Wednesday, March 18, 2009

ESF: I ate and drank the following today...

Between school, work, and an internship, I find it pretty difficult to find the time for food. Even though I love to eat and spend the majority of my “free time” watching the Food Network, my daily routine tends to stray far from the nutritious side of things, and I rely on caffeine and nicotine to get me through the day. The assignment this week in my ESF class, was to document what I ate and drank for one day. Being the procrastinating college student that I am, I waited until the last day to complete the assignment. However, I thought today would fit the bill of “being real and honest” about what I typically consume, given that on Wednesday’s I have class, a weekly doctor appointment, and work (I coach 5th grade girls basketball). If I had chosen to document the weekend or a day off, my eating habits would definitely stray from the usual, as I would have more time and energy to find something scrumptious.

Today, March 18th, is shaping up to be no different, from what I expected. I began my day with a French Vanilla coffee from USF’s Caf and a cigarette. I hate to admit that I enjoy this morning ritual, and as I sat in the morning sun reading my extremely dense Environmental Science textbook, it provided me with just the 'buzz' I needed to get me through.

After class, I headed straight for Starbucks to get my daily Grande Chai Tea Latte, which I skipped this morning because I was running late, thanks to the ridiculous bike-riders on Market St, who think the entire road is theirs. News flash—it’s not! Before heading out to conquer the rest of my day, I grabbed a banana, for some much needed potassium and electrolytes, since the rest of my diet isn’t exactly nutritious. So anyway, just in case you’re keeping track, that’s 1 banana, 2 caffeinated drinks, and 2 cigarettes.

A third of a bag of Planter’s Trail Mix and a few Snyder’s pretzel sticks were lunch for the day. I love trail mix so much, it’s easy to snack on while I’m running frantically around the city trying not to be late for whatever’s next on my crazy schedule. Why these carb-filled salty snacks you might wonder? Well, I absolutely love salt, thanks in part to my father, who salts everything, literally!

Dinner tonight will be simple, because after a twelve-hour day, the last thing I want is to come home and cook a feast. Thankfully supermarkets in the states are filled with an overwhelming amount of quick fix ingredients, including the shredded Mexican cheese, tortillas, and salsa I will use to make a few stovetop quesadillas. No Wednesday night would be complete without a glass (or bottle, depending on how the day went) of wine. Tonight’s selection is Cambria, a 2006 Pinot Noir from the Santa Maria Valley. Mmmm mmm yummy!

Well I hope you enjoyed hearing about my ridiculous, yet delicious, culinary lifestyle. As I am planning to attend culinary school in the fall, and ultimately go into food writing, my eating habits are about to change dramatically, so stay tuned. I promise, the food discussed here will only get better.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Sexual Harassment Article Link

This post is simply to provide the link to an article I wrote for my school newspaper, the University of San Francisco Foghorn, for my technologically challenged relatives. I love you, even if you don't know what Twitter or Wordpress are. 

Click the link above and read. 

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Mission District Phase 3: Final Edition

The Mission District of San Francisco, is just one of many cultural neighborhoods. It is economically and ethnically diverse; however, nearly half of the population is Latino. Complete with shops, cafés, restaurants, murals, culture, and nightlife—this ever-changing neighborhood is one not to be missed. In the 1950’s Central American and Mexican families began moving to the Mission, and there presence can be seen all over.

My most recent “Mission” experience began at 24th and Mission, or the heart of the Mission, where I parked my car and began the trek to Balmy Alley. Along the seven-block stroll there are hundreds of taquerias, check-cash centers, and produce markets with their signs written in Spanish. An elderly Latino man can often be seen pushing his portable cart offering Mexican ice cream treats and even tacos.

Balmy alley is tucked away just off 24th street. When I arrived the alley was bustling with my classmates, fervently taking photographs and taking in every ounce of the incredible murals possible. The community murals movement began in the mid 1960’s, Balmy Alley is a product of this movement, and one of the few projects that was finished and preserved. The murals were meant to “educate the masses”, and portrayed images of influential Spanish people and messages. Balmy Alley was particularly effective because the murals were painted in one location. Moreover, murals are scattered through the entire Mission district, however, because they are spaced out, the message isn’t as strong. In 1972, the Mujeres muralists painted their first mural, which was followed up by three-dozen mural activists in 1984, who worked together to paint a mural on every fence, garage, and building in the alley.

After taking what seemed like 1000 pictures, we headed to Taqueria Vallarta for the food part of our field trip. The menu boasted many Mexican favorites like Chimichangas and tacos, and a few Americanized choices including the classic Super Burrito. Unfortunately I wasn’t feeling great, so I opted for quesadillas and Mexican rice. Much to my surprise and satisfaction Taqueria Vallarta uses Chihuahua cheese, as opposed to the imposter Jack or Cheddar cheese, that tend to creep into Mexican dishes when they are made in the states. Literally meaning “little cheesy thing”, the cheese is the star in this simple dish.

The traditional Mexican quesadilla is a circle of uncooked corn masa folded in half and filled with cheese, and then warmed up until the cheese has melted. This process varies in different parts of Mexico, for example El Salvador has its own version of the quesadilla that unlike the Mexican version is served with coffee. The Salvadoran quesadilla, also popular in Guatemala and southern Mexico, is a dense bread dessert made with flour, milk, eggs, butter, sour cream, sugar, and Parmesan cheese; these ingredients are mixed together and baked for 30 minutes. I’ve never had a dessert style quesadilla like the one I described; however, I am stoked to try it as soon as I get my hands on one, because it sounds delicious.

After finishing up at Taqueria Vallarta, we began the walk back to Mission St. and our final stop—Mission Pie. This café and pie shop serves a plethora of freshly made organic pies, including the most popular option, banana cream, as well as pumpkin, vegan apple with brandied raisins, and pear raspberry. Many of the ingredients in Mission Pie’s pies are grown at their very own Pie Ranch; the remainder of the ingredients are bought from local farmers and at local markets. The pumpkin pie was pretty amazing; however, after tasting a classmate’s banana cream, that is the clear choice here!

Every excursion to the Mission is bound to be different, from the taquerias to the trendy new restaurants, there is always something new to eat and new to see in this cultural haven.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Mission District Phase 2

Hey ESF check out my Balmy Alley collage, phase 2 of the Mission Project. Using a new program, Picasa, this is my test-run. Enjoy!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Mission District Phase I

Click to play this Smilebox photobook:
Create your own photobook - Powered by Smilebox
Make a Smilebox photobook

Just the first taste of my Mission Project.

Team: ESF
Destination: Balmy Alley


Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Saturday Morning 8:30 AM

Click to play this Smilebox photobook:
Create your own photobook - Powered by Smilebox
Make a Smilebox photobook

on saturday,february 28th, at 8:30 am I boarded a bus (for the first time in 5 years) and headed to mt. tamalpais for an 11 mile hike with ninety classmates four daring usf faculty. it was an amazing hike, though tough on my thrice operated knee. i hope you enjoy the photos an i would love your comments.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Obama: Food Banks

President Obama talks about Food Banks. Interesting. I am so satisfied with my going on 8 month internship at the St. Anthony Foundation, it has really opened my eyes to issues like poverty and hunger. Watch this. Learn.