Thursday, May 28, 2009

How to Make Free Jam: Who's a Hippy Now?!

Last night I answered the doorbell to find Grant with a giant sack of fruit that he and Tim had foraged earlier in the day from Berkeley Hills. There were cape gooseberries, cherries, loquats, as well as a few pesky earwigs in the mix. We tapped a keg of the famous Duncan Street homebrew (a heffenweizen) and took to the arduous task of jaming. The trick to procuring a tastey spread is to carfully de-pit each fruit so the seeds do not leave a woody flavor in mixture. Once pitted, we mashed the fruits, added sugar (not very much - we like it tangy!), threw in some beets to enhance the color, then stirred it at a boil for a while until thick. Just pour the sauce into jars et voila!

1) forrage fruit!

2) mash

3) remove pits

4) add sugar

5) boil and stir

6) jars!

Though not well documented on this here blog, the last few months have been somewhat transformative for me in terms of my relationship with food (cliche!). The combination of several elements have brought me to this point: the switch to a vegetarian diet in January, my room mates' extensive and inspiring adventures with vegan cooking, the semi-weekly dinner parties on Treat Street that have afforded me my own adventures with natural/organic cooking, easy access to Rainbow. It's a noted departure from the life long disordered eating habits of former self. Last night Kristin recalled that when they first moved in our freezer was so stuffed with Lean Cuisines that there wasn't enough room for the compost bag. Now I can whip up a carcass-free multicoarse meal for eight plus dessert in no time! California is making me soft.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Philadelphia, PA: Histerical Reinactors

Hi from Philadelphia! We are in town for our union's National Convention. It is exhausting but not without its due binge drinking and staff union justice.

Bill and Betsey Ross: who is a bigger patriot??

Monday, May 11, 2009

New Orleans, LA: In the Footsteps of Ignatius J. Reilly

It could be a symptom of a larger problem (restlessness in SF) but I was quickly and easily seduced by the Crescent City during my visit to see Diné last weekend. I could really see myself having a good life in NOLA. The PROS: you can wear a wig anytime and no one bothers you about it; no open container laws; all kinds of creative activity and juicy characters; DEE DEE; Abita Strawberry Harvest Lager; lower cost of living; the city is haunted! The CONS: no kombucha; few unions (few union jobs); I look really fugly in humid weather; this yanki intimidated (or freaked out) by the South; the city is haunted! Nonetheless, don't think I haven't already started creeping on and nursing programs in the area.

But back to zee main event!:
Dee Dee picked me up and we drove straight to a drive-thru daiquiri bar near the airport. If you ever find yourself at this establishment I do not recommend investigating the frozen drink machines. You will find that a "Sex on the Beach" is a lot less sexy when you see that it was made in an a rusting second hand Slurpee machine glazed with syrup and horse flies. Perhaps the health department does not make the trek to Kenner. We put that horror behind us and drank them on the shore of Lake Pontchartrain. Diné gave me a driving tour of the formerly flooded and still recovering Florida neighborhood and I saw THE levee (it isn't tall at all!). We rested briefly at the charming home of my hostess in the Bywater neighborhood then ate some local fare nearby at 13 Restaurant on Frenchmen Street in Marigny. I was really struck by the beauty in the ancientness of the architecture on our walk from home to dinner. I was often overcome with the feeling that I was walking among modern ruins.

We continued on to the obviously Soviet-themed Pravada where the bartender preceded to heckle me and treat Diné to free drinks. The nerve! Luckily, Sarah, Raf, Michelle, Kat, and the rest of their 15-deep crowd came to the rescue. We stuck around for the bit then spent the next hours boogieing in the packed streets to live Brass music. This level of ruckus is not a scene you would encounter in NYC or even in San Francisco primarily because the cops would be all over everyone and their mother before you could crack that second can of Steele Reserve. Not the case in this town. At some point towards the end of the night we met up with Dee Dee's friend Davitt and went to Mimi's until we were too haggard to remember how we arrived in our beds the next day.

Saturday morning got off to a slow stop but we eventually met Davitt for coffee and a snack at Coffea. We took a stroll around the Bywater and stumbled into Dr. Bob's expansive indoor/outdoor art studio. He is certainly a colorful character and I think I learned a lot about the city and its people after 45 min of his storytelling. We declined a share of Dr. Bob's "water weed" and continued to the French Quarter. Here Diné bought a hubba hubba dress at Trashy Diva. We then stuffed our haggard faces with beignets from Cafe Du Mode on the bank of the Mississippi River. The search continued for good juju but everything at the voodoo store seemed too in authentic to buy. Eventually we made it back to Burgundy Street to rest, freshen up, and wig up for the evening. We met some of Diné's pals for drinks in Mid City then came back downtown to attend a birthday gathering at Always Lounge, still burnt out from the night before.

We began Sunday morning with homemade smoothies then headed in time to Mid City to friend Catherine's house en route to JazzFest. JazzFest - whoa - human and humidity overload. Not to mention that we were both wearing sizable wigs, which were not popular with an aggressive crowd of boomer Neil Young fans. We stayed for some songs (regrettably not Southern Man; regrettably missing Ariana and Allegra), ate crawfish bread, ate pasta Monica, then left before the thunderstorm.

Diné's colleague from work and his friend rescued us and took us to the closing night of drag queen Varla Jean Merman and the Mushroom Heads! at the sparkling Chat Noir Cabaret in the Warehouse District. The show was truly entertaining. I did not feel my ADD itching once throughout the multimedia and fantastically costumed performance. I was however VERY jealous of the costumes - they fit like a glove! The four of us then dined back in the Bywater at the Country Club (a must visit - perhaps worth moving here for this glamor alone). We rounded off the night first at Markey's and then to Saturn Bar for NOISEFEST, which was indeed very noisy.

Just as we were about to hit the hay at 1am I checked my itinerary and learned that my flight was at 5:15am and not 8:30am. It was a real #fml work day for the both of us!

If you read the fine print you will see that JaxDax features a drink called "Sexual Harassment"

Dax on Lake Pontchartrain

site of Levy Pants from aCoD; Chez Dee Dee

Dee Dee and Raf; Cornell in NOLA

street Brass party

Dee Dee and Davitt @ Coffea

Bywater stroll

Dr. Bob and his art studio

beignets @ Cafe Du Monde

Ruby's first introduction to the Mississippi; blossoming honey suckle everywhere..and..err.lawn jockey

Mid City;"burritos" on Frenchmen

Jazzfest is all about the food

and also zee wigs; Neil Young