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JAZ

eG Foodblog: JAZ - Park and Shop

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I thought about calling this "Meet Me at the Bar" because, well, I do have a bar in my living room, but I don't want people to get the wrong idea, and besides, my Mom might be reading this.

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(Actually, my parents know I have a bar in my living room. I've had it for years.)

Then I thought about calling it "A Girl and her Cookware" because, having worked at a cookware store for more years than I can believe, I have collected a frightening amount.

So why "Park and Shop"? People of a certain age (women, probably) might remember the old board game by that name. Or maybe not -- maybe my sister and our friends were the only ones who played that strange game. In brief, here's an overview. You had two markers: one car and one pedestrian. You drew cards that told you which shops you had to visit. You started out with your car, and "drove" to one of several parking lots, depending on where your shops were located. Then you used your pedestrian to visit all the shops. (I know, we're not talking the excitement of buying property on Boardwalk, but hey, we liked it.)

Of course there were squares you could land on that sent you to jail (I don't remember why -- jaywalking?) or otherwise set you back. But mostly, the strategy involved trying to find the shortest, most economic way of visiting all the shops on your list, and that's why I always remember it, because in many ways, that's my shopping life today.

Back when I worked in an office and had a civilized hour for lunch, I often used that time to run as many errands as possible, and that's when it first came to me that I was living the "Park and Shop" game (without the parking, but close enough.)

Now, since I am without a car, much of my food planning revolves around trying to figure out exactly that same thing -- how to get to all the shops I need to without making unnecessary side trips, taking impossibly long bus routes, or ending up with so much stuff I can't carry it. But "Public Transportation and Shop" doesn't quite have the same ring, does it? So "Park and Shop" it is.

I'll talk more in a while about the shops I visit, how this whole process plays out day to day and how it influences my cooking style.

But first, here's the way I start all my mornings, feeding the boys.

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Damien, Mookie, and Felix having breakfast.

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Max generally prefers private dining.

Once they've eaten and I've let them out, I can concentrate on caffeine.

I have a 10-cup programmable Krups machine, but I've found that my little one-cup Melita, which started life as a travel coffee maker, is more manageable for just me. I drag out the big black machine only when I have company.

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So, if you'll let me drink my coffee, I'll be back with more about the week ahead (kitchen pictures, too).

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Excellent! Cool bar, Janet. We have similar tastes, I think.

I see that you're at the ready for any emergency martinis. Let's hope you don't need 'em this week! :wink:

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Janet,

Your boys are really cute—my imaginary Lab or Border collie is to be named Mookie, and I was going to name my imaginary German Shepherd Max until my sister had the nerve to give her son that name.

I know this is going to be a fun blog, and I know your meals will look more appetizing that what the boys eat, though I'm sure they'd beg to differ. :wink:

I love San Francisco, and can’t wait to see it through your eyes. We're also carless, so it will be fun to see how you manage your shopping.

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Now this is going to be very educational and, unless I miss my guess, something we can all thoroughly kick back and enjoy! L'chaim, JAZ, and let the good times roll! :wink: I'll drink to that! and those cats as well ... :hmmm:

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CATS AND THE CITY! YAH! I miss SF and will be going nostalgic through your pictures and words.

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Enjoy your week of blogging, Janet! I love SF. Do you go to taquerias in the Mission much? That's always the first thing I want to do when I get off the plane. Ain't nothin' like it in these parts.

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Working for a transportation agency in downtown LA, I would have suggested "Transit Shopping" or "Bus and Buy", Janet.

I thought about calling this "Meet Me at the Bar" because, well, I do have a bar in my living room, but I don't want people to get the wrong idea, and besides, my Mom might be reading this.

What wrong idea? That people might mistake you for Sam. :raz:

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For a moment, I thought that was breakfast for you. :blink:

Will there be photos of Chinatown ... and those little cable cars ... ?

I'll be looking forward to your blog this week, Janet!

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Very cute boys, and even cuter dishes to feed them from. Could we possibly get a face-on view, or are they camera-shy?

I'm looking forward to this. I too was carless, for a 9-year period (college and grad school). I used some public transportation, but for me a bicycle was more convenient. The hills of Boulder and Fort Collins, CO, are a little different than those of SF, though! The biggest repeating shopping challenge for me was the stuff that's bulky, although not necessarily heavy, like toilet paper. What are your biggest challenges in shopping without a car?

MelissaH

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CATS AND THE CITY! YAH!  I miss SF and will be going nostalgic through your pictures and words.

