Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Trip Review: San Francisco Part 2

This is really going to be about food.  Because that's what we did in San Francisco.  Well, that and run races.  But the race part I already covered. So here's the "we ate a ton of stuff" post.

After the race we took the express shuttle back to the hotel where I took a quick shower and then we headed out to lunch.  Back across the street to the Ferry Market Building for some burgers and fries at Gott's.

I also had a nice red ale, since beer is my favorite post-race refreshment.  Thatbaby got a grilled cheese, while both Thatboy and I got big juicy burgers.  Mine had Point Reyes blue cheese.  His had bacon and American cheese.  We all shared the sweet potato fries. 

I should also point out that at some point we grabbed some cheese from Cowgirl Creamery (Mt. Tam - my fave) and some bread from Acme Bread.  They became our late night snacks in the room. Seriously, you can get anything from the Ferry Market Building.

Later that night we headed to La Mar Cebicheria.  This is one of those restaurants we could never get the inlaws to eat at.  Just not adventurous enough.  Thatboy and I, however, love Peruvian food.  Our first night in town, Thatboy suggested we grab a cocktail before heading to dinner, which we did at the hotel bar.  Thatbaby thought the idea of a cocktail was a good one, especially when we let him have his first shirley temple.  So as soon as we sat down at La Mar he asked for a cocktail.  Luckily they had some great non-alcoholic specialties our little guy could enjoy.

Dinner was amazing.  One of the highlights of the trip.  I had a classic Peruvian dish - lomo saltado.  The meat was so tender and flavorful, and as Thatboy and I both agreed, the sauces made our dishes.  Savory, perfectly spiced, and complementary.

Thatbaby had a handheld version of my dish.  Lomo saltado empanadas.  He actually was a bigger fan of the rice - that happens.  But once he had a bite of the empanadas he thought they were pretty good too. 

Thatboy had the arroz norteno which had mussels, clams, scallops, squid, and octopus is a spicy picante sauce.  Even thinking about it now, over a week later, makes his mouth water.  Thatbaby proved once again that he's a fan of squid and octopus.  

After dinner we hopped on a trolley over to Ghiradelli Square.  We have Ghiradelli here in San Diego, but there's something about visiting the San Francisco location we thought Thatbaby would enjoy.

We were right.  He enjoyed every last bit of that ice cream.  We all shared a Sunday, because between his new found love of cocktails and ice cream on a daily basis, we had to draw the line somewhere.  But pretty far out there, because it is a vacation after all.

Monday morning we headed to Dottie's True Blue Cafe.  We never get to eat breakfast in San Francisco, so this was a real treat.  We decided to go on Monday because I heard the lines are outrageous, and I thought we'd have a shorter wait on a weekday.  We did. We were seated almost immediately.  But by the time we left, the line was wrapped around the block.

Thatbaby overheard us talking about one of the specials of the day - chocolate coconut muffins.  The mere word "muffins" had his little ears perk up.  They're one of his favorite breakfast treats.  He knew exactly what he wanted.  The muffin was huge.  The kid didn't even finish half of it.  But the chocolate coconut balance was perfect.  Not too much of either.

As you can see, Thatboy ordered a small breakfast.  The Open Road comes with 2 eggs, bacon, potatoes, and 2 pancakes.  Thatbaby helped with the bacon. 

Personally, I think I got the winner of the meal.  It was a daily special - a fresh baked biscuit with a fried egg, provolone, prosciutto, and avocado.  Yeah, there were potatoes and fruit that came with it, but I didn't even get to them. The flakey, buttery, biscuit, the salty meat, the creamy avocado, and CHEESE! Thatbaby helped me with my prosciutto too.

So the moral of this story?  If you want to eat your way through a city, San Francisco is a pretty good one to do it in.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Trip Review: San Francisco Part 1

The best part about running Bay to Breakers, other than the race itself, was getting to experience San Francisco, the city.  Which means doing things we never get to do and eating places we never get to eat.  We stayed at the Hyatt Regency, which is my current favorite San Francisco hotel.

