Sunday, June 30, 2013

Sunday and Wood Tavern

On Sunday, I drove into SF to get my hair highlighted and meet some friends for lunch while Erik stayed home and brewed beer.
Do you see the lovely scab on my chin?? In other news, my thumb is totally fine but my arms are killing me as if I've been lifting weights for days. Ahhhh. NO jumping over anything this week. 

After my hair, we went to Chez Maman for lunch. The food was OK and the service was not very nice. Maybe they were trying to be "French" and give us attitude with the service? I don't know...

I headed back home where Erik was brewing and Evie was hiding out from the heat. For dinner, we went to Wood Tavern in Oakland. I went a few months ago for Tres Amigas dinner and it was SO good. When I saw a reservation open, I snagged it so Erik and I could go. It was amazing!

To start, we shared the 
Wild Arugula Salad 
Shaved Fennel, Parmesan Cheese, Lemon-Black Olive Vinaigrette


Russet Potato Gnocchi  
Roasted Wild Mushrooms, English Peas, Ramps, Mint, Parmesan Cheese, Brown Butter Pan Sauce, Truffle Oil

For dinner, I had the 
Pan Roasted Half Chicken 
Fingerling Potatoes, Grilled Radicchio, Spinach, Garlic Confit, Bread Crumbs, Lemon-Rosemary Jus

Erik had the 
Sautéed Alaskan Halibut 
Iacopi Farms’ Italian Butter Beans, Pea Tendrils, Carrots, Ham Hock Broth 

For dessert, we shared
2 Scoops of House Churned Ice Cream 
Coffee Cocoa and  Salted Caramel

EVERYTHING was delicious. That gnocchi with the sauce was yummm-o. Our dinners were perfect, too. And, the service is wonderful. This could definitely become a regular spot for us. 

Good weekend of getting stuff done and some relaxing thrown in. Here's to a short week!!

Car Shopping and a Boring Movie

On Saturday, we got some errands done including FINALLY changing my name on our joint banking account. Since it is an account with both of us on it, we BOTH had to go INTO the bank to do it. Of course, it took like 40 min to do because their printer wouldn't work, blah blah. We left there and went to the nursery because Erik bought a pumpkin plant.

Then, onto Home Depot (our FAVORITE place) to get dirt to plant said pumpkin plant. Finally, we drove out to Walnut Creek to look at the cars. First, we went to Nissan and tested the Sentra. We loved it! The car gets 40mpg highway --that is crazy! The price is right on a new Sentra, too.

Then, we tried the Jetta. First of all, a brand new Jetta was higher priced than the Sentra. We drove a used Jetta and it was SO different from the Sentra -- heavier, and harder to drive.

So, we think we decided to go for the Sentra since it is safe, has good gas mileage, and the price is right. We'll see what next steps are with the dealership! We have the contact info for both dealers so we will make some calls this week.

Did I mention it was 100 degrees in Walnut Creek. HOT HOT HOT. We looked at those cars and then sped to a Chipotle for lunch where we ate and drank like we were in the desert. Wow. It was 80 in Berkeley and we were thrilled to go back to that temperature!

When we got home from car shopping, we did some of this.

Erik went surfing with his friend Andrew so Evie and I rested and watched a BORING movie called Trouble with the Curve. 

And, that was our big Saturday!

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Car Shopping

We have a big plan for go check out a new car. My car, that I bought brand new in 2004, is approaching it's 10 year birthday next year and has 150,000 miles on it. We thought about trading it in for something else but then thought the dealer may just laugh and say he will give us $500 for it. PLUS, we are getting so tired of the "who needs the car" discussion so we decided to keep the Civic and get another car. With regular oil changes and some new tires, we hope the Civic will go another 100,000 miles especially if Erik is just going to use the car casually to go surfing.

 I think when it is time for the Civic to go, it will be a little sad. That car has driven us to vacations all over the place from Vermont to North Carolina. But more importantly, it brought us to California. The three of us in the car, drove cross country. Ahhh memories. It has brought us to Tahoe, The Redwoods, Long Beach...It's been a great car.

So....the cars I want to take a look at are VW Jetta, Nissan Sentra, and Toyota Rav 4. We're checking out the Jetta today so we'll let you know how we like it.
Rav 4
Nissan Sentra


Have a nice trip? See ya next Fall.

