Sunday, July 31, 2005

Fenway Park Waves Hello

Fenway Park

I finally got to go to Fenway Park last night, for the Red Sox/Twins game. The Sox won, though Manny didn't play due to rancor over his potential trade (which did not happen). It was a fabulous experience, and definitely different from any park I've ever experienced, mostly in great ways. The park was packed, no empty seats like at SBC. The people knew baseball, loved baseball, talked incessantly about baseball. Even the guy who sold me a hat wanted to talk about what was going on inside. It's a beautiful park, and small enough you feel a part of it, no matter where your seats are.

However, I do have one complaint-- the wave. The wave was invented in 1981*. I have fond memories of doing it throughout the mid to late eighties, when I attended a good number of Dodger games. It was fresh. It was current. It was fun. It was twenty years ago. Since then, I've been to Wrigley, Yankee Stadium, PacBell/SBC Park, the Coliseum, Angel Stadium, and I've never seen the wave again. I think it died with the 1990's. Yet there it was at Fenway. They waved persistently, urgently, and scariest of all, without irony. I guess there's something cute about it, but I found it lame most of all. However, the greasy haired biker dudes next to us seemed way less intimidating once they were swept up in the fervor of the wave.

Just like Leann Rimes can't fight the moonlight, Fenway fans cannot fight The Wave

*At a University of Washington football game, no less. They brag about this. Really?

Thursday, July 28, 2005

This will get better, I promise

Sneak Preview of Things to Come

I realize when I started this blog, I thought I'd be chronicling the excitement of living in Philadelphia. So far, it's been about packing and eating and being in California. But for those of you who've hung in there (hi, Matt!), I want to offer a preview of things to come.

1. I am going to my first ever Boston Red Sox game at Fenway Park on Saturday night.
2. I will have taken a redeye flight (sfo-bos, my fave) on Friday night, so will have a really crabby post on Saturday morning!
3. On Monday, I will actually be living in Philadelphia.
4. Living in Philadelphia means sleeping on an air mattress of the floor of my new apartment while construction workers install my washer drier and generally make a mess of the place (the glamour of it all).
5. I finally got a digital camera, so pictures will be more prevalent!
6. I thought it would be fun for both my readers to help me decide where to put my furniture in the new apartment, should said furniture ever arrive.
7. Finally writing about that wedding (see below).

So stick around, and thanks for reading so far.

The wedding
My friend Ben married a great girl named Marion, and had what can only be described as a spectacular wedding up on the San Juan islands. The pics below highlight my two favorite parts:
1. It was unbelievably beautiful.
2. They had University of Kentucky beer coozies for the guests.

Look how pretty!

Wendy and Julie heart beer coozies in formal wear!

Monday, July 25, 2005

Sealed with a Remark

Sealed to my Parents... for All Eternity

Four days until I leave the west coast.

Apologies to all people of all religions. This is really about us, not about any of you.
Today, as my parents prepare for their eagerly anticipated his 'n hers colonoscopies (believe me, the less detail shared about that process, the better), we decided a little family outing to tour the brand new Newport Beach Mormon temple would hit the spot. For those of you unfamiliar with the concept of a Mormon (aka Church of Latter Day Saints) temple, this is not just the church where worshippers go for weekly services, meetings, etc. This is a sacred spot not open to all members of the faith (and certainly not to outsiders) used for very special ceremonies. This is only the sixth in California. We got to tour it because they open them to the public before they are dedicated, so tours are still going on through August 20th. Then it closes to us non-members forever.

To say that we stuck out amongst our fellow tour-takers is to understate it by about a mile. We were certainly the only non-members to be on our bus/tour/in the refreshment room after, and the suspicious glances were definitely well deserved. The Davisson three are really not the quietest group you could assemble, and this was a tour that required reverence. We are all big fans of Jon Krakauer's Under the Banner of Heaven, so have just enough knowledge of the stranger elements of this religion's history to be offensive to members.

But what was really great was that my parents could not contain their comments until after the tour. My mother was definitely above an audible whisper when she said, "I don't get it," following a confusing speech about symbols in films that they watch in the temple. To her credit, all descriptions were left purposefully vague (What is the purpose of the Celestial Room? The Celestial Room is just that, we feel celestial in it, and now to the next room....) As we left the temple, my dad burst out with, "I haven't seen this many cheap white-button downs in one place in my life. It's like a JC Penney exploded." I at least waited until we got to the car to point out that any religion that, upon a member instructing you to put white plastic booties over your shoes before entering their place of worship, then feels the need to state for the record that, "This does not have any religious significance, this is just to keep the carpets clean," might have a reputation issue.

It's then I appreciated a central theme of the Mormon faith-- one of the rooms is for a special ceremony which seals you together, husbands and wives, parents and children, for all eternity. I can just imagine the Davisson clan trudging around the afterlife with a smartass remark for everyone.

