November 27, 2013

Life List 71-80

   71. Participate in Santa Run

   72. Photograph tulip fields in Holland

   73. Photograph Arches in Utah

   74. Offroad in Moab

   75. Visit Yellowstone

   76. See Multnomah Falls, Oregon

[Photo: williamsoo]

   77. Eat tapas in Spain

   78. Feel the spray from Victoria Falls

   79. Backpack Glacier National Park

[Photo: idntourism]

   80. Float the Rio Grande

So, this week's list is heavy in travels. The exception is the Las Vegas Santa Run. I've wanted to do it for years, but I've been plagued by injuries and sheer laziness. It's not going to happen this year, but next year? It's on!

This summer we spent a few days in Moab, seeing the sights and off-roading. It wasn't quite as I imagined it, but it was an awesome experience I'll never forget.

Who wouldn't want tapas in Spain? It sounds like sound a wonderful way to spend an afternoon or evening. And the others? All are beautiful sights I hope to one day see for myself.

November 21, 2013

Life List 61-70

   61. Feel an earthquake

   62. Photograph a glacier

   63. Experience a Futbol game

   64. Visit Amsterdam


   65. Eat lobster in Maine

   66. Eat stone crab in Florida

   67. Attend World Series game

   68. Catch a fish and eat it

   69. Enjoy a meal at a restaurant without ordering from a menu

   70. Bake bread from scratch

Twice I've been in California when there have been small earthquakes, but I haven't felt them. I imagine it's a weird sensation. It might be a bit morbid to want to experience it, but I do. I just don't want anyone to be killed.

A couple years ago, my boss went on an Alaskan cruise and her husband came back with the most spectacular photos of glaciers. I'd really like to have my own.

When we went to Italy, we looked into attending a Futbol game, but timing didn't work out. The energy in those stadiums must be absolutely insane.

I'm incredibly intrigued by Amsterdam. I actually looked into a trip next spring, but Ecuador is far more reasonable.

I haven't developed a fondness for lobster, but before I write it off completely. I want to try it in Maine. I imagine there is no place better to try it.

Stone Crab is my second favorite crustacean after Dungeness. What we get here in the desert is pretty amazing, I can't imagine how fresh it must be off the Florida coast.

In 2005, Frank and I went to Anaheim to see the White Sox clinch their division to go to the World Series and that was unforgettable, I can't begin to imagine witnessing them win the title.

Catching a fish and eating it seems pretty simple. I've always caught and released. Most fishing was done when I was small and fish was never part of our diet. I recall my dad smoking a salmon he caught, but that the closest I've come.

I enjoy all sorts of food, there is little I don't like and I'll try most everything so I think it'd be fun to simply sit and let the chef decide what to serve.

There are few things I love more than fresh bread. Yet, I've never worked with live yeast. Failure is the only thing stopping me. Seems silly. I might just be the best bread baker out there. Ha!

November 20, 2013

Outlaw Burger - Rollin Smoke

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

A brisket burger. Insane.

November 17, 2013


It's less than than two weeks until Thanksgiving!?! How'd that happen? For a while it seemed like November would never come, because I was itching for vacation. Months ago, we booked our annual trip to San Francisco over Veteran's Day weekend. We haven't gotten away since UT in August. It felt like eternity. Yes, I recognize I'm a bit spoiled when it comes to travels. But we were in desperate need to escape our day to day and reconnect. Work has been a bit of a drag for me and Frank's been so busy I'm not sure how he keeps it all straight. We were most grateful when our four night getaway finally arrived. We've been home a week tomorrow. So, where have my updates been, you ask? Well, for the second year in a row, I came back with the worst souvenir, the sickness. Sore throat, runny nose, cough, fever and pure exhaustion. It knocked me on my ass. Literally, I didn't leave the bed for days. I watched more crap TV than I'd like to admit. Last night was the first night in a week that I slept through the night. I was so thankful. I finally feel like I'm on my way to feeling better. Word of advice, douse yourself in antibacterial lotion, soaps, etc. when riding public transit. I'm a bit of a germaphobe so this is normal practice for me, but San Francisco must have super germs. From now on, I think I'll load up on Vitamin C, Zicam and whatever it takes to boost my immune system.

Enough about that, let's talk San Francisco.

