Brunch at Circa Sunday, Nov 30 2008 

So, my Mom is visiting me for a couple of weeks (which goes a long way towards explaining the lack of knitting and blog posts) and we’re both Top Chef fans. Since a number of the cheftestants come from San Francisco, it only made sense that we would try to eat at one of their restaurants. Since Mom’s far less spendy with food than I can be, I figured I’d skip dinner at Absinthe (though I still desperately want to go; need to round up some friends and get on that) and then I saw the brunch menu at Circa.

Little known fact about me: I love eggs benedict. To a slightly unhealthy degree, I love eggs benedict. I would happily eat it every day for a week if I could. (My inability to poach an egg makes this impossible, as does the fact that I am far too lazy to actually assemble a complicated breakfast most mornings.)

So, this morning we headed off to Circa for brunch. I’d checked out the menu online, and it was slightly out-of-date, but most of the things were still the same. I had, of course, the eggs benedict sampler, which involves a choice of TWO types of eggs benedict. Oh, Circa, how you know the way to my heart. After much debate, I settled on the Bernaise (beef tenderloin and tarragon hollandaise) and the Spanish (serrano ham and saffron hollandaise) and Mom went for the apple crumble french toast. (She reacts to french toast the same way I do to eggs benedict.)

First off, though, a few pet peeves. Aside from the Marina crowd (I moved here to get away from preppy frat boys, thanks) which obviously isn’t the restaurant’s fault, I was a little annoyed by the lack of a drink menu. The only thing listed for brunch were bloody mary’s and mimosas. Both delicious, but I don’t always feel like drinking at 11:30 on a Sunday morning. They had tea when I asked for it, but still, a list of beverages wouldn’t hurt. I also felt like the tables were kind of close together; I could overhear the conversations of the people on either side of me. In addition to feeling kind of awkward, it severely curtailed my ability to mock them.

The food, however, was delicious. We started the meal with the complimentary basket of cornbread. I was  a bit wary, as I could smell the jalepenos as soon as I picked up my piece; I’m a pretty big spice wuss, and the only person I’ve met who is a bigger one is my Mom. Seriously, the woman’s ideal salsa consists solely of tomato, onion, and garlic. We are not a spicy people. But, once it was spread with butter and honey, the bread was deliciously flavorful, and not at all spicy.

The bite of french toast I tried was delicious as well; the apples were fresh and sweet, and there wasn’t an overwhelming amount of syrup. The cinnamon cream looked fantastic as well, but I skipped that, since hollandaise sauce pretty much triples the amount of dairy I should be eating (but, alas, is totally worth it. Hi, my name is Stephanie, and I suffer for the sake of yummy food.) and I didn’t want to tempt fate. The eggs benedict though–that will bring me back to Circa. It may take a BART trip, and an insanely long ride on a ridiculously crowded bus to get there, but it is so worth it. The Bernaise was my least favorite; the tarragon hollandaise was wonderful, but the tenderloin seemed a tad overcooked. Which means it was about medium–I prefer my meat rare (or even bleu) if at all possible. Plus, the amount of beef seemed a little bit much next to the egg and english muffing. It was still very good, but I think I’ll try another variety next time.

The Spanish, though–I would sell my soul for that breakfast. The Serrano ham was wonderful–salty and bursting with flavor–and the saffron hollandaise was incredible. Only the fact that we were in public stopped me from licking my plate. It was that good. All of the flavors complimented each other perfectly, and achieved a perfect balance of rich egg yolk and sauce and salty ham. If you’re ever in San Francisco, make the trip to Circa and try this; I promise you won’t be disappointed.

Happy Thanksgiving! Thursday, Nov 27 2008 

Happy Thanksgiving! Right now, I’m sitting on my couch watching the Macy’s Day parade and enjoying the smell of the apple cake filling my apartment.

(And, oh hi, I just got Rick Rolled by the Macy’s Day Parade! When Internet memes go too far….)

My Mom is visiting, so it’s going to be a quiet Thanksgiving, with just the two of us. Which is kinda sad, but it is nice to see my Mom. And by see my Mom, I mean, have her make her homemade stuffing. Mine is never as good.

I’m pretty happy with the menu, though; there are a few new things but I still have my favorites.

Our Thanksgiving Menu

Turkey (Not brined. We baste. We’re old school like that.)
Stuffing (Homemade, plain stuffing, none of this cornbread or sausage nonsense.)
Gravy (Also homemade. Sans giblets; the kittehs get those.)
The Pioneer Woman’s Sweet Potatoes
Cranberry sauce (From a jar, as cranberry sauce should be.)
Brussels sprouts
Apple Cake with Caramel Sauce

It’s a lot of food, but I think somehow, I’ll manage to bring myself to eat all of it.

Tarot Card of the Day: Four of Cups

Chinatown, Africa – Trailer // Current Tuesday, Nov 25 2008 

more about “Chinatown, Africa – Trailer // Current“, posted with vodpod

My mother is visiting me, which means I don’t have much knitting progress to talk about. Instead, I thought I’d post this trailer for the latest Vanguard Special on Current. Vanguard is one of my favorite shows on Current, and they do a fantastic job of looking at issues that aren’t  always getting a lot of coverage. This week, Mariana van Zeller travels to Angola to investigate China’s growing presence in Africa.

Chinatown, Africa airs on Wednesday at 10 pm E/P. You can also head over to http://current.com/vanguard during the show to chat live with Mariana. (If you don’t get Current on your cable provider, you’ll also be able to watch the  show online. Isn’t the internet great?)

Tarot Card of the Day: The Empress

Holiday Knitting Progress Report Thursday, Nov 20 2008 

I’ve scaled back on some of my holiday plans–no birthday presents for my Dad and Aunt, I’ll work on those for next year. That takes a big load off of my mind, and I think I’ll actually pull this off.

