Friday, August 31, 2012

Dolores Park, Revisited

I am still waiting on some pictures from my East Coast trip, but that just gives me an opportunity to talk about my favorite place-- San Francisco.

Dolores Park was pretty much deserted last time I went there with my friend, but when I went there again last weekend with my cousin and her friends, after a visit to Tartine Cafe for lunch and Ritual Coffee for drinks, I saw a whole new side to the park.

This part of the park is affectionately referred to as Hipster Hill. It is a popular hangout for 20-somethings of the hipster variety-- artistic, musical types. Free spirits. When the weather is nice, it's practically like a social event to just come out here, people-watch, relax in the sunshine, and enjoy some pizza, cotton candy, beer, or other sweet treats that vendors walk around and sell. I got a really great vibe from this place. When you are here, you don't really even care what time it is. You could spend a whole afternoon here and just be happy to be present.

Hopefully I'll get a chance soon to bring some of my other friends here, before the summer's over.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Commercial break

You know how when you're watching TV, there are commercials sometimes? Well, this is kind of like that, in the sense that there will be a brief break from our regularly scheduled programming of DC updates to share these amazing Mediterranean stuffed tomatoes with quinoa. My housemate has been growing a whole bunch of big tomatoes in our garden, so it dawned on me that stuffed tomatoes would be a fantastic way to use them. After a quick google search I found this recipe, which was perfect because I just made some quinoa that day.

It can be kind of tricky to hollow out the tomato without cutting through the skin-- I use a paring knife to kind of loosen it up and then my fingers-- but the filling manages to stay inside if you don't cook it longer than about 15 minutes at 375-- just long enough for the tomato to get nice and warm, but not fall apart.

The ingredients work perfectly together: quinoa, olives, artichoke hearts, feta, and a little olive oil. I used different kinds of olives and quinoa, but that's just what I had on hand. I've been eating these all week, and just one cup of cooked quinoa plus the added ingredients can fill up at least 5-6 large tomatoes. Super easy small meal or side dish. Tonight I paired one with some salmon.

The possibilities for stuffed tomatoes are endless, so grab some at a farmers market near you and enjoy! :)

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

East Coast- Restaurants

Hi! I am back from the East Coast where I had the opportunity to visit some great and interesting  restaurants in Washington, D.C. and Virginia. Among them:

American City Diner in D.C. for burgers and an outdoor movie,
Crumbs for birthday cupcakes in L'Enfant Plaza (D.C.) (chocolate dulce de leche for me--- and it was so big, I had to finish it the next day),
Graffiato in Chinatown (D.C.) for my birthday (hip Italian-style tapas-- we got the lemon risotto with rock shrimp, the flatbread with pepperoni sauce, lamb, and panna cotta for dessert-- and it was so neat sitting at the bar because you could watch them plating everything and cooking pizzas in this big wood oven),
Busboys and Poets on U Street (D.C.) for a mellow brunch-- I got the Oaxaca omelet (black beans, avocado, pico de gallo, and cheddar-- very tasty),
My Brother's Place for lunch after a visit to the Conservatory and Botanic Gardens (I got a nice chicken pesto panini),
Elephant & Castle after visiting some Smithsonians (where I also got a chicken pesto style panini... what can I say, it's one of my favorites),
Chutzpah (Fairfax, VA) while Friend was getting his hair cut (an authentic New York style restaurant and deli with a Jewish attitude where I had a very tasty pastrami sandwich and potato salad), and...
El Rancho Migueleno (Arlington, VA) for tacos one night (because we couldn't think of anywhere else and didn't want to travel far-- odd ambiance, to say the least-- the lighting was super dark and they were playing this loud South American music while a telanovela played on TV.. and no one else was there.. yeah, a little spooky, haha).

I read about American City Diner on the internet somewhere, and it looked like they were pretty much the only place in D.C. that was still showing outdoor movies at that point in the summer. Plus-- buy dinner and watch a free movie-- can it get any better? We ordered burgers, fries and a milkshake, and enjoyed watching The Hustler (1961). Every night is a different movie, many of them classics. They had really fun decor, too.

In the parking lot, they had a neat mural showcasing a bunch of different Hollywood stars. Humphrey Bogart, James Dean, Elizabeth Taylor...

Elvis Presley...

and Marilyn Monroe, Sammy Davis Jr., and Frank Sinatra.

More homage to movie stars inside.. James Dean and Marilyn Monroe on the restroom doors.

They played the movie on a screen in the outdoor deck area so people could watch the movie as they had dinner.

It was fun to see the neon sign all lit up once it got darker by the end of the night, too.

So, needless to say, the East Coast has an awesome food scene! Next time I will share more about the other places I went. :)

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Stanford, revisited

Hey, remember when I went to Stanford last October? Well, last Friday I went back again because my penpal from Hawaii is working there this summer as a kids camp counselor. He is having tons of fun. The day I visited, the kids were getting ready to have a dance that night, and today they had a pizza party. Fun times for them.

Anyway, after my friend and I had lunch at Pizza My Heart in downtown Palo Alto, we walked around the Stanford campus a bit. We went up to the observation deck of the Hoover Tower, too, which was closed last time I visited, I think.

Hoover Tower is a 285 feet (87 m) structure on the campus of Stanford University in Stanford, California. The tower is part of the Hoover Institution, a research center founded by then-future U.S. president Herbert Hoover. Hoover Tower, inspired by the cathedral tower at Salamanca,[1] was finished in 1941, the year of Stanford's 50th anniversary. It was designed by architect Arthur Brown, Jr.[2]

Remember that neat sculpture I took a picture of last time? Well, there's that sculpture, from up high in the Hoover Tower. It's a lot smaller from up there.

I also took a picture of a fountain.

Here is that fountain from up close. Fountains are so nice.

Here are a bunch of the other buildings at Stanford.

My friend took a picture of me up in the tower, too. We had a tour guide take a group of us up there in a little elevator.

So, that was a fun day. It has been too hot outside to go out and do anything so I have just been working on my final papers. I should take a day off tomorrow but I am not sure what I would do. Maybe I will think of something. :)