Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Foodie Alert!

The Ferry Building: Awesome food within!
Where do the foodies congregate in San Francisco? I am so glad that you asked ! They congregate here in the Embarcadero, inside the Ferry Building. 

MMM, food emporiums, and restaurants such as the Slanted Door, which serves up some tasty Asian Fusion. I bought the best chocolate of my life: a Rococo Bee Bar, organic dark chocolate, flavored orange and geranium. I will never be the same! Imported from Belgravia, London. Sigh.

Mission Dolores

Dear Traveling Friends,

Do you know why a neighborhood in San Francisco is named The Mission? It is because a very old mission church, Mission Dolores, is located there. Above is the new cathedral built next door.
Painted ceiling inside the Mission Dolores.
This graveyard was featured in the Hitchcock movie Vertigo.
The nave of Mission Dolores.
The modern day basilica is on the right and the original mission is on the left.
An Indian tepee located in the mission's graveyard, as if to symbolize all the dead Indians who died of  diseases carried by the missionaries, such as smallpox and measles.
A Statue of St. Francis, for whom the Franciscan Order of monks are named.
Mission Dolores, facade.

I have tried to visit as many of the California missions as possible. They are so charming, and full of hand painted decor. As you walk through them, you can almost hear the whispers of a million prayers uttered over the centuries.

Your Imaginary Pilgrim,

My Back Yard

Autumnal Colors Grace My Back Yard

Food Trucks and Creme' Brulee'

Dear Imaginary Friends,

Where but San Francisco would you find food trucks selling Creme brulees in assorted flavors? They are blowtorched right in front of your very eyes! I ordered the Smores flavor, which had a graham cracker bottom crust, singed marshmallows and honey graham cookies on top. What a deal!! Only $4 - 5.

Yes, please!

Your Imaginary Friend,

Japanese Desserts, If You Want to Call Them That

In San Francisco, I ran into a Japanese shop that sells tiny little Japanese desserts made from exotic ingredients. They resemble sushi, to an extent. They were very high priced.
The packaging was the focus, beautifully presented and lovely to look at.

Your Imaginary Friend,

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Friday Night, On the Corner of Happy and Art

Cherry Pie, by Patricia Uchello
Dear Imaginary Friends,

This Friday night, I will be living it up at ArtsFest, which is the annual 3-d art party sponsored by the Art League.

Me and my fave baby

It is located at the Madison Annex, on the corner of happy and art.
OK, the actual address is Madison St. At the corner of North Fairfax.
A live band and free wine and snacks add to the merriment, as the distinguished 3 d art teachers give demos, such as jewelry making, weaving, and stained glass. 

Be there or be square, from 6-9.
I will be waiting for you there!


Sunday, November 27, 2011

How Did Mark Twain Become So Wise?

"Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see." - Mark Twain

What a great quote!

There are three main sources of quotes in America: The Bible, Shakespeare, and Mark Twain.
Hmm, two of them are writers, and if God guided the hand of the Apostles who wrote the Bible, then all of them were writers, including God.

And if God cannot come up with a good quote, then who can?
I am just saying, maybe writers should be paid more!

Your Imaginary Blogger Friend,


Saturday, November 26, 2011

Mighty Redwoods

Right in the town square of Sonoma, California, north of San Francisco, are the mighty redwoods. You can visit them in Muir Woods, or you can find them hither and yon. They are all over Sonoma, and dwarf us, making human scale seem quite insignificant.

I feel short.


Sonoma Valley, California

Vines with Fall Color in Sonoma
Dear Imaginary Friends,

If you were in our rental car with Carlo and me last week, this would have been your view, too, as we cruised North from San Francisco up to Sonoma, part of the Northern California viniculture capital.

When we reached Sonoma, a cute little town that seemed a bit cowboys and Indians/Goldrush, we had a gourmet lunch at The Girl and the Fig. Naturally, since fig season just peaked,  there were at least five menu items featuring figs. Carlo is crazy about figs, so I thought it would be the perfect place to stop and rest en route to various vineyards for our wine tasting efforts. Must keep up our strength!

Your Imaginary Friend,

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Black Friday Sale at Beall and Brumbaugh!

Dear Imaginary Friends,

If you live in the Washington, DC, area, and love art (and who doesn't? Communists?), then you should head down to 215 King Street, Alexandria, Virginia, to check out all the original art on sale for 5% off. The discount is this Friday, which of course is Black Friday.
Walmart? No way. Kohl? Naw. Best Buy? Forgeddaboutit.

Beall and Brumbaugh 215 King Street Gallery is ready for all your shopping needs. Head on over this Friday.

Your Imaginary Artist Friend,

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Gifts, Gifts, and More Gifts!!

