Thursday, November 29, 2012

My mother and I and Serious Pie

Hey Internet,

So... we've known each other for a while now. We've seen each other grow. I remember when you were overrun with AngelFire and Geocities, you remember when I thought ICQ was the coolest thing ever.

But we don't get personal very often. And that's starting to almost feel a little weird. So... here we go. A little bit of serious pie.

I'd been out of the country for about 24hrs, so my phone was out of commission. I only had wifi and even then, I didn't bother trying to access it. It was pretty awesome.

I wasn't stressing about what I had to do, I got to enjoy where I was rather than my mind being five hundred other places...

But then that thing happened. That thing you never want to happen when you're unreachable. Someone I cared very much about about got hurt.

I crossed the border back into the US and my phone buzzed with a text message notification. I wasn't sure at first when it was originally sent. All I knew is my Dad had texted:

"Picking mom up at the ER. She is ok but another Honda bites the dust."

I had to take the next exit (which I swear took ages just to come to a place where I could pull in and park) so I could call. Thankfully that text wasn't that old. He was at the hospital with Mom and she was, as he'd said, fine. A little sore but no real damage.

Let me clarify a few things. My mom has a history of grand mal seizures. Those are the ones that you actually fall to the ground and shake and lose complete control of your body. Not fun, but not fatal. The last one she'd had was a little over 3 months ago, I think. She wasn't supposed to be driving (when you have a seizure, you're supposed to go at least 6 months without having another before you're allowed to drive again) but she's stubborn so if no one else was going to take her--of course she was going to do it herself.

I admire her for that independence--I definitely wouldn't be nearly as self-sufficient had she been any different...

But I have never been more terrified in my life. We got lucky. Really lucky. The car was totaled. There's a lot of ways that story could have ended and I'm well aware we got the unlikely one.

There's more to this story--more about why she had to drive herself but I'd rather focus on something more positive. I'd like to tell you about my mom.

My mother was my first inspiration to write. While she has never aggressively pursued publishing, I grew up with her love of mystery novels and penchant for writing them. This may also be why I love Murder, She Wrote and Castle so much.

My bizarre tendency to break out into song and treat everything like a musical, is probably also attributed to her. She brought me up in a world of music and song and dance and regardless if I was ever good at any of them, I always found joy in them.

She taught me how to make a grilled cheese correctly after she realized I'd been making toast and then putting them in the microwave around a slice of kraft (I was too young to use the stove without super vision. I also was still short so this required a chair.) She showed me how to bake sugar cookies and crack and egg with one hand.

She's an absolute ham--I guess that's genetic. Even the darkest hours could be a little hopeful with just a touch of silliness. She's courageous and beautiful and regardless that there's plenty we don't agree on, she has always supported me. I don't know who I'd be--or where I'd be without her.

I'm not sure why I'm telling you this... I guess I felt like since I hadn't talked about something that really mattered on a personal level before--here was a great place to start. 

My mother means the world to me. She has been and always will be a huge part of who I am. She's everything good in me, my compassion, my patience, my sense of humor...

And I am eternally grateful that I can pick up the phone today and hear her on the other end.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Friday, November 23, 2012

When in Roam... Have a burger

Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears...

I had the best burger of my life tonight. Now, I realize I am not an expert on burgers by any means, but my taste buds were absolutely seduced by this burger. I would travel back to California just to eat this burger again. But now I'm just giving you romance and if you wanted unfounded romantic exclamations, you'd be reading Twilight, not a review about burgers, now wouldn't you?

Allow me to set the scene: You're wandering down the streets, somewhere between The Marina District and Cow Hollow, and after a long day of shopping (or just getting drunk on the Victorian architecture) you find this warmly lit cafe-style burger joint that smells absolutely tantalizing. Welcome, to Roam Artisan Burgers.

No hormones, humanely raised animals and house made organic veggie burgers if meat isn't your cup of tea--but I love meat, so I can't comment on the veggie burger.

I had my choice of beef, turkey, elk and bison and an array of choices of how to dress my burger but while tempting, I felt any burger joint should at least be able to make a decent basic burger. So I ordered The Classic (butter lettuce, onions, tomato, house-made pickels and house sauce) with white cheddar cheese and a beef patty.

The sesame seed bun was fresh--and I mean baked around the corner by a local artisan bakery fresh. It was soft and fluffy but managed to remain resilient against sogginess despite the abundance of sauce and juices.

The veggies themselves were fantastically crisp. They provided a great contrast to the rest of the burger which seemed to melt into your mouth.

The cheese seemed practically integrated into the beef, a perfect marriage to a meat that was neither over nor under cooked. Now I am happy when a steak restaurant knows the true meaning of a 'medium' cooked meat, but a burger joint? Hot everywhere but just enough pink on the inside that the meat remained delightfully tender.

This burger was perhaps the size of my entire stomach (I'm a wee creature) but I ate every last bit. I. Regret. Nothing.

I paired this dream of a burger with sweet potato fries, which tasted like strips of baked sweet potato more than any fry I've ever had. Buttery, perfectly salted which brought out that great hint of starchy sweetness that I adore sweet potatoes and yams for.

The cherry on top of this meal was definitely the seasonal shake: Pumpkin spice. Made in house, sweet but not sickly so (no artificial sugars/corn syrups on this menu, guys!). You could even see the cinnamon that was sprinkled on top after the shake was made.

If you are EVER in the San Francisco area and you like burgers, I urge you to get your butt over to Cow Hollow/The Marina District and nom some of this awesome.

I'm going to have dreams about that burger...

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Mmm So Gouda: The American Grilled Cheese Kitchen

I'm a connoisseur of grilled cheese sandwiches. I realize how bizarre that sounds, but since it was the first thing I ever learned to cook and I've been cooking since I was six, I feel it's a fairly accurate description.

So when my friend M mentioned that San Francisco had a cafe called "The American Grilled Cheese Kitchen", oh hell yes, you can bet we were going next time I visited.

When we arrived on a Wednesday afternoon, there was a line poking out the door and both the indoor and patio seating were filled. Always a good testament to delicious food to come, I'd like to think. As it's informal dining, don't worry if it's packed--you can get your sandwich to go and have a picnic around the corner at the park if the weather permits.

I ordered the 'Mousetrap': Tillamook sharp cheddar, creamy havarti, and monterey jack on artisan sourdough bread. Because, let's face it, how can you visit San Francisco and not have some of the sourdough bread?

I also added tomatoes and turkey to my sandwich order. I was certainly not disappointed either.

This sandwich was, in short, absolutely delicious, but if I left it at that, this wouldn't be a very good review, would it? The blend of cheeses along with the butter was just the epitome of comfort food.

The bread was a bit crisper than I prefer but it balanced out the three cheeses. Also harder bread is rather unavoidable when working with sourdough as it is innately denser than most.

Despite being smothered in cheese, you could tell the tomatoes were fresh and there was enough turkey that its unique flavor wasn't overwhelmed. Honestly, I think that's what impressed me overall: it had a perfect balance, I could taste every aspect. I realize I'm swooning over a sandwich, but it really hit the spot.

The strawberries that came with it didn't hurt either. Fresh, tart and perfect for cleansing the palette so you're not worrying about cheese breath for the next hour.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Let's get Kraken--er cracking.


In accordance with the new site which is getting all brushed up, this is going to be revived from the dead and essentially become my actual "blog". All official and what not.


Lot of work to do.