Sunday, September 22, 2013

Magical Harvest Dinner

Bryce and I once again participated in the Harvest Dinner in Crawford County.  Last year the Farm to Table meal was served in a community room and while delightfully tasty it lacked ambiance.  This year it was held at Strawberry Lane, just North of Eastman (where we picked blueberries and raspberries earlier this year).  It was magical.  They totally marked off the ambiance box.  It reminded Bryce and I so much of our wedding.  It's amazing how many people hear that we got married in a barn and don't realize how beautiful that setting really is. 
The food was sinfully good.  Everyone was raving about the local squash and tilapia.  And there was much more food than that.  My friend Kathleen introduced us to her niece and her fiance who are going to UNI, but are both from Tennessee.  We were able to have a really good conversation with them throughout the night.  Kathleen's daughter, Ella and Greta, did a great job keeping Link entertained.  Link even snuck in a kiss for Greta when we left.  She's a 5th grader and wasn't sure what to think of that.
They even provided music from an older couple who I was a little worried about before they started, but they were very good and sang great, somewhat folksy songs that Bryce and I love.  Some people danced but no one felt obliged and everyone looked like they were having fun.
Gorgeous night.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Lots of good on the screen today

I've have seen some very interesting things on the screen lately.
Here are my favorites:

The Chipotle Scarecrow Commercial ditches the idea to sell themselves and takes on industrial food.

A political ad where the Liberal Politician gracefully includes his tea party dad.

A silent short which makes you more aware of the impact your actions have, even on creatures millions of miles away from you.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

S.F. Day Four

I had no idea what to do today, but I knew I was craving some good breakfast so Link and I went to the Eagle Nest down at the Pier.  We ate here last year and I remember it being extraordinary and it was again.  We had French toast and egg Benedict with crab cakes.  Yum.  Tuesday is a great day at the Pier, very empty.  We had the carousel all to ourselves and the piano steps. 

To get down to the Pier we waited a very long time for the F, but to our luck there was a chatty local on the train who recommended a place we had never heard of, Musee Mecanique.  The Musee was an arcade of vintage machines.  Most took only a quarter or two.  Link had a blast playing whack a mole, flying the whirly bird, doing an earlier version of rockm sockm robots with metal boxers and all sorts of interesting games.  

When we went back to the hotel we walked around the hotel area to check it out.  We missed dining at Mixt Greens (which I had been excited about) so went across the street for a dessert date of brownie and ice cream.  We also visited the Redwood Forrest Park when Link had fun with the statues and water features.

Our flight the next day was at noon.  An odd time to do anything before hand, but we didn't have to wake early.  We had an easy wait at the SFO and the flight wasn't very booked so I got to sleep three seats long.  Link slept too, unfortunateley during the entire showing of Monster's University.  I watched it though.

Chicago airport was once again Chicago.  Our 7:45pm flight got bumped to 9:45 to 10:50 to 11:45. 
Then gate changes.  Damn, I have to work tomorrow and was planning on dropping of vendors stuff from Whimsy to those who live in Dubuque. 

S.F. Day Three

I was wrong.  Link slept a full 14 hours.  Then Link and I started our day by going to the Ferry Building to get on a ferry to Sausalito.  We were a little early and to my surprise I was very happy to be.  The ferry building is very cute and filled with stores to occupy our time.  At the bookstore we found very reasonably priced toys and books.  When we returned from our trip Link got a green toy ferry boat and a r2d2 book.

American Cup Race going beyond the Ferry
Sausalito was great.  It was filled wit art galleries.  I loved the Hudson and Bubble gallery.  Another gallery featured hats owned by dr. Seuss including the famous red and white stripe hat.  There were also great clothing shops, of course nothing in plus sizes, but very cute clothes.  Claire's Attic reminded me of Agnes so much.  We had skipped seeing Sausalito when she was with us last year, I'm sorry she wasn't with us this year.  Sausalito has a lot of Italian influence so link and I shared his first real Italian pizza.  He also tried sparkling water, except he really didn't like it.  I think I had the same face on my first sip 12 years ago.  And Link had his first gelato.
Piano Steps
When we returned to the city, we went to Ghiradelli square.  I was thinking about joining the giant line for the trolley until Link informed me that the street car we had just gotten off was a trolley, which it kind of was.  So I'm pretty sure the experience would have been lost on him.  So we went up to Ghiradelli to play with the water fountain, try chocolate samples and grab dinner.  I had been looking forward to going to McCormick & Kluetos since we had gone with Lori way back in 2004 and had the most amazing fish.  However, I was extremely disappointed.  We had a great waiter but overlooked and under seasoned food.  So sad.

On the way back home Link fell on the street car steps a little and I twisted his arm to keep him up so he was in tears.  I pulled out the leftover yucky food (which I only took home because I felt bad for how much I paid for it) and we sat down with the homeless and fed it to the pigeons.  Link was in hysterical fits of laughter with the dance he was making the pigeons do.

We went back to the hotel and Link took a bath with his new Ferry Boat toy.  We watched Kung fu Panda and I fell asleep before Link.

Monday, September 9, 2013

S.F. Day Two

We started breakfast at the hotel restaurant with other staff including one with two young boys, which was great for Link.  But yah, $4 for a single serve cereal.  Thank god this place is mostly comped.  I did the buffet and it was great, especially the blackberries.