Dear Imaginary Friends,
Where is the best place in Del Ray, Alexandria, to find gifts for every occasion? AH, easy! It is A Show of Hands. All items therein are hand crafted, and one of a kind.
Wanna see some of their inventory? Why, of course, I would be glad to help with that, especially since I have nine paintings there.    
Laura Bell and Patsie Uchello Give Pat Miller and Her Shop the Thumbs Up!

Pat and Patsie Display the Art!
Oscar the Ostrich, Oil
Three Friends, 8 x 10", Oil

Your Imaginary Friend,

Monday, November 21, 2011

Having a Moment, WIth Balance

November 2010
Dear Imaginary Friends,

This was my little grandbaby last year at this time, in his christening gown. He could not even sit up successfully. He kept listing to the left even when propped up.

Now he is a crazy monkey who feeds himself, takes cups, not bottles, runs and hides and grunts some primitive communications.
October 2011
Life rushes past us. Don't forget to look and really see.

Your Imaginary Friend,

Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Montage Resort and Spa in Laguna Beach

Pacific Ocean behind us

Dear Imaginary Friends,

The best lunch that I never had  was a salad at the Montage Resort in Laguna Beach.

Virginia had the wisdom to order the grilled peach salad, and it was such sheer bliss when I tasted it, that I remember it all these years later. We were in Los Angeles because Carlo was competing on the Jeopardy Show. It turned into a great little family trip. And I still wish I had ordered that grilled peach salad.

Your Imaginary Friend,

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Fabulous Facade in Nice, France

One more reason why Nice is nice: Fabulous facades.
On top of that, it happens to be part of the French Riviera. Enough said, ne c'est pas?

The View from the Top of the World, I Mean, Mark

What a great view during today's lunch! TheMark Hopkins Intercontinental Hotel, top floor, has the very best panoramic views in San Francisco.

The Grove

Cafe in soma, San Francisco for Dylan lovers:)
wanna hang out with hipsters who were born after bob Dylan became a grandpa? Well, here is the spot for you with yummy food and cool design aesthetics. The Dylan
music is on an endless tape loop! No escape.
Your imaginary friend,

Friday, November 18, 2011

Southern Cooking, of India, That Is

Dear Imaginary Friends,

Have you ever had the super spicy food of Southern India? Wow o wowee. Spicy hot! But nonetheless, creative delicious flavors of potatoes, dosas as big as your head, mix with various sauces, each of which is more combustible than the last...

We had a lovely dinner at Dosa, in the Mission District of  San Francisco. My mouth has finally cooled off, and no more smoke is coming out of my ears. Therefore, it is my mission to tell you about it. The Mission is a funky Hispanic community of fun ethnic restaurants, cool shops, and  local denizens replete with berets and dreads (Dreadlocks). Dosa is a beautiful eatery, with perfect service and decor. It attracts all ages and types. The name dosa comes from the flat bread which is crepe like, and stuffed with spicy potatoes.

Another part of our adventure was riding the BART train. It has all the "cleanliness" and rats of New York City's famed subway system, and none of the besuited bureaucrats of Washington DC's clean and quiet Metro system. But the characters who ride it are leaning to the left freaky-deaky side, and are often sporting annoyingly oversized backpacks or suitcases.

The closest neighborhood to The Mission in DC would be Adams Morgan, which is also hip, ethnic and flooded with young people.  If you venture to DC, and like falaffels, make a beeline for New Amsterdam, and behold the wonder of the falaffel there! It is super casual, really no more elegant than McDonald's, and quite possibly less. But your taste buds will dance up and down.

Go forth, and eat!

Your Imaginary Friend,

Pitch It All Out!

Here is an interesting take on house keeping. This house in in downtown San Francisco. When we drove past it today, I did a double or triple take.
Someone did a Really clean sweep!

Your imaginary friend,

Just Another Volcano

Dear Imaginary Friends,

While sailing the Mediterreanean a few years back, we were en route between Rome and Messina, Sicily, when we sailed past this magnificent little volcano,named Stromboli, spewing for all it was worth. Just another day in the sea near Sicily, where the boot of Italy kicks out into the Mediterranean.

After all, the famed Mount Etna's corona of hot ash looms threateningly over little Taormina, Sicily. Those Sicilians are a tough bunch, facing down that bellowing monster.

Your Honarary Italian,

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Escalator Glee

There is a magical escalator in San Francisco in the Westfield Shopping Center that looks like NYC's famed Guggenheim Museum! Swirling upward six stories tall in the central atrium, it is composed of concentric circles. How does one make an escalator into a spiral staircase? With difficulty, no doubt! It is in the SOMA neighborhood of San Francisco. One more reason to go.

