A Slice of My Life – Weeks 46 and 47

November 26, 2012

How was your holiday?  Or, if you are not American, how was your week?  We had a busy holiday week in Seattle and a quiet week before that.  I’m going to squish the two together in one post.  By the way, above is my new neighborhood with its new sign outside the BART station.  You can also see my two little monkeys who always want to climb on it.

Places I Ate:

Friends came to town and we decided to do a dinner in San Francisco.  I got this restaurant recommendation from a trusted source but it was sadly not a win for me.  Our friends, who both got the fried chicken, thought it was great.  If you are vegetarian, don’t go to Maverick.

THE perfect place if you are missing Seattle, happen to be in Seattle, and want to eat Seattle food.  We had a terrific meal with our friends John and Lauren at Sitka and Spruce.  It was a favorite of mine when I lived there and there is a good reason for that.  Everything I ate that night was amazing.

On the other end of the spectrum, Claim Jumper.  It was the Wednesday before Thanksgiving; we were simultaneously celebrating birthdays for my mom, Graham, my niece, and sister-in-law; we had four kids who were crazy excited to see each other and Claim Jumper was perfect.  Baked potato and salad, all the way.

Certainly the loveliest meal I had was at my friend Julie’s house.  She was a doll and hosted a lunch for me and a few friends who happened to be both in town and not wrangling kids on a Wednesday morning when there was no school.  True to Julie’s amazing hospitality skills, we had terrific snacks, a truly inspired and well balanced lunch complete with a favorite bottle of wine, and a beautiful table to sit at and enjoy each others company.

Things I Ate:

I ate a lot in two weeks.  ‘Tis the season, right?  I didn’t take pictures of most but here are a few.

The truly wonderful Sarah took me to a terrific taco joint (helmed by a former Chez Panisse alumni – only in Oakland) where we shared a quesadilla stuffed with squash and this amazing salad.  You know how much I love salad and this was one of the better ones I’ve tasted.  Persimmons, pomegranates, jicama, cucumber, perfect avocado (I love California!), crunchy sweet seeds, springy butter lettuce, and the perfect super tangy dressing that seemed to not have any oil in it, yet clinged so nicely to everything.  I WILL be attempting to recreate this.

What do you know?  Another salad.  This one has a (short) story.  We were due to fly out of Oakland at 10am on Monday but something went wrong with our airplane and they cancelled our flight.  We found this out after we had been waiting at the airport for two hours.  We were able to get on a 5pm flight out of San Francisco and because we had parked right at the Oakland airport (I love a small airport!), we piled back in the car and went in search of lunch.  We decided to go to Lake Merritt, a part of Oakland that we had not explored yet, and of course settled on Mexican food.  It is the de facto choice when the boys are involved.  I almost always order some form of taco salad and this one was a stunner.  Needed salt though.

This was my plate at Julie’s.  Mushroom tart, incredible brussels sprouts salad with pickled onions (she sent me the recipe, I’m making it soon), her version of the No-Knead bread with walnuts and truffle oil (amazing!), my friend Jane’s celery root salad, and a sweet little corn muffin with honey butter made by my friend Deb.  THAT my friends, was a meal.

Oh my.  Obviously I didn’t eat this, but I sure did drink it.  Our friends who came to visit will be getting married in February.  It will be a doubly sweet wedding because their marriage, thanks to the inspired voters of Washington state, will finally be legal.  We needed to celebrate that and what better way to do it than with a truly special bottle of bubbly.  I’ve only had Dom three times in my life and it is a very special thing.

Things I Made:

Cookies.  Not chocolate.  Still good.

Pumpkin bread courtesy of Ashley.  It was super moist and I loved the seeds on top.  I have to say I like my favorite better though.

The cake I wished I could have made for Thanksgiving.  If only it could have survived a plane flight.  My mom looked up the original recipe and it was indeed from Sunset from 1976!


Lake Merritt.  Megan, once an Oakland dweller and now a Seattleite, calls it “ugly Greenlake”.  I think it has its own charm.

These days I feel like there are very few surprises in life.  And even fewer in the mail.  Bills, catalogs, an occasional food magazine.  Harry and David sent me a note saying that they were going to send me three exciting boxes in the coming months.  I was floored.  Even more so when the Washington state apples arrived.

