S-peck-tator…..

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Recently, I went on my third “Gourmet Walk” in San Francisco (www.gourmetwalks.com) I’m a believer that this a great way to discover pockets of a city where unless you lived in that neighborhood, you wouldn’t normally discover. For this particular tour we met at Patricia’s Green – a darling little park with all kinds of fun establishments surrounding it. My Dad and I joined a couple on holiday from Australia and two gentleman who work together in the medical field (specifically with BOTOX – my interest in getting to know them better was peeked!). While I’ve only been on food tours in San Francisco it’s certainly something I would recommend for any city – whether you’re on vacation (by yourself, with friends or family) or in your own home town.

We started our tour in Hayes Valley at Patricia’s Green at a fairly new place called “Smitten” www.smittenicecream.com. The creator of Smitten Ice Cream Robyn Sue Goldman, rolled out with her with her Radio Flyer wagon hitting the streets of San Francisco but has since parked the wagon in exchange for a transformed recycled shipping container and is now the home of Smitten Ice Cream. What made Smitten so imPECKable is every order is made on the spot within 60 seconds from scratch! This process is done with all natural and fresh ingredients, liquid nitrogen and a machine named Kelvin all in less than 60 seconds! While we only got a sample taste it was enough to want to go back for more and more and more… Delicious!

Next stop the Fatted Calf Charcuterie – (www.fattedcalf.com) the most amazing butcher shop I’ve ever been in. Our stop at the Fatted Calf included a beautiful platter of assorted artisanal salumi. A wide variety of sausage, salumi, pates and other meats were on display in a beautifully crafted case. If you visit the Fatted Calf on your own, they have a “Butcher’s Happy Hour” every Wednesday 5:30 – 7pm with drinks, custom cuts and snacks.

So far, we’ve been to an ice creamery, charcuterie now on to an amazing fromagerie…

The Gourmet & More is a darling shop seeming right off a Parisian street. When you walk in you’re greeted with beautiful macaroons and as you continue on to the back of this quaint shop there’s a Fromagerie (or cheese cave as I was told). We were offered an assortment of French and Australian cheese to sample and we also took a peek at the cheese cave and it did not disappoint – if you love cheese you’ll be charmed (and full!) by Gourmet & More. The staff was so gracious as they admittedly mentioned to the group, get at least two of these tours a day.

Luckily the tour includes walking so we never felt to full and eagerly anticipated the next food stop which was Frjtz Fries (www.frjtzfries.com) – the only Belgian fries shop in the city. Not only did we get very generous helpings of the fries there were over 20 sauces to choose from! Really cool place and the rest of the menu looks great as well – perfect for a late lunch on the weekend. www.frjtzfries.com

Next, we moved on to Miette which is a charming bakery filled with cakes, cookies and old fashioned candy and would be loved by anyone with a sweet tooth (ummmmm P.S. me!). (www.miette.com). We received a mini chocolate cupcake which hit the spot! I have been here prior and was inspired to get my hands on the Miette cookbook which is filled with beautiful photographs and recipes.

Our next to last stop was at Christopher Elbow a very beautiful and modern chocolate shop. (www.elbowchocolates.com). We received two beautiful pieces of chocolate and learned about the beautiful designs on the outside of each piece. Via the website “Where modern culinary artistry meets traditional hand craftsmanship. Where taste experiences are rivaled only by visual sensations. Where the art of chocolate is expressed in a single, beautiful, decadent piece that’s hand-created one at a time.” I couldn’t have said it better myself!

Our last stop on our food tour was the perfect way to cap off the afternoon with a toast and a delicious rum drink at Smugglers Cove. (www.smugglerscovesf.com) Smugglers cove offers old school concoctions, Caribbean drinks and all the classics that involve RUM! Plus the charm of all the vintage Tiki decorations must be seen to be believed. Cheers!

So, again, I would tell you next time you’re in a different city or have some free time in your own, try a “Gourmet Walk” I guarantee you’ll have fun, try something new and make some new friends!

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PECKuliar

Recently I came across an article about home cleaning which included a featured page rating different paper towel brands. Truth be told, while my interest was piqued at options of extra soft, big quilts, stronger, choose your size, fragrance free paper towels, I was also searching for the Brawny Man options but alas, I’ll have to keep combing the pages on match.com. The article veered off the paper towel track at the offerings of paper towel holders – specifically, the battery powered holder touch-less model which can also dispense the size you need for the low price of $100. Ummmmm… P.S. who needs this? Maybe someone in the “1%” and not the 99% rest of us. Is it possible to be so exhausted from washing your hands it’s just too much trouble to tear off a sheet? Could they be worried about tearing off a sheet and get the next sheet a little wet with their fingers? Well, to each paper towel holder his own but for the budget minded set I’ve included an excellent alternative and if you use your elbow when tearing a sheet you won’t get any part of the roll wet! Ummmmmm… P.S. Cheers!

http://www.amazon.com/simplehuman-Tension-Paper-Holder-Stainless/dp/B002RCCTNU/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1327993726&sr=8-2

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