Friday, July 16, 2010

Adam's Florida Birthday Celebration

Adam turned 30 this past May, so we wanted to do something really special for his birthday. We thought it would be fun to spend some time hanging out on the beach at his family's condos in Singer Island in Florida. We planned a long weekend, and amazingly our friends Ben, Ashley, Stephen and Keri were all willing to travel down there with us to celebrate. We had an amazing time.
We threw the Frisbee around in the ocean...
spent a lot of time on the beach...
and closed down the local bars...
Plus we ate at some really great restaurants, drank lots of beer at the bars on the beach and rented Jet Skis to zip around the Intracoastal Waterway in West Palm Beach - which was the highlight of the trip! Everybody, especially Adam, had a really great time! It was the perfect way to celebrate his milestone birthday.
I know it's a bit late, but Happy Birthday, Dear!!! I hope this is your best year yet!!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Los Angeles, we have arrived!!

Well, we made it!! We've been living in Hermosa Beach for almost 2 weeks now, and we're feeling really settled. We've unpacked all of our boxes, found a yummy Mexican restaurant just down the street and made our way to the beach a few times. Overall, I'm feeling right at home. Our new place is one half of a duplex on a really quiet street, just a short walk from the ocean. We're within a short walk in either direction from Hermosa Beach Pier and Manhattan Beach Pier and within a short drive of Downtown and Disneyland (yippee!). Plus, you can see the ocean from our front window! I love it here!!!

Adam in our front yard - Ours is the unit in the front...

Stasia in her backyard...

Our living room...

The view from our living room - Check out that ocean!

And our kitchen - I'm in love with our old stove!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

A weekend with the Gillhams

My parents heard we were moving and decided to make a mad dash to visit us in San Francisco one last time before we left. They have rediscovered a love of this city which, until their visit in February, they hadn't visited in 28 years. And my sister has just discovered her love of San Fran, so she came along, too. Just like the last time they visited, we managed to pack 2 weeks worth of activities into four days. On their first day here, we climbed up Telegraph Hill and went to the top of Coit Tower, something I didn't even know you could do. The amazing views of the city almost made the horrifying elevator ride to the top worth it.

I can see my apartment!
On Friday night, we ate at the Tiki Room, and as we walked up Nob Hill to the Fairmont Hotel where the restaurant is located, we were treated to some pretty spectacular views of the fog rolling in over the Bay.

On Saturday, we headed up to Napa Valley, where we tried to instill a love of wine in Christina to no avail. But my dad discovered how much he loves good sparkling wine, and the scenery was spectacular. It got up close to 90 degrees, and that's the first time I've felt hot weather like that since we moved to San Francisco.

We took Stasia to the dog beach, and it was so windy she almost blew away!

It was cold and foggy in the city on Sunday, so we went to Sausalito, where is was sunny and gorgeous. You can add "micro-climates" to the list of things I love about San Francisco. On the way back we stopped in the Marin Highlands before crossing the Golden Gate Bridge back into the city. The fog blowing across the bridge was a pretty amazing sight.

We also ate at (my favorite pizza place) Tony's, had pancakes at Mo's, spent plenty of time on the Wharf and plenty of other things I'm forgetting. Suffice it to say that it was a great weekend, and I'm so glad they got in one last visit to the City By The Bay.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

San Francisco with the Birks

Adam's family (his mom, dad, brother Justin and sister-in-law Staci) came to visit us last weekend, and we had a really great time showing them all around San Francisco. Everybody arrived on Friday afternoon, and we spent the night catching up over some amazing food at Hillstone, a great restaurant just down the street from our apartment. We stuffed ourselves with cheese toast, grilled artichokes and Hillstone's AMAZING french dip sandwiches.

The next morning, we headed to Mo's (which I blogged about previously here) for some of their amazing pancakes. Alan and Randi love to overfeed us, and in true Birk fashion, we all ordered a seperate entree plus 2 plates of pancakes for the table to share. Thankfully, the pancakes lived up to all my talk about them, and I was very impressed with us when we managed to finish almost everything on the table! As punishment for our glutonous breakfast, we decided to walk up Telegraph Hill, and we took the steepest possible route up. Then we headed down to Pier 39 (the seals have returned!) and over to Ghirardelli Square, where we rewarded ourselves for all of our exercise with delicious hot fudge sundaes!