A photo of the Newport Beach temple. FYI, the ration of LDS temple members to tour takers (98% of whom were already LDS members) was about 1:1.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Islands are Pretty!

Pre-Wedding Activities in the San Juans

Julie furiously debates Eli's ponytail with Amy. Note the other hand remains firmly gripping a fork.

I've decided real pics from this one will have to wait, but I feel neglectful not recapping while it's still a little fresh in my mind. I just got back from a week on the coast of and off the coast of northern Washington state, primarily in the San Juan islands for a wedding. The wedding itself comprised three days of festivities on three different islands, a logistical nightmare for the planners but a total blast for all involved (assuming you were able to negotiate the flight to Seattle, the two hour drive to Anacortes, and the hour ferry to the island we all stayed on). I'll save the wedding recap for more photos, so this'll just cover Thursday and Friday. The wedding was an Austin friend who was also a Stanford friend, so I was reunited with many not-often seen friends, so even without all of the festivities it would've been a blast.

As most of you know, I relate to things in terms of food. So here's a rundown of the weekend leading up to the wedding, with heavy emphasis on meals:

Thursday night- party on San Juan island at a beautiful house. This 'clam bake' actually allowed me to consume my body weight in dungeness crab, bbqed oysters, mussels, salmon, and of course, clams. I always find at the first day of a wedding weekend, you find out who your new best friends will be, and they're generally the people who are, like me, chasing down the waiters carrying canapes or blocking all access to the buffet table. On this evening, my compatriots in the pig out fest discovered if you ate the BBQed oyster and then dunked the bread in the oyster shell, you came out with butter, garlic, parsley, and a hint of oyster flavor. Other people were scared of us.

For dessert course one, blackberry cobbler ala mode. Dessert number two (I think it was actually supposed to be one or the other, but not for me!) was make your own s'mores at the campfire. I knocked over several small children; fortunately, none of them fell into the fire.

To give you an idea of the spectacular scenery (this party was hosted by friends of the bride's family), here's a photo of our table. We're out in back of the house, you could land a plane in front as one of the modes of transportation to get to the party.

Esther, Nikki, Amy, Mary, Jon C., Ben G., Sara and I squint attractively for the camera

Friday was the only day it rained, and I used that as an excuse for a lazy lunch with Paul and Jess and a massage/spa afternoon. Then the rest of my roommates for the weekend arrived, they shifted the emphasis a bit more towards drinking. At the rehearsal dinner, Wendy and Jason convinced the waiters to bring all the leftover wine to our table as we waited for our shuttle back. Many humiliating toasts, a few songs, and one unforgettable slideshow later, we were back home. All I can say is, day II in a row of oysters and mussels. I may move to the San Juans.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Instant Jew's Ear Fungus

OK, loyal fans, I'm back. Since I'm still rocking the old fashioned camera, I'm hesitant to start my wedding and other trip-related posts until I have some photographs to make up for the fact that words can't describe how beautiful Washington was (is, unless we managed to do more damage than I recall). It was also great catching up with Austin friends again, and I have a new best friend in a two year old girl about to move to Brazil. But more on that later.

My friend Eli gave me the BEST. PRESENT. EVER. And the bar is set high, but I don't want to discourage the rest of you from trying to exceed it (you have my address, I'm a size six). It's called "Instant Jew's Ear Fungus". I tried googling it to find out what it actually is, but found only several blogs with entries like "What the hell is this stuff? How funny!" (I am trite and not as unique as I think), and several stores selling it without further explanation. I guess if you google it, you should already know what it is.

It appears to be some kind of food product. The ingredients are listed as, "Jew's Ear Fungus, Water, Sesame, Sesame Oil... etc.", and it is a product of the People's Republic of China. Eli purchased it in Seattle for 99 cents (such gifts are always better with price tags left on). I like the description on the back most of all:

" Instant Jew's Ear Fungus
Your most convenient way of preparing Jew's ear fungus with great authenticity. We use only the finest quality natural Jew's ear fungus and prepared it with most traditional [sic]. Then we top it off with a five spice seasoning package to be added before serving. This dish is generally served as appetizer together with other cold cut [sic] such as B.B.Q. pork or slice of chicken."

I found many shots of another brand, but the link below will show you the brand I have. It's a flickr site and I'm on a Mac so heck if I know how to save it myself and put it directly here. Please send me my Thinkpad! Please!

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Loyal Readers,

In case either of you are curious:

(1) I am departing for remote islands off the coast of northern Washington for about a week, so may not be able to post for a bit. Please contain yourselves.

