Seven Weeks Left in the Bay Area

I have these gigantic 3 ft by 2 ft calendars on my wall to see all of our activities and events for the upcoming three months. Since today was June 1, I took down my May calendar, and put up the July and August calendars… And then it hit me. I’m not even going to be working at BUILD in August! My last day at the org is July 16, and I have about seven weeks left at this organization that I called home for five years. A few days after my last day at BUILD, I’m driving down to Las Vegas to spend time with my family, and then flying to Boston to find an apartment. Crazy.

Over the last few days I’ve been trying to brainstorm all of the things I want to do/get done in the Bay Area before I leave, so below is my audacious (narrowed down) list of fun things to do. If you are around and available, please join me!

Fun things to do before I leave

One of my favorite places in the city, Dolores Park
One of my favorite places in the city, Dolores Park


  1. Pacifica Beach Trip: Surfing & L&L Hawaiian BBQ
  2. Napa Wine Tasting
  3. SF Pride!
  4. Mistro (Mission/Castro) Crawl: Mission mural tour, picnic at Dolores Park, Castro Slides
  5. Yoga Classes: Darren Main, Janet Stone, Rusty Wells, Pete Guinosso, Dina Amsterdam & of course, Eric Kobrick‘s Yoga en Espanol in preparation for Spain trip
  6. Golden Gate Park & Presidio: Yoda Statue & CA Academy of Sciences
  7. Hiking: Muir Woods, Mt. Diablo
  8. Singing: Karaoke at the Mint (which is a given!), SFGMC Pride Concert

My Favorite Restaurants

  1. Back-A-Yard in Menlo Park

    My heaven: Back-a-Yard Caribbean Food!
  2. Cha Cha Cha in the Mission
  3. Sushi Time in the Castro
  4. Sol Food in San Rafael
  5. Front Porch in Bernal Heights
  6. El Zocalo in Bernal Heights
  7. Zante’s Indian Pizza in Bernal Heights
  8. Taqueria Cancun in the Mission

New Restaurants that I want to check out

  1. Lucky Chance’s Filipino Buffet in Colma
  2. Mission Pie in the Mission
  3. Thanh Long in the Sunset
  4. Pi in the Mission

Anything else I need to add to this already ridiculously long list? And again, join me!

As per usual during the summers, not only is it going to be filled with sunshine and renewal, but also a lot of traveling.

Tentative Summer Plans

  • June 12 – BUILD Graduation
  • June 24 – SFGMC Pride Concert
  • June 26-27 – SF’s 40th Pride
  • July 7-11 – College Summit Workshop at University of the Pacific
  • July 14-16 – BUILD All-Staff Retreat
  • July 16 – Last Day at BUILD
  • July 20 – Last Day in SF
  • July 21 – Drive to Las Vegas for Faustino Family Time
  • July 28 – Fly to Boston
  • August 4-8 – College Summit Workshop at University of Southern California – Also my Rap Director Certification workshop!
  • August 10-22 – Trip to Spain’s Mediterranean Coast with Karla
  • August 24 – Harvard Kennedy School Orientation
  • September 1 – First Day of School!

Sushi, Priorities, and Rituals

Sushi on December 22, 2007My Wednesday night sushi ritual has been hindered by one of my 2008 New Years Goals (the one where I want to save up 3-months’ worth of emergency funds). I’ve instituted an $80 per week allowance for myself to pay for groceries, lunches, dinners, parking, books, laundry, clothing, alcohol, entertainment, home supplies, et al. “$80 a week?!? Are you serious?” Is pretty much the response I get when I tell people about it. But I realized that I’ve been able to live quite well while on the allowance (I started it a month ago. Check out this Lifehacker post if you are interested in how the heck I am able to do this).

It’s all about prioritization. If I really want to go to dinner with someone on Friday night, I will make sure that I don’t go to dinner on another night so that I save my money for that Friday night event. I noticed that I am drinking a lot less alcohol as well–formerly, I would easily spend $20/$30/$40 a weekend on drinks alone. Now I’ve instituted a $5/week alcohol allowance. Yea, that’s right. $5 a week. On alcohol. I can’t even buy a cocktail from the Top of the Mark with my weekly allotment, so I just have to be diligent and save it up from one weekend prior.

Thus, if I go to dinner/lunch with you or have a drink with you, that means I’m prioritizing that event and, more importantly, you. Feel special!

Fringe benefit: I didn’t realize that when I signed up to be on this fiscal-responsibility plan that I would end up cooking so much, but that’s what’s happened. Every weekend, I look at the week ahead, and plan a little culinary adventure for myself. Last week was a trip through Korea (I made pork bulgogi, nine-fillings pancakes, pickled cucumbers and daikon, and kimchi), and packed it for lunch for work all week. The week before, it was my aunt’s delicious Filipino spaghetti recipe. This weekend I made lugao, which is a Filipino version of a rice porridge with chicken (otherwise called congee in Chinese, pospas in Cebuano, or arroz caldo in Spanish). Yum. May this goal be the rebirth of my love for cooking? This is a good start.