The highlight of the weekend was without a doubt the party that Alan and Randi threw at our place on Saturday night. Adam has a lot of family here in the Bay Area, and they all came out to celebrate Staci and Adam's 30th birthdays!

All the attendees who stayed really late were treated to a moonrise over Telegraph Hill that we viewed from our roof!

In all we had 21 people in our apartment. Thank goodness the weather was beautiful and we were able to spend most of the evening on our porch, because I don't know if we could have fit that many people inside! Randi and Alan hired a local caterer, and he made the most delicious food! We ended up with a lot of leftovers, and for the last week Adam and I have been living off of pulled-pork sliders, braised short ribs, ham and cheese pastries, macaroni and cheese, brownies with hot fudge sauce, apple cobbler and Randi's horseradish mashed potatoes. I've probably put on a few pounds, but we've been enjoying ourselves.

The rest of the weekend included lots of walks (to Chrissy Field and Chinatown), LOTS more food (including plenty of leftovers, an amazing dinner at the Sliding Door, pizza and a great breakfast prepared by Justin) and plenty of time spent lavishing attention on Stasia. The weekend was a huge success, and I think everybody had a really great time.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Los Angeles

Adam, Stasia and I packed our bags and drove to L.A. a few weeks ago. It was our friend, Stephen's, birthday, so we decided to spend the weekend celebrating with him and his girlfriend. We spent Friday night at Disneyland, which just happens to be one of my favorite places in the whole world. We ate tortillas from the Mission tortilla factory in California Adventure...

And rode the Matterhorn at Disneyland...

And pretty much had the best time ever. On Saturday night, Keri threw a wine party and cooked a huge feast for a bunch of friends. After stuffing ourselves with gourmet BLTs and fancy sausages, we spent the rest of the night bowling at a dive bowling alley in downtown L.A.

The Birthday Boy

It was a great weekend! Thanks, Stephen and Keri!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Weekend Recap

The weather in San Francisco this past weekend was beautiful! We spent our Saturday at Fort Mason, the park where we've spent our weekends before. It gets absolutely packed when the weather is warm, and this Saturday was no exception. We had a picnic, and Stasia befriended a group of kids after trying to steal their breakfast.

But the highlight of our weekend was the brunch we had at the Moonstar Buffet. Adam was nice enough to get up early to go with me to Target. Zac Posen's new line of clothes for Target went on sale on Sunday morning, and I didn't want to miss out. There are no Target stores in San Francisco, so we had to drive south to Daly City, a place we are not at all familiar with. We were starving by the time I was done trying on dresses, and we quickly found that the only place to eat breakfast besides McDonald's was at Moonstar, an Asian buffet we didn't know anything about. When we walked in and saw the cheesy decor and the huge buffet, we had a feeling that it was going to be delicious. We were not disappointed.

Although they served nothing that we would normally eat for breakfast, it was all really good. They had just about every dish you could find in a typical Chinese restaurant and a number that I had never heard of. There was an enormous Sushi spread, and they even had a chocolate fountain for dessert! We ate ourselves sick by noon and spent the rest of the day suffering with stomach aches. But it was worth it.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Sunshine Wheat

There are a few things that I really miss about Colorado. The mountains, open space, Dixons... I especially miss the delicious, locally-brewed Colorado beer that was so easy to find in Denver. In particular, I miss New Belgium's Sunshine Wheat. Fat Tire is easy to find, and the larger liquor stores even carry some of the company's other brews. But I had driven all over the Bay Area looking for Sunshine Wheat and had yet to find it anywhere.

So, I'm sure you can imagine my surprise when I discovered that Kennedy's Irish Pub and India Curry House, a restaurant just three short blocks from our apartment, serves Sunshine Wheat. I clapped and squeeled when I saw it on the menu, and Adam and I each quickly ordered one.

We each excitedly took a gulp, and I realized right away that something wasn't right.

"This doesn't taste right," I said.

"It's skunky or something," Adam agreed.

I took a look at the label and noticed that the beer had an expiration date printed on it. December 31, 2009. Apparently sitting for four months longer than recommended makes a big difference in how a beer tastes. Of course we finished the beers, and I'd be lying if I said I didn't still enjoy it. But we stuck to beer on tap for the rest of our dinner.