Saturday Afternoon at Auburn Quarry

So much fun! There’s great hiking trails, rock faces for climbing, and swimming to cool off after. What’s not to love?

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Let’s Go Fly a Kite!

Oh man, was anyone else obsessed with Mary Poppins as a child? I must have driven my parents mad with how many times I watched and re-watched that movie.

Also, flying kites is the most relaxing way to spend a Saturday (✿◠‿◠)

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Weekend Adventrue Through Haight-Asbury

Well, I owe everyone an apology because this post is a full day late. Why? Well because my weekend was filled with fantastic times gallivanting around Haight-Asbury with friends, which was super awesome and fun, but also sapped every ounce of writing energy out of me. Anywho, I figured I’d share some pictures of our adventures and of the guest room that is (slowly) coming together.

These first pictures were taken during our lovely walk from the 16th Street Mission BART station to Haight which was up a oh… 60 degree incline. No big deal, I just felt as if my lungs were on fire and collapsing in on themselves by the time we got to the peak of the mountainous hill.

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The sign that greeted us at the summit

Once in Haight we stopped for food and drinks at Magnolia Gastropub & Brewery. You may notice a distinct lack of pictures of the Chicken Habanero Sausage I ordered. I have no excuse other than I was STARVING after our walk and practically inhaled it. The sausage and tomatillo salsa were super spicy, but were balanced perfectly by the cucumber avocado salad. It was seriously so fantastic. I was able to get a shot of Patrick’s beer and my Pomegranate Cider. Which tasted like candy, but wasn’t cloyingly sweet. Other than that we basically just wandered aimlessly around, ducking in and out of the millions of shops lining the streets.

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Whilst shopping I bought a Labbit plush from Kidrobot and adorable postcards from Loved to Death to use as guest room decorations. My favorites were the ones of cat’s dressed up like people.

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Hope you enjoyed!


Delicious Gluten Free Italian at Luca Cucina Italiana Feast

A good friend of mine recently quit his job in preparation for an extended vacation where he’ll be traveling across Asia (I’m quite jealous) and to celebrate his last day at work this Friday we decided to go out for a feast!I’d passed Luca Cucina Italiana several times whilst wandering around Berkeley and was intrigued by the cozy atmosphere that seemed to radiate from the place. As a bonus I’d seen the name come up several times while browsing my “Find Me GF” app. So off we went with growling tummies and visions of delicious pastas dancing in our heads.

The glimpses I’d seen from outside the restaurant were correct in leading me to expect a warm environment. The interior is softly lit with beautiful art lining the walls on one side and rustic bricks on the other. Even better than the atmosphere was the fantastic dinner service. The waitresses at Luca were very attentive and helpful! The woman in charge of our table immediately pointed out which menu items could be made gluten free for me and was also able to suggest a wine pairing for my meal. Oh man and what a meal it was!

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We started with two appetizers – the carpaccio antipasti and special antipasti. The carpaccio included thinly sliced filet mignon topped with arugula, parmigiano, capers, red onion, and lemon. The onions and lemon were to the side of the other ingredients so we were able to add those at our leisure. I opted to combine all pieces of the dish so I got an extremely fresh slightly salty, slightly acidic bite of filet every time. It was incredible. The special antipasti that day included fresh roasted red pepper, mozzarella drizzled with olive oil, and sautéed portobella mushrooms. The portobella mushrooms on that antipasti were one of my favorite parts of our entire meal. They were cooked to perfection so you got a burst of fantastic mushroom flavor with each bite. Not going to lie, I snuck a few onto my bites of carpaccio and it was heavenly.

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Onto our main courses! The guest of honor ordered the panna penne with meatballs, Eric went with the chicken piccata with fusilli, and I had the chicken marsala with gluten-free penne. Unfortunately I can’t comment on the taste of any order but mine (since mine was the only one ordered gluten-free), but I can say that everything smelled delicious. So, since 90% of taste is smell I’d say that’s a pretty glowing review for everything ordered. Anywho, let’s get into an in depth description of my incredibly delicious chicken marsala. My first compliment really has to go to the thinness of the chicken. The chicken breast were as close to paper thin as (I believe) you could humanly get them and were cooked to crispy perfection. These were topped with mushrooms in a smooth buttery and sweet marsala wine sauce. Finally there was the gluten free penne, cooked perfectly and tossed in a light tomato sauce. I was really impressed by the two sauces on my dish – both were packed with flavors, but neither o
verwhelmed the chicken or penne. Something I’ve found is quite difficult to achieve.

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If you’re in the Berkeley area you need to try this place out. Gluten free Italian is
a rarity and Luca is an absolutely wonderful time. I hope you enjoyed, now go have your own fantastic Italian adventure!


So It’s a Japanese Dollar Store?

Yesterday I went on an adventure around Downtown Berkeley to find a few bits and bobs for around the house. Now you might be thinking, why make a two BART stop ride just for housewares (that you probably don’t even need)? Two words – Daiso Japan – essentially the Japanese equivalent of a dollar store. Brace yourselves, pictures are coming.

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My first experience with one of these gems was around my second week living in San Francisco during Eric and my Japantown visit. This store is fantastic. It’s made up of rows and rows of housewares, crafting supplies, beauty products, and snacks. Sure, some of the products might be a bit on the low end quality wise, but if you look hard enough you can make some truly nice discoveries here. I’ll never understand people who refuse to shop at discount stores and insist that no matter what the products there are crap. If you walk in ready to look through everything carefully and buy only the items worth the price then you’re guaranteed to walk out with something nice. All you need is a bit of patience. Speaking of the price, unless otherwise marked EVERYTHING in the store is $1.50. I’ve been to Daiso three times (each at a different location) and I’ve never been able to break twenty as a grand total. Which is miraculous considering how banana sandwich I go over the snacks.

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After buying out the store I went to the Honeyberry across the street and got a Green Tea Snow Cup for the walk home. The super cold green tea flavor ice covered in deliciousness kept me nice and cool in what felt like broiling heat. In reality it was only 80 degrees out, but San Francisco has done a great job at breaking my internal temperature regulation. Damn perfect weather all the time.

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Here are some shots of my purchases. My favorite is definitely the crescent moon book stand that I’ve dedicated to keeping my Sailor Moon manga in place. Ahem yes, so I may have a compulsive problem with organization and matching, but it just makes me so happy! How can you not love that? A moon book stand holding up Sailor Moon Manga? No? Okay, just me then.

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Hope you enjoyed!