Photos from Greenpoint and any other random place I may be at.

Photos from Greenpoint and any other random place we may visit.

Photo 11 – July 26, 2010

For dinner Rob made chicken carnitas. The original recipe from the New York Times calls for pork, but he subsituted chicken for pork. It is such a great recipe and if you make homemade salsa it makes it even better. Original recipe found here.

Photo 10 – July 25, 2010

Help there's a two-headed monster in the room!! That's the hubbs.

San Francisco, California

San Francisco, Day 9

We woke up early to make the most of our day. We took the cable car to Chinatown, where we ate the best dim-sum at Yank Sing. They had soup dumplings on demand, need I say more?

Once we finished eating, we walked over to the Farmers Market in Ferry Market. Words can't describe how amazing that Farmers Market was. It was the biggest market that I have ever seen. There was an area with prepared foods that was as big as the produce side.

We then took a trolley up to Chinatown. We walked around the streets and wandered into small shops. It is much bigger than the Chinatown in NYC.

We finished our San Francisco trip at In and Out Burger. YUMMY!!!

San Francisco, Day 8

Once we woke up, we headed to La Boulangerie for breakfast. MMMMM...that's me thinking about the best cappuccino in the world. We then took the bus to Bay City Bikes to rent bicycles for the day. We spent the morning riding through Crissy Field, crossing the Golden Gate Bridge and riding through Salsilito. We then took the Blue and Gold Ferry back to San Fran and on the way we saw Alcatraz. We returned the bikes and took a bus to Japantown.

In Japantown, we found a really cool mall, Japan Center, that had restaurants and stores. We found a conveyor-boat sushi restaurant. It's like the conveyor belt places, but it has boats that go around with the sushi on them. We then decided to walk through Haight-Ashbery.

Haight-Ashbery reminds of New York, but not in a good way. It reminds me of the East Village, before it was gentrified.

We stopped a few pubs on the way:

Toronodo- huge tap beer selection, surly staff, really cheap happy hour
Martin Macks- GROSS, beer tasted like clorox
Magnolia Pub and Brewery- good beer

We then went to Range for dinner. The braised duck stuffed pasta with English peas and lemon, is probably one of the best things I've ever eaten.

San Francisco, Day 7

When we woke, we went for a drive around Santa Cruz to look at guys surfing. We then went for breakfast at Kelly's French Bakery. I had a ham and cheese crossiant--If it's on the menu--I'm ordering it.

We then took the Pacific Coast Highway back to San Francisco, we stopped for lunch in Pacifica at La Playa Taqueria. It was the perfect beach taco, but only order one. It's a huge open face taco with guacamole, cheese, sour cream, lettuce and salsa. We then continued on our journey to San Fran.

Our hotel, Motel Capri, was an awesome 1950's motor lodge. It had vintage furniture in it, but it was renovated. They also had a cool 1950's Cadillac parked in the lot. We arrived early, so we had to wait to check in. We took a drive out to Crissy Field to see the Golden Gate Bridge. Once we checked in, we decided to go for a walk and for a ride on a cable car.

We checked out 2 local watering holes:
Le Trapp- Belgium bar, massive library of bottled Belgium and Trappist Beer, bar is located in basement of the building
Church Key - Hip bar, lots of cool beers, jerk bartender

Once we finished drinking, we went to Star(fish)belly for dinner. It's really Starbelly, but Rob kept calling it Starfish belly and I thought it was funny. Food was good, pacing was off on the dishes and it was really noisy.

Santa Cruz, California

Santa Cruz, Day 6

We woke up early, because we had a long drive down to Santa Cruz. On the way out of Sonoma we stopped at the Basque Boulangerie Cafe. Rob had sourdough toast and I had a ham and cheese croissant.

We then started driving down to Santa Cruz. The view off the Pacific Highway is something everyone should see. On the way down we stopped at the Half Moon Bay Brewing Company Pub. We split one beer, because we needed to get down to Santa Cruz.

Once we got to Santa Cruz, we checked in early at the Coastview Inn Santa Cruz. This was probably the hotel that I liked the least. It had a pee pad on the bed and it smelled like stale cigarettes, but it was right across the street from the beach.

We then took a walk down to wharf to find something to eat. On the way down, we saw a bunch of sea lions. I asked Rob if we could take one home, he said 'No!' We walked all the way down to the end of the pier, because most of the restaurants were kind of dodgy. We finally settled on Stagnero Brothers. I had a great fish sandwich. Once we finished eating we walked down the boardwalk to the arcade. We played air table hockey, pinball, car racing and plinko (The Price is Right). We then walked on the boardwalk to see the rides.

We then walked out to the downtown area for beer and food. We went to the Avenue Bar, it was a really seedy, smokey, crusty, dive bar. We had one beer and left.

We were walking around when we noticed a huge Santa Cruz Community Farmers Market that was closing up. I wish we had walked by earlier because I've heard that there are a bunch of farms around Santa Cruz and that produce is cheap and good.

