San Francisco Thoughts on Life

san francisco spots

We’ve lived in San Francisco for a little over seven years now. The weather this summer has felt a lot like the summer we first moved to the city. Thick fog hangs over most of the city until noon, dissipates, then rolls back in around 4. You wake up to the sound of the fog horn, and go to sleep to the sound of the fog horn.

The thick, misty fog makes Jordan especially happy. This weather is his favorite weather. It will always remind me of our first few months in the neighborhood, getting our first apartment together, so very excited and so very terrified.

A lot of living has happened in this little apartment in the years since, and we’re still here, still grateful to live in this beautiful, delicious, dirty, loving, conflicted city. She isn’t perfect, but I can’t imagine a place that would feel more like home.

I’ve poured my love of San Francisco into something relatively useful: a map of all of our favorite bakeries, coffee shops, restaurants, bars, art galleries, museums, shops and beaches. We get asked about our favorite spots all the time, and now we have this handy Google Map to share. Its permanent home is in the ‘sf spots’ tab at the top of the site.

Love, Emily

Recipes San Francisco


This past Sunday we partook in the immense gustatory pleasure that is Oysterfest. Our fourth annual, Oysterfest is a celebration of shellfish, overeating and friendship. We get together with some of our dearest friends to shuck and share upwards of 160 oysters. Throw in a cheese plate, fresh focaccia, cole slaw, pigs in a blanket, homebrew IPA on tap, several well-timed “shuck it” jokes and a view of Sutro Tower perched over the Mission, and it really feels like you’ve made it.


Now if I was on top of my blogger game, I would have a recipe for homemade pigs in a blanket—I am marrying an aspiring sausage artisan after all. But instead of dutifully obsessing over brioche dough on Saturday, I went sailing. I ate cheese and salami on a boat in the San Francisco Bay while drinking champagne out of a pink dixie cup with a penis-shaped straw. I performed terribly in a series of questions about my betrothed, took the helm for all of 5 minutes before my nerves got the best of me, and basked in the glow of nine beautiful, hilarious ladies. Back-to-back days of great food in picturesque settings with tremendous company, I am a fortunate woman.

And so without further ado, I give you the culinary crowd-pleaser, pigs in a blanket. All of the ingredients are happily waiting at your favorite grocery store, and you can throw these babies together in minutes. Not wanting to be known for a dearth of useful information, there are also directions to purchase raw oysters, if and only if you’re located in the Bay Area.


Pigs in a Blanket
1 package all beef hot dogs, cut in half
2 packages crescent rolls

Preheat your oven to 350° F. Open your package of hot dogs and cut them in half. Open your crescent rolls. Wrap the rolls around the dogs and place them on a cookie sheet with about an inch between each one. Bake for 25 – 30 minutes, until golden brown.

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If you happen to have a group of friends similarly dedicated to the celebration of oysters and live in the Bay Area, it is easy (and surprisingly affordable) to secure a few bushels of oysters for your enjoyment at the Alemany Farmer’s Market from Point Reyes Oyster Company. Throw your bushels of oysters in a cooler, pour a few bags of ice on top, and get ready to shuck.


Ps. Oysterfest 2014Oysterfest 2013, and how to shuck an oyster (it’s all about that hinge).


San Francisco Thoughts on Life

give me your answer true

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Jordan and I met when we were 17 years old. I remember the day I decided Jordan was cute and that I should probably do something about it. We were hanging out at our friend Brian’s house making signs for our friend Aaron’s Modern Socialist Club protest of the local Wal-Mart. The girls were drawing signs, the boys were horsing around and playing guitar.  And in that silly, clichéd way of every high school movie ever, I looked up from my sign and there was Jordan with his floppy hair and skater t-shirt, playing guitar and cracking jokes, and I was smitten.

Over the past eight years, we’ve grown up together. The eight years between high school graduation and ‘real life’ are big ones, and we’ve navigated them, somehow sticking together through a hell of a lot. There’s been stuff that felt really big and tough at the time, as things often do when you’re 19, and stuff that legitimately is big and tough no matter how old you are, and so, so many good times too. Having that shared history, those shared eight years of highs and lows, it feels even better than I could have anticipated.

