Last week was one of guests, lots of eating, and some house construction and stress. Let’s start with token cute boy pictures, shall we?
Randy found a box in the garage that should not have been there because it contained Things That Should Never Be Given away. Like Spencer’s sweater which a great-aunt knit for my brother and Graham also wore. I think we missed the fitting window, but he loves it anyway and so do I. See also: my ever-amazing view.
We have embarked on some remodeling projects. Our house is in the part of Oakland that was destroyed in the terrible fire of 1991. Almost every single house in this area burned, so they are almost all relatively new construction. Ours was built in 1994 and the owners wanted to keep it as close to their original house as they could. Therefore it had very dated finishing. Another couple bought the house in 2004 and did an extensive remodel that updated most of the rooms. Then they ran out of money and left the laundry room and two bathrooms. We knew that eventually we would need to fix those rooms but we decided to just go ahead and start because we want to be able to take advantage of the changes right away. We are going to leave the boys’ bathroom as is however, mauve toilet and all. Graham’s room was a storage room and therefore had no heating vent and no closet. It also had ugly carpeting and was very small. We are working with a great contractor who has tremendous vision and he realized that we could bust into the crawl space in his room and almost double the size of it. Then he suggested popping out a dormer and building him a great window/skylight.
So we have had a big hole in our roof for over a week. Something that would be unthinkable in Seattle. Almost as soon as this project started, our neighbors to one side starting taking pictures of what was going on. Randy had several conversations with them, allowing them to voice their concerns. It turns out that we happen to live next door to the only people in Oakland who would rather look up until the hills that are crammed full of houses, rather than out to the Bay, San Francisco, and the Golden Gate Bridge. Or so they say. We think they are just a bit crotchety and would complain about anything we decided to do.
I baked them some muffins as a peace offering. It didn’t work but they enjoyed the muffins. And so did we.
Speaking of baking – Apple Crostada. Amazing. One of the best things I have made in a while.
I made this soup a couple of weeks ago and have been wanting to write about it. The problem was I did not have a good photo of it. So I made it again and will share this week.
This was a week full of visits from friends. Some of our best friends came down and stayed three nights with us. I got an afternoon with all of the kids so of course we had to visit our local candy store. I love this sweet place. They have Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (the original version) playing on a loop. The kids were riveted.
We had two good dinners out in a row. The first was at Pizzaiolo, a great pizza joint in Oakland. People have been telling me to go there since we moved and we just haven’t had a chance. We all loved it. The salads, pizzas, and pasta were terrific. Can’t wait to go back. The next night the grown-ups went to A16, another place I have wanted to try for a long time. We had another great dinner. The salads were terribly underdressed, but everything else we tried was tasty and fresh. I am very excited that they are opening a location in Rockridge, my neighborhood.
Sunday we drove our friends to the Oakland airport and then drove across the Bay Bridge to have dinner with my dear friend Julie. I’ve been wanting to try Aziza ever since meeting Mourad at a Book Larder event last year, so we agreed to meet there. It is the only Moroccan restaurant in the world with a Michelin star.
The place was beautiful and the food was beautiful. It just wasn’t that satisfying. It was very fancy and stylized. Tasty too but I can’t say it fed my soul. We all felt this way. Nice to be able to cross that one off my list!