(2) Blogger on the mac seems to totally lack formatting controls, so please excuse the Picasso-esque layout of caption to photo in my prior post. Someday, they will ship my laptop. Someday.


Sunday, July 10, 2005

Last Dance

Saying goodbye to SF was hard. Very very very very hard. Fortunately, I had some help. I'm also in an extreme state of denial about the fact that I'm not going be there anytime in the foreseeable future, so that's helping as well.

I had a great group of people to spend time with to make sure I did the goodbye right. Between dinner parties, We Pig Out Wednesdays, my official co-worker blowout, and a farewell bar crawl, it's a wonder I managed to pack.

First off, I hit we pig out Wednesdays with Ruthie aka Caroline. We hit (in order) Zuni, Quince, Chez Panisse, and Delfina paired with Chow for dessert (see: my posting on SF restaurants). We also took time to pose like freaky tourists. You like?

I also piled as many women as possible to my goodbye parties (I'm using photographic evidence on this one). There are two happy males in this photo, but the early birds at Bambuddha Lounge were all chicks. I'm a little fuzzy on the full progress of the evening, but I know a bucket of KFC made a key cameo. And some old teams reunited for the first time in a long time. And I got a little emotional when I got an autographed version of the party invite.

I also spent time with people who I thought could help me prepare for business school. Recent HBS grad Sameer claims the key to b-school preparedness is doing lots of shots. Typical MBA-types, we're faking it in this picture because the actual photo didn't come out as well.

May I suggest a dinner party in your honor (menu: jicama and grapefruit salad; panko crusted lamb chops with potato gratin and english peas; and bread pudding for dessert) cooked by your amazing chef friend Sudhir as another good step in the goodbye process? Glotz is in this shot only for show.

I went to the Buena Vista for an Irish coffee on my very last morning, amazing since they were invented there and I lived in San Francisco for six years, one of them just a short walk away from this institution. BTW, true story, my friend Marisa invented Jack and Coke. I was there.

Thanks to everyone who participated in any step of my goodbye process, photographed or no. It was a blast.

KRob, Marissa, and Julie are contemplating their farewells.

Musings from The OC

I've been back in Orange County for over a day now, and I have some observations to share. By the way, this was going to be a recap of my final week and my reflections on how it feels to leave a city like SF, but I'm still waiting for some pictures to include in that one.

Things I've learned over the past day:

1. The 'burbs are quiet. I went from hearing buses, cars, and random conversations in varying mixes wherever I was. Here, I barely hear the swish of a passing car, and there aren't too many of those. Frankly, it's creeping me out.

2. Math is hard. Really hard. I'm trying to get refreshed on Calculus enough to not humiliate myself when I get to school in three weeks, and it took me fifteen minutes (and I finally did have to ask) to find the clear button on my dad's calculator.

3. Fashion Island is really crowded, but the Macy's there is much better than the one at South Coast. Do I sound like an OC girl already?

4. My parents are rad. There's a steady flow of food and options for entertainment, and I am currently at a zero balance on dirty laundry. I have a feeling the novelty of having me home will wear of soon enough, but for now I'm enjoying it. And since we're each going on different week long trips next week (they to Yosemite, I to northern Washington), we'll get to do this honeymoon all over again when we are reunited.

5. I have totally lost the ability to operate a Mac, even though I used one all through college. I'm currently waiting for my new Thinkpad to arrive and stuck borrowing my parents' computers, and they are loyal Mac users. For instance, I can't copy photos out of ofoto, and seem to have lost all formatting options on this blog (I blame Safari most of all).

I have to go watch the sunset now with a beer in one hand and some Red Hawk in the other.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Eating in San Francisco
The stated purpose of this blog is to chronicle what happens when this California working girl picks up and moves thousands of miles away to become a student in Philadelphia. But before I go, I've been pressured to come up with my definitive list of San Francisco restaurants, since my main value add (I'm already talking like an MBA) has been my ability to eat and tell other people where to eat. I'm not going to tell you about Aqua, Boulevard, Farallon, Chez Panisse, etc. because duh. I slipped in maybe two that are of that same caliber, but it's my blog so deal.

Julie's Somewhat Thorough List of Restaurants She Can Think of Right Now

Italian restaurant in the Mission, I've long thought this was the best restaurant in the city. Everything is fresh and delicious and beautifully prepared; nothing is overly fancy or overdone. Reservations are tough, but it's nice to go in randomly and sit at the counter. My favorite thing (which they often have) is the ribollita, which is like Minestrone soup made into a porridge and then fried into a pancake and drizzled with olive oil.

Ti Couz
People go here for dinner, for me it's a brunch place, and the only place in the city I'll eat crepes. I don't like eating crepes anywhere they put marinated tofu in the crepes and put home fries on the side, I like eating crepes at places which strive for the traditional French experience. This place is Breton style, which means the savory crepes are made with buckwheat and the sweet crepes are made with regular wheat. My recommendation is to get savory crepes all around (and consider putting the mushroom sauce on everything) and then split a sweet crepe (Nutella with mixed berries never hurt anyone).

