Thursday, July 31, 2008

Macarune excitement

Of all the things that happened this past month, here's the
MOST exciting of them all. An email I received from Departures magazine, by Amex Publishing:

Dear Danielle,

C here.

Departures magazine has asked me to round up the best macarons around the world and I have heard that yours are among them.

I'd very much like to include you in the story.
Which means:
  1. I'd like to ask you some questions, either over the phone or via email, as you wish
  2. If possible, I'd need to taste the macarons. Do you ship to New York, or could you ship something here? It wouldn't have to be a perfectly wrapped box or anything. Just the bare bones so I could sample your signature pastry.
Please advise.

My address is listed below. You can email or call with a response/questions (XXX XXX XXXX).


Tuesday, July 29, 2008

All that jazz

This was what Wendy and I had planned for this coming weekend:

Brunch: 12:30pm Union Sq Cafe
Dinner: 7:30pm Jean-Georges (Pre-Fixe/Tasting Menu only) with Ryan

Brunch: 12:00pm Pastis
Dinner: 6:00pm Gotham Bar and Grill with Arielle and possibly Steve

Dinner: 7:30pm Eleven Madison Park (Pre-Fixe/Tasting Menu only)
Buddakan for drinks

Breakfast: H&H
Lunch: Grimaldi's
6:30pm Adour Alain Ducasse (Pre-Fixe/Tasting Menu only)

It took us two weeks to put the list together, but all that is no longer happening. And meanwhile poor Wendy's slaving away in Italy :( I'm so bummed I won't get to see everyone I had planned to meet there. Good thing is, I'm still meeting Livie in a week.

This past month has (yet again) been a whirlwind of events. There were so many things that happened but didn't get a place in this blog because I've just been too busy.
Night out with the girls at Harlot. Dinner alone and chat with bartenders at Spruce after getting my hair done. Cocktails with Shinta at the Spruce bar. Meeting crazy fake French man on Clement. Scoring a super cute bikini at Reiss. Karaoke at J-town and Bohemian Rhapsody. Sunny Sunday afternoon at Pizzeria Delfina. Drinks at Sweetie's with coworkers. Bowling event at the Presidio. Frida Kahlo exhibit at the SFMOMA. Guacamole, shrimp mole and fish tacos at the oh-too-Marina Mamacita's with Borina.

The last SF Macarune orders - picked up over the weekend

The most recent meal I cooked

Pappardelle pasta with bacon and blue cheese sauce complete with an egg on top (ala Christopher)

And the last time I used our Braun Multiquick Handblender before deciding to sell it. Spinach soup topped with crème fraiche and crispy bacon

I wish I had some soup now. This weather/allergies/seeming cold is driving me nuts.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Livie's bday

I am a horrible horrible friend. Despite the large print on my garage sale signs "7/26," I forgot to call my bestfriend on her birthday. Talk about being a lousy friend. Happy birthday dear Livie! I promise I'll make it up to you in LA.


Garage sale "BONANZA"

Few things I gained from my first all-American garage sale:
  1. Up to $300 in sales of trinkets, clothes and random furniture
  2. Another pending $140 from the sale of our bed and Cyril desk to a college kid who's picking this stuff up in August
  3. The VERY important knowledge that early bird shoppers are mad. See here how not to be one of those
  4. Some muscle build (I'd like to believe) with the lifting and moving of things
  5. Knowing that packaging is everything (i.e. pretty signs do a great job attracting folks)
  6. A tan on my right arm and right arm only
  7. 5 business cards
  8. Sniffles and a runny nose from sitting out in the cold, Sunday
I've been aching to do this since I read the "Yard Sale" article in Real Simple magazine 2 years ago. For those of you who know me, you'll know that what I really wanted was to lay things out and make them look pretty for customers. With new intent to get rid of stuff before the move, there was increased pressure put on the event.

Thanks Trung and Borina for helping out! And thank YOU to whose who stopped by to keep me company. It was all great fun.

Posting signs up the day before

That way!

Borina doing the sign-man twirl


Standing proud with my handmade sign

Trung doing the garage sale dance

Trinkets for sale

Books and appliances and stuff

Trung and clothes

Quiet afternoon with Trung sketching in the shadows. When I started fidgeting, he very kindly asked, "Are you ok? Do you want me to entertain you?"