I don’t think I’ve ever doubted that Jordan was a good egg, that he was exactly my kind of guy. There isn’t anyone who can make me laugh harder or comfort me better, often both at once. He’s funny and smart and strong, this unique blend of mellow and intense that I absolutely adore. He is just so good.

He also pushes my buttons, just enough to keep things interesting, and when I look up to give him a piece of my mind, he’s got this sweet, mischievous twinkle in his eyes. A good reminder not to take life too seriously, one I sometimes need.

Jordan also lets me do my thing, and I’ve taken him up on that plenty. It’s quite the trick to give someone the space they need to grow, while still being so intimately involved in their life. Jordan has never failed to rise to the occasion, steadfast in his support and trust, silly puns at the ready.

I would not be the person I am today without our relationship. A fact that is probably obvious, but deserves to be said nonetheless. And what this all brings me to is some happy, happy news. Jordan and I are engaged.

We got engaged in a parking lot on a street corner in San Francisco. Franklin and Page streets. Like we’ve approached most big life things that we’ve been through over the past eight years, we decided this one together. And then we went to our favorite izakaya to celebrate with bacon-wrapped mochi and a beer. Perhaps not terribly romantic by some standards, but very, very us. I can’t imagine life any other way, and couldn’t be happier.

My sweet Jordan, I love you.

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Bacon Wrapped Mochi 
3 pieces kirimochi (savory Japanese glutinous rice cakes), cut into thirds after boiling
5 slices of bacon, cut in half

Bring a pot of water to boil. Unwrap the kirimochi and drop them into the boiling water. Boil for just a minute (or microwave for 20 seconds), until they become tender. Remove from the water and cut into thirds. Wrap each piece of mochi in a piece of bacon and secure the bacon with a toothpick. Grill the mochi over high heat or cook in a cast iron pan over high heat, until the bacon is brown and the mochi is oozing. Enjoy hot from the grill with a bit of soy sauce. The bacon is smokey and salty, the mochi is chewy and strange—it is a wonderful combination!


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Ps. Our rings were made for us by our friends Rachel and Andrew, who kept a great secret for a few weeks.




A few years ago for his birthday, I got Jordan the meat grinder and sausage stuffer attachment to our kitchen aid mixer. While the meat grinder has been put to use a few times for meatloaf, burgers and paté, the sausage stuffer had yet to make it’s debut. Until a few Saturdays ago…


We decided to team up with our friends, the ever-adventurous Russ and Kelly. The ladies would make pretzels, the men would make sausages, and then we’d eat it all in the grandest of all backyard bar-b-ques, Sausagefest! Now this was the real deal, there were natural pork intestine sausage casings, there was food-grade lye for legitimate pretzeling—we were not messing around.

And it was delicious. How could it not be? The sausages were beyond juicy and perfectly seasoned, cooked in a beer bath and then finished on the grill. A nice dip in lye gave our fluffy pretzels the characteristic flavor and deep brown color. There were even grilled peaches with whipped cream and macerated strawberries for dessert. Food heaven on earth.

The cookbook Charcuterie by Michael Ruhlman and Brain Polcyn was our guide for the sausages. I will not pretend to have internalized enough of the process to give accurate instructions, so I recommend you check out their book if you want to give this a go at home. We made the bratwurst and pork sausage with poblano and cilantro. Both were off the hook.

Generally the sausage-making process goes like this: cube and seasoned the meat the night before, grind the meat, mix the meat with additional flavorings like cream for bratwurst, or poblano and cilantro for the other sausage, soak and wash the casing, stuff the sausage, refrigerate the sausage, cook the sausage, and then eat the sausage!

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One top tip: while you’re stuffing the sausage, some air will get pushed into the casing. Obviously you want your sausage stuffed with meat, not air,but do not panic. Keep a safety pin handy and just prick the casing near the nozzle a few times and squeeze gently but firmly to push the air out. When you’ve filled the entire length of sausage with all of your meat, give yourself a few more inches of casing for slack and then cut the casing.