Truly Med
More like a stand than a restaurant, directly across the street from Ti Couz, this is the best schwerma I've ever had. Two days a week they have chicken schwerma, which is yuck, so if you end up there on one of those days (or are a vegetarian), get a dolma pita, mashed up dolmas with onions and cucumbers and hot sauce wrapped in a pita.

Kelly's Burgers
I've never had a burger here, though I've heard they're terrific. Even more terrific (terrificer?) is their giant Greek salad with anchovies, which has enough feta to make any cheese lover weep. And if that weren't enough, they serve it with a side toasted pita stuffed with herbs which makes the angels cry. Lots of tears at Kelly's.

La Taqueria
Where to go for tacos in the Mission. Load up on the yellow hot sauce.

Taqueria Cancun
Where to go for burritos in the Mission. If you eat pork, get the al pastor (marinated pork YUM), and get any burrito here super as they understand that if you want avocado in your burrito, you probably want something like an entire avocado in your burrito and not just one little tiny cube.

Where to go for a slice of pizza in the Mission, and really worth the trip from anywhere. The most authentic New York style pizza in the city.

Pauline's Pizza
Excellent gourmet pizza with unconventional toppings.

Luna Park
I don't think this is the best food in the city, but it is the perfect intersection of fun place, reasonably priced, not hard to get into, funky and fun atmosphere, and great cocktails. I think this is the perfect place for a birthday dinner.

I realize this list is all Mission-centric so before I depart for other parts of the city, please go to Walzwerk and hang with the kooky East German proprieteresses and drink the Kotzritzer (sp?) beer, a dark wheat beer which defies description. They have heavenly potato pancakes, delicious wiener schnitzel, and anything with mashed potatoes is worth eating.

So, you've decided to leave the Mission (why?)
Cheap but delicious home food with an Asian twist. I've often said their gingerbread with pumpkin ice cream and caramel sauce is my favorite dessert in the city. But I say a lot of things.

My other contender for best restaurant in the city, though much much fancier (and still not overstated). Seriously the best pasta I've ever had in my life, and I've kept every menu from every meal I've eaten here because they're like mini-works of art. You will need your server to translate every single thing on the menu. You will need to call 3-4 weeks in advance to get in.

Yabbies Coastal Kitchen
Seafood gem with a fantastic menu and cute atmosphere. This is where I send anyone who likes fish.

Russian Hill neighborhood restaurant, for some reason you can always get in here even though the food is excellent, the atmosphere is lovely, and the staff are the nicest people around. Last minute people in from out of town? This place will always impress.

My vote for best sushi in the city. I prefer my sushi sans techno DJ and saketini, but with the freshest fish ever. There are very few places I'll order uni in this city, this is one of them.

Sushi Groove
OK, so you want sushi but you want a techno DJ and a saketini. They actually have outstanding fish and that funkified atmosphere all the hipsters are talking about. This is my final point on sushi, there are a lot of decent to good places peppered throughout the city, and I can't think of any that are 'stay away' so have fun and be good.

Fancy and delicious Greek restaurant. It's fun to go to the bar and get a glass of wine and order just the flatbread appetizer, which comes with three delectable spreads.

Casual tapas outpost by the Bubble Lounge, this place is delicious but hard to get into. But if you can, yum.

Tu Lan
So you think you're a foodie and you think you're brave. Then head over to 6th and Market, step over the heroin addicts, and head into the best Vietnamese in the city (you heard me, Charles Phan). Of note are the imperial rolls (if you're on your own, get the Bun with imperial rolls and pork kebab, a bowl of cold noodles topped with both), the shrimp fried rice, the beef cubes with Vietnamese style (sic), the vegetables and tofu on a bed of crispy noodles, and pretty much everything else on the menu. I challenge you to spend more than $5/person here. Double challenge, please order "Ten Things in a Pot" and tell me how it is. Warning- once friends dined there and reported that all of the meat for the next day was out and thawing at the next table. Take your parents to Slanted Door instead.

Nick's Crispy Tacos
So you're not in the Mission but you want some delicious Mexican food? Nick's Crispy Tacos on Polk is excellent. Especially worth trying are the tortilla soup, any taco Nick's Way (crispy wrapped in soft with guac), and the margaritas. After 9 or 10, this place stops serving delicious Mexican food and turns into the cheeseball nighclub Rouge. So eat there early!

Sameer, LJ, Marisa, Julie, Sudhir, Trish, and Matt can't pose for long, the cheeseballs of Rouge are fast approaching!