Hence the modeling of clothes. Lol. Thanks Trung. You really are the best!

Where am I?

Drinking beer like a hill billy to kill time

A few Singaporean tourists stopped by and admitted that the chances of them seeing a garage sale in Singapore are slim. For that brief moment, I felt a wave of sadness thinking of the things I'd be missing upon the move.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Zagat SF

I had never been one to trust ZAGAT ratings.

Countless times I've been to restaurants that didn't make it with the food, only to step outside (for a smoke. Hah! I kid) and see a ZAGAT-rated posting at the door. Come to think of it the posting may say something along the lines of, "This no-nonsense mom and pop Korean Tofu House has been in the business for 15 years, serving hot pots to hungry NYU freshmen. The food is comforting, if not a tad bit spicy. Don't expect first class service though. If you order peanuts from the bleachers during baseball games, you'll have no problem getting your server's attention." As accurate as that may be, who the hell reads stuff off restaurant windows anyway??! Branding is branding. If you allow a bad restaurant to slap your logo on its door, I'm going to assume you're advocating it.

Regardless (of my rants) the ZAGAT 2008 booklet is the perfect source for developing a must-visit SF restaurant list before hopping on the plane. I was surprise at how many places I've covered over the past 3 years, and even more surprised at how many I haven't. Here's the list of unexplored territories I can't wait to dive into.

Cafe Jacqueline
Epic Roasthouse
Fleur de Lys
Gary Danko
Katia's Russian Tea Room
Kiss Sushi
La Folie
Lovejoy's Tea Room
Nick's Crispy Tacos
Ritz-Carlton Dining Room
Salt House
Swan Oyster Depot
Town Hall
Zuni Cafe

I made reservations at Zuni and Epic Roasthouse for when Livie visits. And another one at Quince to celebrate the bf and my anniversary. Everything else is still up for the taking. Call me if you wanna do dinner, brunch or lunch! Any time, and I'll check my calendar :) And if you have any suggestions, feel free to toss them my way.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

The BIG move is happening

It's official. After 7 months of pondering the pros and cons of every scenario
possible, I've finally decided to move to the land named after a lion.

With all the packing and baking (how often have I used these two verbs in the same sentence?) I need to do, it's hard to enjoy whatever time I have left here in the States. This has been home for the past decade, and I just know there are countless things I'm going to miss very much. Right now though, there's no time to think about them.

If you'd like to pick up something for the home or an out-of-the-ordinary garment for this Christmas' Ugly Sweater Party, I'm having a garage sale this Saturday the 26th from 9AM-5PM and another one Sunday the 27th from 11AM-5PM. Pretty much everything in our apartment but my beloved Kitchenaid's going to be up for sale at low-low prices.

Teaser. 10% of what's for sale

Other random treasures:

Antique wooden furniture
Bags (small and big)
Book shelf (as shown)
Books and more books
Braun impressions Multiquick Handblender
Cleaning tools new
Clothes new and old for M/F (mostly F)
Glasses/Champagne flutes
Hats and accessories
Heater fan
Home fragrances
Kitchen appliances
Microwave oven
Phillips TV
Shoes new
Webber grill and cleaning/grilling tools
Winter jackets/coats/sweaters

Link to images of some furniture for sale. Cash only. All are welcome.

7-day Craiglist link to share>

Monday, July 21, 2008

4 years of bliss

...and many more to come.

This is the first year the bf and I are spending our anniversary apart. Soon we'll be together. 3 weeks! The countdown's happening and the actual day, fervidly* anticipated.

I didn't realize as I typed the title of this post that I had done the exact same thing last year. It's true, this ride has been pretty damn blissful thus far. Sure we argue, punch walls and make up after. And even though our kids are probably going to be four-eyed and dorky as we both are, I'm happy. We're happy.

A little teaser from the bf. Wonder what it is

* I kid you not. I woke up at 3AM last night feverishly hot missing the bf's voice. Either SF's screwing me over with its odd weather, or I just miss him dearly

Thursday, July 17, 2008

A day at work

Vanilla bean, hibiscus and black sesame French macaroons by Macarune

These were ordered for a Milestones celebration party at work yesterday. Because two of my coworkers are getting married and another one is having an August baby, I got to be involved with party-planning via Macarune. Fun and profitable -- just how I like it!