The hotel itself is beautiful, with lights hanging from the various floors down to the lobby, and glassed elevators which made the ride extra fun for Thatbaby.

But we also had a pretty great view of the bay.  This is the Bay Bridge, which puts on a light show at night.

The location though is what won me over.  The hotel is right beside a huge transit stop, which meant we could jump on whatever trolley, cable car, light rail, bus, or subway we needed to get where we had to go.  It was also across the street from the Ferry Market building, which is where we spent a lot of our time.  Eating.

Thatbaby liked the live musicians.  He wanted to stop and watch all of them.  The first one we saw played saxophone and when he asked to play, I told him we had saxophone at home he could play.  So then he asked that about every instrument we saw.  "We have cello at home?"  "We have trumpet at home?"

But really, staying across from the Ferry Market Building meant we did not have to journey far for good food.  Since our first day there was Saturday, we got to take part in the Farmer's Market.  While Thatboy had a smoked salmon sandwich, I ended up with this porcetta beauty, slathered with onion marmalade.  Thatbaby went back and forth between our two choices.

And after we went inside for some Humphrey Slocombe ice cream.  Thatboy had a coke bourbon float with their secret breakfast ice cream.  Thatbaby had a chocolate carmel with sea salt scoop, and I had a Harvey Milk and Honey scoop.

The other great thing about the Hyatt's location - it's right beside a playground!  We spent a little bit of time here every day. 

Since it was the day before the race, that's pretty much all we did on Saturday.  Other than go out for dinner.  In an effort to "carb load" we hit up some Italian: Perbacco.

Thatbaby loved his "white pasta" - noodles in butter sauce.  Thatboy had papperdelle with lamb shoulder ragu.  I had gnocchi with beef sugo and mushrooms.  And we got a side of brussels sprouts.  We voted and I had the winner meal of the evening.  The thing I liked about the meal was that even though it was pasta, it wasn't heavy.  I didn't go to bed feeling weighed down.   And after dinner, we headed right back to bed - some of us had a race the next morning!

Monday, May 26, 2014

Mommy Mondays: Breast for All

I've been meaning to write this post for a while - it's about one of my pet peeves.  The thought goes in and out whenever I see it referenced on sites or blogs.  It's about breastfeeding in public.

What brought it about recently was a blog I read where the blogger claims to be pro-breastfeeding, but also thinks it should be private and not normalized.  She started out by talking about how before getting pregnant she thought breastfeeding was weird and gross - which, in my book, is precisely why it does need to be normalized and why women do need to be able to feed their children in public, however they're comfortable.

This was further reinforced by this season of 16 & Pregnant.  Thatboy mentioned to me that it seems like most of the young girls go straight to formula, without even attempting breastfeeding.  Now, I don't think there's anything wrong with formula - but I do think there's a problem with the taboo associated with breastfeeding.  I explained to Thatboy that for many of these young girls, breastfeeding may not even be something they considered.  Many of these young girls are children of teen mothers, who also likely used formula on their children because it is only recently that breastfeeding hasn't been viewed as "that thing women who can't afford formula" do.  Breastfeeding isn't normalized.  It isn't something that is available to everyone.

So how do we fix that?  Women, especially young women, need to see breastfeeding.  They need to know that it's out there, and that people do it.  They need to know it's not weird or gross, but a way to feed children.  And that means we, as a community, can't place limitations on where or how women breastfed.

Personally, I always wore a cover when I nursed in public.  But that was more for my comfort than anything else.  That and I had a VERY distractable nurser ;-)  Like with most things in life, what I would do has absolutely no impact on what I think others should do.  So women who don't use a nursing cover?  Fine.  Whatever they're comfortable with, right?  Apparently not.  I can't understand the vitriol against it. I've heard every argument against it and I none of them ring true.  It makes you uncomfortable?  Then don't look.  Plus, the reason it makes you uncomfortable is because we have such a taboo against it.  The more people do it, the more normal it becomes.  Years ago showing ankles was highly provocative, now no one blinks an eye when someone wears shorts that barely cover their behind.  So the more it's out there, the more it will be out there.  The more women will feel comfortable feeding their children and not hiding in bathrooms or backrooms.  I mean, really, when was the last time you enjoyed your meal in a toilet stall?