Now see, I was thinking more along the lines of the Armistead Maupin series, "Tails (sic) of the City." :laugh:

I, too, am looking forward to this week's San Francisco treat.

(Okay, quit taking aim with those eggs and tomatoes, folks... :laugh: )

(Somewhat) more seriously ... it's been literally years since I visited the Bay Area, so I'm considering your blog a potential inspiration to fix that one of these days real soon now.

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Cool!

We used to use the EXACT same dish for our cat.

The best chinese I've ever had was a hole in the wall in the SF financial district. Any chance of prowling around there this week?

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Now you're going to make me homesick! I grew up in San Jose and loved visiting the city as much as possible. Little Italy, Chinatown, the warf, the garment district.(sigh)

One of my favorite restaurants in college was The Stinking Rose, is it still around? Are you planning any excursions this week to surrounding areas like Sausalito or Oakland?

What wrong idea? That people might mistake you for Sam. 
Good one! I think that would mean Janet would have to sing tenor as well though. :smile:

This is going to be a fun week!

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Definitely looking forward to this! San Francisco is my original home town. I look forward to seeing a current glimpe :smile:.

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Thanks, everyone.

Let's see:

I'm not sure how much of the city I'll be able to explore with you all -- the weather has been wet and nasty, and I don't think slogging around in the rain would be fun for any of us. But I'll do what I can in between downpours.

The cats are not particularly camera shy, so I might be able to get a few more shots of them. (The dishes are cool, aren't they? I thought I had the only cats around that ate out of Kotobuki dishes, but I guess I was wrong. I can't believe Johnnyd's cat used to have the same dish.)

As for shopping, I'm lucky to be pretty close to some good markets and have several options for larger grocery stores that are fairly convenient. Since I'm only shopping for myself, it's not as difficult as it would be if I were shopping for a family. I'll get to shopping strategies in a minute, but first, brunch.

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It's a day off for me, and after a couple of not-great days, I decided to treat myelf to a Bloody Mary. To be precise, I suppose I should call it a a Caesar since I use Clamato. But then again, because I use gin, a Red Snapper might be a better name. A Snappy Caesar, maybe? Oh course, if I called it that, no one would know what I was talking about. I'll stick with the Bloody Mary.

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All mixed up and ready to go.

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The finished drink (not a very great photo; my apologies).

On to the food. Nothing too exciting -- some leftover carrot soup, half a cheese twist I got yesterday at a little farmers' market a couple of blocks from where I work, and some smoked salmon spread from the same market.

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I've always liked San Francisco, and I'm looking forward to seeing it through your eyes! I'd request a trip to Fisherman's Wharf, if you were taking requests. That's not so much fun with the weather you're having, though.

When you let the "boys" out, do they have a back yard to hang out in? Mine ate from smaller Japanese dishes (different design) until recently, but I just switched them to something with a higher lip. It's an excuse to change the dinnerware on the floor. :biggrin:

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I've been drooling over the bar since it was posted as a teaser on the previous foodblog. It's gorgeous! Did you buy it locally, if I may ask?

Love the bowls for your kitties as well.

Do try to keep warm and dry up there, it is promising to be a rather wet and wooly week around here. I guess it's nothing that a few, well-crafted cocktails can't combat though. :smile:

Thank you, JAZ, and have a fun week!

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Can't wait to see the rest of your blog! It's a bit bittersweet, since I called my two boy cats "the boys" for years.... since I am now in non-pet housing, they have since been relocated to loving homes - but I still miss them so much it hurts!

At any rate, SF is one of my favorite towns - I went to undergrad in San Luis Obispo, so a weekend trip to SF was always a "trip" - in those days, literally! :shock:

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I'm also really looking forward to a SF blog. Other than Chicago (where I live) SF is one of my favorite places. It's one of the places I tell my husband I need to get back to every few years. And please be sure to give us another shot of the cats.

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I'm not sure how much of the city I'll be able to explore with you all -- the weather has been wet and nasty, and I don't think slogging around in the rain would be fun for any of us. But I'll do what I can in between downpours.

That is right, I forgot that y'all are getting hammered with the weather these days. I've no expectations of the city explorations thoug! We'll take what we can get and like it!

Will you be sharing some of your favorite cocktail recipes with us for this blog? What do you do in the market? I think yo said something about cookware. That sounds fun! Can you show off some of your more unusual gadgets (bar & kitchen) or the ones that you use the most?

