Bucket List for Foodies

It’s here, San Francisco…The Big Eat 2012 list is in!

Every year 7×7 Magazine compiles a list of 100 tried, tested, loved, and obsessed-over dishes that you can find within the seven square miles of our beloved city.  Their proclamation: that these are quite simply the 100 things you must try before your days end here on earth.

That’s right…as in “your life will not be complete until you eat every single thing on this list.”

This is serious business.

Which means there is only one reasonable thing to be done…will you join me as I attempt to gobble up each item on this list before year end?

I’ll be tracking my progress here, and you can request your very own checklist from 7×7 Magazine here.

I’ve already eaten 15 items on the list so that leaves 85 (yikes!) Big Eats to try.  My very sophisticated calculations indicate I’ll need to eat at least 7 items per month, if I hope to finish by year-end.

If you are local, let’s make a date! 
I imagine these dishes will only taste sweeter with a friendly companion by my side.

PS…here is a reminder of last year’s Big Eats. Kevin’s Uncle Walid made the list at #97 with his Lamb Schawerma at Truly Mediterranean in the Mission.  Yes, I’ve had it…yes, it’s amazing…yes, you should try it too.  

Ya-Ya Sisterhood

I’d like to introduce you to my Ya-Ya’s!

If you’ve read Rebecca Wells’ amazing book, then you will recognize the reference.  If you haven’t read it, and you have a penchant for major-girlie-friends-forever kind of reads, then I highly suggest you pick it up immediately. It’s an all-time favorite that is sure to make you appreciate the women in your life, make you want to move to the South, and possibly make you start drinking cocktails out of a thermos in the middle of the day.

Our sisterhood started about 10 years ago, when we were all in our early-20’s, single, and living in San Francisco.  Danielle and I were roommates from college and best friends (still are today), and I had met Amanda and Liz through work.  We started hosting each other for dinners as an excuse to get together and practice our cooking skills, and we’ve enthusiastically carried on the tradition all these years later.  In fact, the dinners just keep getting more meaningful and more impressive as time goes on.

The dubbing of Ya-Ya’s happened a few years back when Liz was hosting us at her house in Napa…in the summer…with no air conditioning!  Desperate for reprieve from the sweltering summer heat, we dipped paper towels in icy water and draped them over the back of our necks.  I can’t recall exactly who said it first (girls…do you recall?), but somebody claimed it felt like something a Ya-Ya would have done. Fueled by giddiness of wine consumption, we proceeded to “Ya-Ya this” and “Ya-Ya that” through the rest of the evening.  And from that day forward, our precious dinners have been called Ya-Ya Dinners.  These girls are, and will forever be, my Ya-Ya’s.

Our latest amazing dinner, hosted by Liz, was extra special because we got to see the brand-new, gorgeous house she just moved into with her sweet fiance, Mike.  Liz missed no detail with her Italian-themed dinner, which included limoncello aperitifs, stunning scallops, truffled salad, delectable risotto, and poached pear with gorgonzola for dessert. The theme was quite fitting, considering her impending nuptials will take place in Florence, Italy this July!

Have a look, and you will see…the Ya-Ya’s do not mess around when it comes to hosting…

Yes, those are menus she printed just for the occasion!  And did I mention she sent each of us home with a jar of homemade jam?  That’s the caliber of hosting we are dealing with here, people. 
Thank you for an amazing dinner, Liz…your best one yet!

I Still ♥ the 49ers

It was a rough loss yesterday, but I’m proud that our 49ers made it as far as they did.  It was so cool  to see San Francisco unite in support of the team…bandwagon fans and all.  I’ll be the first to admit, I’m not the biggest football fan, but you just can’t help getting a tinge of goosebumps seeing our gorgeous City Hall, Coit Tower, Ferry Building, and even SFO decked out in red and gold lights.  And I know Kevin was overjoyed that he had an excuse to wear his old 49ers Starter jacket again (circa late ’80’s).

As with all serious sporting events, my mind goes to the one and only place its capable of…let’s have a party…what should I cook?!  It was the perfect occasion to whip up a batch of my very favorite chocolate cupcakes to watch the game with some of my girlfriends. 
As soon as Kevin heard…”girls”…”cupcakes”…”wine”…he politely excused himself to watch the game (sans side chatter) at a friend’s house.

So here’s the deal…I’ve made A LOT of cupcakes in my day.  A LOT.  This is undeniably the best chocolate cake recipe I’ve come across.  I mean…Hershey’s…it’s a classic.  It’s totally foolproof and just as chocolatey and decadent as you could hope for.

Just ask Nate…he totally agrees! ♥

Thyme-Infused Greyhound

I’ve loved seeing other bloggers’ recent use of gorgeous, seasonal citrus.  I was inspired to make one of my favorite cocktails with fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice. If you live in San Francisco, you may have tried one of these refreshing beverages at the Lion’s Den in Pacific Heights, where they freshly squeeze grapefruits to order for their famous greyhounds.

This version adds an interesting touch with a subtle infusion of fresh thyme.

   :: Bash a couple sprigs of thyme with a wooden spoon
   :: Add the thyme to a cocktail shaker filled with ice
   :: Add 1 shot of vodka and 2 shots of grapefruit juice
   :: Shake vigorously; strain into a cocktail glass filled with ice
   :: Garnish with a small sprig of thyme

Wouldn’t this be a great drink to sip while watching the 49ers game this Sunday?!
I’m excited to watch the game…but only because a few of my favorite gals are coming over to watch it with me.  And by watch I mean non-stop girl talk, sipping wine, nibbling on gluttonous food, and flipping back & forth between the game and Kardashian re-runs.  In case you couldn’t guess, Kevin will not be joining this gathering.  He will be actually watching the game with his friend.
Have a great weekend!