Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Shuckin' and Jivin'

Earlier this month we had another birthday edition of Team Brunch, and this time we hit the road and left the city to go oyster shucking at Tomales Bay.

Awww shucks....

It was a beautiful, warm day and I was super excited to eat oysters and be fancy. When I found out on the drive up, that we were not going to be served oysters, but would rather be shucking them, my mind conjured up images of our group, calf-deep in slushy water, scooping up oysters in fishing nets - drat: I shouldn't have worn white.

When I found out that we would remain on dry land, and that 'shucking' was in fact the action of cracking open the oyster shell, I settled back into my 'aren't we fancy, off to eat oysters by the water' mindset.

A gorgeous shucking day

Tomales Bay is beautiful, and when we arrived to our oyster-eating destination, it was packed! You sit right by the water, on one of the many wooden table benches, each one complete with its own bbq grill. Most people had laid out some pretty impressive picnic spreads, and whilst my first thought was 'damn, we should have brought cheeses, and dips, and salads, and and and...' by the time we finished our seafood spread, I was glad that we stuck to bringing just bread, crisps, wine and lemons as accompaniments. After all, what's the point of going somewhere for seafood if you end up bringing a whole bunch of other stuff to eat?

The menu at Tomales Bay Oyster Company is cheap (hooray!) and basic - you can buy different sizes of oyster, as well as clams, muscles and hot sauce. You can then eat them raw or bbq them. We did both! When bbq-ing the oysters, (it's best not to use the smallest ones, as they shrink a little) you simply place the oyster shell on the grill and it pops open when it is done! This is a tasty way to eat them, and also means that you don't have to fiddle with trying to crack the shell open yourself. Personally though, I think the raw oysters had the slight edge for me, as they were so fresh and delicious tasting, straight from the shell with just a dash of lemon and hot sauce.

Oh for shucks sake!

The shucking involved wearing a thick glove, with a marigold glove worn underneath (so as not to get your hand soggy with oyster juice) which you hold the oyster in, you then use a special little oyster knife to pry open the hinge where the two shell halves meet. It is at first a little trickier than anticipated, but once you have cracked open one or two, it gets easier, and there is something really satisfying about the ritual of it.

After this we drove a few minutes down the road to a cute little place and each got a small cup of clam chowder and watched the sun setting.

The perfect day, and an experience I would recommend to all oyster lovers and wannabe shuckers...

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Rockabilly Retox!

The detox is finally over - Rockabilly Fridays are back!

Since closing the doors on our beloved Rockabilly Fridays at the Jay n Bee back in May, Friday nights in San Francisco have been lacking a certain je ne sais quoi. Complaints from neighbours, following a particularly hoppin' rock-a-birthday Friday, put an end to our fun...temporarily. But just six months later, and with a brand new location, it's back on, like donkey kong.

The new Rockabilly Fridays aka the new Jay n Bee aka the Retox Lounge is located in the Dog Patch neighbourhood. Luckily, it's tucked away in a non-residential spot, so hopefully there will be no stopping this party!

I like the new bar - it is still small, but long, and with enough space to dance. There are also comfy seats to lounge in at the front of the bar as you walk in. The drinks are maybe $1-$2 more expensive than at the former location, but I can live with this. I also think this place has a slightly more nightclubby feel to it, with a black and red colour scheme, and a fabric canopy covering the ceiling. Although it is no Jay n Bee (I love that place), I already like the Retox a lot, and I think it will continue to grow on me.

The bar was packed for the opening Rockabilly night last Friday, and ironically, just as the last Jay n Bee ended on DJ Tanoa's birthday, the first Retox kicked off celebrating DJ Rockin' Raul's. It seems everyone I spoke to had a blast, and given that the birthday boy had so many ladies queuing up for a birthday jam that he had to dance double trouble every time, I think it's safe to say that he had a blast too....

The addition of birthday cake, candy and various other snacks around the room was a welcome treat, and apparently there will be BBQ next, so be prepared for a finger lickin' good dance party!

The tag-team djing between DJ Tanoa "Samoa Boy", DJ Rockin' Raul and DJ Okie Oran Scott, ensured a night of non-stop awesome music, to which, unfortunately I could only take it easy dancing a couple of songs, because of my busted baby toe. Waaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhh! But I will be back this Friday, and make no mistake - I will be dancing.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Dia de los muertos...

On Tuesday November 2nd, San Francisco's annual Dia de los Muertos parade was held in the Mission. Day of the Dead is a Mexican holiday where people get together to remember friends and family who have passed away, and coincides with the Christian religious holiday, All Souls' Day.

The holiday has been celebrated in the Mission for some years now, with the large Mexican population marking this tradition alongside community members of all cultures who have joined in with this commemorative event.

The parade itself ran from 22nd and Bryant to 24th and Mission, with altars and shrines being set up in Garfield Park. You can expect to see many people with their faces painted like sugar skulls, repetitive, drum-heavy, reverberating music leading the procession, people carrying candles and photos of the deceased, costumed people on stilts and carriages pulled along by bicycles, with people aboard shouting out calls to the dead.

As it was a warm night, it was particularly enjoyable to stroll along with the procession, taking in all the costumes and the eccentric, yet peaceful atmosphere. I did not sugar-skullify my face though, as three days of caking on the make-up over the Halloween weekend left me a little face painted out....

Sunday, November 7, 2010


So it's a beautiful, sunny, Friday afternoon in San Francisco and you go for a stroll through Golden Gate Park with your sweetheart. You wonder, what could make this date even better.......one word.....carousel.

The 1912 Herschel-Spillman carousel located in GG Park is beautiful. Since it was first built, it has been on display at various parks across the country, until it stopped functioning in 1977 and a restoration process went underway, to spruce it up and bring it back to working order. The carousel reopened in the park in 1984 and has been taking visitors for a spin ever since.

We had a lot of fun as big kids and had a good laugh trying to take photos of each other as our horses bobbed up and down in opposite directions!

It's definitely worth paying a visit to the carousel for some good, old-fashioned, wholesome fun. It's something a little bit different, and is a pretty romantic date. The carousel is open Friday-Sunday during off-peak (winter) season, and I think it's open every day during the summer - it's probably a good idea to check times online before you head over there. So if you're in the mood to horse around (.......I thought it was funny....) then head to the park and check out this vintage ride.