We then found an hip place for drinks and dinner, 515 Kitchen and Cocktails. It was a two story house, which had couches and table set-up all around it. We sat on a couch and ordered a cheese plate (you can never go wrong with cheese), marinated skirt steak and a salad.

Sonoma, California

Sonoma, Day 5
We went to the Farmers Market in the parking lot of Oxbow Market. It was a small Farmers Market, but the fruit and vegetable selection was amazing. We couldn't believe how cheap the produce was. We had pasteries, but unfortunately, I can't remeber who we bought them from or for that matter what we ate. We then headed out to Sonoma.

I love(d) Sonoma, when we go to California next year, we will visit Sonoma again. It was much more relaxed and less crowded than Napa. The tasting were outright free, or free if you bought a bottle or less than 10 bucks. The Napa tastings were between $15 and $20 and some wineries didn't even waive the fee if you purchased a bottle.

Sonoma Vineyards:

Field Stone Winery
- really small tasting room (felt like an office), great Rosé, free tasting, tasting host was sweet and pointed us towards some of Sonoma's great small producer zin's, when you enter the tasting room you walk through the oak barrels that are being aged and it smelled great, large shaded area for picnics

Sausel Winery- old vine Zins, small and family owned vineyard, named some wines after the vineyard cats, very nice tasting host

Stryker Sonoma Vineyard- amazing drive up to the tasting house, trellis that has grape vines growing around it, very modern building, great tasting host, bike tour support guy was setting lunch up for people that were riding through Sonoma stopping at wineries along the way, huge shaded picnic area overlooking the valley.

We joined the Stryker Wine Club.

Bella Vineyards- Another amazing drive to the vineyard, very isolated, tasting room was located in one of their aging caves dug into the side of the hill. Reminded me of Hobbits, great wine, very knowledgeable tasting host, they sell boxes so that you can pack all your wine for the trip home, lovely picnic area

Ridge Vineyards- stopped here because we saw cars parked outside, very nice tasting host, we can find Ridge wines in NYC (have drank them before), beautiful vineyard, tables outside right next to the vineyard

We bought sandwiched from a deli before we got to the winery and had a picnic lunch next to the vineyard. We bought a half bottle of wine and drank it with our lunch.

Mazzocco- the best vineyard of the trip, awesome tasting host, great wine, very reasonable, great outdoor space for picnics

We also joined the Mazzocco Wine Club.

Cool pics from the vineyards:

Once we were done tasting, we checked into El Pueble Inn. It was a bit of a drive from where the vineyards, but it was close to downtown Sonoma. The Inn had a pool and a jacuzzi, which we took advantage of, the bed and pillows were extremely comfortable and it was beautifully landscaped. Once we were done swimming, we walked to dinner.

We went to dinner at Cafe La Haye. I had the steak, which Rob told me to order medium rare--I will admit that I was a little grossed out as I ate it. It was cooked beautifully, but it was just too bloody and cold for me. I think I'll stick to medium. Once dinner was over we headed back to the hotel.

As we were walking, we noticed that they were showing The Princess Bride in the town square. We walked over and joined the crowd. The people around us had picnic baskets, blankets, wine and they were just having a great time. Sitting there watching the movie and enjoying the atmosphere was a great way to end our evening.

Napa Valley, California

Napa, Day 4
For breakfast we went to the Model Bakery in the Oxbow Market. I had a croissant, but I wasn't to happy with it, because the guy cut it half, put it in the toaster and only took it out because Rob told him it was burning.

Napa Vineyards:

Hess Collection - great modern art collection, weed garden, very formal tasting room

Rubicon Estate- formally the Coppola winery, impressive entryway, Godfather memorabilia, boccie ball court, beautiful tasting room and very nice tasting room host

Franciscan-Oakville Estate- served Mount Veeder wines, Cuban crackers to eat in between tastings, tasting host were all over the place and kind of sloppy

Plumpjack Winery- vineyards surround the entire tasting area, has an area outside where you can have lunch, very nice tasting room host

Silver Oak Cellars- large crowds and at this point some very drunk people, tasting hosts were older gentlemen and they were kind of grumpy---possibly because of the drunk people, wines were very expensive

Turnbull Wine Cellars
- very quiet, nice and talkative tasting hosts (maybe they were bored)

Cool Pics from the vineyards:

Once we finished our tasting we went to dinner at Bistro Jeantry with Tenzin and his mom. Surprisingly, I wasn't in the mood to order steak, so Rob ordered the short rib dish. It was amazing. I ordered a special pasta dish with mushrooms that was great. We then went to eat ice cream at Three Twins Ice Cream at Oxbow Market. The ice cream is all organic and they have cone cups for your ice cream.

Day 3

For breakfast we picked up pastries at the Alexis Baking Company, which is one of Tenzin's favorite place to eat breakfast. We ate breakfast, packed a lunch, picked up Tenzin's friends and headed to Johnson Beach on the Russian River. We rented canoes and paddled down part of the river. We stopped at a small bank on the edge of the River and had leftover fried chicken. We then decided to head back and hike through the Armstrong Redwood Forest. All I can say is WOW, the Redwood Trees are amazing.

