Hints of Insanity + Alternative Food Reading

There’s been about three hours of Ironman triathlon coverage on television tonight, and I’ve been developing delusions of joining the big kids in a 70.3 next year. This year I competed in two sprint triathlons, and the fire inside is growing. Here’s the rub: I’m a slow runner. Frankly, I’m really slow at all sports. I know that I’ll never win a 5k, but somehow, I’ve had it in my head that I’m built for long endurance. I can go, go, go, albeit slowly, for hours at a time, and I don’t like quitting. This feels like a story that is just beginning for me.

keep running

It feels good to have things that you are completely terrified of, and in a tiny part of your heart know that it just MIGHT be achievable.

And because, despite how it may look outside, I’m still holding onto summer in my kitchen, I’ve been reading through the latest issue of Jamie magazine. I have yet to get a subscription, but Whole Foods has it in the adult candy aisle, for a cringe-worthy $10.99, and I’m a sucker for the alternative food magazines.

jamie oliver magazine

I love almost all publications from the UK, and Jamie Oliver has long since been one of my culinary heroes. This magazine just delights me on a regular basis. Here are some of the other food magazines I love that you may not have read yet:

Alternative Food Magazines of Note

On my list, that I haven’t read yet, but know I should be: Cherry Bombe

Do you subscribe to any of these? Any others I should be reading? 

This is not a cake.

Graceful Decay

There was going to be a little mug cake tonight. I melted the chocolate with the salted butter, and headed to the fridge…

And we were out of eggs.

I grumbled. I pouted. But I would not leave the kitchen empty handed. So I improvised. Added a few chopped walnuts. Gave it a new name. “Mug truffles”. And it was exactly what I hadn’t known that I had wanted.

Small Comforts


This week I’ve been thinking about relaxation, and how I’m not very good at it. While I advocate self care to everyone I know, I’m not always as good at taking care of myself. Self care need not be about doing the right things all of the time, but it is about doing the right little things most of the time. Here are some of my most recent small comforts that I rely on to stay healthy and happy.

Small Comforts

1. Flowers – small, beautiful, colorful flowers. I don’t need to buy myself roses, or even a large bouquet – a single stem usually does the trick. But if you like bouquets, by all means, go all out!

2. Hot Water Bottle. I fill mine and put it under the covers to warm up the bed before I get in at night.

3. Slippers. I have the Wicked Good Moccasin from L.L. Bean. Classic. Warm and toasty.

4. Chai Hot Chocolate. I tried the kind from Starbucks this week, even though I don’t usually purchase their sweetened beverages. I was seduced by the red cups. It wasn’t terrible. (Usually I make my own with black tea, spices, and cocoa.)

5. Hot water with ginger and honey. I try to drink hot water all day long. Ginger and honey when I need a little zip.

6. Verbena Tea. I steep verbena leaves in water (technically a tisane.)

7. Baby Cacti (and other succulents). Nothing I do will kill them, and they remain bright and happy on my windowsill.

8. Eggs. In the kitchen, always.

9. Grapefruit. With a little sprinkle of maple sugar on each half. A coworker today mentioned that she had never had grapefruit. I am concerned for her well being.

10. Chocolate. For curing all the things.

So long, Sportello Mornings.

Tomorrow is a no good, very bad day: my absolute favorite morning ritual is coming to an end. Sportello, my “third space”, is no longer going to serve coffee and breakfast. They are ceasing morning operations, and  frankly, I don’t know what to do with myself. I’ve been going to Sportello several days a week for more than a year, and I’m just not ready for this break up.

Sportello Counter

This past week I’ve been going through many stages of grief. First there was surprise – I assumed the renovations were just a tidy up – a refresh. And then horror. Then anger. Then self-blame. Now a little bit of self pity. But mostly, I have no idea what I’m going to do with my mornings. Do I bring my coffee to work? Find a new morning space? After tomorrow I have no idea where I’m going to find the calm white counter, barstool with my back to the window, facing the door so I could see people come in. No morning conversations to eavesdrop. And I had such a thing going – I was a regular. You don’t just become a regular – you have to earn it. Build it up slowly over time. It’s a special, warm, fuzzy feeling being a regular.

