Monday, September 21, 2009


Fun weekend in Woodland! (more pics here) The weather was perfect for an afternoon outside babyshower by the pool & BBQ. Many thanks to Liz's god-family (Carol & Frank are pictured above); they hooked up a great spread, inlcuding Honey-Baked Ham (I got the bone!). 7 grandkids running around made for a very festive atmosphere.

It was my first time out there and Liz hadn't been in years. The property is huge- 80 acres maybe? A real working farm, which is a novelty for us city-folk. Not pictured: the boys' mid-afternoon target practice- thanks Dave!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Chao Ga

Chao Ga, or Vietnamese rice porridge with chicken, is one of our most basic comfort foods. It's like "your grandma's chicken soup" with some extra Vietnamese mojo to banish the evil spirits. So when I was immobilized with a fever yesterday (and sleeping on the couch the last 3 days), Liz hooked up a big pot of Chao! I am already on the mend, but I'm looking forward to finishing the pot this weekend.

Benicia... who knew?

My first time to Benicia was last Thursday night for dinner at this place called Captain Blyther's. The food was pretty standard american seafood fare, but I was really surprised with how nice their Main Street is. Did you know that Benicia was once the Califonia state capitol?! The grassy beach and rennovated pier are lined with dozens of historic buildings. Sure, there are refineries and the dirty delta, but on a late summer evening, when the weather's nice and the farmer's market's buzzing, it's a super quaint spot to chill. No, we won't be moving there.

Monday, September 14, 2009

It takes a lot... impress a guy whose mom cooks very good home-style vietnamese food. We tried Out The Door in the Food Emporium at SF Center (sister restaurant to Slanted Door), and were less than impressed, despite really wanting to like it. Their counter service was poor, but I could have overlooked it if their food was good, which it wasn't.
I have been on a quest for really good modern vietnamese food, and have tried a number of places, but what I keep finding is modern decor without an evolution in the flavors of traditional VN cooking. So I get annoyed when the dishes don't deliver anything new but they charge 3-4 times what one of my favorite spots charges. Just seems like a rip off. I am not writing the place completely off- maybe they have a couple of home run dishes (maybe you have a suggestion?)- but there are a dozen places I'd rather go for good VN food.


Busy weekend but we had time to catch this flick late Saturday night. I am no QT fanboy, but I really enjoyed this one. Lots of tense scenes with great dialogue- think of True Romance's trailer scene where Chris Walken is interrogating Dennis Hopper and Dennis tells him about his Sicilian heritage. Though on the long side (2:30 + previews = 3 hrs of theater time), I would definitely recommend this one for Col. Hans Landa alone, and of course there's plenty of butt-kicing violence.

Thursday, September 10, 2009


Two cool things...

...about last night's concert- the Fox and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. It was our first time at the Fox, a newly renovated downtown Oakland spot on Telegraph. Super retro/deco feel, and it's huge. Lots of people there rockin out but it didn't feel too crowded or hot (baby approves). Easy to get drinks from multiple bars (daddy approves). Good sound and sightlines from the floor.

And having Karen O on stage makes any venue better. Peep this video for their newest cut (thx Jay). She had the crowd rockin with her crazy powerful, frenetic voice. Very energetic show and I would defintely see them again... maybe tonight?

One thing that bugged me though, about all the bands, was that they couldn't say "Thank you Oakland" without also adding "San Francisco." I'd be surprised if more than 5% of the crowd came over from SF on a Wednesday night. You don't hear bands at the Fillmore saying "Thank you San Francisco, Daly City." The Fox is better than most venues in SF that I've been to. East Bay inferiority complex? Maybe.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The more things change...

... the more they stay the same.

So two of my favorite joint on Telegraph were Cafe Intermezzo and Raleigh's, right next door. They've both changed, but basically just in name. Same menu, same decor, same prices, only now they are called Cafe Mattina and Manny's Tap Room, respectively. One employee told me that it was a "friendly takover," which surprised me because the biz model there is so good it must be like printing money, so why sell the joint? Maybe the old owners just wanted to get rid of the hassle of constantly trying to train the right combo of tattooed/pierced/hair dyed kids to dish out their giant salads and sandwiches.

On a side note, students are back in town. I know that they are pretty much the only reason that Berkeley even exists, but it still annoys me because now everything has a long line and I can't park where I want.

They will never even know that Intermezzo or Raleigh's even existed.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Aunt Mary's

Brunch at Aunt Mary's- the newish Temescal hipster spot- lived up to the hype. Everything on the menu that's baked, they bake themselves: pastries, baked fritters, fresh pie, even the bread in their french toast. Liz's eggs over succotash was very fresh, though the smoked bacon kind of overpowered the dish. My fried oysters & onions over fritata was bomb. And the fresh peach jam was awesome over skillet cornbread. We are hitting up the dinner there next time.

Lake Chalet

From the people who brought you SF's Park Chalet and Beach Chalet... Lake Chalet! It's the kind of place you bring out of town folks to show them that Oakland isn't all docks and likker stores. Try the Pork Loin Benedict or the Fried Shrimp Po Boys. And defnitely sit outside on the deck to check out the "gondoliers." All that's missing is bottomlesss bloody maries...

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Rene & Molly

Came to visit us this weekend. We hit up Osha Thai, John Collins, Lake Chalet (excellent), Tilden Park and Fenton's before they headed down to Pigeon Point and wherever else they end up going.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Jacob Wayne

Born to Cousins Thu and Chad on 8/30 at 8:18am.
8lb, 7oz!!!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Check out the rest of the album from Mimi and Khoa's visit last month :

And finally these are from just last night. That brings us up to 23 weeks I reckon. More than 1/2 way there!

This one is a little later

these are pics of the kid around that time... they are actually kind of scary; I am sure that she will be much cuter.
This is the first pic I can find of Liz just starting to show- around 18 weeks?

The Reason

Regrettably, many of our family and friends aren't near enough for us to hang with on a regular basis, which bums us out particularly now that we have a little girl on the way. I keep up with a few of my friend's blogs, and I've seen how it can help people who are far away share stories and moments that they otherwise couldn't. So the reason for this blog is to close that gap a little, whether you are physically far, or we just don't get to hang as often as we'd like. Thanks for stopping in to check us out, and please leave a note if you're so inclined.