My dad playing the airplane game with my boys.  It is one of the silly games that is impossible to explain, both the mechanics of it and exactly why it makes the boys giggle uncontrollably.  This is what grandparents do best.


  1. Oh no! Maverick is decent but I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it for vegetarian food. I would have told you to go to Dosa down the street. Contemporary Southern Indian food. Plenty for veg or omni to enjoy, plus they have vegan/nut-free/gluten-free options as well if that is a concern!

    But it sounds like you had plenty of other fabulous food this past week!

    Comment by Irvin @ Eat the Love — November 26, 2012 @ 10:14 pm

  2. I love that you’ve been having such a delicious past few weeks! And you’ve made me miss the west coast in a major way. I need to plan a visit.

    Comment by Joanne — November 27, 2012 @ 3:18 am

  3. Oh, sorry it didn’t work for you. They wouldn’t make some veggie heavy meal for you? Hmmmm …..

    Regardless it looks like you had a great week – glad you made it to Seattle for the holidays. Let’s catch up soon! xo

    Comment by Denise — November 27, 2012 @ 4:57 am

  4. awesome about your Washington friends! and awesome for Washington :)

    Comment by jackie — November 27, 2012 @ 4:17 pm

  5. So many reasons I love this post:
    1. I envy some of those great meals
    2. You are embracing a new life
    3. That picture of your dad and your kids is awesome

    Namaste Dana!

    Comment by Erika K — November 28, 2012 @ 3:22 am

  6. Glad you liked Cosecha, Dana. Love that salad dressing too. Here’s to more meals together in the name of newcomer researcher. Oh, and that comment by Megan about Lake Merritt: Too funny.

    Comment by sarah henry — November 29, 2012 @ 6:43 am

  7. That top salad reminded me of the ensalada de primavera at Tacubaya on 4th Street in Berkeley. Have you been yet? Their salad isn’t as complex (no persimmon), but it’s full of avocado and I’ve been known to drive there straight from the airport to order a double serving to take home. It tastes like California to me. http://tacubaya.net/

    I miss California salads, though I am sure you are enjoying them for me :-)

    Comment by tea_austen — November 30, 2012 @ 4:40 pm

  8. PS. I’m still laughing about Megan’s Greenlake comment. Spot on!

    Comment by tea_austen — November 30, 2012 @ 4:42 pm

  9. Here’s the great secret of Lake Merritt: It’s the nation’s oldest wildlife refuge and in the winter, it really is a refuge … for thousands of migrating ducks and birds. Because it’s protected and not hunted, the birds here are far less skittish than at, say, a National Wildlife Refuge.

    Okay, I’m totally geeky about it, I admit. I’m a wildlife photographer, and, we have the opposite situation of yours: we moved to Seattle *from* Oakland two years ago and I’m desperately missing the many wild spaces and wild animals around the Bay. The wintering birds at Lake Merritt are really spectacular if you know what you’re looking at as you scan that vast raft of ducks you’ll see from about November to March.

    A great way to appreciate Lake Merritt. Go early in the morning (before 10) on a winter’s day, before people get there and tend to scare the ducks away from the shores. Get a bird ID book like Sibley’s, Kaufman’s, or Nat Geo — a pair of binoculars or a telephoto lens to observe birds without disturbing them. And, then see how many species you see around the lake. (Or take pics and check online at All About Birds: http://www.allaboutbirds.org/). During herring runs, pelicans and cormorants descend on the lake as fish make their way in through high tide.

    Since you’re in Oakland, if you haven’t explored the hikes in the East Bay Regional Park District, you’ll be amazed. You can go all year and never repeat a hike … all within a half hour from home. On weekdays, often you’ll have trails to yourself.

    Comment by Ingrid — February 18, 2013 @ 5:55 pm

  10. Ok, your friend, Julie, in Seattle, made a plate of food that totally spoke to me….I want the recipes for all 4 items!! (brussel sprout salad, mushroom tart, no knead bread and celery root salad)….I have to meet her!

    Comment by Kathy Fishman — May 15, 2013 @ 3:26 pm

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