I spent the weekend baking/decorating these goodies and couldn't have been more proud when the tray emptied within a few hours. The vanilla bean ones are merely cute with little red hearts symbolizing the unions of those getting married. Apologies in advance for the cheesiness.

The hibiscus ones are this season's favorite with semi-crunchy bits of hibiscus petals soaked in Persian rose tea, surprising you with every bite. It's floral, girly, and possibly the macaroon I would say is the most characteristic of my own personality. Yes. If I were a macaroon, I'd be the Macarune hibiscus macaroon. Which macaroon are you? Quiz to come :)

And the black sesame ones are my coworkers' favorite with a tasty Asian flavor if you're a fan of these healthy delectable seeds. As I am, shamelessly so, I have to resist licking the batter from the bowl every time I bake these. Mmm...

It dawned on me this past weekend how little time I spend promoting Macarune. Sure I have these posts on my blog, this Facebook page, this Flickr album, and this KQED Bay Area Bite blog interview article. Even so, quite a number of Macarune customers come from referrals and this Chowhound thread - not my own doing. Perhaps when I have the time, you'll see a little more. Fingers crossed.

Following the party, I received a 20-minute massage courtesy of the agency. I think 20-minute massages are merely a tease. It's like taking a guy to a strip club -- there's no substance whatsoever! Therefore, I'm making a booking for a full 90-minute one at Teashi this weekend. After all, a girl has to spoil herself and not to mention prep for a very-important-someone's return ;)

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Instant gratification

I felt like 1 lunch wasn't enough today. So I had 2.
I felt like some freshly baked muffins. And so I whipped some up.
I felt like 3 blueberry muffins and a cookie before dinner. And so I ate.
I felt like eating 10 steamed dumplings with sambal. And so I did.
I felt like a new pair of shoes today.


Online shopping rocks but nothing beats blueberry muffins straight out of the oven, especially during berry season

So light and fluffy. Someone stop me before I blow up like a balloon and can't fit into my heels!

Monday, July 14, 2008

All-American fun

Borina's 21 yet again

Yesterday was spent spring cleaning followed by a trip to Mr Smith's for well-deserved drinks. There, we met a professional kickboxer from Thailand who wouldn't keep his hands off strangers. He was stroking knees, kissing hands and leaning against people's shoulders, men and women alike. This poor guy had to be advised by his friend, "In America, you don't touch so much" followed by a, "I'm stepping away for a bit. Don't touch her (meaning me, who was unfortunately seated next to him) while I'm gone ok?" It was a creepy yet comical scene.

The night got even more comical when a girl on the dance floor started grinding heavily (is that the right adjective?) with a random short guy wearing a sweatband. What made him more repulsive was that he wouldn't stop bobbing his head and spilling drinks all over the place. Her girlfriend who was watching in horror, literally manhandled her in a rescue mission to save her from Napoleon. Calm folks as we are, we continued with mild vodka crans and eventually All-American Slams at Denny's: the sole explanation for this post's title.


Today, I took on the tedious task of clearing our craft room with season 2 of The Sopranos playing on TV. I love discovering stuff the bf left behind, his Sopranos box sets being one of many. As often as I display my passion for the show, I have to admit I don't approve of the gory scenes. Perhaps "approve" is a wrong word. It's more like I can't take them. Who wants to watch someone's head get smashed in with a hammer while eating Chinese takeout? Doesn't help that the directors are so good.

Sifting through ribbons and paper scraps collected from 1258 Comm Ave to 855A Greenwich St and finally where we are now, I found some interesting things. 100s of accumulated business cards. Sculpey molds left unbaked. Handmade Thank You cards for interviews. Old journals and pictures. Christmas cards addressed to "Chris & Danielle" over the years. Since when did we become an entity? Seems like forever.

Here's an encouraging card I made for the bf when he was looking for his first job:

I thought it was genius.
He gave a 5 second chuckle and forgot about it

Do boys even care about stuff like this?

