for the SFers who haven't experienced the maple with bacon donuts…DON'T WAIT! HURRY, HURRY, HURRY! For those of you who don't live in SF, here's a donut recipe and article from the Dec/Jan Ready Made. 

If my friend is any indication, Dynamo Donuts may become habit forming. When we asked to reimburse her, she just said, "Pay me in donuts!" 



tasty things + around town…Manhattan Mondays

The Manhattan, my new cocktail of choice. Actually, I've never had a "cocktail of choice", but I've always wanted to. Perhaps it's the images of old Hollywood glamour sipping cocktails so elegantly that I romanticize about. Maybe, it's a signal that I've finally crossed the line from being a girl into a woman [don't get me wrong, I don't think alcohol defines womanhood].

I think the desire to have a "go to" drink is just to stir things up [pun intended] now and again. There are times when ordering wine seems inappropriate and you don't feel like having a beer.  Like those times when you're at a really great bar. A real old skool, OG, bar. You know what I mean? 

How did I choose the Manhattan? I didn't; husband did. On one of our date nights, husband asked the bartender for a Manhattan. I thought he was speaking a foreign language, because during our ten years together, husband has ALWAYS ordered a martini. So when the drink hit the deck, the lovely amber color, presented in a martini glass, garnished with a cherry peaked my interest. YUMMY! It was the perfect balance of spicy and sweet. But what I like best about the Manhattan is that it can be labeled a "classic". Now, when I order a Manhattan, I can feel muy macha and feminine at the same time.

Shortly after the discovery of my new found libation, we happened across a great shop on 3rd Street at Market, Cask


We purchased some nice liquid Christmas pressies and treated ourselves to the Manhattan essentials: bourbon, sweet vermouth and bitters. I fell in love with these shot glasses we picked up for a friend. I think they might almost deserve their own post.

So we've instituted "Manhattan Mondays". I was inspired by SF Girl by Bay's post about glamour and questioning the fun of "formal" for everyday or for no occasion at all.  I don't think I'll break out the cocktail dress , but I won't be in a hurry to jump into some comfy clothes and fluffy slippers during cocktail hour. While husband gets to enjoy his new cocktail shaker and perfect the ratio of whiskey and vermouth to our liking, I'll put on some lipstick and perfume. Who knows what will happen.



For all the locals, here's a great NY Times article mentioned by a friend about SF and the great cocktails that are being born, or reborn in the Bay Area.

Around Town…Cavallo Point + Muir Woods


Earlier this week, we took a very short trip across the Golden Gate Bridge for a final hurrah in 2008…a night at Cavallo Point Lodge in Sausalito. It's been in operation for 6 months now, but there's been quite a buzz about this new hotel for the last year.

Green and sustainable
Amazing views
Family friendly
Beautiful accommodations
Incredible grounds
Friendly staff
Next door to Bay Area Discovery Museum
Restaurant & bar

I know I listed "amazing views" already, but here's the proof! This was our view from our room and patio. Watching the fog roll in and out still mesmerizes me.


Our room

Delicious, organic fruit

Rocking chairs at the main building that provide views of the bay and the bridge

I still think they need to iron out some of the operational issues, but I'm sure over time they will be running smoothly. The only chink in the armor is the restaurant, Murray Circle. Perhaps it could have been an "off night", but the service was spotty and SLOW and the food was cold! That said, they had a great children's menu. Just the basics like fish sticks and mac & cheese, but prepared and presented quite elegantly. D said, "I feel like I'm being treated like a big person."

We had a wonderful time, although very short. We were very exciting to stay here because we've watched the progress and completion of this project due to our frequent trips to the Bay Area Discovery Museum. I would definitely recommend Cavallo Point to anyone for any occasion.

Muir Woods


After check-out, we headed north about 20 minutes to Muir Woods. I had never been, so I was unprepared for the cold. It's funny how you forget that really tall trees provide a lot of shade! When we arrived, the parking lots were full, so we parked on the shoulder way past the entry. It was like hiking to the hiking trail.

I'm always taken by surprise when I encounter crowds at the National Parks. In my mind, I imagine being in a remote place, enjoying nature and exploring the surroundings. I don't imagine women in stilettos trekking over muddy pathways, or parents pushing strollers on a narrow hillside path. Stilettos and strollers aside, we did enjoy our hike, and we look forward to returning again.

If you plan to go…
make sure you are prepared for the cold. Bring a hat, some gloves, tissues and a thermos of a warm beverage. Watch out for the poison oak; it's everywhere! They have a small cafe and gift shop that sells snacks just in case you're out longer than you anticipated.




Hike on!

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Around Town…Pretty moments, Pretty things

I just HAD to share a few of these images we captured the last few days.

Wet Leaves. Actually, husband sent these to me via iphone while out at the Japanese Tea Garden with D.


Gingko leaves in puddle

These next two beauties were taken covertly at the Asian Art Museum.



Perhaps these images have somehow influenced me to start reading Shogun…finally!


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Around Town + Small Stuff…Curl Up & Dye

Yeah, I know, it seems like most entries have been Around Town recently. This is easy to explain. Firstly, as I've mentioned in previous posts, my professional schedule has lightened up for the remainder of the year [knock on wood it only because of the holidays!], and secondly, I can't share any of my crafting as it is centered around gifts I will be giving!

One topic that I have been meaning to include as part of this blog is Small Stuff, an area that's all about kid stuff. My hope is that my son will participate with his "2 cents" on his favorite books, toys, food, adventures…anything! When he chooses not to provide his opinion, a rare moment indeed, I'll be giving mine…as always.

Off and away to topic #6…Small Stuff.