We went to dinner at Thomas Keller's restaurant, ad hoc. They only serve a set four course menu, so you sit, they ask if you have food allergies and then they start serving food. Rob may get mad at me for this, but I wasn't impressed. The salad was made of butter lettuce with charcuterie from the Fatted Calf. I thought it was too oily. The main dish was a chicken and shrimp jambalaya that had andouille sausage. Well it only tasted of sausage and I thought the shrimp was undercooked. I wish we could have gone on a night that they were serving steak. The other 2 dishes, were a cheese plate and beignets--you can't really go wrong with cheese and doughnuts.

, Day 2

On Friday night as were driving to the Villa Inn, we noticed a restaurant that had a line out the door (It was probably 1:00 at this point). We decided then, that we would stop at Sol Food for breakfast on our way out. We had the best tostada (toast with butter) and café con leche.

We then went to Tenzin's grandparents house, where we spent the day. Rob and Tenzin built a rope swing off a live oak, while the ladies lounged around by the pool. We then went raspberry picking and walked along the vineyards that surround their property. Larry, Tenzin's grandfather made a fried chicken picnic for all of us. Once dinner was over, we checked into the Napa Valley Redwood Inn.

San Rafael, Day 1

We arrived at 11:15 pm in SFO. We rented a car from Budget, which was a bit of a SS, they had 3 guys working and they probably had 50 people in line renting cars. They also rented our car to someone else, luckily we were able to solve the problem right away.

We drove to San Rafael and stayed in a motor lodge, Villa Inn . The Villa Inn was awesome, clean and had a really cool bathroom.

Photo 9 – July 16, 2010

I've noticed very colorful toes lately, so I decided to join in on the craze. I picked this lovely periwinkle blue, but ever since I painted them, I haven't been able to stop thinking about my Abuelo (grandfather) and my Tio-Abuleo (great uncle), Fergie. When I was was in my teens , I used to paint my toes either blue, gray or black-- and Abuelo and Fergie would always make a joke about my toes. They would ask me ¿Quien te piso? (Who stepped on you?) I miss them both very much and I think I'll keep painting my toes fun colors, so that I can think about them.

Photo 8 – July 15, 2010

A Tree Peach Tree Grows In Brooklyn!

Driving home two days ago I noticed a woman picking fruit off of a tree on McGuiness Blvd. The fruit was round and orange and at first I thought it was an actual orange tree, but they don't grow up here. On the way to work today, I had Rob stop the Roo and I hopped out to investigate.

Well it's ONE peach tree among 50 other trees down the center divider of Mcguiness. They aren't ripe yet, but in a couple of weeks they may be.

Photo 7 – July 14, 2010

Coco went to camp, that's right camp. She'll be there for two weeks, while we are in California.
She is staying at Town & Country Pet Boarding recommended by our friend Rob.

We received this email from the owner after an inquiry about how she was doing:
She is a wild and crazy girl. Never, ever stops! We increased her food and added lunch or you would have gotten a little skeleton dog back!
She's having a great time!


I hope she remembers us when we get back.

Photo 5 – July 12, 2010

Yes this is a picture of my i-phone it's not the best pic, but there's a great story behind my phone. Rob and I are working at Celebrate Brooklyn as a way to pay for our California trip. Turns out the schedule had the wrong gate opening time, so I was LATE. At some point, I unknowingly dropped my phone. To make a long story short, I didn't know that I had dropped my phone until my shift was at over at 10:00. I freaked out, so I grabbed Rob's phone and called my phone.

Him: "Hey, I have your phone, where are you?"
Me: "I'm just finished working the show, where are you?"
Him: "I'm on Flushing in my car, but I'll drive back to the park and give you your phone."

We met on the corner of 10th Street and Park Slope East and he gave me my phone. I couldn't thank him enough as he was leaving I shouted "Hey, What's your name?" He said "Jason" as he drove away. Jason wherever you are ----Thanks!

Photo 4 – July 11, 2010

The hubbs and I decided to take the B62 to Fette Sau, the B43 came so we hopped on that instead. Once we got to the BQE, we realized we were headed in the wrong direction so we hopped off. To our pleasant surprise we came upon the 123rd annual 'Festival of Giglio.' I'm sure that 123 years ago they didn't have carnival rides and 'Dunk the Bloke', but it's great to see that the festival is still around.

Photo 2 – July 9, 2010

Don't let those puppy dog eyes fool you. Meet Coco-NUT, who lives up to her name...she really does, she had to take medication because she was having panic attacks on the streets of Greenpoint. Although much better now, she still doesn't like garbage trucks, roll-down security gates and fireworks.

Shots From Brooklyn Botanical Garden

I was inspired after working on some stuff for a book interior. Shot with a D80 and a Nikkor 28-105 macro.

Photo 1 – July 8, 2010

This is the first installment of my Photo of the Day. I hope to take one a day with my iPhone.
This is a picture of our "Roof-Top Garden" in Greenpoint. Not doing well the last few days because of the heatwave and lack of rain. Hoping for rain and cooler temps soon.