Friday, December 19, 2014

Let's Hike - 2012 - 2014

Last year, I tried to hike once a month. It's good exercise, you're breathing fresh air, being social and seeing the world. 

I just started a private Facebook group called Let's Hike to help with coordinating and scheduling the monthly hikes.

Below is a log of hikes so far! Can't wait for 2015!

2012

Mission Peak, Fremont, California
This is right in my backyard and a strenuous hike for me. My friend, Ji-Young, has done it many times before and without water. I couldn't suck down the stuff any faster! But I did it! It was quite an achievement for me, the then-non-hiker. We rewarded ourselves with a drink and lunch at Claim Jumper's in Fremont.

2013
Alamere Falls, Pt. Reyes National Park, California

Nu'alolo Trail, Kauia, Hawaii


2014

Mt. Tamalpais, North Bay, California

San Rafael, California

The Sutro Tower, San Francisco, California

Lafayette Reservoir, Lafayette, California

The Dish, Palo Alto, California

Big Sur, California

Hanakapi'ai Falls, Na Pali Coast, Kauai, Hawaii


Black Diamond Mines Park, Antioch, California


Monday, December 8, 2014

Their First Taste

It was another great evening with wonderful company and deliciously creative cocktails. The Financial District of San Francisco was calm - not a cloud in the sky, nor strong gusts of wind. But 83 Proof was stirring, filled with the smiling faces of the people we have a great appreciation for since the beginning of this adventure of opening DWSF. Coming from all different professional backgrounds such as finance, architecture and design to even film, they share a common interest in the experiences where food and drinks are the catalysts.
 
Our Mixologist, Zachary T., greeted each one of us with a glassful of his punch. Throughout the night, he made three cocktails from DWSF's newly created menu. This was their first taste. Without revealing too much too soon, one cocktail in particular did receive more praise. No doubt it was pleasant to the taste buds. I loved the name and based on where we are located, it belongs on our menu.
 
A few individuals were missing but it was nice to see those that were unable to make it to the initial gathering. A heartfelt speech was made by Kristian and it just brought me back to hearing the wonderful comments by our investors a few months ago as to what was the appeal to working with us. Again, I am reminded of their trust and faith in the project and our operating team, and grateful for their patience. It's motivating.
 



 
On a more personal level, I had my biggest supporter with me last night: my father. We are very much alike, though he would joke that the 'bad' traits I have, I didn't inherit from him. We both have a silly sense of humor, like things done a certain way, are strong enough to prefer to be hurt by the truth than mislead by a lie and he has raised me to be incredibly independent, like him. He knows me and has accepted the fact that when I am determined to get what I want, nothing is going to get in my way. And I want DWSF to be successful. I also want to make him proud. I didn't go to an Ivy League school. I don't have my masters in anything. I haven't given him a beautiful granddaughter he continues to ask for. But DWSF will be MY first taste of true success. I think he will be happy with that. And so will I.
 

Thank you for reading as we continue on this journey.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Giving Tuesday 2014


I am a day late in participating in this year’s #GivingTuesday but today I made a small donation to the Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation. This was my second donation this year. I initially donated for a celebrity pool plunge for AJ Kirsch, a pro wrestler. 2015 will be full of changes for me and I will be involved with that neighborhood and neighboring areas. I want to help improve the area that gets such a bad wrap. I will consider volunteering in the future as well!

“Dear Bernadette,

We are deeply grateful for your generosity and support of our efforts to make a home a reality for the lowest-income residents of our city.   Your gift makes a difference — it enables us to provide the on-site social work services that help tenants stay housed, our free after-school program for 250 youth, and the community organizing programs that empower residents to get involved and make a positive impact in their neighborhood.  

We count on the support of donors like you to ensure that we can fulfill our vision of a San Francisco where low-income people can afford housing that meets their basic needs, is close to the amenities and services that enhance their quality of life, and provides them with the safety and stability they need to fulfill their potential. 

Once again, thank you for your support.

Sincerely,
Don Falk
Executive Director
TNDC”




How did you participate in Giving Tuesday this year?




