ferry building

Wow! I’ve had a crazy busy week!

While I’ve missed blogging quite a bit, I’ve had a great time hanging out with friends and seeing concerts.

Before I leap back into things, I just wanted to thank Kylie, Alvin and Sarah for contributing guest posts while I was away this past weekend. Really, it was so helpful. Thanks guys!

Now that I’m back, I need to let you in on all of the things that have been going on this last week. The first up, being Maya’s visit from Japan. As you know, I spent the Saturday before last at her parent’s home partaking in Belizean cuisine. In addition to that evening we also ran the Run Wild for a Child 5K the next morning. While I will certainly tell you all about the 5K, I first thought I’d talk about what we did on Tuesday.

As both of us were free, we decided to spend Tuesday hanging out. I got off to a stressful start, as I had to do laundry and clean up my apartment as it was the only day off before I went on my trip. Due to this, we ended up meeting later than planned. We still managed to get in a fair bit of fun just the same. We started off, of course, at the Ferry Building.

bluebottlelatte

We all know what this is.

After we got some coffee we wandered around the Tuesday farmer’s market. If you followed the posts of any of the bloggers that attended Food Buzz, you probably know all about the Ferry Building’s farmer’s market. It’s pretty amazing. The bloggers all showed you what the Saturday market is like. The Saturday market is the BIG market. It has the most vendors present and there’s much more to see, buy and sample. I can never make it to the Saturday markets, however, because I work Saturday mornings. Instead, I often hit up the Tuesday or Thursday lunch time markets.

We ate about a billion samples of almonds and various nut brittles from the G. L. Alfieri Farms stand. Seriously. My favorite stand at the farmer’s market, hands down. We pretty much spent all of our market money right there. Maya bought tons of brittle for both her own stash and I would assume also as omiyage. We also bought a container of fudge to split. I don’t remember specifically the flavor…I’m thinking it was a vanilla mocha? I didn’t keep the packaging when I divvied it up. Just know that it tasted like coffee and was (and still is, as I still have a bit…) unbelievably delicious.

After some shopping around at the jewelry stands, we hopped on BART and headed to Oakland. Why, you ask? To go to the Bay Area’s only Great Harvest location!

Both Maya and I have read a lot about Great Harvest breads, most notably on KERF, but on the blogs of many others as well. Since I had just recently discovered that there was in fact a location nearby, I proposed it as an outing we could do together while she was in town. I had never been to this part of Oakland before, so I was hoping it would be easy to locate the bakery from the Rockridge BART station. It turned out to be really easy. Less than a 5 minute walk and we were there.

greatharvestbuilding ghsign

ghoutside ghsign2

ghsign3

Once we were inside we sort of stood there overwhelmed for a moment. Does that ever happen to you? It happens to me all of the time. I go into a restaurant, store or whatever for the first time and once I see the menu I just stand there trying to take everything in. I want to make the right purchases. I want to get the most out of whatever experience I’m having. In this case, I wanted to make sure I picked up the right selection of bread, since I don’t come to the east bay all that often.

After the initial freeze passed, we decided to order half sandwiches. We figured that each of us would get a different sandwich and then we would split them, each of us getting a quarter of each type. A few moments of indecision and then we placed orders for 1/2 a chicken salad sandwich on Dakota and a turkey sandwich on Honey Whole Wheat.

turkeysandbetter

chickensaladsand

They looked so pretty that we had to take lots of pictures of them. And each other.

foodphotos

Then it was time to split the sandwiches. We didn’t have a knife, nor were either of inclined to go inside and ask for one. I should have never been responsible for the division of these sandwiches….

sands

Ooops. Not so pretty anymore!

In addition to picking up lunch, we also decided to buy some bread. I chose a loaf of Brown Bread and a loaf of Dakota. Maya and I  sampled a couple of different breads….I believe Cinnamon Chip and Spelt. Both were excellent. She decided to pick up a loaf of Cinnamon Chip for her family to potentially use for french toast. She was interested in the Dakota as well, but since she was leaving for Wisconsin for a couple of days and then after that she would be heading back to Japan, it didn’t seem practical for her to buy a loaf for herself.

foodphotos2 funnyface

Bloggers are funny. They take pictures of bread. And make funny faces.

(sorry, Maya.)

All in all, I think Great Harvest bread is pretty darned tasty. It’s dense (the bag with just the two loaves I bought was HEAVY), filling and flavorful. We both liked the Dakota best out of what I purchased…though after a couple more sandwiches, I’ve grown attached to the brown as well. I could definitely see myself heading across the bay once in awhile to pick up a loaf or two.

Believe it or not, this wasn’t even the end of our day! But I think I’ve covered enough for now.

What’s your favorite type of bread?

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…

IMG_2754

Yep. You guessed it.

IMG_2753

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!

IMG_2755

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.

IMG_2757

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!

IMG_2756

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

IMG_2759 IMG_2760

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:

IMG_2763 IMG_2764

(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?