Stinson Beach

Lots of people told us we had to check out Stinson Beach, so we drove the loopy winding road out there. We were all excited for a sunshine-y day at the beach, but it turns out it was actually pretty gloomy there that day. We still had a good time, though, watching surfers and being entertained by gulls that almost got away with someone’s unsupervised backpack.

Stinson Beach is actually a cute little town with a nice market selling organic veggies and some cute stores and restaurants.

Food trucks!

Apart from a few random sightings of Oakland taco trucks, I hadn’t seen any food trucks parked around Berkeley since I moved here, and I knew there must be a collection of them somewhere. Finally, Mike told me that San Francisco’s food truck gathering, called Off the Grid, comes to Berkeley on Wednesday nights. In the gourmet ghetto, of course.

Last night we actually remembered to go check it out, and I’m so glad we did. Not only is it a really good selection of foodie options (burgers, falafel, cupcakes, Filipino dishes, tacos), but the crowd there is about the most perfect slice of Berkeley’s population I’ve ever seen gathered in one place.

Mike got a sandwich from the Filipino truck (not sure the name), and I got a fried chicken sandwich and red velvet whoopie pie from 3-SUM Eats. I know it was indulgent but that sandwich was life-changing! I’ve never had the one at Bakesale Betty, but it has to be up there with that one.

Cole slaw on a chicken sandwich = a good idea.

Sadly the whoopie pie was disappointing. Next time I will have to try the adorable Skylite Snowball truck. The fivetenburger truck was also calling.

Seeing the complete list of vendors that come to the SF event makes me want to put that one on my to-list for sure.

And while we’re on the subject of food trucks, I have to mention that our new favorite bar, the Hotsy Totsy Club in Albany, has a legit Oakland taco truck parked outside on weekend nights. So if you come to visit, add that to your to-do list, too!

A book about 30

A few months ago I contributed an essay to a book project about turning 30, and now it has been published.

The contributors are all lovely and talented women around the age of 30 who wrote about how that birthday affected them. My friend Sarah designed it. We published it ourselves, and you can buy it here on blurb.

We also decided that $5 from every sale would go to The Girl Effect, a great nonprofit that helps adolescent girls living in poverty.

It’s so exciting to see a project like this come together, and I can’t wait to read everyone’s work. As I said at the time, turning 30 did not produce the major anxiety attack I thought it might, mostly because things were going so well for me and I was too busy to be worried about it. But it’s definitely a point of reflection, and I think we all felt it was significant.


Has anyone else been watching 50 documentaries to see before you die on The Current?

I guess I should preface this by saying that I loooove documentaries. I am a docu-nerd or docu-geek or whatever you want to call it. I’m sure I have several years before I enter the target age range for Frontline, but I have loved that show for a long time (and it’s all the more awesome that Mike’s nonprofit works on stories for them).

Basically, Morgan Spurlock of Super Size Me fame has been hosting a countdown of 50 great documentaries, and the Current is showing a lot of them (yay!). Of course I had to find out how many of them I had seen. Here is the list, with the ones I’ve seen bolded.

50. Spellbound (Jeffery Blitz, 2002)
49. Madonna: Truth or Dare (Alek Keshishian and Mark Aldo Miceli, 1991)
48. The Kid Stays in the Picture (Nanette Burstein and Brett Morgen, 2002)
47. One Day in September (Kevin Macdonald, 1999)
46. Little Dieter Needs to Fly (Werner Herzog, 1998)
45. The Decline of Western Civilization: The Metal Years (Part II, Penelope Spheeris, 1988)
44. Burma VJ (Anders Østergaard, 2008)
43. When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts (Spike Lee, 2008)
42. Catfish (Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman, 2010)
41. The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters (Seth Gordon, 2007)
40. When We Were Kings (Leon Gast, 1996)
39. Biggie and Tupac (Nick Broomfield, 2002)
38. March of the Penguins (Luc Jacquet, 2005)
37. Inside Job (Charles Ferguson, 2010)
36. Taxi to the Dark Side (Alex Gibney, 2007)
35. Paragraph 175 (Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman, 2000)
34. Brother’s Keeper (Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky, 1992)
33. Tongues Untied (Marlon Riggs, 1989)
32. Dogtown and Z-Boys (Stacy Peralta, 2001)
31. Jesus Camp (Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady, 2006)
30. Farenheit 9/11 (Michael Moore, 2004)
29. Man on Wire (James Marsh, 2008)
28. Gasland (Josh Fox, 2010)
27. Tarnation (Jonathan Caouette, 2003)
26. Murderball (Henry Alex Rubin and Dana Adam Shapiro, 2005)
25. Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room (Alex Gibney, 2005)
24. Paradise Lost (Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky, 1996)
23. The Eyes of Tammy Faye (Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato, 2000)
22. Shut Up and Sing (Barbara Kopple and Cecilia Peck, 2006)
21. Exit Through The Gift Shop (Banksy, 2010)
20. Capturing the Friedmans (Andrew Jarecki, 2003)
19. Touching the Void (Kevin Macdonald, 2003)
18. Food, Inc. (Robert Kenner, 2008)
17. Street Fight (Marshall Curry, 2005)
16. Bus 174 (José Padilha and Felipe Lacerda, 2002)
15. Crumb (Terry Zwigoff, 1994)
14. Dark Days (Marc Singer, 2000)
13. The Fog of War (Errol Morris, 2003)
12. Bowling For Columbine (Michael Moore, 2002)
11. Paris Is Burning (Jennie Livingston, 1990)
10. Grizzly Man (Werner Herzog, 2005)
9. Trouble the Water (Carl Deal and Tia Lessin, 2008)
8. An Inconvenient Truth (Davis Guggenheim, 2006)
7. The Celluloid Closet (Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman, 1995)
6. The War Room (D.A. Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus, 1993)
5. Super Size Me (Morgan Spurlock, 2004)
4. Waltz with Bashir (Ari Folman, 2008)
3. Roger and Me (Michael Moore, 1989)
2. The Thin Blue Line (Errol Morris, 1988)
1. Hoop Dreams (Steve James, 1994)

