coffee

I know all of you are busy catching up on all of the amazing Thanksgiving dinner posts that are out there.

I didn’t have Thanksgiving dinner.

(but they all look delicious and I am super jealous of you all.)

Since my family wasn’t really having a Thanksgiving dinner this year and because I didn’t have to work, I wound up having an untraditional holiday. My co-worker and I went to the race track.

The two of us are definitely gamblers at heart. We usually go to Nevada twice a year, but due to financial struggles, we missed out this fall. Whenever we pass Golden Gate Fields on our way back from Reno there is always a “We should go there sometime!” conversation, but as our work schedules conflict with race days, we’ve never been able to. Luckily, this year we both had Thanksgiving off and nothing to do. The plan was to get up and have him pick me up at my place at the same time we normally head for work.

Being tired and hungry when Thanksgiving morning came, we decided to stop off at a local 24 hour diner, The Lucky Penny, for breakfast before we headed across the bay.

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I started off with coffee+cream. I don’t normally use cream in my coffee, but this cup wasn’t overly flavorful, so I indulged.

My friend Peter and I discussed what to have for breakfast. We both were in the mood for a typical eggs, pancakes and meat meal. There is one meal that comes with regular sized pancakes and another that comes with silver dollar sized ones. Recalling that the pancakes are normally the size of our heads, we opted to get the silver dollar sized meal. It wound up being gigantic.

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Why yes, I would like some food with my butter…..yikes….

With our bellies full of reasonably tasty diner food, we hopped onto the freeway and made our way towards the ponies.

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Once we got there, it was time to figure out how to make this outing a little “interesting”. Peter had been horse racing before, but it was my first time. He had planned to show me the ropes, but as it turned out, it had all become digitized since the last time he had been….he didn’t know any more than I did! I guess we’re dumb, or something, but it took us nearly an hour to figure out how to place bets using the machines. Aren’t we a sorry pair? Luckily, we did eventually figure it out. Heck, by the end, we were old pros.

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Don’t worry. In all of the other races, I was betting $2….I just got a little excited with that first race…cough…

Once our bets for the first race or two were in, we wandered around the various areas in the spectators sections of the track. It was a fairly nice day outside. Clear and crisp.

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The problem was that it was also freezing. I don’t think it really got up past 45 degrees while we were there. After looking around a bit, we decided to get some coffee to warm up our hands.

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I decided on a “cappuccino”. It came from a hot chocolate machine, cost $3.50 and tasted nothing like a cappuccino. It was warm though.

After putzing around, it was finally time for our race day to begin. I watched them set up the gates…large tractor like vehicles kept moving them around the track depending on what distance each individual race was. Interesting.

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Eventually, there were horses.

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They sort of mill around and do a stroll around the track before it is time for them to enter the gates. I made many attempts to get pictures of the race, but it all happens so fast. Never really got a good shot. Did get a few nice pictures of horses though.

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Number 2 was the winner. Those people had “sponsored” that particular race and they got to take a professional picture with the winner.

At some point our greasy spoon breakfast started to wear off and we went in search of a snack. Our options were limited. There aren’t that many concessions choices, plus not all of them were even open due to the holiday and its low attendance. Peter really likes peanuts, so we wound up with a bag of those. We almost killed the whole bag.

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insidepeanuts    peanutshells

Then we resumed looking at the horses.

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Number 3 was my choice for a winner. Came in 3rd. Oops.

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Overall, I had a good time, but unfortunately, we learned that neither Peter nor I have the gift. We only won $2.60 a piece. We spent MUCH more than that. Fun is great, but I sure wish my wallet didn’t look like this:

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Ouch.

What did you do for Thanksgiving? Ever been to the race track?