Your Imaginary Friend,

The Happenings in San Francisco

Foodies, take note: there are few cuisines or precious ingredients that San Franciscans do not have access to. Tonight, while dining at the uber-hip A 16 in The Marina neighborhood of San Francisco, I found a confounding group of ingredients on the menu. One hates to appear ignorant, for fear of losing one's hard earned semi-hipster status, but, seriously, anchocress and salumi!! Brown butter gelato? Honestly, aren't we trying just a litttle too hard?

Go the their website and check out that menu. I had to reread it to plow through.

Now I am exhausted. It is hard work being a foodie! One must speak the language.

Your Imaginary Friend,

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Brad Pitt!!!

Funded by Brad Pitt
Dear Imaginary Friends,

How nice is Brad Pitt? REALLY nice. He built this and many other modern new homes in the Hurricane Katrina-ravaged area of New Orleans, the lower ninth ward.

The house is sustainable and has solar panels, to keep costs down for the local working poor. Tulane University School of Architecture was in on the deal, designing the most energy efficient houses, while staying above possible future flood levels.

You are so dreamy, Brad Pitt!

Your Imaginary Friend,

Sunday, November 13, 2011

I Phones

Dear Imaginary Friend,

Today, I wrote two blogs with my new I Phone, so I could get used to the device. I thought it worked, but the blogs never posted.

They must be in Blog Heaven. Dead on arrival.

So- did I just hear you ask where I have not been for 15 years? I thought so. San Francisco! Land of fog that creeps with silent cat feet. Land of high taxes, expensive meals, and train- wreck- fabulous vistas.

The most crooked street, the most vineyards nearby, the ocean on one side and the bay on the other.
The bridge with the most suicides. San Francisco, with its cable cars, China Town, and the all kinds of Hitchcock movies filmed there, is uniquely American and uniquely romantic.

I gotta go!

Your Imaginary Friend,

Saturday, November 12, 2011

What's Good To Eat?

Patsie, Angie and Wendy Tackle Turtle Soup, Cosmopolitans and Tains de Crabes at Commander's Palace

Sazeracs at the Roosevelt Hotel
Shrimp Creole and Shrimp Remoulade at Galatoire's
Beignets at Cafe du Monde
Wendy Tries the Chocolate Freeze at Camellia Grill
Angie has her Shrimp Po Boy at the New Orleans PoBoy Company
Wendy Has a Great Redfish at Bayona
In New Orleans, Cher, everything is good to eat! Not enough days in the week to have it all, but we sure did try!

Your Imaginary Foodie,

Friday, November 11, 2011

Beall and Brumbaugh : Old Town's Newest Art Gallery

The Owners of B and B: Martha Brumbaugh and Lee Beall
Oil Paintings by Patricia Uchello at B and B Gallery
The Grand Piano
Want to visit Old Town Alexandria's newest Art Gallery? Look no further than 215 King Street, nestled among the great restaurants and shops of Old Town's King Street.

The owners, Martha and Lee, live in Old Town and have a long relationship with the Old Town art scene. Lelia Beall is the main organizer of the Annual St. Paul's Art Show just up the street on South Pitt Street, at St. Paul's Episcopal Church.

The gallery includes a wide array of realistic paintings, abstracts and even bronze sculptures.

Come by and see for yourself!

Your Imaginary Friend,

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Who Do That VooDoo?

Note The X's On Her CryptAlso Flowers, Pennies, and candles
VooDoo Priestess Gives Lecture About Marie La Veau
Dear Imaginary Friends,

If you trek to New Orleans, you must learn about VooDoo. It is an Afro-Catholic religion that harks back to the slaves of Haiti, who were orignially West Africans. In Haiti today, it is still the official religion.

Above is the much visited vault of Marie LaVeau, the most famous practitioner and high priestess of VooDoo in New Orleans. She is buried in St. Louis Cemetery #1 on Basin Street.
For good luck, visitors make three x's on her grave. That keeps away the HooDoo, which is black magic and bad luck.
There is also something known as Gris Gris. A variant of Murphy's Law, it says that if you say "We never get hurricanes this time of year, " you will bring bad gris gris upon yourself, thus resulting for sure in a whopper of a hurricane.

I made my three x's. I don't want bad luck, cher!

Your Imaginary Friend,

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Friendliest People on Earth

The friendliest people? They seem to live in New Orleans! They chat you up, no matter who they are, or who you are.
Nighttime on Bourbon Street
The Gumbo Shop, with its Ambiance and Great Menu
Patsie, Angie and Wendy Enjoy Commander's Palace Exquisite Food
From the bars on Bourbon Street and the Lucky Dog man, to the waitress at The Gumbo Shop, to the waiters at Commander's Palace, you cannot beat the smiles, the friendly open personalities, and the sense of  fun that permeates the beautiful city of New Orleans. If you haven't been there, it is time. What are you waiting for??
Your Imaginary Friend,