To portion out your sausage, we found it was easier to squeeze in between the two links and then push some of the filling one way and some the other. Then twist them off. If you just try and twist them straight away, the casing will burst open. After you’ve twisted them, put them on a plate in the fridge and let them sit for an hour. Then with scissors cut at the twist to portion the sausage into individual links.

We cooked ours in a beer bath (2 tall cans of PBR will do ya) on the stove for 10 – 15 minutes, then finished them on the grill. You want them mostly cooked in the beer, they’ll float when they’re ready, and then char them quickly on the grill. We did this for both the brats and poblano sausages and it turned out great.

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Now the recipe for gorgeous pretzels is from the Bouchon Bakery Cookbook and like all things Thomas Keller, they are very delicious and the recipe behind them is rather intense. I can’t begin to consolidate TK bread recipes here, so please comment if you’d like me to send you the full recipe, I’m happy to oblige.

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It was a blast and we’re hoping to make Sausagefest an annual thing and get more folks involved next year. We’ve got enough pork casing for 200 lbs of sausage and now have a decent stuffing technique down, which begs the question, who’s in?

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San Francisco Thoughts on Life

and it’s december

This past week was quiet, aside from several lovely, family-filled dinners. I had a few days off of work, Jordan was on break from school, and we took it easy. We surfed, we watched back to back episodes of The Mind of a Chef, we ate risotto.

Our schedules are such that it’s rare to have more than a day off in a row to spend together and so these few days were especially lovely, just the two of us. It’s nice to have a bit of a break from the pace of a normal week to really remember why you like someone, to steep in all of the good the things they bring into your life, to appreciate them a bit more deeply.


Willow is now happily resting her head on my keyboard, which is convenient because all I really mean to say is that Jordan is the butter to my bread, and I’m tremendously grateful for him.

These photos are from Ocean Beach. I shot them on Thanksgiving Day before heading down to dinner at my grandparents. Instant film really captures the colors of the Sunset beautifully. (Maybe one day I’ll get a film scanner and stop taking photos of photos, maybe?).


I hope you had a restful Thanksgiving full of family and friends and good food. It’s hard to believe it’s already December, but I’m glad. I’m ready to buy a tiny Christmas tree, bake a ton of cookies, and say goodbye to 2013.


Recipes San Francisco

consider the oyster

We’re fortunate enough to live very close to very delicious oysters. We’re also lucky enough to have friends to whom eating upwards of 25 oysters a person seems like the perfect way to spend an afternoon. If it’s a Saturday in San Francisco, it is easy (and surprisingly affordable) to secure a few bushels of oysters for your enjoyment at the Alemany Farmer’s Market from Point Reyes Oyster Company.

Throw your bushels of oysters in a cooler, pour a few bags of ice on top, and get ready to shuck. Though oysters are divine on their own, you’ll probably want some fixin’s to go with them. We’d recommend lemon wedges, mango shallot mignonette, hot sauce, and maybe some bread and cheese. Don’t forget a healthy supply of beer, wine and whisky. Pertinent recipes to follow.

The best way to shuck an oyster (and minimize the amount of shell shrapnel you ingest) is to insert the tip of the oyster knife in the hinge of the oyster, apply firm pressure downwards at a 45 degree angle until the knife goes into the oyster and the oyster releases. The two halves of its shell will loosen and you can more easily run your knife around the edges to free the oyster from the shell. Detach the oyster foot from the shell, apply your condiments and enjoy!




Mango Shallot Mignonette
1/2 cup Ponzu marinade
5 tablespoons shallots, minced
1/4 cup mango, finely diced ripe
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
salt and pepper to taste

Combine ingredients and dilute with a little water if necessary. Refrigerate 1 – 2 hours, or overnight to allow the flavors to combine.