Our flight was delayed; because we were late getting in, we would not be making dinner at Crab House like I initially planned. We checked into the Holiday Inn in the Wharf (thank you, Hotwire) and then, Plan B was Golden Boy Pizza, there's nothing wrong with a cold beer and a warm slice. It hit the spot! There's isn't a whole lot happening at 11 o'clock on a Thursday night and frankly, we were pretty beat so we crashed back at the hotel so we could be fresh for Friday. Our day began like many do (while in San Francisco) at the Ferry Building. We decided to eat light so we could visit Young at Petite Deli before the lunch rush. We had a picnic on the pier with our favorite treats from Acme Bread, Boccalone, Cowgirl Creamery and Stonehouse Olive Oil. Stonehouse now has their dipping oil in small jars that are carry-on friendly. I was so overjoyed. The cashier thought I was a bit nuts.

We walked down to the end of the pier to admire the Bay Bridge engulfed in fog. Finally, I witnessed "Fog City" you might recall it was on my life list! I was most excited. When I came across the massive spider web dripping with moisture, I was impressed at the engineering. It was quite the sight to see.

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

While there, we scoped out the Oakland ferry since we'd be taking it later to Jack London Square. It turns out it boards at the next pier over. Not by the Sausalito and Larkspur ferries. I'm not sure how you purchase tickets in advance. We had preloaded our clipper cards with Bart Fare and just used that. We did learn you can buy tickets aboard. It was at the pier that I snapped a pretty sharp photo of Treasure Island and Yerba Buena Island blanketed in fog.

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

We made it to Petite Deli just before the rush. Everyone loves those sandwiches! The secret ingredient is love, but the basil and mix of dijon and honey mustard might have something to do with it. I know it's what makes Young's potato and pasta salad so special.

Um... yum!

We had time to kill before we took the ferry over to Oakland so we grabbed a drink at the Wine Merchant inside the Ferry Building. They didn't have much choice for local wines so we opted to enjoy beers from Belgium and Germany instead. They make the best beers, after all.

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

It wasted just enough time for us to board the ferry. It was a quick scenic ride and the weather was simply gorgeous.

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

We were meeting a friend for dinner at Everett & Jones BBQ at four. We had a little more than an hour to kill so we sat near the bay, relaxed and soaked up the sunshine. Dinner was good, not Texas BBQ good, but enjoyable. We sampled the brisket, ribs, links, greens, mac-n-cheese and corn bread. We washed it down with their Saucey Sistah Ale. We said our goodbyes and walked over to a Heinold's First and Last Chance Saloon. I love historic bars, I just had to see it.

The quaint bar is located on the waterfront and it opened in 1883. Oakland Author Jack London frequented the pub and met all sorts of characters that influenced his writing. Jack London's Rendezvous later became a nickname. In 1906, the earthquake caused the floor to slant severely. The uneven floor, original mahogany bar, potbelly stove and gas lighting remain. Its character has remained intact all these years. The photo I took hardly does its crookedness justice, but it gives you the idea. If you're ever in the area, do check it out.

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

The return ferry was even faster. Which caused Frank to feel a bit seasick. For me, it was wild to think about all the commuters that use it as a mode of transportation daily. Coming from the desert, it's sort of hard to wrap your mind around.

The next few days are a blur of loving life. We started our days at Saigon Sandwich. Which never disappoints. We stuffed ourselves silly on crab. We took in the city at Washington Square Park and discussed how much we love our lives. You see FML so often, for us, LML or love my life is far more fitting. We played games like hipster or homeless and bluetooth or crazy? It's fun, give it a try. I swear if Austin keeps it weird, San Francisco keeps it crazy! You gotta love it.

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

Saturday night we had reservations at Albona Ristorante. It the only Istrian restaurant on the west coast. Puzzled? Well, it's Croatian, with an Italian influence. It gets rave reviews so we figured why not give it a try. It's a quaint space located in the North Beach neighborhood. We had to wait a bit to be seated, with only 40 seats I assume it's to be expected. We made friends with others waiting to be seated. Sam, the chef, warmly greeted us and picked up on Frank's last name. From then on, he was treated like a celebrity; like Bruno, the owner, Frank is Croatian and Italian.

We had fabulous meal with wine from the Amalfi Coast, mushroom soup, gnocchi, lamb chops and mushroom risotto. The gnocchi had little resemblance to the Italian version. It was more like tater tots in gravy. That's not to say it wasn't delicious. Everything was! There was a delay with bringing our check so they brought over apple strudel to thank us for our patience. We were much too full, but we took a few bites. It wasn't too sweet just like those that were sold at the Croatian picnics in Chicago that I attended with Frank and his family when we dated.