I think my Netflix queue just got a lot longer! A lot of times docs are available to watch instantly, which is nice.

My favorites from this list are probably Grizzly Man, Super Size Me, Food, Inc., and The King of Kong. Trouble the Water is also really great. I don’t think any movie has scared me more than Jesus Camp.

I did start to think about how many good docs were not on this list, so here are some of my faves that did not make the cut:

• The Human Experience — this one will send you into the ugly cry.
• Wasteland — about an artist who befriends garbage pickers in Rio
• Very Young Girls — scary look at prostitutes in the US
• Ballerina – lovely movie about ballerinas in Russia
• Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soapbox — the story behind the wacky soap
• My Kid Could Paint That —I loved this one because the filmmaker changes his opinion about the subject partway through the movie.
• The Bridge — about people who commit suicide by jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge
• Grey Gardens — the original documentary is so quirky you can’t believe it’s real
• The Business of Being Born — I know a lot of people who hated this movie because it’s a little TMI in parts, but I think it’s so important that women start taking back control of the childbirth process.
• God Grew Tired of Us and Lost Boys of Sudan — about what it was like for the lost boys of Sudan to come to America
• Helvetica — the perfect movie for design nerds, about the iconic font
• The Devil and Daniel Johnston — this one’s a trip, you just have to see it
• New York — this is an 8-part series from PBS all about NYC
• Wordplay and Word Wars — like Spellbound, about the intense worlds of crossword and Scrabble competitions
• Who Killed the Electric Car? — even more interesting now that electric cars are finally being sold
• The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill — about the man who was caretaker to the wild parrots in San Francisco

Maybe it’s because I’m a journalist, but I just think nothing is more interesting than the things that really happen.

Brown rice casserole

I’ve had the Greens cookbook for a while, but hadn’t made anything out of it until I picked out this very unassuming recipe for a brown rice casserole. I was looking for something that would be both hearty and healthy. And I appreciated that it was also meatless.

Some of the recipes in the book are pretty labor intensive (ie make one recipe from this page, add another recipe from this page, etc.), but this one was quite simple. It’s also very adaptable to whatever veggies you have in your fridge. I opted to use zucchini and sweet potatoes, along with a few cherry tomatoes and herbs from our mini garden. I nixed the mushrooms because I don’t like them.

I also used homemade chicken stock instead of vegetable stock, mostly because I hate to see it sitting unused in the freezer. And I was excited to finally add nutritional yeast to a recipe. It’s only a little in this one, but I had never used it before.

I was a little worried that the ingredient list was so simple (including plain tofu cubes), that it would turn out bland. But this casserole is really something special. Both Mike and I loved it, and I plan to make it again, possibly with butternut squash or something more fall-like.

Brown rice casserole
adapted from the Greens cookbook

3 cups cooked brown rice (1 cup uncooked)
half block of firm tofu, cubed
1 large onion, diced
2 carrots, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 medium zucchini, diced
1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced (use organic if possible)
handful of cherry tomatoes, halved
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup veggie or chicken stock
6 ounces grated cheddar cheese
A sprinkling of fresh herbs (I used basil and thyme)
More salt and pepper to taste

Get a few things going at once: preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Start boiling water for your rice, and cook it according to package directions. Drain the tofu and squeeze out the water before you cut it into cubes.

Heat the olive oil and butter over medium and saute the onions for about five minutes. Add the garlic, nutritional yeast, cumin, and salt. This part smells amazing.

Add the rest of the veggies and 1/2 cup of the stock, cover the pan, and cook the veggies about 10 minutes or until they start to soften. If you want, you can hold off on the tomatoes until the last few minutes. This part really helps the veggies soak up more flavor.

When the veggies are cooked, add the rice and cheese, and then season with salt and pepper. Mix in the tofu cubes.

Spray or butter a 9×13 baking dish and spoon in the casserole. Even though it seems a little strange, add in the rest of the stock. It will soak into the casserole as it bakes. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake for another 15 minutes. When it’s done, sprinkle on the fresh herbs.

It might not be the most beautiful of dishes, but it will surprise you.

Vintage family photos

I absolutely love when The Sartorialist posts vintage photos of people’s stylish relatives. Mike and I were looking through some of his old family photos, and we found these gems.

(Mike’s words): This is my great-grandfather, Otto Satorius Sr., probably in Milwaukee, probably in the 1910s.

This is his son, Robert Satorius (my great uncle), somewhere in the Pacific during World War II.

And this is one of his other sons, Otto Jr. (another great uncle of mine), either just before or just after World War II.

Aren’t they great?