 On Friday, I took Evie up to Cesar Chavez park - our favorite park. It was hot and so we stuck to the perimeter path vs. running through the grass like usual. Evie is 7 and I am noticing little things that make me realize she is not a young dog anymore(even though people ask me if she is a puppy sometimes!) She gets tired a little more easily now and likes to run around but take rest breaks. 

Anyway, between the huge, grassy area and a parking area, there are chain link dividers - you can see in this picture.

Well, sometimes Evie jumps over them like a little horse in a competition. She was tired and I could tell didn't want to be in the grass anymore so I wanted to get her to the parking area to walk on the pavement. So, I jumped over the divider to get her to do it. Well, suddenly....I was on the ground.

It happened so fast but my toe of my left foot hit the chain and I literally hit the ground with my hand and my chin. Oh yeah. My whole head was vibrating as I stopped my fall. No one was really around...THANK GOD. Wowwwwwweeeeeee. I need a helmet to get through life sometimes. So, I drove home with my chin bleeding on my shirt but was thankful I really didn't split it open and need stitches. I just have some road rash on my freaking face right now, my thumb might have a slight sprain as it is hard to move, and my knee has a big bruise and cut on it.

That was our Friday night!! Me, laying on the couch with ice on me. Ahhhhh. Maybe Evie is not the only one around here who is not a spring chicken anymore!!

Tomatoes & Hot Weather

This week, we did something VERY exciting. We picked our first tomato out of the garden!! Erik has been working so hard on the garden and we were able to taste the fruits of his labor. He has been trying to grow tomatoes for almost six years now. He never could get them to grow properly in SF because the weather there really isn't ripe for growing tomatoes. But, here we are in warm and sunny Berkeley with veggies!
Eat it raw with a little salt.....delish!

In other news this week, Evie went surfing...

...but just in Erik's room. haha

The weather here has been so warm. We started the week with two drizzly, HUMID days which just about never happens here. We don't typically get rain after April or May and it's not usually humid here. Everyone was talking about the "crazy weather." Then, it warmed up FAST. I had to go out East for a luncheon on Wednesday and it was in the 90's in Danville. The luncheon was at the Crown Canyon Country Club so at least we had nice views!

On Thursday, we had the one and only Amy over for dinner. Haven't seen her in awhile since she's been traveling so much for work so it was so fun to catch up. We had" make your own tacos" for dinner. Did you know you can SHRED chicken in your Kitchen Aid? This might be the coolest small appliance we have. It's like a little robot on your counter. You simply boil the chicken, put it in the mixing bowl with the paddle attachment and turn it on. It shreds the chicken in seconds - perfect for chicken tacos!

Speaking of appliances, I've been using the food processor to make those smoothies in the AM and I think it might be time to get a blender. I am constantly going over the "fill line" because I am making enough for both Erik and I .Plus ,that thing is a pain to clean because it has four parts to it. While apparently the Vitamix is THE blender to get (ahem, for $500), this Ninja would work out just fine!

The other thing we are wanting to get for the house soon is a queen futon set so we can have guests stay with us. I found a great deal on That site is AMAZING. They have better prices than Amazon sometimes!
Provo Queen Mission-style Frame/ Mattress Futon Set

Well, that is our update for the week. Hope you had a good week, too!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Luna Lobsterbake 2013

On Sunday, we had our first dinner party in our new place. I am thrilled that we have the space to do this, although we kept it small because we only have enough chairs for 8 of us! Our first party was a....Lobsterbake!

We had lobster, shrimp kabobs, corn, potatoes, berry trifle, and lobster shaped sugar cookies. It was great!!

I made these little packets of a napkin, bib, wet nap, tools, and tied with a little piece of rope for each place setting. 

Thank goodness I bought this a few years ago and never used it. I found a reason to finally use it!

Yummmmmmm....berry trifle. I will post the recipe!

The table...I had all of these ideas for the set up and it all came together perfectly. Thank you Amazon for allowing me to get everything we needed!

Lobster cookies with red frosting

The appetizer & drink set up. Don't worry - there was home brew and wine too. 

Watching water boil for the lobsters

Kelsey & Owen

Sean & Drew

Betsy & Greg

Chowing Down

Evie, begging for scraps. 

Unfortunately, she had to stay out of the way while the kids were over. She hasn't been around kids and is NOT good with them. We emailed a trainer who deals with dog aggression to see how we can fix this. With more and more friends having kids, we have to do something about this NOW. 