Here’s how my progress is shaping up:

Mom
Rollneck tee–knitted, ends need weaving in and sewn together. In hibernation while she visits me
Washcloths–need to knit

Dad
It’s on the Tab–need to finish knitting 2nd sleeve, weave in ends, sew up and finish
Thermos cozy/holder–need to knit (and design)

Joanne
Self-patterning socks–need to finish foot of sock #2
Leaves of Whimsy socks–beginning leg of sock #2
washcloths–1 knit, 1 needs to be knit

Cats (x3)
collars–need to be sewn
maybe catnip toys?

Dogs (x2)
I have no idea; sewn dog toy maybe? or homemade dog treats?

It looks a little overwhelming, but I think I can make it. Then I will finally work on things for me!

Tarot Card of the Day: Seven of Swords

Distracting You with Cat Photos Wednesday, Nov 19 2008 

I really have nothing exciting to say today, and no pictures to accompany my knitting progress, so instead I give you cat pictures.

Oh hai

Aren’t they cute?

Bathtime!

Padma looks annoyed because Fred’s been bathing that same spot on her head for about fifteen minutes. He’s very thorough.

Tarot Card of the Day: The High Priestess

Selfish Knitter Tuesday, Nov 18 2008 

I admit it. I am a selfish knitter. Most of the things I knit are for me, and I’m fine with that. It is my hobby, after all.

But, once a year during that holiday season, I put all of that aside. I knit for others, and it starts out well. I think of my loved ones and how they will recieve such hand-crafted wonderfulness, and I knit away.

Then, I start getting bored. I always forget how long men’s sweaters take, or how much I dislike colors that some of my relatives love. But I keep knitting. And I keep knitting. I will keep knitting, until I’m finished and have packed everything up in a box and shipped it off.

But you know what? I’d totally kill just to cast on something fun for me right now.

Tarot Card of the Day: Queen of Cups

Blocking Madness Monday, Nov 17 2008 

So, um, I have a confession to make. I’ve been knitting for quite some time now and, well, I have a little secret.

I don’t block things.

I know you’re supposed to, I know it evens out the stitches and makes the final result so much better, but I can really think of so many things I’d rather do with my time then painstakingly pin out my knitting. Not to mention, sometimes it’s hard to ifnd a cat-free space that’s big enough to pin out my knitting.

But this weekend, I found myself faced with two unavoidable facts. One, that my Lace Ribbon Scarf needed to be blocked to be wearable and two, that sweaters do eventually need to be washed. (Before you go thinking I’m some dirty, unwashed urchin, I’m sensitive to wool and never wear sweaters without a shirt underneath so they don’t need to be washed as frequently as something worn next to my skin.)

So, I bit the bullet. I spread out a bunch of towels and soaked my knitting. I admit I was a little startled by how heavy and stretchy the wet sweaters were; I blocked them back into shape (I hope; I think by now you can all guess that I wasn’t about to sit there with a measuring tape and schematics.) and pinned them out to dry.

Everything’s looking pretty good, but still damp. Not that it matters, since we’re having a freakish November heat wave, and it’s not really sweater weather, but I was hoping to wear the scarf. Maybe tomorrow! In the meantime, I’ll just pat myself on the back and be proud of my successful adventures in blocking.

Tarot Card of the Day: Nine of Swords

Progress: Aunt Joanne’s Holiday Socks Thursday, Nov 13 2008 

I’ve also been knitting on pair #1 of my aunt’s holiday socks. They’re coming along nicely, except that I keep losing needles.

No, I don’t know how I manage that. I just buy a new set and move on.

Joanne's Xmas Socks 08

I kind of have a love/hate relationship with these socks. I went with this yarn because it wasn’t super girly (she’s not really a pink, girly person) but also wasn’t blue or green. She likes blue and green, but it seems like everything I’ve knit her for the past few years has been blue and/or green. I was kinda feeling like a one-trick pony. (I still am, actually, since I’ve done socks for her before, and this year will be pairs 3 and 4, but she doesn’t really wear sweaters. And, really, who couldn’t use more socks?)

Anyway. Some days I look at this yarn and I think it’s gorgeous and fantastic and has this kind of southwest desert vibe going. Other days, I look at it and I just think meh. What do you guys think?

Tarot Card of the Day: Ten of Pentacles

Progress: Mom’s Holiday Sweater Wednesday, Nov 12 2008 

This weekend, I finally made it through all of the endless stockinette stitch on my Mom’s sweater. Let me tell you, cap sleeves never looked so good.

Mom's sweater in pieces

It’s still in pieces, and I need to get moving on weaving in the ends and sewing it up, but at least the knitting is done. I’m starting to get to the really antsy stage of deadline knitting, where I keep dreaming up other projects I’d like to start. This is very bad, though so far I’ve been good and stuck to knitting gifts.

It’s really, really hard though. And I’m looking forward to the day when I can finally cast on for something else.

Tarot Card of the Day: The World

It’s On the Tab Progress Tuesday, Nov 11 2008 

One of the sweaters I’ve been knitting is my Dad’s Christmas sweater. The pattern is It’s On the Tab from the Winter 2003 issue of Knitters.

On the Tab front

I finished the front earlier this week. I noticed an error in the pattern, however, where it only directs you to do half of the neck shaping. Since most people (including my father) are not lopsided, I went ahead and shaped both sides.

Dad's Sweater--Sleeve

I’m not starting the sleeves, and knitting them one at a time. Usually I knit both at once, but this is complicated enough without getting tangled up in two balls of yarn. Plus, the vast majority of it is based on counting, not measuring so I’m far less likely to end up with two wildly different sleeves. But it’s coming along nicely, and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I’ll finish it in time.

Tarot Card of the Day: Knight of Cups

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