The other night I was hanging out by myself on the computer because I wasn't quite sleepy yet - when of course I get sucked in to a long conversation with an old friend I hadn't spoken to in some time. Three or so hours later, I realize that it's three or four a.m. in the morning. Great.

Knowing that if I went to bed now, I would only manage to really, really screw up my sleep schedule, I decide to push through and stay awake. So there I am, with no sleep, in the wee hours of the morning, surfing the web. I know, right? Bad idea compounded with bad idea, with bad idea on top.

When lo and behold... I stumble across Yahoo Answers. Now, I've kinda seen it in passing before, you know - I even dabbled at answering a couple of questions in the past. Nothing serious, you know - just ... innocent. I swear, it wasn't serious. But something about the late hour, the sleeplessness, the collaboration ... it gets to me! And suddenly, I'm answering questions like mad... impatiently waiting for the next new question to refresh on my screen, watching the questions go by, searching for my next spark of creative wit.

And then it gets worse. I start checking back on my old answers... revising and updating where neccessary, seeing how many people gave me a thumbs up or a thumbs down... I know I should stop, that I should walk away and do something else, but it's just so damned addictive!

And then suddenly... it stops. 'We're sorry, you have answered as many questions as you are allowed at this level.' Huh? Apparently, each question you answer is worth points, and when you answer enough of them, you move to the next level. At the next level you can answer even more questions, and I'm only 20 questions short of the next level. Damn them! Damn them!

::Deep Breath:: okay - it's okay... I'll just, you know... do something else... ::twitch::

After a full nights rest, I come back, clearer headed and approach Yahoo Answers again... I can just dabble, can't I? I don't really NEED to go to the next level... right? I'll be good this time. I'll just answer a couple of questions, and then I'll do something else... I can do it. I can.


The other night I was hanging out by myself on the computer because I wasn't quite sleepy yet - when of course I get sucked in to a long conversation with an old friend I hadn't spoken to in some time. Three or so hours later, I realize that it's three or four a.m. in the morning. Great.

Knowing that if I went to bed now, I would only manage to really, really screw up my sleep schedule, I decide to push through and stay awake. So there I am, with no sleep, in the wee hours of the morning, surfing the web. I know, right? Bad idea compounded with bad idea, with bad idea on top.

When lo and behold... I stumble across Yahoo Answers. Now, I've kinda seen it in passing before, you know - I even dabbled at answering a couple of questions in the past. Nothing serious, you know - just ... innocent. I swear, it wasn't serious. But something about the late hour, the sleeplessness, the collaboration ... it gets to me! And suddenly, I'm answering questions like mad... impatiently waiting for the next new question to refresh on my screen, watching the questions go by, searching for my next spark of creative wit.

And then it gets worse. I start checking back on my old answers... revising and updating where neccessary, seeing how many people gave me a thumbs up or a thumbs down... I know I should stop, that I should walk away and do something else, but it's just so damned addictive!

And then suddenly... it stops. 'We're sorry, you have answered as many questions as you are allowed at this level.' Huh? Apparently, each question you answer is worth points, and when you answer enough of them, you move to the next level. At the next level you can answer even more questions, and I'm only 20 questions short of the next level. Damn them! Damn them!

::Deep Breath:: okay - it's okay... I'll just, you know... do something else... ::twitch::

After a full nights rest, I come back, clearer headed and approach Yahoo Answers again... I can just dabble, can't I? I don't really NEED to go to the next level... right? I'll be good this time. I'll just answer a couple of questions, and then I'll do something else... I can do it. I can.



After running around all day getting all the supplies that Jessica needed for her Science Project Display board, it was just after noon. Figuring that Don and I had not had lunch together in some time, and given that it was such a clear, gorgeous day, it seemed that it would be a perfect day for something I'd been wanting to surprise Don with for a while, Lunch at Top of the Mark.

