Tag Archives: San Francisco

Changing cities

15 Aug

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In July we took a trip to Seattle for a mix of family and business. First family, then business. We spent a few days on the Eastside visiting my family in surprisingly hot summer weather. We had happy hour among blackberry bushes slowly trying to reclaim my mother’s backyard. We watched hummingbirds in her flowers and got chased inside every night by giant mosquitos. The area around my childhood home is still wild and undeveloped, it is deeply green and in such contrast from parched San Francisco right now. We drove a few miles down the road to visit a new-ish local farm in the pasture of a former dairy. As kids and then later as teenagers we’d drive by this dairy on our way to the river or the falls, and had to hold our breath as we passed this stretch of country road. Now the cows are gone, the dairy has been converted to another use and that farm-y smell is long gone.

We spent a few days north of Seattle visiting Intern’s family for a big family reunion and got caught up with all the aunties, cousins, new babies and family friends we haven’t seen or met in a long time. Our usual cooking lessons with Intern’s ammi were brief, the weather was hot and there was a big party to prep for. Our free mornings and evenings were spent digging through old family photo albums, hearing stories, and finally getting a good laugh and a hearty dose of some awkward photos of those uncomfortable teenage years that have until this trip, been hidden away with purpose. Other people’s teenage years are really endearing to look at, I felt so much love for my young lanky Intern and his sweet sister, during the baggy clothes years of the 90s. SO. MUCH. LOVE. I don’t think Intern enjoyed it quite as much as I did.

I spent some time at my mom’s house looking for two Rome books I wanted to bring home, and in the course of searching, found a few old boxes of mine full of high school and college photo albums and journals. I flipped through a couple sort of hastily, it brought up a mixture of nostalgia and uncomfortable embarrassment for me. I was suddenly feeling old but also feeling like all of that feeling was still recent in my mind. Reading old journal entries was just too much for me, I stopped rereading after a few very earnest entries, one about my first time voting in a general election, and another about an apparently very drunken college party… that was SO FUN. Hopefully older, older Kate will appreciate how much younger Kate documented her life in journals, cause right now it just causes me to cringe. I stacked all those journals down at the bottom of the boxes and repacked them again– I think it will be a few more years before I feel ready for a good trip into the past.

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We said our goodbyes to family and spent some time in Seattle working and visiting shops before taking the train down to Portland for a few days of the same. Our conversation kept rotating around the same subjects: could we live here? Does this city have what we want and need? The purpose of our trip wasn’t to evaluate Seattle and Portland for possible livability– we have no moving plans, yet we couldn’t stop. Portland has always been the city that we’ve pondered and put in the maybe category. It seems to be some of Seattle, some of San Francisco, and a lot of other things too. Seattle has changed since our last visit, and even more since we left it 5 years ago. Portland has evolved too, as it will continue to do. San Francisco is racing in different directions of course, in good, bad and strange ways. Instead of accepting this, Intern and I have been busy dissecting it, like we are searching for something specific.

Cities aren’t the same once we leave them, and they don’t stay the same, even if we stay put. Our wise Portland friend Kanna reminded us so expertly, “That’s the thing about cities, they change, that is what they are supposed to do”… or something like that. What she said was succinct and so perfectly simple, I haven’t been able to get it out of my mind. We love where we live, and can’t imagine life in the suburbs or the country, because we believe life there moves too slowly. We crave change and movement, but at the same time we’re living in our chosen city and constantly questioning and critiquing the changes around us.  Why is it that we can’t come to terms with the very thing that we love about cities?

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Work and then some

29 Jul

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Slow down July! We’re nearly through this month, and I’ve had very few moments to sit down and reflect on the last few weeks. We’ve had brushes with real summer weather and even made it up to the Russian River for a day to nap and swim and picnic in equal measure. We came back with pink thighs (both of us) but recharged after a short, but full day without cell phone service.