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Sunday Runday: Bay to Breakers

What an amazing weekend you guys!  This is one of my new favorite races.  The race is fun, the course is gorgeous, and the crowd support is unlike any other.

We flew in to San Francisco Saturday morning and headed straight to the expo. 

When Expos are done right, I love them.  This one was great.  Easy to navigate, full of free goodies and race necessities.

I walked away with two cases of redbull, a pair of free sunglasses, a pair of sunglasses I bought for racing which I desperately needed, drinkable yogurts (which Thatbaby enjoyed all weekend - he also claimed the free sunglasses), a free under armor water bottle for having the Map My Run app on my phone, samples of crunchies, a bag, Kind Bar, and my race t-shirt.

We stayed at the race hotel, which meant we didn't have to get up early for the race on Sunday morning.  We got up, got dressed, and the boys walked me half a mile to the corrals before catching some public transport to the finish where'd they'd meet up with me again.

Before they left, we hung out and checked out some of the costumes.  Bay to Breakers is known for the crazy getups runners wear.  Which I knew would be entertaining for Thatbaby.  It was.  He loved the funny, colorful, costumes.

Then the boys left and I headed into my corral.

We actually ended up being delayed from the start because of some problems with the course, but that gave more people time for another Bay to Breaker's tradition - The tossing of the tortillas.  Yup, throwing tortillas like frisbees.  Fun, but it kind of hurts when those suckers hit you!

Finally it was time to start the race!  Which meant, it was time for some people to get into their racing gear.


Another Bay to Breakers tradition.  The nudity.  Nudity is specifically prohibited during the race.  Which only means that these people don't take off their clothes until the race has started (or their garbage bags like some guys I saw.)  My total nudity numbers:
6 - naked men running the race
2 - naked spectators
1-  naked woman running the race

Mr. Naked shedded his clothes before we even got to the start line.  But not too much earlier.  Before long (actually it was kind of a long time because of the delay) we were crossing the start and heading out.

The first 2 miles weaved through the city of San Francisco.  Which was so cool for me.  Because I'm really unfamiliar with the city.  It was the best way to tour it.  Running past landmarks - famous streets and homes.  It was also really great because every single block of every single street was just filled with people.   Really, it was unlike any race I've ever run.  There was never an empty space.  People were out, cheering, dressed in costumes of their own, having as much fun as the runners.  

At mile 2, we hit Hayes Hill.

I'm not going to lie.  I was a little nervous about this hill.  I'd heard horror stories, and after the Safari Half, I wasn't sure I was going to be up for it.  Especially when I checked the elevation online and realized it was much steeper than the one I had just run.

But you know what?  That hill was NOTHING!  I mean, yeah it was steep.  But it was also really short.  I didn't have nearly the problem with it that I did with the Safari Park hills.  By the way, just check out all the people on the side here - this is what I mean by crowd support.

The next 2 miles were also through the city, more residential areas with parks and "painted ladies" (the houses, although some of the spectators were questionable).  And then around mile 4, we entered Golden Gate Park.

It was so nice to run through the beautiful park, tree lined and shady.  Although the weather for the run was perfect even without the trees.  But Golden Gate Park has such beautiful scenery between the buildings and the trees it was a highlight of the run.  I also got to FINALLY see the bison that live in the park!  I've wanted to see them for years.

At mile 7, we headed out of Golden Gate Park and towards the finish line - where my boys were waiting for me.

Because this was my first 12k, it was an instant PR!  The race ended at Ocean Beach, and we took advantage of that for a little beach time before heading back to the hotel.

