T1’s 4th Birthday Cake

If you’re looking for a cake to make, the Diner Dream Cake I made for T1’s 4th birthday is one of the best I’ve ever had. Pinterest Fail has taught me that following the instructions exactly is crucial, and so I not only did everything Sweetapolita said, but also made cake flour using Joy the Baker’s instructions since the grocery store closest to me didn’t have any.

I was going to make myself a cake too, but my birthday is so close to T1’s (3 days apart) that I was overloaded with sugar and didn’t want any more dessert. Maybe I’ll start a new tradition, baking myself a cake for my half birthday each year. This Chocolate Espresso Cake will probably be my 2014 pick.

30×30: Fortune Cookie Factory

The first item I crossed off of my 30 Before 30 list was visiting Golden Gate Fortune Cookies in San Francisco’s Chinatown. I spent the afternoon with a friend and we had dim sum in a park, stopped by the cookie factory, and ended our day with a stop by the Tin How Temple. The Golden Gate Fortune Cookie visit took about five minutes, so it’s more of a stop than a destination.

The cookies spin around on the machine in the upper right hand corner, and the fortune cookie former (does she have an official title?) pulled them off and twisted them around a metal rod. I paid 50 cents to take a picture, and ended up buying a bag of “naughty” cookies for our upcoming New Years Eve party. They were really tame adult-style messages, and it was fun to see everyone’s face when they broke open their cookie and were told things like “A kiss is the upper persuasion for the lower invasion.

I had my film camera with me, and after we visited the factory I wanted to take a picture of my friend. Then I asked her if she would take one of me. Hers didn’t turn out (she was mid-blink, bummer), but I really like what she captured of me. The factory is down and to the right from where I’m standing. As you can see it’s not really a road that you will find it on, more like an alley.


30 Before 30

Mission: Complete all bolded items before I turn 30
Deadline: April 15, 2015

Chowder in a sourdough bread bowl and crab louie salad at Barbara’s Fish Trap in Half Moon Bay

I thought about going to Boudin and eating on the pier, but it’s a bit of a tourist trap and I have Half Moon Bay on my list of places I’d like to visit. This way I get to eat my sourdough bread bowl while sitting on the beach, though I’ll have to go before mid-summer if I want to eat my crab in-season.

It’s It

I plan to buy an It’s It, Big Daddy, Super Sundae, and Chips It, and then invite some friends over to do a little tasting party with me so we can choose our favorite of the line.

Burrito in the mission district, The Little Chihuahua

I chose The Little Chihuahua because it has the Fried Plantain & Black Bean burrito. That combination of savory and sweet it calling out to me. I plan to bring the kids, get our food to go, and then walk over to the Golden Gate Park playground so T1 can ride down the concrete slides.

Chez Panisse

I’d like to dine in the restaurant on a Monday night, when the menu is more rustic and regional. Or maybe the cafe, which serves similar food but isn’t as pricey.

French Laundry

Saving up all my pennies for this experience (Alinea taught me that it’s not just a meal, it’s a performance).

Oyster farm tour at Hog Island Oyster Company

I fell in love with oysters on my honeymoon, where I was able to eat several from different bays and understand the way the environment affects the taste. For $10 I can visit Hog Island and see how they’re grown, then buy some to-go and shuck them myself.

Jelly Belly factory tour

The website pitching the tour says it takes a week to make a single bean. The tour only takes 40 minutes though. Continue reading

Tomato and Corn Summer Salad

tomato salmon corn goat feta olive oil balsamic avocado salad


One afternoon I tossed together tomato, basil, corn, salmon, avocado, and feta. Drizzled it with some good olive oil and balsamic glaze, sprinkled it with salt, and ate it all up in just a few bites.

I called it Summer Salad because I am incredibly creative. I think you should try it too.

Recipe Mastery: Beef Stew

I want to be a terrific cook and baker, but as I keep reminding That Husband, it’s going to take me a few years to get there. I’ve had a few successes, but more often than that some part of my attempt at a fabulous dinner is a fail. I rarely make the same thing again, and TH has been telling me for years to focus in on a few recipes and stop jumping around so much. The probablem with my approach is that whenever we have people over I agonize, make huge mistakes, and feel embarrassed when dinner is served because things didn’t go quite right.


And so I’m embarking on my recipe mastery project. I’m going to pick classic dishes (think pot roast or chicken curry) and attempt the same dish once a week until I’ve found a recipe that turns out stellar results three times in a row. Once I’m conquer one dish, I’ll move on to the next. I thought I could create a blog series out of it by putting up an initial post asking for recipe ideas, and then putting up a recipe post once I’ve found the perfect fit.

My first pick is beef stew. I made this one on Sunday, and we want to try something else because neither of us really liked the mushrooms. Do you have a favorite beef stew recipe? Link to it below and I’ll work my way through your suggestions until I find the perfect fit.