Circa 1987. A gawky, lanky, adolescent girl frequents El Toro Taqueria at least once a week with her mom who lives up the street on 17th and Dearborn in the Mission district of San Francisco. This was back in the days before the Mission was filled with hipsters, cool bars and top notch restaurants. In fact, it was a bit scary back in ’87. Some of my memories include my mom and I getting harassed on the way to and from the 16th Street BART station, and the big neon 500 Club martini glass sign at the corner of 17th and Guerrero represented a scary business to keep away from, not a cool dive bar with a photo booth. How the Mission has changed.
El Toro Taqueria in the old days
Continue reading the burrito lives on
Some people swoon at the sight of actors or musicians, I’m enough of a food nerd that I get nervous and cagey around food luminaries. I ran into Cecilia Chiang two days ago at B. Patisserie and my husband had to push me to go say hello. I should mention that Cecilia is someone with whom I’ve interacted numerous times and have dined with, yet I transformed into a socially awkward 13-year-old at the thought of having a conversation with the “mother of Chinese cooking.” Continue reading culinary crush
Post number three and I’m already diverging from the overarching food-centric nature that I envisioned for this blog. But I can’t help myself, I have success on the brain. Last night I went with my friend Kerri to a Commonwealth Club presentation hosted by Arianna Huffington and Sheryl Sandberg. The two women spoke about how to redefine what we think of as success. Arianna Huffington has written a book about the subject called Thrive. Part of me thinks that it’s easy (ok, not easy, but easier) to write about redefining something you have already, by our society, achieved. Yes, I’m a cynic.
Cynicism aside, overall the subject matter was aspirational, and the women went into detail about the book. The gist? Remember that there is more to life than wealth and power. Arianna provided practical tips on now to have a more meaningful life, how to be less stressed, have a better balance, sleep more, meditate and give to others. Sounds obvious, right? But the reminder to thrive is exactly what I need right now.
My favorite takeaway of the evening: done is better than perfect. I know I get caught up in the endless cycle of tinkering with something until I’ve taken so much time with it that I no longer see straight and end up not finishing, making mistakes and jumping to another project. In fact, last night I was telling Kerri about my blog and I started over explaining that it was a work in progress, I haven’t set up and organized everything the way I want yet, and so on. She replied with, “done is better than perfect.” Thank you, Kerri for putting things into perspective.
And now, back to food.
I find baking to be not only therapeutic, but also deliciously happy-making. The house smells good and nobody in their right mind turns down fresh-out-of-the-oven baked goods. A good chocolate chip cookie may be viewed to some as pedestrian, but I maintain that a good cookie is second to none. I like them chewy, gooey and with no nuts, thank you very much. I have spent years searching for that perfect recipe. My dear friend Kara shares my love for chocolate chip cookies, and six years ago she shared with me “the best cookie recipe ever” during a visit, and we set forth in the kitchen to see just how these cookies compared to the numerous other recipes we had tested over the years. The result? Simply referred to as the New York Times chocolate chip cookie recipe, I haven’t found one before or since that compares.
Continue reading happy-making
Many cliched phrases have been running through my head in the last week. Everything happens for a reason; when one door closes, another opens; change is scary, but good; and so on. I’ve decided to pack away the cliches and create my own mantra: you’ll feel better when you finally start a blog and make cookies. And that, my friends, is exactly what I’m going to do.