Mourning the Loss


It's not as dramatic as the title sounds, and some of you might think I'm over reacting. Others, I'm finding, can sympathize. You see, last week I took my son to have his first professional haircut. Until then, I was the one responsible for his lopsided, fluffy hair.

I was so caught up in convincing him it was time to visit a real barber, that I did not think of what the outcome would be once I got him in the seat…SHORT HAIR! DUH!! So, I'm mourning the loss of his longish rockstar hair.

Honestly, it was a great experience for my son. I'm convinced this sign is only reason he agreed to do it.


Ally, the owner, was awesome! She struck up conversation about movies and monsters and the rest was history. D. loved her and said she was "cute and really nice and I'd like to visit her again".




So, are other mothers of boys saddened by the loss of long locks? I'd be curious to hear your stories!

Curl Up & Dye is located on Treat Street between 18th & 17th Streets.


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Around Town + Tasty Things…Zuni Cafe

One of the benefits of having your own business is sneaking off to an extended lunch with your husband sans child. Yesterday, we visited one of our usual haunts, Zuni Cafe on Market Street. As always, the food was super yummy, the environment was bright and airy and the staff was polite and professional.

Worth a visit if you haven't been lately.

A delicious Pinot Gris that I forgot the name…sorry

A nice selection of whiskey

Lentil soup is always a favorite

A pork ragu and soft boiled egg perfect for a chilly day

Best of all, a lovely apple tart!

Cin Cin,

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Around Town‚ and in Town…Enjoying the Holidays

With so much travel behind us in 2008, we are staying put. Christmas decorations are out, cards are being written, crafts are being crafted and shopping has commenced.

Speaking of shopping…I'd thought I would share a few of my favorite places in SF for gifts and treats:

Flora Grubb for the person who could use some green in their enviroment.

Miette for all things sweet and lovingly packaged.

Velvet Da Vinci for unique, amazing artist jewelry and metalwork.

De Vera for unusual objects for the person who needs nothing…or has everything!

Tampopo has a gift for EVERYONE on your list. My absolute favorite place for finding last minute gifts and just poking around.

Paxton Gate of course!

My regular on-line resources…
The Wooden Wagon has a great selection of toys for imaginative and educational play. Plus they carry a nice selection of natural, non-toxic art supplies.

Willow Tree Toys for more Waldorf and Montessori inspired toys and costumes. Actually, the costumes are amazing and we just love them in our house.

Quiet Hours Toys is a fantastic resource for artisan crafted toys. The crayon rocks, well, ROCK!

Labour and Wait is a shop in London that has a superb selection of products for kitchen, home and garden. I'm still disappointed that I didn't make it to the store during our London trip!

DWR Tools for Living site offers a similar point of view and product selection as Labour and Wait. But honestly, I can't stand ordering from their site as it's slow and clunky. Plus, I just haven't had good luck with product inventory. I've been to the 2 store locations, New York and Santa Monica respectively, and had a much better experience. Hopefully, they will open a location here in SF.

More Christmas Around Town…
Last Saturday evening we packed a thermos of hot chocolate and headed over to Union Square to see the Christmas tree, do some ice skating and look at the puppies and kittens in the Macy's windows. A fun outing if your up for some chilly weather and crowds.

The Christmas tree in Union Square


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Around Town…Paxton Gate Curiosities for Kids!

As I fantasize of designing, curating and operating a "toy store", Paxton Gate up and does it…Paxton Gate's Curiosities for Kids! I'm happy to announce, it is done pretty darn well!


This is the shop to visit if you are looking beyond the plastic, Disneylike saccharin objects that are ubiquitous today. In true Paxton Gate fashion, they continue their Victorian, natural sciences meets slightly macabre aesthetic and curation into the new store. With some detective work, you can probably find most of the product selection on-line or in other small boutiques, but what's nice about PG Curiosities for Kids is they've done the work for you.

My favorite objects in the store are a knitted dissected frog and mouse. You must see to believe. The stuffed animal "mounts" are also humorous and quirky.

Some of our booty for the Christmas stocking…

Roald Dahl and Joseph Cornell, two household favorties. I guess these won't fit into the stocking.

More Owly Shadow Puppets.

In the store, they have a lovely area set up for shadow play performances. Super cute and inspiring. Unfortunately, they wouldn't let me photograph it, so you'll have to see for yourself. For those of you who live outside SF, you can also purchase the shadow puppet screen from Owly Shadow Puppets' Etsy shop if available. [While we're on the subject of shadow puppets, check out Orange Moon Toys.]

An ammonite, two sea urchins, a compass and African porcupine quills from Paxton Gate. THESE will fit in the stocking.


A great place to do some Christmas shopping for little kids and big kids!


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Around Town…New York City

Phew, life has been busy lately! A last minute trip to New York City last week was wonderful. The moment we landed it smelled and looked like fall. It made me wish our seasons in the Bay Area were more distinct and less subtle. We also encountered some COLD, blustery and rainy days, but it didn't prevent us from venturing out and exploring SOHO and midtown Manhattan.

Some highlights:
Shopping at Purl Soho!
Shopping at Dean and Deluca
Eating goodies from Dean and Deluca
Riding the subway with my son
Walking in the rain with my son
The American Museum of Natural History

Tasty things from Dean and Deluca.



An old grape vine in Brooklyn…the best, meatiest, sweetest grapes we ever tasted.



Ricotta pancakes at Soho Grande, must get recipe!


Perhaps the sister store to our local Paxton Gate in SOHO…



A cake boutique near the Met.



Central Park in the fall.



A magical storefront in fall.


Ahh, what a great way to bring in the holiday season. So much to do and craft before 2009 arrives. But don't ya think 2009 will rock!?


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