The small dish for the kitties is a good one. I use a regular saucer but I think the smaller dish would help control portion size a little better. Although my kitty does tend to use the entire plate to push her food around. Do the boys make much mess with their eating? I also give my Ali a little wet food for breakfast and have dry food all day for grazing. However, this means she bugs me to get up in the morning to feed her. Since her clock isn't as accurate as my alarm, this means that she is a bit early some days. :hmmm: Do you experience the same?

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Enough talk about kitties and their dishes! :smile: You work in a cookware store???? Oh boy! Any chance your blog readers can get a discount this week? (Sorry, did I say that?) Really, though, are we going to get to see pictures of the store and the merchandise? Are you willing to give product recs? Could we get a top ten list of your most-used/loved kitchen tools?

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...and don't forget...we want pics of your kitchen!!! (Open those cupboard doors and show your stash :wink: ) Am very much looking forward to your blog!!!

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I've been drooling over the bar since it was posted as a teaser on the previous foodblog.  It's gorgeous!  Did you buy it locally, if I may ask? 

I got the bar second-hand from a friend of mine (and my guess is that they also bought it second hand). I'd always coveted it when I'd visit her and her husband, and told her that if she was ever going to get rid of it, I wanted right of first refusal. So, around eight years ago, they were remodeling. She called to say it just didn't fit in with their new look and to ask if I was still interested. Took me about 2 seconds to say yes.

Will you be sharing some of your favorite cocktail recipes with us for this blog? What do you do in the market? I think yo said something about cookware. That sounds fun! Can you show off some of your more unusual gadgets (bar & kitchen) or the ones that you use the most?
Really, though, are we going to get to see pictures of the store and the merchandise? Are you willing to give product recs? Could we get a top ten list of your most-used/loved kitchen tools?

I'll definitely give you some cocktail recipes.

I work part time at Sur La Table, near Union Square downtown. I don't know about photos of the store, but I can give you a tour of some of my cookware and gadgets, certainly.

I'm off to a couple of my favorite markets while it's not raining. When I come back, I'll tell you more about work and shopping, and show you some pictures of the markets and my kitchen.

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I think your breakfast looks great.

The Bar, what a wonderful thing. You are off to a great stop.

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You work at Sur la Table? How lucky your customers are to have someone who is actually passionate about cooking to work with them! At my local Sur la Tables the women generally seem to work there as a hobby and my guess is that they like to have those "good looking" kitchens that don't get used a whole lot. :blink:

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Oh boy oh boy oh boy! This is going to be fun!

So glad to see you blogging JAZ! Looking forward to the cocktail recipes especially. :smile:

Oh - and that bar is simply fabulous.

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Some background on my shopping strategy:

San Francisco, like most densely populated cities, is divided into neighborhoods that usually have their own shopping area -- some are better than others, or maybe just focused differently. Some of the larger neighborhoods have several small shopping areas in addition to the main one. And regardless of where you are in the city, there are usually numerous "corner stores" (not always on the corner, but that's what I call them anyway) -- they vary in size and merchandise, but all of them rely primarily on liquor, wine, beer and cigarettes to make it.

I live in between Noe Valley and Glen Park and can walk to either shopping area (although it's a long walk to the main shopping area of Noe Valley, 24th Street). I'm near the top a hill that divides the two neighborhoods, so the walks are mostly downhill on the way there and uphill on the way back, which pretty much sucks considering that I'm always walking uphill laden down with shopping bags. Oh well, I guess the views count for something.

I can also walk either way to get to public transportation that takes me downtown to work -- it's a shorter walk down the Noe Valley side, but a much longer ride, so I almost walk up over the hill to take BART to work. Occasionally I'll take the Noe Valley route home if I have a particular errand to run that I can only do on that route. But when I'm not working -- just shopping -- I usually walk down to the butcher shop and produce market that are a few blocks away on that side of the hill. That's where I went this afternoon.

First, the butcher.

Drewes Brothers gets mixed reviews in the California forum, but I like the shop. The quality is high, and although they don't have a huge selection, they'll order anything. They're always willing to cut meat to order for me, and will also do things like cut up roasts into stew meat for me.

Plus, you have to love a place with stuffed birds of prey.

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And PO boxes as well.

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You can also see that they carry a few additional products. They have their own line of sauces, which I haven't tried. They have some wine, a few perishables, and charcoal briquettes, which you can't see in the picture.

They sell frozen marrow bones as "dog bones"; I'm not sure if I'm the only one who buys them for dinner (the bags next to the bones are full of ground scraps -- also sold for dog food).

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Today, I just picked up a piece of salmon for tomorrow's dinner, and some bacon.

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Then, it was on to the produce store.

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