Friendly Fire Hot Sauce
For those who can’t handle the heat.
10 poblano peppers
4 carrots
1 large yellow onion
3/4 head of garlic
3 roma tomatoes
450 ml white balsamic vinegar (find it at Trader Joe’s)
1 teaspoon paprika
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
pinch of nutmeg
pinch of cumin

Preheat an oven to 425 degrees. Roast peppers, onion and garlic until brown and slightly charred, about 40 minutes.  Transfer peppers, onion and garlic to a saucepan. Add tomatoes, vinegar, lime and seasonings. Bring to a boil for a few minutes. Cool and blend.




Satan’s Sister Hot Sauce
For those who like it hot.
23 habanero peppers
23 serrano peppers
1 passilla bajo pepper
1 large yellow onion
3 roma tomatoes
1/2 lime
250 ml white balsamic vinegar (Trader Joe’s has it)
200 ml balsamic vinegar
1 tsp paprika
pinch of nutmeg
pinch of cumin
pinch of turmeric
salt, to taste

Preheat an oven to 425 degrees. Roast peppers, onion and garlic until brown and slightly charred, about 40 minutes.  Transfer peppers, onion and garlic to a saucepan. Add tomatoes, vinegar, lime and seasonings. Bring to a boil for a few minutes. Cool and blend.

Special thanks to our friends Sonny and Russell for sharing their recipes in this post.


Randomness San Francisco

a break from our regularly scheduling programming

For some surf photos, shot by Jordan at Ocean Beach a few weeks ago when the swell was really pumping.

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We’ll be back soon with news of oysters and risotto and pot roast.


we’re alive! just busy!

It’s been a really crazy few months.


Jordan is getting his psychology nerd on, studying lots, running lots of experiments, plus selling lots records at the Amoeba Music, bike riding like a fiend, learning how to surf, and decimating the mold infestation in our formerly-leaky bedroom.

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I’ve working hard in the Joby webiverse, launching new products (camera straps and smartphone tripods – woot!), pulling together three holiday campaigns (gift guide, Black Friday/Cyber Monday, 12 days of Christmas giveaways), plus some cooking, learning to surf, and snuggling with Willow and Jordan to keep my sanity. Bottom line, spending more time on a computer to blog just hasn’t been on the menu.



Willow is very ready to be a surf dog. Still, her main aim in life is to find the most comfortable spot in the house and snuggle up.



With any luck, we’ll be back with more tasty porktastic recipes. Probably more sporadic than the good ole days, but back nonetheless.

Hoping your holidays are off to a wonderful start! Maybe a few French bulldogs in your stocking this year? I sure wouldn’t mind one of those lil peanuts on Christmas morning.



Ps. Last Saturday we went to see Thomas Keller speak. He was humble, honest and really darn smart. And then we got to meet him and have all of our cookbooks signed!!! If it isn’t obvious from this super nerdy photo, I was on cloud nine.


San Francisco

summer in san francisco

Summer in San Francisco is unlike summer in the rest of the state. We wake up most mornings to the sound of the fog horn. We go to sleep most nights to the sound of the fog horn. The temperatures hover around 55 degrees and the misty breeze means you never leave the house without a jacket.

Everything is enveloped in a thick blanket of fog, sounds and colors are muted, the city seems quiet and empty. Spending time snuggled with a puppy is at the top of my list. I love it.

But, we also get some really incredible, actual summer days—75 degrees, sunny and bright blue skies. It is perfection.

The rest of the city knows this type of summer day doesn’t come around often and joins you outside. People are happy, even while waiting in line for gourmet ice cream. The city is alive with people and dogs.

That both of these cities exist in this tiny stretch of land and alternate so seamlessly makes me fall in love again and again. It’s hard to imagine calling anywhere else home.


Randomness San Francisco

the forage kitchen

You might remember my mention of the Underground Market here in San Francisco a few years ago. Well, despite being tremendously successful at attracting both vendors and eaters, the Market was shut down by the city due to health code violations. The Market’s founder Iso Rabins has come up with a new (and legal) way to help these artisanal food businesses get off the ground. It is called the Forage Kitchen and they’re raising money on Kickstarter.

I wrote a piece about the future Forage Kitchen, what it’s existence means for food entrepreneurs in the Bay Area and where it fits within the national shift towards eating local for GOOD Magazine. You can read the entire piece here, and I hope you do.