I’ve been almost entirely focused on growing my business and being a grown up this summer, doing things like: Getting insurance! Renting a production space! Hiring my first employee! All of these scary-exciting developments have been sped up by some new large wholesale orders that I’ll be sharing more about soon. Moving all the production from the sidewalk and garage to an actual production space was a long-needed move, one that I was afraid to make. Hiring a production assistant was something I’ve been wanting to do for a few months as well, so I could free up those long production and sanding hours, and reinvest that time and energy back into the business.

Long story short, it is really exciting, and also terrifying in a mostly wonderful/OK way. Although, for some realness on the internet, I’ll admit that I’ve had endless worries and anxiety about building up my wholesale orders AND keeping up with online sales and often wake up in the middle night worrying about it. I’m a micromanager and worrier and its been a continual challenge to let go of some details (like sanding and packaging) so I could tackle other bigger projects (like oversees distribution?!).

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This week we’re flying to Seattle then Portland for a family trip + work trip combination, with a little air travel and train travel thrown in FOR FUN! We’re going to visit Intern’s family for a family reunion, plus I’m tacking on some Seattle retail shop visits to promote the wholesale collection. We’ll be stopping in to see my family then hopping on the train to spend a few days in Portland, visiting a few friends, a few more retail shop visits, and hopefully do a little fun-relaxing-exploring before we fly back to San Francisco and kick off another round of wholesale order production.

I used to feel guilty when I neglected this space, but now I think I am too busy to feel that guilt. I’m also aware that most of my posts in the past few months have been primarily about how busy I think I am. Even I’m tired of reading that. I’m really neglecting a much longer list of things, hobbies and interests and the blog happens to be one of them. I’ve started to find it harder and harder to write about anything personal beyond work and work-related worrying, but that could be an excuse I’ve invented to keep the blog on the back back unlit burner for now. Intern and I are both in a very work-y place personally, a phase that fits well with where we are right now in our lives. I know we both won’t always be working this hard, or feeling driven to work all the time, but we also know we may not have another phase of our lives where our attention isn’t split, so now might really be the best and only time to work this hard.

 

Summer scenes

2 Jul

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June quickly turned into July this year. We’ve been bouncing along between warm days and fog-wind days, which are more often than not, the norm for San Francisco summer. We’re deep into summer produce from our Eatwell CSA– stone fruit and squash are on the menu for the next many many weeks. Our garden is almost 90% neglected and unplanted this year. The drought made that decision for us this season, though even if we weren’t in a severe drought, I can’t imagine having time to garden right now. Our artichoke plant produced a lot this year, nearly all of the artichokes were left on the plant to flower. Our big beautiful and productive lemon tree was hacked back to nearly nothing by our landlord for unknown reasons, so we’ve had very few meyer lemons for the past 6 months. The only thing really thriving in the backyard is honeysuckle and lots of volunteer nasturtiums planted last year or the year before. The squirrels and wind have done a good job of moving the seeds around to different parts of the yard.

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Two things

12 May

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Two of our favorite things right now- One: Prosecco and Aperol happy hour, because I can’t ever stop loving the bitter, floral and bubbly combination. On a warm evening, nothing is better.

Two: Barley risotto. We’re hooked after trying Bon Appetit’s recipe from the April issue. We started with the spinach and herb combination, and now have moved on to other variations– this week’s included freshly shelled fava beans and peas, with an arugula pesto mixed in at the end. We reheated leftovers the next day, and served it with a poached egg for a very, very late breakfast. The recipe seems like a lot of work, (but risotto is always a lot of work) but this is completely worth every extra step. The toasted barley has a really wonderful texture and flavor, but also very creamy like regular risotto.

We’re 6 days away from the Skill Exchange grilling workshop(s) on Saturday, with only a few tickets left. Last night, after a full day of pretending it was Friday, I got into bed and my brain went into list-making-worrying-not-sleeping mode. Paired with 4 abnormally wild hellion cats that staged an all out attack on human sleep last night, I’m feeling tired and also pretty wired today. Also, very excited.