I’m going to miss the Friday bagels, with the perfect ratio of seeds and salt. Toasted, just lightly – really just warmed. I’m going to miss the Fazenda roast, that perfect coffee needing no cream or sugar. And ice coffee with two straws.

I’m going to miss the ethereal, buttery maple biscuit. I remember my first biscuit – it was on on a Friday, before I realized that I could reserve a bagel, on a busy morning when they had run out. I picked it up reluctantly – despite my love of bagels, I don’t really eat very much of these flour-laden things. And so that biscuit. I took it out the bag as I walked over the bridge, and I had to stop walking because I was having a biscuit epiphany and literally could not keep on going. This was one of the best things I had ever put in my mouth. I may in fact miss this biscuit more than any thing else.

I’m going to miss the hard boiled eggs (three) that I’d pick up for breakfast, and eat slowly throughout the morning.

I’m going to miss turning down the Thursday donuts. And the doughssant craze. And the cinnamon buns (which I never actually ended up trying!).

I’m going to miss Joanne (another regular). She’s the artist. She even painted one of the cows!

I’m going to miss the coffee refills.

I’m going to miss the regulars from the office across the street who’d put up a sign in the window announcing how many bagels they’d like to reserve on Friday.

I’m going to miss that guy with the really impressive Lincoln beard. Yeah, seriously great facial hair.

I’m going to miss those mini quiches that they stopped making earlier in the year. I already missed them for months, and was hoping that they’d return soon.

I’m going to miss the drinks that I rarely got – those stupendous ones with things like ganache in them. I didn’t even know you could put ganache in coffee.

I’m going to miss the croissant yesterday which I ate because there were no maple biscuits left and I thought that I might as well try it given that I’m not going to ever get to eat it again. Dear lord was it a delicious croissant.

I’m going to miss Kaylee, Megan, and Amanda – who saw me most of the time before my morning caffeine (yikes!) and made me feel at home.

Salmon Bagel and Coffee

Sportello Pastries

Sportello Donut Day

Quiche and Coffee


Maple Biscuit Sportello

Iced Coffee


Bagels and Coffee

Bagels on the tray

Goodbye Sportello mornings, you will be missed.

Sick Day

Tonight I was looking through old photos, and came across this one – it’s the ceiling of the Mill Valley library. It’s a magical place, one that I’d stop by often on my way back from doing the Dipsea stairs (688 stairs in the woods whenever I felt like the hills of Noe Valley weren’t enough of a challenge). I’d curl up in the library with a book, read for hours, and then make the return trek to the city, just miles away, but a different world altogether.

I went through a silly phase where every photo I edited had to have rounded corners. Even worse was the polaroid filter and frame on all of my phone photos in 2009. Yikes.

I was sick today. It was a little startling – it’s been quite some time since I’ve felt this bad. It wasn’t a head cold (thank goodness), but general all-over-aching fatigue – knocking me out, and knocking me out hard. Last night I was asleep by 10, and after waking up briefly for a few minutes in the morning, I fell back asleep and didn’t move until well past noon. Clearly my body was telling me something. I spent a good part of the afternoon thinking that I’d rather be sitting by the fire with a mug of cocoa instead of sitting in a freezing house wrapped in multiple blankets. It might be time to invest in another portable heater. 

Good Things:

Couldn’t bring myself to eat all afternoon, but dinner was the last of the award winning lamb from my freezer, dressed up in some tomato sauce with a little bit of the orzo I need to use up.

Watched the first episode of the show Boundless on the new Esquire network – documenting two guys running around the world and competing in some hardcore ultras. The first episode – actually their last challenge – is their shortest: a Half Ironman in Thailand. Suitably entertained! I also love this sentence from Simon’s bio: “When not testing the limits of his body, he’s a geologist who also runs an oatmeal company.” and this one from Turbo’s: “His favorite running partner is his dog Greta.” Curious yet?

Finally read some headline news articles after being curious about this Toronto mayor business I was hearing about. If you don’t know about the Toronto mayor business, well…. read, and prepare to have your mind blown. Marion Berry, anyone?