Bryce decided to go to the Hackathon after all so Link and I took a street car to the Wharf to go to the Exploritorium.  It recently moved and is really nice.  I was surprised to find Link free and me only $25.  There was so much hands on to do we couldn't have done everything if we went everyday for a week.

In addition we got to see some of the American Cup race from the museum.  

When we finished we went to Pier 39.  We bought some fruit at the farmers market, had a crepe, watched the sea lions and went on the carousel.  But I could tell while asking link to smile for a carousel picture, he was really tired.  So we went back to the hotel.  I told him if he took a nap dad would be back and we could go on a trolley ride.  He fell asleep right away, but went into night sleep mode and never woke up.  I ordered some sushi for dinner and watched hgtv and food network the rest of the night.  Most likely he will be watching cartoons at 5 am tomorrow while we sleep.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

San Francisco Day One

We woke up at 3:30 am to drive to Dubuque and catch a flight.  Got there just in time.  Link woke up at the airport with lots of enthusiasm, which was great given we all had slept so little.  In Chicago I was so tired I slept right on the floor without care.  Link was given colors and a coloring book and got to press buttons in the cock pit.  The flight to California also went well, link slept a good three hours of it.

We took a taxi to le meridian hotel, which is very nice.  I love and hate that the corner of the room is two sliding glass windows with a cement like fence, essentially making your room a balcony.  Love the view of the bay bridge, hate the fact it doesn't lock and link brought his superman cape, which makes my mind start worrying.

We ate lunch across the street at the elephant in the castle, which appears to be British Canadian.  I had patine for the first time, which is French fries with cheese and gravy.

After napping, while link watched a marathon of sponge bob, we took the Bart to Oakland where Bryce's friend from grad school, Erch, picked us up at around 5:30.  From then until 8:30 we hung out with him and his wife MB and their two daughters, Sadie who is 5 and Kit who is 1.  Link took off with Sadie and had a blast.  At 8:30 Lou, the babysitter (or whisperer is more like it), came to watch the kiddos while we went to chez panisse.  The best reservation I could get was 9:30, which Bryce reminded me was a little like eating at 11:30 our time.  Having been up so early it was a long day.

The food at chez panisse was amazing.  I first heard about this restaurant in the film food fight and was instantly drawn to it.  I love the hippie generation and local food and this is the essential local food cafe started in the 1960s.  MB and Erch are vegan so it was a little more limited for them, but the chef made their own entrees and they seemed to love it as well.

After our meal Erch drove us home over the new bay bridge, which just opened this week so he was excited to drive over.  It was hard o say goodbye to them.  We would probably be such good friends if we lived closer.  In reality MB and I haven't spent more than 12 hour together in our life, but we click.  

Here are some of the similarities between us:
1. All of graduated in art (I'm the only one who never went to cranbrook though)
2. Erch and Bryce are both from Columbus
3. MB is from Kentucky, but lived in Manchester, ia during elementary years
4. Our kids are spaced the same, just thier's are 1 year older
5. Our children are home births, toddler nursed, cloth diapered
6. Husbands work from home, wives work outside
7. Oldest children just started school, both of us drive an hour for the type of education
8. We appear to be the same politically, spiritually, pretty much everything

Monday, September 2, 2013

Food Change

I was sick last and didn't want to do anything so I caught up on some Netflix shows including "Forks Over Knives."  I knew it was a documentary with an agenda type of movie, but I didn't realize it was a vegan agenda show.  Suddenly I didn't want to eat anything whatsoever.

At the same time I started reading my midwifery information for pregnancy diet and realized I was not doing it right.  So, to get my appetite back I did decide to make a change.  No I did not go vegan or even vegetarian, but I did decide to go organic/real foods.

I started by finally getting a membership to the Oneota Food Co-Op in Decorah.  Since we will be making the trip up there weekly this year it made sense.  I also downloaded some meal plans from 100 Days of Real Food.  I had checked her out before and she gives shopping lists with approximate pricing, etc.

We also are still keen on local, even if it is not certified organic.  We went apple picking at Shihata's.  It was Link's first time and he did great.  It was a hot steamy day, but our bag filled up fast.  We really loved the Paula Reds.

Link and I also finally went to the Friday night Farmer's Market in Marquette.  There wasn't a great attendance, which was sad because the produce is so spectacular right now and the farmers are steaming in the sun, but we loved it.  There were lots of vendors including some I knew were organic because they presented for me at farm to school.  We loaded up on veggies and meat.  They even had great things for kids to do, like a live snake, turtle, and toad to play with and a giant Connect 4 to play.

Making this change has felt so right and has been so easy.  There are not a lot of recipes, it is just use organic ingredients and Bryce and I can't believe how much of a taste difference there really is in the food.  Last night's salad issued these words from Bryce after I asked him if he wanted dressing "No, this is the best salad I've ever had in my life, I don't need any."  The food has been tasting fabulous.  I was/am a little worried about price, but I am also keeping in mind how low food costs really are and how awfully workers get paid.  So I am actually paying them a better wage by buying organic and I know this for certain since I personally know farmers for Organic Valley.