 I really liked this race and would recommend it to anyone.  In fact, I'm already planning on running it again with Thatniece!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Sunday Runday: Packing For Races

I kind of love destination races.  I love getting out and running a new course, exploring a new city, and feeling like part of a community in a new place.  I also love the hotel stay, because it's the only time I can justify it, and it makes race morning SO much more pleasant.

I try to do one destination race a year - even if that only means a race in Orange County, like some of the Disney races.  The only problematic part of traveling to race is that you don't have your closet right there, so it's even more important that you get your gear together ahead of time.  I have a special packing list for when I travel to a race.

- Headband
- Sports bra
- race day outfit (top and bottom)
- socks
- shoes

Fuel - Unless you're running in Antarctica, you can probably pick this up whereever you're going, but I like to bring it with me, so I don't have to try scouring a new location for my old favorites.
- Water belt
-  Gatorade (my electrolytes of choice)
- Kind bar (breakfast before the race)
- Jelly Bell Sport Beans

- Ipod and headphones
- Travel Body Glide

Do you ever travel for races?  Is there anything special you like to bring from home?

Friday, May 16, 2014

My New Skirt

Back when I went to the skirt making party I had picked up some extra fabric, because a girl should have options.  Since I didn't use it that night, I thought it would be perfect to use for Bay to Breakers.  Except then the whole moving thing happened, and my little sewing machine flat out died on this one.  So it's far from perfect, but it's sparkly and pink!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

This Weekend

Because I don't have enough on my plate, this weekend I'll be heading to San Francisco for a little racing.

The big race is Sunday, but we're flying in Saturday so I can go to the Expo, and not be trying to fly in and race the same day.  We're also staying till Monday.

I'm kind of excited about it because
1) It's one of my bucket races.
2) We're staying IN San Francisco.  For those of you who have followed this blog for any length of time will know this is a really big deal for me.  Even though Thatboy's family lives right outside SF, we hardly ever make it to the city, except of course when we go to the Museum of Modern Art.  I'm really excited to do some actually San Francisco exploring - trying good restaurants, seeing some fun things, NOT spending the entire time in the inlaws' living rooms staring at our belly buttons.

With that in mind - we need some recommendations!  It's been years since we've really explored the city, and longer since we've had a good meal there.  I'm reaching out for recommendations.  We'll need 2 breakfast places, 2 lunch places, and 2 dinner places.  Plus some fun activities that we can do with Thatbaby - we've already promised him an ice cream sundae at Ghiradelli.  So hit me up!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Fun With Puff Pastry

This post is the exact opposite of the last one.  Which should let you know I'm reaching into the archives right now.  Back when I had some free time, I whipped up a batch of puff pastry.  Puff pastry is one of the most delicious things in the world, and one of the most disgusting to make.  Because really, using the insane amounts of butter makes you question whether or not this is a good idea.

Not too much though.  Because how can you question something so buttery, flakey, and mouth watering?

Once I had the puff pastry made, I used it in some pretty simple ways.  First I cut it into strips, rolled it and baked it to create horns which I filled with whipped cream.

And then sprinkled the rest with sugar and rolled it into little palmiers.  These were a big hit, because they're just so easy to eat!  

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Tortilla Pinwheels

This is one of those ridiculous recipes.  Like a recipe for ice.  Because really, it's just throwing ingredients on a tortilla and rolling it.  But my friends, this is what dinner looks like round these parts lately.  Simple.  Quick.  There will be time for fancy dinners in the future, but right now we're just using what we have and trying to not make too much of a mess. 

Tortilla Pinwheels
8 oz cream cheese
4oz cheddar, shredded
4 oz mozzerella, shredded
1 package of tortillas
  1. Combine cream cheese, cheddar, and mozzarella.
  2. Lay each tortilla on a piece of saran wrap and spread mixture over.
  3. Roll up, using the saran wrap to seal, and refrigerate for at least an hour.
  4. Slice and serve.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Mommy Mondays: Music For You!