So after confirming that he would be available for lunch (yay! no meetings!) I quickly call up Top of the Mark and get us a reservation for 1:00. I then dash over to Don's office and pick him up, and then head for Nob Hill. Between one-way streets, the whole being on a hill thing, plus touristy, one-way streets and just general San Francisco foo meant that parking was definitely interesting. After driving around a few blocks trying to find a parking spot, we decide to go ahead and park in a garage...

Atleast, we did until we asked them what the price was. $17.50. An hour. Even for San Francisco, thats a little bit steep for me. So we back out, and wouldn't you know it, RIGHT outside the parking lot, there's an open spot on the street. Hardly daring to believe our luck, we frantically look around at the street signs, sure that it must be a mistake.

Nope, no mistake, just good luck. This spot also happens to be an unprecedented 20-30 yards from the entrance to the InterContinental Mark Hopkins Hotel, on top of which our destination awaits. (Get it? Top of the Mark? hehehehe... okay, well fine - *I* thought it was clever.)

We enter the Hotel and press the call elevator button to begin our ascent to the 19th floor where our lunch awaits. The elevators are fairly nicely appointed, although fairly smallish. Not for the claustrophobic.

When we get to the top, the host was, unfortunately on the phone, however it was fine because we were completely enthralled by the view of the bay sitting serenely to our left. The host, poor guy, was apparently stuck on one of those calls-that-never-end (those of you who've worked in the support/hospitality industry know what I mean!), and so one of the waitstaff offers to seat us. We pretty much have our pick of tables, so we choose a table with some space around it, along what I would guestimate was facing north, since we could easily make out the Golden Gate Bridge off in a north-westerdly direction.

We look over the menu, and make our selections. Don chooses the Dungeness Crab Sandwich, and I chose the  Tenderloin on Steamed bun Sandwich (I forget the actual names, because I'm lame and forgot to get a picture of the menu or something, and their website is woe-fully out of date), and also order some kind of southwestern salad topped with BBQ Chicken on the side to share.

While waiting for our food to arrive, we stand up and walk around the dining area to observe the amazing city views. It was a perfect day to go, the air was so clear and crisp; you could see all the way to the ocean! Not bad for foggy-bay area. ;-)

The food arrives and, honestly, we probably could have gotten by without the extra salad. Everything was good, expensive, but good... except that the chicken on the salad was overdone. Not, excellent, but of course, you aren't really going to Top of the Mark for the food.

All in all, it was really lovely, actually. There's something so wonderfully serene about being with the one you love, so high up above the bustle of the city, with blue sky and pretty views all around you.

Photobucket


Top Of the Mark East


 

After running around all day getting all the supplies that Jessica needed for her Science Project Display board, it was just after noon. Figuring that Don and I had not had lunch together in some time, and given that it was such a clear, gorgeous day, it seemed that it would be a perfect day for something I'd been wanting to surprise Don with for a while, Lunch at Top of the Mark.

So after confirming that he would be available for lunch (yay! no meetings!) I quickly call up Top of the Mark and get us a reservation for 1:00. I then dash over to Don's office and pick him up, and then head for Nob Hill. Between one-way streets, the whole being on a hill thing, plus touristy, one-way streets and just general San Francisco foo meant that parking was definitely interesting. After driving around a few blocks trying to find a parking spot, we decide to go ahead and park in a garage...

Atleast, we did until we asked them what the price was. $17.50. An hour. Even for San Francisco, thats a little bit steep for me. So we back out, and wouldn't you know it, RIGHT outside the parking lot, there's an open spot on the street. Hardly daring to believe our luck, we frantically look around at the street signs, sure that it must be a mistake.

Nope, no mistake, just good luck. This spot also happens to be an unprecedented 20-30 yards from the entrance to the InterContinental Mark Hopkins Hotel, on top of which our destination awaits. (Get it? Top of the Mark? hehehehe... okay, well fine - *I* thought it was clever.)

We enter the Hotel and press the call elevator button to begin our ascent to the 19th floor where our lunch awaits. The elevators are fairly nicely appointed, although fairly smallish. Not for the claustrophobic.