And here's the one he gave me on our 1 year anniversary:

He thought it was genius.
I knew it was store-bought :)

I guess it's good that I'm keeping myself occupied with errands and baking. Otherwise, it would be another day of shopping. And the way I've been behaving on the phone with the lady at Myla lately (her name is Lily by the way) I don't deserve to "treat myself" more than I already have. Truth is I was ready to stop at the rather "practical" Ophelia, especially with Edwin's disapproving IMs, but Lily herself said, "Anya fits just divine. You should get that too!" And of course, I obliged, not just with one piece but two, because everything has to match. Good Shopaholics Anonymous sponsor as she is, SW stopped me at Sara with a very clear IM: "STOP!! You HAVE to stop!"

This is the last time I'm mentioning this place because I've sworn off it. But while final reductions are happening now. Don't miss it!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Another reason why SF rocks

More than one reason actually: Radiohead, Wilco, Andrew Bird, Tom Petty, Jack Johnson, Beck, and Ben Harper.

The Outside Lands Music & Arts Festival is REALLY happening in August! And to think a darling girlfriend had mentioned, almost whispery, during this dinner "Word is that Radiohead will be in the city sometime this summer."

I'm SO psyched! The bf put us down for a 3-day pass - his treat ;) And in those few days I get to see not 1 but ALL the musicians I've been idolizing for the most part of my pubescent years. And of course those I learned to know via the bf himself.

Click here to view full lineup>

There's no better time to be in the city.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Physically unwell

I'm suffering bouts of migraine and am feeling intermittent fatigue (is that a real condition?). Worse of all, or possibly as a result of it all, I'm wallowing in despair amidst piles of clothes and boxes filled with random stuff I can't decide whether or not to toss. I don't seem to have a cold. Why is this so?

I remember once during senior year of college, how I got quite ill. Then, my head felt REALLY heavy and I had SO much trouble sleeping it made me cry. My throat felt as dry as the Sahara, and I couldn't eat anything for fear of throwing up. When I finally dragged myself to the doctor's office 2 days into the what felt like extreme symptoms, the doctor said perplexed, "I can't tell what's wrong with you." That was when Chris who wasn't the bf then told me very gently, "You're the only person I know who can drive herself physically sick through mental reasons."

Sometimes I wonder if he's always right.

In my "condition," I turned to the Dalai Lama's teachings because I remembered the one thing he said that touched me the most. Verse I from Training the Mind comes in a long paragraph, but here's the bit of information I was referring to:

The Guide to the Bodhisattva's Way of Life (Bodhicaryavatara) says that there is a phenomenological difference between the pain that you experience when you take someone else's pain upon yourself and the pain that comes directly from your own pain and suffering. In the former, there is an element of discomfort because you are sharing the other's pain; however, as Shantideva points out, there is also a certain amount of stability because, in a sense, you are voluntarily accepting that pain. In the voluntary participation in other's suffering there is strength and a sense of confidence. But in the latter case, when you are undergoing your own pain and suffering, there is an element of involuntariness, and because of the lack of control on your part, you feel weak and completely overwhelmed. In the Buddhist teachings on altruism and compassion, certain expressions are used such as "One should disregard one's own well-being and cherish other's well-being." It is important to understand these statements regarding the practice of voluntarily sharing someone else's pain and suffering in their proper context.

One can easily detach oneself from one's own misery if one attempts to help another who's suffering from worse fate. This selflessness then becomes a virtue that ultimately benefits oneself. It's quite possible His Holiness didn't mean it that way but that's part of what I got from it.

*No I'm not religious.

** And no, it's not "trickle down" from Friday night.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Scene of the crime

friendonIM: hahahaha
what's with the laugh?
friendonIM: you funny
i am?
friendonIM: fourth of July

Here's a link to view more pictures of that night. Believe me I ain't proud of myself, but it was all good fun.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

As documented by some friends

This is the reason why yours truly made multiple trips to the bathroom sick as a dog last night

Happy 5th!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008


go grocery shopping hungry.

Just don't do it.

  1. Pepperidge Farm Goldfish
  2. Honey Bunches of Oats x2
  3. Doritos Cool Ranch
  4. Cereal Straws - I kid you not
  5. Nature Valley yogurt granola bars
  6. Strawberry Häagen-Dazs
  7. Microwaveable food
  8. Dibs
  9. Fruit hidden somewhere beneath

On a sweeter (and slimmer) note, some pretty things arrived in the mail today:

It's like a gift even though I know I paid for them :)