I'll do better next week, I promise.  And eventually there will be a whole post on moving with a toddler.  Let me preface it by saying - it's a little messy, not so fun, and very exhausting.  While the dust settles, I'll just leave you with a little concert.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Sunday Runday: Safari Park Half Marathon

The inaugural Safari Park Half Marathon was in 2011, I found out it about it. right as I found out I was pregnant with Thatbaby.  I didn't know how pregnancy would affect me or my running, so I figured I would train for it, and sign up once I was farther along.  The problem was, it sold out!  I've wanted to run it ever since. 

This year I finally had my chance!  I was going to run with the cheetahs.  Or to the cheetahs, since the race really runs to the Safari Park. 

I somehow talked L&O into joining me for this one.  She had mentioned that she was going to be running the 10k with a friend, I was working on getting her to upgrade to the half marathon, her friend dropped out, and the rest, as they say, is history.

As I mentioned last week. L&O did a bunch of our longer runs together.  We were running pretty solidly around an 11 minute mile.  Which would put us at a 2 hour, 24 minute half marathon.  Funny enough, that's right around where both of our PRs are.  L&O had been talking for weeks about how we were going to PR at this race.  I wasn't as confident as her.  Firstly because of my current minimal running training schedule.  Secondly, because we weren't training at PR paces. 

 The morning of the race, I was up at 4:30 getting ready.  At 5 we bundled Thatbaby into the car and were on our way.  We got to the race start with plenty of time to park, and for Thatboy to grab a coffee before heading to the shuttles that would take the spectators into the park to watch us finish.

L&O and her boys met us there and we sent the men-folk on their way while L&O headed over to stretch, grab some water, and make our way to the starting line.

In our effort to PR, L&O convinced me to get into the 10 minute mile corral.  We stayed toward the back.  We took in the other runners in their various states of costume.  Some, like us, were in boring running gear.  Others were full on Safari-ed out, in animal prints with ears, tails, the works!  The gun went off, and so did we.

We didn't take any pictures during the race, and our photographers were already in the park, so I don't have anything from during the run itself.  Instead I'll just paint a picture with my words.

The first mile felt good, there were little rolling hills, but we went down as frequently as we went up.  We ran from the Shopping Center to the road that would take us to the park.  After the first mile, we were just in front of the 2:20 pacers.  I could tell because we heard her yell "If this is your first half marathon, you've just finished your first mile!"  More on the pacers later, but really, she was fantastic.  L&O checked her garmin and noted we had run the first mile in 10 minutes and 40 seconds.  Not too shabby. 

The second mile we headed past Orfila Winery.  I had heard they would be handing out the gatorade in wine glasses here.  They weren't.  I guess the thought of gatorade in wine glasses sped up our feet though, because we did the next mile in 10 minutes, 20 seconds.  We were getting faster!  At this point, we were right behind the 2:15 pacers.

By the end of mile 3, we were ahead of the 2:15 pacers and ran the third mile in 10 minutes, 8 seconds.  Yeah, we dropped about 20 seconds each mile.  I started getting nervous.  Maybe we should slow down?  We decided to keep it up for as long as we could, knowing we would certainly be dropping in time around mile 6 and THE HILL.

Miles 4-6 took us toward the entrance of the park, past a dairy farm where they brought the cows out for pictures and moral.  They also handed out California dairy buttons and chocolate milk straws.  It was fairly flat so we managed to maintain our pace for the most part, just in front of the 2:15 pace group.  Then we hit mile 6.

Mile 6 is a hill that takes you into the park.  And hill is just the technical term.  Because when you're running up it, you could swear it was Kilimanjaro. It's sandy, which slows you down anyway, and steep!  At one point in time, L&O turned to me and told me I could run ahead.  I told her I was running just about as fast as I could already.  It took us 12 minutes to get up that hill.  So yeah, we slowed down.  And completely lost the 2:15 pacers.

