Julia Morgan in Pacific Heights

Today, I embarked upon a Julia Morgan walking tour of Pacific Heights.  (That makes it sound really official, but I just used Google to find addresses, and then I walked from house to house.)  After she graduate from Cal, Julia Morgan became the first woman to train at L’Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris.  She returned to California and famously served as the architect for Hearst Castle.  But please, don’t judge her based on that monstrosity work!  She built many lovely–and livable–Arts and Crafts bungalows in the Bay Area.

It was a glorious SF day!

My first stop was the Watt House, at 36 Presidio Terrace.  (I’m not exactly sure if I was supposed to enter, since it seemed like a gated community, but the guard was on a break!)

I love the entrance on the side; it makes the house seem personal, and not too grand to be a home.  The keystones and cornice also add nice details.

My next stop was the Abraham Rosenberg House, at 3630 Jackson St.

Apparently this served as the Nepalese Consulate at one point, but once again it’s a private residence.  Julia Morgan has such an ability to design entryways that enhance her homes.

And look at the details on the windows!

Next stop:  the Mills House at 306 Laurel.

I sounds so repetitive, but the entryway!

Next I walked down to Pacific Ave.  The 3200 and 3300 blocks of this street in Presidio Heights have so many shingled Arts and Crafts homes.  (There’s an AMAZING Maybeck, but I’ll save that for a later post.)  To be honest, the Stull House at 3377 Pacific was one of my least favorites of the day.   I found it too austere.  (And I hate the landscaping!)

I visited one non residence on my walk:  the Katherine Delmar Burke School (now University High School).  Oh my goodness!  I loved this school!  If I’d grown up in SF, I think I would have wanted to go here based on the ambiance alone.

Cute window!

After University HS, I minced my way down an archetypal SF hill to Vallejo, to see the Kellog House at 2820 Vallejo.  I loved the arched (entablature?) above the front door.

Next came my most eagerly anticipated stop:  Julia Morgan’s residence at 2229 and 2231 Divisadero.

Julia Morgan didn’t design these units; she purchased the two Edwardians and then lopped the top floor off 2229, to allow more light to enter the northern building.  Then she lived in 2231, and rented 2229.

My Julia Morgan tour ended at the Selfridge House, at 2615 California.

I wonder if it was originally painted this color?  Definitely a departure from the shingled style of the earlier homes.  The Selfridge House was built later, in the 1930s.

I had a wonderful time on my Julia Morgan adventure!  I hope you also enjoyed a glimpse of her architecture!

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Coffee Rituals

I ordered my first espresso drink December 31, 2003.  An extra hot double soy latte.  And for five years I stuck to that order religiously.  But then in 2009 drip coffee entered my life, and I haven’t looked back since.

It all started with Blue Bottle, and their elegant ceramic drip filter.  The lovely coffee preparation tools made me want to become part of the drip coffee cult.  And I already liked the aroma, so halfway there, right?  Well, I can assure you that three years later, I am a staunch devotee of drip coffee.  In fact, I can’t imagine a morning without it.  Much to the amusement of my friends, although I completed an entire semester abroad in Scotland with only one carry on piece of luggage, I managed to bring my trusty Blue Bottle filter, and other coffee accoutrements.

Recently, I have started grinding my own beans each morning.

(The jar I use to store my beans was made in Italy, and it also made the journey to Scotland with me in my carry on!)

Apparently Burr coffee grinders are the way to go.  This method grinds the beans without producing heat, so none of the delicate oils of the coffee bean are destroyed.  (I’m not sure if my palette is refined enough to taste a difference!)  Regardless, my Burr grinder is serving me well.

And then the magic happens!

When water first hits the grounds, the coffee “blooms.”  (By no means does this photo do it justice!)

After a few minutes my steaming mug of coffee is ready.

Definitely something worthwhile to wake up to!



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17 Miles!

This morning after my beloved (and necessary) mug of coffee, I set off on my 17 mile run! This is the farthest distance I’ve tackled yet in this round of marathon training. Definitely a bit psychologically daunting.

I ran along Ocean Beach to the Sutro Baths, and then through Lands End towards the Presidio.

