personal, places, san francisco, sunday hikes

port costa

7×7 has a series on their website titled “Ultimate Sunday Hikes.” I always find them during the week, when I’m most anxious to spend more time outdoors and making plans for the weekend. Fitting. This week, the feature was an East Bay trail, touted as the “hidden gem of Northern Contra Costa County.” I was sold. So today, Jon and I drove up to Crockett to follow the recommendation.

The trail was easy, dotted with cows and Eucalyptus trees, and ended in one of the cutest towns I’ve been to in such close proximity to San Francisco. If you live in the Bay Area and haven’t walked the trail from Crockett to Port Costa, now is the time. To get there, take the last exit off I-80 East before you cross over the Carquinez Bridge, then take a left onto Pamona Street. Follow Pamona through downtown Crockett until you reach the Bull Valley Staging area. Take a left, and park on the lower level. There are two trails that lead to Port Costa, so use the trip as an excuse to make the complete loop- both sides are gorgeous. Already looking forward to going back, and staying at the The Burlington Hotel.

Day hikes are one of my favorite ways to explore the Bay Area, so I am hoping to spend more time documenting my favorites here.

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Boston, main dish, personal, places, travel

new york + settling in

I have a new appreciation for hot plates and toaster ovens.

this weekend I moved from an apartment in inman square to a studio in the south end. trees line my new street, I’m a ten minute walk to my favorite espresso royale caffe and flour bakery, and am getting acquainted to the mini-fridge, microwave, and bed doubling-as-a-couch lifestyle.  although i may feel differently come december, it turns out my concerns about not having an oven were at least somewhat unwarranted. tonight for dinner I made quinoa with a few drops of olive oil, arugula, salt and pepper, and topped it with two eggs, chopped avocado, and grape tomatoes. all on a single-burner hot plate (the quinoa was made first). living here and cooking this way will force me to be creative with food, again. i’ll have to forgo some of the staples i’d ordinarily rely on this time of year like roasted squash, and baked oatmeal isn’t anywhere in the foreseeable future–but that’s alright. I’m just thankful to be here.

earlier in the week I went to visit my cousin, christina, in new york. turns out that megabus is amazing. I never took the bus to new york last spring, for some reason, but it was really easy and well worth the $26 round-trip ticket. I spent part of wednesday afternoon wandering around the east village and at ost cafe on the corner of 12th and avenue a, waiting for christina to finish work. this was my view from the cafe window. hopefully during the course of the fall I’ll have time to make a few more trips to the city. until then, i’ll be posting more of my toasted, re-heated and single-pot meals.

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Boston, personal, places, san francisco

beginning again.

the fall semester is underway, and it’s my last as a full-time student in the gastronomy program at boston university. hard to believe.

as I’m getting settled back in boston, my legs are adjusting from the miles-long bike commutes to the mission to long walks across the BU bridge, through cambridge, to campus. this fall brings a lot of good with it: multiple San Francisco visitors, my cousin’s wedding next weekend in kalamazoo, and a pending trip down to new york. it feels good to move to an already-familiar place.

all throughout my work with la cocina over the summer, I had been contemplating ideas for my thesis. I was interested in aspects of the incubator model, and its ability to be transferred to other neighborhoods around the country; in other market-entry incubators, including markets like Off the Grid and The Underground Market; and the potential of incubators like La Cocina to continue to foster the growth of small food-business start-ups in San Francisco. What impressed me over and over again with this non-profit in particular was the depth of commitment to their clients: each email sent to a volunteer, each jog up the stairs to the storage cages in preparation for a cooking class, and each organizational meeting for the street food festival–was done with the goal of showcasing these culinary entrepreneurs. whatever form my thesis ends up taking, I hope it will at least be a small reflection of the passion that runs La Cocina. the work they’re doing is changing lives in the Mission District, mine included.

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personal, places

moving east

the start of 2011 has brought me to a new city and into an opportunity i couldn’t have imagined would exist a few years ago. this past weekend, my parents helped me move out to boston to start a graduate program at boston university. since the program i’ll be a part of is one centered around the study of food, i hope to include some of what i’ll be learning into the posts on this blog in the coming months.

since i have a few days yet before the semester begins, i’m taking the time to get settled in, explore new neighborhoods, try to find as many coffee shops, bakeries, grocery stores as possible, and just enjoy being new in a city.

thanks everyone for reading! the remaining pictures were taken at a fantastic restaurant on the north end, mamma maria, where we had dinner on saturday night.

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