Which was fine, because really, as long as we stayed in front of the 2:20 pacers, we'd still PR.  Mile 7 we were in the park, running past zebras and giraffes.  We were able to pick our pace up a bit, since it was mostly downhill.  There was a person with a hose in the park in case you needed a little cool down.  L&O took advantage of that - it was hot out!  We headed out of the park and past a camel that was waiting for us just before mile 8.

Miles 8-11 were kind of hard in that they were boring.  The scenery was lovely and bucolic, but it was hot out, and I was ready to be done.  I was giving myself pep talks like "just a couple more miles to go!"  Times like that I was glad to have L&O by my side. 

I was especially glad to have her at my side at mile 11, another hill, back into the park.  At this point we were both tired and feeling like whoever planned this course was some kind of sadist.  And the 2:20 pacer was right in our ear.  Throughout the race she'd been yelling encouragement like "pick it up!"  "You got this!"  Somewhere around the end of mile 11 she was right behind us cheering everyone on and I turned around and told her how fantastic she was.  She asked us if this was our first half marathon - it was.  She asked us if we were going to PR - we were as long we stayed in front of her.  She gave us some tips and cheered us on, and L&O picked up our pace as we coasted downhill into the park.

We returned into the park at mile 12, right past the elephants!  We were both tired and felt that last mile.  Moreso than mile 7 after the mile 6 hill. As we rounded to the finish the pacer was on our heels, yelling to the crowd to cheer for us and our PRs.  We crossed the finish line at 2:18!  Beating our old PRs by 5 minutes!
After the race the L&O crew headed home.  Walking toward the exit, Thatbaby fell asleep in his stroller.  It had been a long morning for him.  While L&O and I were running, he and Little LO were running down hills, playing with lion cubs, and greeting armadillos.  Thatboy and I decided to take advantage of his nap and go for a walk "in the woods" - the World Gardens part of the Safari Park.

Thatbaby woke up in a baaaaaaaaaaaad mood.  A combination of a too early morning, a too short nap, and a too hot day.  We took him to cool down in the splash park.

After the splash park, when he was cooler and full of pineapple I had brought with us, we went and sat to grab some lunch and check out the giraffe.

We headed out of the park, but not without a stop at the petting kraal and Nairobi Village, where Thatbaby harnessed his toddler energy to make running water.


Friday, May 09, 2014

Our New Home

May I present - The Gopher House!

Thatboy and I have been "in the process" of buying a house for 3 years now.  Which really means that on and off we've gone house hunting, been unimpressed with the market, and given it up.  We came thisclose to buying a house 3 years ago, which fell through during the escrow process.

We had planned to look again this summer, thinking our current lease was up in August.  So you can imagine our surprise last month when we learned our lease was actually up at the end of this month.  

We sped up our search, and in the span of one week, went house hunting and bought a house!  We call it "the gopher house" because when we first visited, we noticed the house came with its very own pet gopher!  I little guy who appeared to live in the front yard and was very unshy.  (We haven't seen him since that initial visit, and his holes are all filled in, so we'll keep our eye out, but we think the sellers took care of him.  Which is probably better, since Thatbaby and I really wanted to keep him and Thatboy said that wasn't going to happen.)  In order to differentiate between the homes we looked at, they all got a nickname - the dinosaur house, the red backyard house, and this one was the gopher house.  The name stuck, and that's probably what we'll always call it.

The minute we entered the house, Thatboy fell in love.  With the hardwood floors, the stained glass window in the door, and most importantly the windows.  An entire wall of windows in the main living space, looking out over the mountains.

One of the things that has always kept Thatboy and I from buying a home is the lack of yardage here.  So the other major selling point for the gopher house was the fantastic back yard.  Complete with an orange tree, fire pit, grass,  and paved area.  I expect us to be doing a lot of entertaining back here!

This friends, is one of the reasons why I have been so busy as of late.  Within one month we have bought and closed on a house, and we're moving this weekend!  I've had a lot on my plate!  On top of all the running I've been doing/have planned.  So stick around and I'll share all the fun stories about moving out, moving in, and the joys of homeownership - as soon as I have some time to do so!