Sushi on December 23, 2007Oh yes, back to the point. I used to go to No Name Sushi without fail once a week, mostly on Wednesdays, but sometimes on Saturday if I didn’t make it earlier. Now, I really have to prioritize, and sometimes No Name doesn’t make it on the priority list that week. I don’t know why, but it’s kind of pained me to not be able to go. For the last three years, it’s been my ritual. My thing. Hiroko’s been kind of a surrogate grandmother to me. When I enter through the broken door and sit in that crappily ventilated shack of a restaurant, it feels like I’m going home. Hiroko and I communicate with each other with a blend of familial gestures, her broken English, my broken Japanese. And it feels like what going home to your Japanese obaachan would be like.

Sushi on January 16, 2008I didn’t realize that I had such a strong bond with this ritual, but really in many ways it’s more than a ritual. So I guess looping back to why I wrote this post in the first place, if I go to dinner with you on a Wednesday night (or on any night for that matter)… man, you must be really freakin special. I mean, really. Really special.

Sushi on January 30, 2008

(The first and third pics are from January and the second and fourth are from December).

Sushi Changes

Sushi on 11/14/2007Does my sushi plate look different to you? Well it doesn’t necessarily taste different to me or might not look out of the ordinary for you, but it’s actually completely different. George-san, my resident sushi chef, the one who’s been fixing my meals weekly for the last, oh, maybe two years, has left No Name Sushi!

Apparently there’s some drama going on with the boss NOT paying her workers, and George-san hadn’t been paid in a while. Undeniably, he was getting fed-up, and rightfully so. It just sucks because he added so much to the place, and the new chef doesn’t look at friendly. I only hope my sushi-lady, Hiroko-san, doesn’t leave. I may just be forced to find a new weekly regular restaurant spot.

This is so telling of what’s going on in the world in general. Lots of changes happening. Does the sushi taste the same? Yes. Is it better than George-san’s? Well, I suppose that’s yet to be determined.

Sushi on Halloween

Sushi on Halloween 2007Karla and I had reunion sushi at No Name on Halloween night.

We situated ourselves next to the window, so that I could easily run outside with my big bag of candy if I saw any kids walk by. It kinda worked, but I also looked really strange when I ran out of the restaurant and yelled at families with “Hey, I have candy!!! Come back!” or a couple of times, “Hey, tengo dulces!” LOL

Good times.

Sushi on October 17, 2007

Sushi on October 17, 2007I know this isn’t the best picture quality (it’s from my camera phone), but I wanted to show the artistry and care that George-san, my sushi cafe, puts in the food that he makes me every Wednesday night.

Background: I eat at No Name Sushi every Wednesday (unless I’m out of town), and I literally order the same thing every time I am there. It’s so routine, that Hiroko, the waitress, doesn’t even take my order. She just puts my order in immediately when she sees me walk in, or if I am with people, she takes their orders and then automatically writes mine down.

Anyway, my usual order is a salmon don(buri) and 3-piece maguro sashimi. Each week for the past 3 months, George-san has been making my “usual” in different ways, so I think I’m going to take a picture of it each time, and post it up. This was tonight’s dinner!

Sad state of American eating

Grocery ShoppingI was at Safeway tonight buying a random assortment of groceries–garlic, onions, raisins, carrots, etc.–when I spotted this box of Corn Pops on the check stand belt ahead of me. It belonged to a family of three little Chinese girls and their dad, who was paying for the cereal with what looked like food stamps. Anyway that’s besides the point. The more sad part of this little story is what it says on the box of Pops.

“Big Yellow Taste…Sweet Puffed Crunch!”

I’m sorry… But when the hell did “yellow” become a flavor? And if yellow is indeed a flavor, why oh why did Kellogg’s claim it as the flavor of Pops? And why would anyone want to eat anything that is self-proclaimed yellow-tasting?

"Asian Chicken Salad"

I was eating at a restaurant the other day — location, occasion, name of restaurant are irrelevant — and I was kind of offended by their menu. It was a diner kind of restaurant that served breakfast foods, grilled burgers, salads, wraps, etc.

The menu was plain with a plain font, kind of mediocre in design, but it served its purpose. And then I noticed in the salad section that the “Asian Chicken Salad” was in a completely different font from the rest of the menu. It was in that “Asian” font. You know what font I’m talking about… the kind that looks like Chinese characters but it’s writing out English letters.

What were they trying to do by making the “Asian Chicken Salad” have a different font from the rest of the salads? Was I supposed to believe it was more “Asian” because of it? Were non-Asians supposed to feel like they were getting something more exotic because the salad’s name was written in an exotic font? Were Asians supposed to feel like the “Asian chicken salad” was more authentic because of the font?

And what exactly constitutes a chicken salad that is “Asian”? Just because you throw in mandarin oranges, almonds, crunchy rice crackers, and rice wine vinagrette does not mean it is “Asian.” And what part of Asia are they referring to anyway? I’ve been to, lived in, and eaten at several countries in Asia and never have I experienced an “Asian chicken salad” quite like the ones here.

Then I browsed through the rest of the menu and noticed the “Mexican Fajita Wrap” written in a “Fiesta”-esque font.


Americans are ridiculous.

Internalized racism? Or me being sensitive?