Saturday, November 29, 2014

Wine 2014 Log

Though it is nearly December and I am enjoying experiencing the many different wines from around the world, I thought I would start a log. I suspect 2015's will be much more extensive. I have also began to read the New York Times bestseller, Setting the Table by Danny Meyer. Though I write reviews of restaurants and other businesses via Yelp as a 7-year running Yelp Elite, I do enjoy documenting my experiences and he has inspired me to take it a step further. With DWSF opening soon, I really should be more in touch and be able to communicate what exactly I do and do not like about my restaurant, food, cocktail, beer and wine experiences. Here is a my first attempt.

I should say that I thank my good friend, Kristian, to exposing me to the wonderful world of wine.  I reluctantly wanted to learn at first in 2006 because I claimed I did not like it. Eight years later, I have my own collection of wine bottles and am reading as much as I can about all things restaurant, especially wine.

Besides the fact that I enjoy wine and I like to challenge myself by avoiding reading the wineries' descriptions and guess the kind of wine while tasting, wine brings family and friends together. Sharing a bottle of wine that is rare or one that is just plain delicious adds something special to the memories being created: they're both, the bottle and that moment, will never be experienced again in that very same way. I remember the first time I had Opus One, where I was and with whom I was with when I found the only Chardonnay bottle that I thought was worth buying at Savannah Channelle in Saratoga, CA and how the laughs were never ending when I fell in love with bubbly at Domaine Carneros in Napa, CA.

The wine is separated by 1) Bottles - wine I liked enough to purchase and take home, 2) Glasses - from mostly dinner outings and 3) Tastes - as in wine tasting, which I commonly love to do.

Enjoy!
 
BOTTLES:
Montechiara - Amarone della Valpolicella - 2010
A recommendation by our server, Marco, at Lago di Como in Santa Cruz, CA. After tasting it, my good friend, Tim, states that it would be like a California Zinfandel. - December

Artesa - Pinot Noir 2012
Before we enjoyed the Coppola bottle of Sante (see below), I took the ladies out to Faz Restaurant in Danville, CA and I ordered this bottle. The ladies were open to the kind of wine and the three of four ordered red meat so this went very well and it was delicious. Artesa was on the list of possible places to visit on a recent trip to Napa but it didn't work out. I also now know that Freddie, a gent I met thru tasting at Ledson with TNT, now works at Artesa. A visit is a must now.
My silly best friend & mother of two deserves this glass of wine.
Chateau St. Jean - Gerwurtraminer - 2013
Purchased in November and shared with my roommate and good friend over a dinner I made with chicken, pancetta and sage with a side of cabbage. Yes, I cooked with this wine as well. My roommate rarely drinks wine but his glass was the first to be emptied. 

Dutton Goldfield - Zinfandel - 2012

Etude Wines - Lyric by Etude - Pinot Noir - 2013
The fourth bottle of the night that was purchased for my Ladies' night in Danville in November, purchased at Revel Kitchen and Bar. A Stelvin screw cap from Santa Barbara, CA.

Francis Ford Coppola - Sante
I remember Coppola wine was the higher end wine selection when I worked as a Bartender at the Bridges Golf Course for four years. Most recently, I planned a girls' night with the ladies that were my Bridesmaid, Maid of Honor and Matron of Honor to celebrate my divorce and one of their birthdays. Part of the evening was going to Pinot's Palette in Danville, CA where you drink wine and paint. The outing has become quite popular and it was a lot of fun. We had two bottles during that session.
 
I love these ladies.

Madrigal Family Vineyards
Petite Sirah - vintage unknown
On a November visit to Calistoga, I found on Yelp that they had a patio. We had picked up cheese, meat, crackers and a quinoa salad and was looking for a place to sip on some wine and eat outside. The patio was reserved and without an appointment, we were given a tasting anyways. We enjoyed it so much we, purchased a bottle at sat at a different seating area. It was perfect.

Mumm
A bottle you can get for under $20 at your local grocery store shoots up to $70 at the top of the Marriott Marquis at The View Lounge. After an amazing dinner at Seven Hills and my first ever Brunello from 1995, I was feeling rich. Who cares? Bring on the bubbly! My girlfriend, Teresa, and her husband, Tim, (aka TNT) are the lovely people that were there when I fell in love with the liquid that sparkles.