When we get to the top, the host was, unfortunately on the phone, however it was fine because we were completely enthralled by the view of the bay sitting serenely to our left. The host, poor guy, was apparently stuck on one of those calls-that-never-end (those of you who've worked in the support/hospitality industry know what I mean!), and so one of the waitstaff offers to seat us. We pretty much have our pick of tables, so we choose a table with some space around it, along what I would guestimate was facing north, since we could easily make out the Golden Gate Bridge off in a north-westerdly direction.

We look over the menu, and make our selections. Don chooses the Dungeness Crab Sandwich, and I chose the  Tenderloin on Steamed bun Sandwich (I forget the actual names, because I'm lame and forgot to get a picture of the menu or something, and their website is woe-fully out of date), and also order some kind of southwestern salad topped with BBQ Chicken on the side to share.

While waiting for our food to arrive, we stand up and walk around the dining area to observe the amazing city views. It was a perfect day to go, the air was so clear and crisp; you could see all the way to the ocean! Not bad for foggy-bay area. ;-)

The food arrives and, honestly, we probably could have gotten by without the extra salad. Everything was good, expensive, but good... except that the chicken on the salad was overdone. Not, excellent, but of course, you aren't really going to Top of the Mark for the food.

All in all, it was really lovely, actually. There's something so wonderfully serene about being with the one you love, so high up above the bustle of the city, with blue sky and pretty views all around you.

Photobucket


Top Of the Mark East


 

Faux Risotto – also known as – Cheesy Rice & Sausage

Dinner tonight was a quickie due to spending all day (and evening) helping my daughter get her Science Project off the ground, since it’s due on Friday. > . < Wouldn't have been such a big deal since she had a while to work on it... Except that she's been sick the last week and a half... fun.

Oh – and myspace blog ate the first iteration of this… So… take two. -.-

Ingredients: *

2 tbls butter
1 Shallot, chopped
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
2 Italian Sausage Links
10 or so Baby Bella mushrooms, sliced
3 Cups Cooked Brown Rice
Juice of 1 Meyer Lemon (to taste)
1/8 Cup White Wine (to taste)
1/8 Cup Broth (to taste)
1 Cup Finely Shredded Romano Cheese
1/2 Cup Sliced Almonds
Double-handful fresh chopped Cilantro
Kosher Salt
Fresh Ground Pepper

Method:

1) Melt Butter in a frying pan over medium-medium-low heat.
2) Add Shallots and Garlic and saute until lightly browned
3) Remove Sausage from casings and add to onions.
4) Break up sausage and brown to get crumbles
5) Add sliced mushrooms and saute until cooked mostly through
6) Stir in Brown rice and liquid ingredients and set heat to low. Stir occasionally, until warmed through.
7) Stir in Romano Cheese until all melty
8) Stir in Sliced Almonds
9) Stir in Cilantro
10) Salt and Pepper to taste; save for last! Both Romano and Sausage are very salty, and adding salt beforehand could cause your dish to become too salty.

*All ingredients are approximate and are usually done by taste and eyeballing it

Simple Substitutions:

Shallots -> Onions, green onions, or Chives; if substituting chives, skip saute step and add them at the end to retain their flavor.

Baby Bella’s -> Button, Crimini, etc… Pretty much any sliced up mushroom will taste good.

Sausage -> Don’t. No, really – you don’t want to… Okay, you’re sure? Fine. Hamburger would probably ~work~ (bleh), as would any kind of vegetarian meat-sub-crumble-thingies. I would imagine that you could use ground turkey or chicken, although why you would want to is beyond me… A nice alternative however, might be some chopped up leftover meat, although if you go this route, you would probably want to just add it when you add the rice.

White Wine -> Beer, Vodka, Tequila, or broth for the alcoholically disinclined… Although if you are alcoholically disinclined, I would suggest revising that notion.

Lemon Juice -> Lime Juice, Any Wine Vinegar (except possibly Balsamic, since it’s so sweet), Apple Cider Vinegar

Cilantro -> Italian Parsley, Thyme, Oregano, Marjoram

I should have taken a picture… but it was so tasty it was gone before I thought of it!

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