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

Sunday was filled with football. We found a Bears' Bar named Dirty Trix. Let me tell you it's an interesting phrase to google in San Francisco. Thankfully, the bar, I chose was indeed a Chicago Bear's bar. There was a large crowd to root them on to victory, however, the Lions came ahead for the win.

After the game we found ourselves at Tony's Pizza Napoletana. We couldn't resist the meatballs. I don't think I've had better. We also tried the New Haven Lou. It is by far the best white pizza to ever pass my lips. Needless to say, we stuffed ourselves silly. Our server at the bar was awesome! I think her name was Stephanie. She was on top of everything. We were impressed.

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

For the night game, we planned to go to a Saint's Bar, but the entire city of NOLA was inside. We opted for the Brick Yard instead. Seating was plentiful. Drinks were cold. Service could have been better, but you can't always have it all. Frank won his fantasy league so we went to Leopold's to celebrate.

They have massive steins and scrumptious sausage. I didn't love the schnitzel, though.

Lastly, there was talk of renting a car to visit Napa, but it never happened. There's always next time...

Albona Ristorante Istriano on Urbanspoon Leopold's on Urbanspoon Petite Deli on Urbanspoon Everett & Jones Barbeque on Urbanspoon Heinold's First and Last Chance on Urbanspoon

November 6, 2013

Life List 51-60

   51. Ride in a helicopter

   52. Photograph fog in San Francisco

   53. Visit Breaking Bad sights in Albuquerque

   54. Create own recipe

   55. Sell a photo

   56. Offroad in Montana


   57. Wear contacts

   58. Read a book fireside at a ski chalet

   59. Win Royal Flush on denomination of a quarter or more

   60. Catch a fish over 20 pounds

Everyday there are multiple helicopters hovering over the strip. It would be a neat experience to do a tour to the Grand Canyon or something.

We've been to San Francisco nearly a dozen time, but we've never seen the fog. We always travel in fall or spring so the weather is clear and usually dry. Sometime, we'll have to make the trip during summer just to experience the fog.

We've actually booked our trip to Albuquerque. We're going in January. My mom and brother will be joining us. We're all huge fans!

When I cook, I have to follow a recipe. I never wing it. I'd love to whip up something and have it taste good. Much of the time even recipes fail. I love food, but I hate cooking it.

Technically, I've sold a photo... I sold several that I took and framed at the garage sale we had before we moved in the house. I've had several published in various publications, but the only compensation I asked for was photo credit. Esquire Magazine contacted me twice for one of my photos, but they never made the final print. That's more along the lines of what I was thinking when I added it to the list.

I'm intrigued by Big Sky country. Frank and I will head up there at some point. 2014 isn't likely, but maybe 2015?

I started the year with contacts. I actually learned to get them in and out of my eyes. It was a miracle! Then, after a few months they really bothered my left eye. I stopped wearing them. Bad, I know. A month went by, then two, then three... you get the idea. I should give it another go. I don't like wearing glasses and it would be nice to have clear vision.

I'm not a cold weather girl. I skied once, and that was enough for me. It's doubtful my ankles could take it anyway. But I do like the idea of going up to UT in the winter, relaxing by the warm fire with a good book.

I have only hit two royal flushes in the twelve years I've been gambling. Both were while playing nickels. Just once, I'd love to win on a quarter (the denomination I most often play) or dollar machine. If four to the royal was worth something, I'd be a millionaire.

I had such fun when taking a fishing charter to International waters off San Diego's coast. I didn't catch any big fish, but it would have been amazing if I did.

November 1, 2013

Explore Ecuador!

[Photo: travel-pictures gallery]

You might remember that I mentioned we've been saving for a trip to Australia and New Zealand. I had hoped we'd make it in 2014 but it just too costly I've come to the realization that it's not happening. At this point, we only have enough to cover airfare. So, we began seeking alternative destinations, the short list included Amsterdam, Ecuador and Spain. I priced airfare to each and Ecuador is the most affordable. After a little research, we were sold.

[Photo: Turismo Ecuador]

Nothing is booked yet. We're still sorting out the logistics. I'd love to see the Galapagos Islands too, but airfare to the islands is pretty pricey. There is more than enough to occupy our time in Ecuador, though. We plan to visit the coastal towns, explore the Andes and the Amazon Rain Forest. It's really quite incredible all that can be found in this relatively small country. We cannot wait to explore Ecuador. It will be wild to see what life is like at latitude zero, to see Mount Chimborazo farthest point from the center of the Earth, and experience a full twelve hours of daylight every day.

[Photo: Flickr]