Nicholas Feuillatte Champagne
My friends, TNT, spoil me so. They just moved into a new home in Watsonville, CA and it was Teresa's birthday weekend but they did so many nice things for Bevo and I. This bottle was chilled and ready for a toast after driving down in the rain for almost two hours. This was true Champagne from France and it was truly delicious. - December


Sunce - Syrah - 2011
A great guy was in town from Ottawa, Canada and Sunce was his very first stop in California's wine country.  Sunce was part of a group of wineries of an event that day but the hostess was kind enough to let us taste without a pre-paid ticket. There seemed to be more than 20 wines to taste and my Canadian enjoyed the Syrah, therefore a bottle was purchased. More tastes were provided straight from the barrels and a game of bocce was played in the California sun. He beat me. Grrrrr. My Canadian returned to Ottawa a Syrah lover. - November

GLASSES:
Bonterra - Pinot Noir 2012
Using 100% organic grapes, I had a glass of this wine at Coco Cabana in Dublin, CA while on a first date. It smelled a bit odd at first and was a bit tart. I presume the bottle was not opened that very day. The second glass was much more pleasing. And no, there will not be a second date. - November

Clarksburg - Chenin Blanc - $10
Before heading into to see the play, Breakfast with Mugabe, at the Aurora Theater in Berkeley, CA, (thanks to Yelp!), a friend and I met up for dinner at Revival conveniently located at the next corner where Shattuck Ave. and Addison met. I decided that I was going to order the Spring Trout with veggies (Brussell sprouts! Yes! And they're in season.) I think my selection of the Chenin Blanc went well with my entrĂ©e. It was sweet and crisp. - November

Concannon - Petite Sirah 2012
Pre-gaming for a girls only wine tasting day in Livermore, CA, my girlfriend and I have a glass from an already opened bottle. Wine tasting two weeks before in Napa, Sonoma and Sebastopol, the Syrah family wines are all winners to my taste buds. - November

Crane Lake - White Zinfindel 2013
My father and step-mother arrived back on the mainland from Hawaii and I picked up Thai food in Danville, CA for us to enjoy at their home. They picked up the wine which I believe they said they purchased at Sprouts Farmers Market. It wasn't bad and it was light with our shrimp pad thai, papaya salad, yellow curry, and mango and sticky rice for dessert. White Zinfindel reminds me of a friend that I used to have and that's the only wine she would drink. This memory is from when I was first introduced to wine and she is now enjoying the member benefits of her boyfriend's wine club in Livermore, CA. We all have to start somewhere, right? - November

Montes Alpha  - Cabernet Sauvignon - 2011
The Wooden Nickel Bar & Grill will surprise you. The food is delicious and the portions are large, and the wine selection isn't too bad. They had Coppola, Chateau St. Jean and McIntyre, which was unfortunately corked. Before knowing that, the bartender didn't let the bad cork get the best of him. He got it open. This bottle was already open and you never know how long it's been opened unless they write the date on the cork or somewhere on the label. Medium bodied and even if it was open for longer than a few days, I still enjoyed it. - December

Navarro - Pinot Noir 2013
Pinot Noir is hands down my favorite kind of wine. I fell in love with it when Kristian took me to Chez Panisse for my birthday. He ordered a bottle of Navarro Pinot Noir and it was like jelly on my tongue. It was fruity, medium-bodied and has created a lasting memory that I start to salivate when I think about that experience. Earlier this year, my dog and I were headed up to Mendocino to camp with family and friends. On our route, I saw the Navarro Winery. I absolutely had to stop there. It was just after 10 am and they were open, and lucky for Bevo, he was allowed in the tasting room. Though the Pinot Noirs I tasted in that visit didn't trigger the same reaction as it did on my birthday in Berkeley, CA, I still purchased a bottle for myself and for my Cugino, who we were planning on meeting. For Kristian's birthday (mid-November), we stopped at Hotel Biron in San Francisco for more drinks. After a beautiful dinner at Jardiniere and delicious wine pairings, I needed a glass that could keep up with the night. HB's Pinot Noir by the glass was Navarro. SOLD! - November

Pedres Thilibas - Vermentino di Gallura
A white wine from Sardinia that was crisp and light. Teresa enjoys Chardonnays, I do not. This was more my style. - December


TASTES:

BoaVentura - Livermore, CA

El Sol Vineyard - Livermore, CA
They were quite accommodating. I had a group of 12, which later group to a total of 18 women. It was a fun day.
Fermenting grapes in barrel room.
I wanted to taste what it's like at that stage. Nothing amazing, that's for sure.