Erik and I 

Ahhh the aftermath. So good!

We want to make this annual thing because we had so much fun!

Photos of the Week

Last week was pretty chill. Things are just status quo over here. Nothing too crazy going on, not a lot of big plans...Here's some shots from the week. 

Evie chillin' on the couch

Evie sleeps on the foot of the bed at night but in the AM, before we get up, I let her get under the covers. Lately, I get up and she stays in bed. I have seriously beg her to get up. It's like trying to wake up a kid that doesn't want to go to school! Sure, I could pick her up and carry her off the bed but she gets pissed. So, I have been going in the kitchen to make some noise and that usually gets her up. So lazy!

This is the mirror we haven't put up yet and one day, I saw Evie standing in front of it. We were dying laughing because we thought she was looking at herself. She may have been but what she was really doing was notifying me that there was a piece of dog food behind the mirror that she wanted. As soon as I realized that and gave her the food, she left the mirror right away. 

Check out these super cute straws. I got them on etsy for like $3. We are having a little bbq dinner party in a few weeks and I just thought those would look so cute with some mason jars as glasses. 

Erik's Mom sent us this lantern and suggested we put some of our gazillion wine corks in it. We tried it out & it's cute!

On Saturday, we went to the Berkeley Farmer's Market and had lunch at one of the food trucks. I forget the name of this one but the lunch was awesome. We got this whole plate for $8! It was lentils, tandoori chicken, rice, and veggies with a cucumber cilantro yogurt sauce. Delish!
It's the NHL Stanley Cup Finals and we are rooting for....Chicago. Yeah we are East Coasters but Chicago has been SO good this year. They started the season undefeated for a record number of games and it would be so nice to see them finish the season out with a big win. On Saturday, we went down to Triple Rock Brewery to watch the game where Chicago won and is up 3-2 of the series!

Martha's 30 Minute Gumbo

Last week, we made this awesome dinner - Gumbo! Apparently, it's not true southern gumbo per some of the comments but it was so good. It's called Martha Stewart's 30 Minute Gumbo. We both thought it was so good.

The recipe is below but here's what I changed...
- No oregano. Replaced with red pepper flakes for some spice.
- Used turkey sausage
Half-Hour Chicken Gumbo
(Martha's Photo)

  • 30 MINS


  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil, such as safflower
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 red bell peppers (ribs and seeds removed), chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1 package (10 ounces) frozen, cut okra
  • 8 ounces smoked (precooked) andouille sausage, halved lengthwise and sliced 1 inch thick
  • 1 rotisserie chicken (about 2 1/2 pounds), skin and bones removed, meat shredded (about 4 cups)
  • Store-bought or homemade cornbread, for serving (optional)


Two of the 4 cups water can be replaced with 2 cups low-sodium store-bought chicken broth.


Rotisserie chicken shaves many minutes from the total cooking time, and its slow-roasted goodness brings just as much to the mix as if you'd cooked your own.


  1. STEP 1

    In a 5-quart Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot, heat oil over medium. Add flour, and cook, whisking constantly, until pale golden, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in bell peppers, onion, garlic, and oregano; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are crisp-tender, 10 to 12 minutes.
  2. STEP 2

    Add 4 cups water; stir in okra and sausage. Bring to a boil. Stir in shredded chicken, and warm through, 1 to 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper; if desired, serve with cornbread.

Food Bank Volunteering

Last week started off great because our team at work volunteered at the Alameda County Food Bank. Together, we bagged peppers that would later be given to food shelters and churches that offer free food. 

There were a number of volunteers there that today and among all of us on the afternoon shift, we bagged over 740lb of peppers!! Another group bagged hundreds of pounds of peaches. 

We even got a tour of the facility after our shift. We were all heartbroken to learn that the Alameda County Food bank serves over 49,000 people PER WEEK. Unfortunately almost half of that number are children. So extremely sad. 

We saw the HUGE warehouse where food was stored. The food bank was the first one in the country to ban soda donations. That is awesome! They try to focus on fresh food because that is one type of food that typically is too expensive for folks to purchase. 

What a great afternoon. I think Erik and I are going to try to go one weekend shift and do some work. It was a fun challenge to see how many bags we could get done in our shift. Plus, we know we would be helping people in our own community that truly need it.