$100 goes a long way

7 May

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The unofficial mantra of Skill Exchange is quite simple: Share skills, have fun, learn something new. Repeat. Easy, right? Skill Exchange is all about breaking down seemingly complicated skills into manageable parts and sharing those parts with eager, but sometimes uncertain beginners. We work with passionate makers who are excited to share their craft with a curious audience. We want to make sometimes under-appreciated and under-practiced hand making skills more approachable for those who don’t have much experience or background knowledge.

The ticket price of $100 may seem a bit high on first glance, but it includes 6+ workshops, tastings, demos, a printed resource guide and a complete grilled lunch of local salmon, vegetables, and other treats prepared by our teachers. Many of our workshops, like this one are one-off events, never to be repeated.  Spots are limited in all our workshops to maintain an intimate and casual atmosphere, where its easy to ask questions and connect with the material.

Tickets $100 per person for the full day of workshops, tastings and picnic OR buy two tickets and save $10.
Tickets available at: SkillExchangeSF.com/tickets

FULL SCHEDULE OF WORKSHOPS:

11AM Welcome + Introductions

The Year in Food  | Kimberley Hasselbrink
To kick off the day, Kimberley will share a recipe from her forthcoming cookbook Vibrant Food. We’ll taste Summer Squash Pasta with Green Goddess Dressing -a refreshing tangle of noodles made from summer squash, tossed with a bright and zesty yogurt-based Green Goddess Dressing, and garnished with fresh herbs, pine nuts and shaved parmesan cheese. It’s perfect outdoor eating!

Town Cutler | Instructor Galen Garretson
While we enjoy the tasting, Galen will teach a basic 3-step process for sharpening knives at home using Japanese Whetstones. This lesson includes a discussion on knife safety and demo of essential knife skills for every home chef. We dare you to stump this knife master, his knife knowledge will astound!

Fermenters Club | Instructor Austin Durant
Austin will teach about the joys, history and benefits of KIMCHI, a traditional Korean fermented vegetable dish. You’ll get to sample some mature AND young kimchi, then watch a live demo to learn how it’s made!

Siren Fish Co. | Instructor Anna Barr Larsen
Anna will lead us through a comprehensive lesson on what to look for + what to avoid when buying fresh fish. Anna will demonstrate some home seafood prep basics, including how to scale a fish, gut a sardine, shuck an oyster, debone a fish and more. We’ll discuss methods of seafood preservation (freezing, poaching, pickling, smoking and drying). We’ll get some hands-on experience gutting sardines, as well as shucking (and eating!) oysters!

Edible San Francisco Magazine | Instructor Bruce Cole
Edible San Francisco Magazine Editor Bruce Cole will demonstrate some grilling basics, including what fuels to use and why, best ways to start your fire as well as the pros and cons of direct vs. indirect grilling. He’ll also give us the low-down on grilling vegetables, fruits and of course, seafood. Bruce will show us how to break down and fillet whole salmon (now in season!) We’ll gather around the grill as Bruce demonstrates everything from start to finish. This workshop will transition into a full meal shared family style.

HenHouse Brewing Company | Instructor Collin McDonnell
Collin will lead a beer tasting with a focus on everyday food and beer pairing including accessible beers from the grocery store. This conversation will include matching beer intensity to your food, as well as complimentary and contrasting flavors.

Grilled Picnic  | Q & A Session
After our lessons and tastings, we’ll come together for a grilled meal served family style! We’ll sample barbecued oysters and grilled sardines, as Bruce Cole and instructors prepare a savory, sweet and spicy meal of grilled salmon and seasonal vegetables, kimchi and grilled peaches. Everyone will enjoy the meal together outdoors (if weather permits) with an informal Q&A with all our teachers. You’ll be sent home with a full belly and a resource guide, including recipes and how-tos from all of our teachers.

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