Isn’t the fog shrouding the Golden Gate lovely?

You don’t have to tell me twice!

After the Presidio, I ran along Crissy Field and the Marina to Fort Mason.

I think the pet cemetery is so cute!

I fought the throngs of tourists along Fisherman’s Wharf and the Embarcadero, and came upon the Bay Bridge illuminated in sunlight.

At the Ballpark, I turned around and ran back to the Ferry Building, where I grabbed a much needed peppermint tea at Peet’s before hopping on Muni and heading back to my apt for a warm shower.  The run went really well, especially since my legs have been so achey lately.  The first 12 miles were fantastic, and the final 5 weren’t too bad either.  I’m quite pleased to have run 17 miles before noon!

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Baghdad by the Bay

After spending four years shivering in New England winters, my incredible college years on the East Coast have ended.  And now, I’ve finally moved to the city I’ve wanted to live in my entire life:  San Francisco.  I hope to use this blog to chronicle the small things in life that bring me happiness, from a tart and crisp Pink Lady apple, to small pretty things uncovered while perusing boutiques, to the books and movies that I enjoy, to my runs about the 49 square mile city I now call home.

Although I’ve been in San Francisco for almost a month, I procrastinated the process of organizing Internet.  I knew it would be a harrowing experience.  I was right.  Backtrack to last Saturday.  The sales representative at the AT&T store explicitly told me that a technician would come to my apartment the next Friday, between the hours of 8 AM and 8 PM, to install my modem.  Of course the 12 hour installation window didn’t thrill me, but it’s no use trying to reason with AT&T for a more precise installation time.  So I disrupted my routine, postponed my morning run, and waited.  And waited.  I love my apartment, and I love to read, but not for eleven hours!!  (And especially not when I feel trapped by forces outside my control.)  I was productive.  I made Angela’s hummus, and was thrilled with the results.  I also made her vegan date squares.  Another culinary triumph.  But still no modem.  By 7 PM, after waiting eleven hours, I was stir crazy.  I called the 1800 customer service number.  Clearly desperate.  After an hour on hold, the customer service representative apathetically informed me that the store had misinformed me:  the modem was self-installation.  No technician was ever scheduled to come!  At this point, what was there to do but open a bottle of wine?  Fittingly, although I’ve been here several weeks, and I love wine, this night marked the first occasion that I savored wine in my apt.  (Usually I’ve been having Kombucha as my cocktail.)

Definitely needed.  After a glass (or maybe two) of the cab, I felt infinitely less frustrated.  And there’s another perk to the story!  Since I haven’t yet reached the level of desperation to induce downing an entire bottle of wine in one night (thanks to the handy Vacu Vin), I can treat myself to more wine tonight.  And tomorrow.  Fantastic.  Almost enough to make me not despise AT&T.  Almost.

Other things of note.  I met a friend for brunch at a French restaurant in Berkeley this morning called La Note.  I ordered the bowl of semolina–perfectly edible, but nothing to write home about.  Didn’t hold a candle to my beloved overnight oats.  Afterwards we wandered around the Farmer’s Market.  The produce called my name but I resisted, too far from my fridge!  After an afternoon full of errands (printer, check; white out, check) I prepared my daily hors d’oeuvres of baby broccoli and carrots, with my homemade sparkling water.  (Love the Soda Stream!)


And now, my eggplant is salting.  During my college years, I always joked to my friends that once I had a real home, I would only stock my kitchen with pink Himalayan sea salt.  Basically I’m poking fun at myself.  As anyone who knows me can readily attest to, I adore the color pink.  And also, although possibly I should be loathe to admit this (especially to the Internet), I sometimes tend towards pretense.  But hey, let’s hope that being a smidge pretentious is not as insufferable if you can identify it in yourself.  Anyway, I know it’s a little pretentious to only have pink Himalayan sea salt, but if it makes me happy, why not.  Long story to explain why my eggplant is currently doused with flecks of pink!









The time to tend to my eggplant has come.  To conclude my foray into the blog world, I’m planning to run 17 miles tomorrow morning.  (I’m training for a marathon.)  A little daunting, but I hope to have a positive report of my run tomorrow!

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