Ledson - Sonoma, CA

 
Ruby Hill Winery - Livermore, CA

Sunse - Sebastopol, CA

Work With What You've Got

I made dessert cocktails last night for family, using what my uncle had on hand. This is Smirnoff's Iced Vodka, Bailey's, Kahlua poured over a scoop of Rocky Road ice cream and topped with whipped cream. It was tasty!


Family requested margaritas but we were lacking limes. As a test, I made kalamansi  margarita shots. The fruits smaller than kumquats and has seeds. I had to strain the kalamansi juice into a shaker, added my uncle's Jose Cuervo tequila and Dekuyper Triple Sec. I filled the shot glasses and topped it off with Crush. The family enjoyed it. 




These aren't the greatest of ingredients but when the first thing your uncle asks when he see you is, "Are we mixing?" you have to work with what you've got. Perhaps I'll buy him a nice bottle of fine liquor for the holidays.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Win an Engraved Necklace fr Stella & Dot

Win an engraved necklace from Stella & Dot by telling your love story! I want to hear about it too! Follow the instructions below but also mention me on Instagram (@bappletree) so I can read it too. Winner to be announced on Nov. 17th.

http://www.stelladot.com/bernadette

As I am currently single, my love story is meeting my newest niece, Arya, who recently turned one-year-old. Born on September 10, 2013, I first held her just hours after she was born and I was overwhelmed with emotion. She was undeniably perfect, her mother, my best friend, was fearless in the process of bringing her into this crazy world, but maybe it was a combination of maybe also feeling that fear that I will never have that moment with my own child. Nonetheless, I am in love with my nieces and nephews.

Below are photos of when I first held her, at her first birthday party and how she just makes me smile.




If I win, I'd like to gift the necklace to  a well-deserving mother to read: 9-10-14 & "AAS" as a monogram on the other one.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Broiled Tilapia Parmesan - AllRecipes.com



I have been on my Divorced World Tour and on the go for some time now, so I haven’t cooked in God knows when. Things have slowed down after a fun-filled almost month and a half. It has been slow to get back to the working out routine as I have been sick, which my roommate jokingly has nicknamed me Ebola. And I am ready to start eating better and cooking more. 

Last night, I kicked it off with the delicious broiled tilipia parmesan with steamed broccoli. See recipe below. I bought a pound of tilapia for $7.99 at Safeway and had enough for two lunches. Will was too full from his delicious order of Indian food from Favorite Indian restaurant to try a bite, but Megan enjoyed it today. I’m not a fan of leftovers but this was alright. Tonight, Christina will be coming over for me to try out a pancetta and sage chicken recipe in wine sauce. Mmmm, wine. Mmm, pancetta. After three days in wine country and five days off, I think I’m ready for wine again. I have a bottle of Chateau St.Jean’s gewurztraminer that we purchased in the fridge ready for consumption. Perhaps, stay tuned how that meal turns out.

Found at Allrecipes.com

Ingredients
½ cup of Parmesan cheese
¼ cup butter, softened
3 tablespoons of mayonnaise (I used Smart Balance mayo)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
¼ teaspoon dried basil (I did without this)
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon onion powder
1/8 teaspoon celery salt
2 lbs of tilapia filets

Directions:

1. Preheat your oven’s broiler. Grease a broiling pan or line pan with aluminum foil.
2. In a small bowl, mix together the Parmesan cheese, butter, mayonnaise and lemon juice. Season with dried basil, pepper, onion powder and celery salt. Mix well and set aside.
3. Arrange fillets in a single layer on the prepared pan. Broil a few inches from the heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Flip the fillets over and broil for a couple more minutes. Remove the fillets from the over and cover them with the Parmesan cheese mixture on the top side. Broil for 2 more minutes or until the topping is browned and the fish flakes easily with a fork. Be careful not to over cook the fish.