I must admit that reading everyone’s posts and tweets about the Food Buzz Blogger Festival has been really kind of depressing. You see, it was held right here in San Francisco, but I didn’t attend. It was partly because of cost of registration and partly because I work weekends and would’ve had a difficult time getting this one off. I’m not super sad about missing out on the festival itself, per se, as I’m not a huge foodie or specifically a food blogger. I am, however, sad about missing out on the opportunity to meet some of my favorite bloggers in real life. I keep seeing all of these pictures taken in my own backyard, and I can’t help but feel sad that I’m missing out!

Luckily, I didn’t miss out completely. Stepfanie (SP_STEPF on Spark) from SparkPeople was in town for the festival and she and I decided to meet up for a walk and some coffee. I was totally excited!

Unfortunately it was kind of rainy and dreary in San Francisco today. I lazed around in bed for way too long getting caught up on Glee. Before I knew it, there was a text message to meet up. A quick shower and I was out the door, walking down to Union Square. I was feeling a little bad that I was running late, but walking had seemed like the best course of action given Sunday bus schedules. I also felt a little stupid when I walked into the Westin St. Francis lobby and didn’t see Stepf waiting as she said she would be. After checking my phone, I realized she was at the Sir Francis Drake….up the street! D’oh! So, sorry for making you wait an extra few minutes on me, Stepf!

We ended up walking down to the Ferry Building, and luckily it wasn’t raining too badly. After getting there, Stepfanie needed to get some coffee/food, so we headed to where everyone seems to go when they want to achieve this purpose at the Ferry Building…

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Yep. You guessed it.

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I think I must be the only blogger alive who has been to San Francisco and had never been to Blue Bottle Coffee Co. Sure, I’ve heard of its greatness, but I just never seem to be in the need of caffeine when I’m in the area. That, and I have a really unhealthy attachment to Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Lattes. I know, I know. Blue Bottle is on a whole other level. I totally agree…but really, PSLs are like crack to me. You’re not going to be able to pry me away from Starbucks until January!

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All that being said, Blue Bottle was awesome. They make all of their drip coffees right as you order them. I ended up having a nonfat latte, and they even do the pretty foam presentations (see above). The only other time I’ve had pretty foam was at Dynamo Donut, which by the way, is fantastic. If you eat meat, go there and get the Maple Glazed Bacon Apple Donut. No really, go there. If you don’t eat meat, they have many other choices, so go there anyway! The Food Network does not lie!

After we achieved some caffeine, we wandered around. Unfortunately, there really isn’t any general seating in the Ferry Building…it is all attached to the various restaurants and cafés. Normally, one would just go outside and find a bench, but with the inclement weather, that just wasn’t an option. Stepfanie stopped off at Far West Fungi for a mushroom macaroon (I can’t remember which kind) and I picked up a Cinnamon Sugar Pepples Vegan Donut for later.

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Then, since there was nowhere to sit, we wound up in the lobby of my gym, which was the only place I could think of in the area that was out of the rain and wouldn’t make us buy something. We hung around and chatted for another 15 minutes or so, and then it was time for me to head to work, and Stepf to make her way towards Dim Sum.

It never ceases to amaze me how easy it is to connect with people whom I only know from the internet. Whenever I set up a real life meeting, I always have a little anxiety about it, but it is never necessary. You find in life that people are generally good and connecting with people is a lot easier than it would seem. I really enjoyed talking to Stepfanie about Spark, healthy living, not so healthy living and just random things like me touching Jakob Dylan and her love for the Indigo Girls. Fun times! Glad we were able to get together!

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I’m also a little excited about the surprise SparkPeople swag I scored:

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I ❤ t-shirts! I also could use a little help from Coach Nicole on getting Fit, Firm & Fired Up!

Even better than the above were these:

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(the label got a little wet from the rain. oops.)

Holy deliciousness! These almonds are off the hook. I just cracked into them a little while ago and they are seriously dangerous…in the sense that I could eat them all in one sitting if I didn’t restrain myself! I’m definitely going to try making them myself sometime.

Have you ever met an internet friend in person? How’d it go?