Watched a Midnight Showing at the Kabuki (124/366)

“In the end, it will be every man for himself …”
Tom Hiddleston as Loki, “The Avengers

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Dyed My Hair a Crazy Color (104/366)

“It’s a little bright, but … I think I like it!”
Jeremy Affeldt on the Orange Friday home jersey

Happy Orange Friday! It’s the home opener for our San Francisco Giants today. Every Friday when the Giants are home, fans wear orange. When the Giants won the World Series in 2010, we decided to wear orange EVERY Friday, whether they were home or away, and even when it wasn’t baseball season. Since it’s the first game the boys are playing at home, AND it’s Friday, I just had to do something special.

I’ve dyed orange streaks in my hair twice before – the first time was when The Giants won the World Series in 2010, and again at the beginning of the 2011 season. But each time, I used a “copper” color that was meant for dark hair. Although of course red or “copper” wouldn’t exactly be a naturally occurring color on me, it was still more natural and it at least was a color that could exist naturally on someone’s head. Well this season Buster‘s back and it’s gonna be an awesome season. And I wanted to celebrate by making sure anyone who saw my hair this time would know that the streaks weren’t just supposed to be copper, and that they weren’t just a botched bleach job. Today I double-processed my hair and streaked it “Napalm Orange“.

I used a chunking cap since I was doing the bleach by myself (and wanted large sections to be orange) – caps are pretty foolproof – I always think they’re hilarious – I feel like I’m in Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome.

I used a
Clairol Frost & Tip package for the first process, bleaching my hair – I didn’t use the regular highlighting cap that comes with that kit since I was using the chunking cap. There is a chunking bleach kit from L’Oreal available too, but I had this one from a while ago. Here goes the bleach! We’re going from dark brown … all the way to blonde! Woah!

And now for some Special Effects …

Tada!!! Napalm Orange streaks, to celebrate our home opener. Let the baseball season begin!

Here’s a before and after:

… and did I mention it GLOWS under BLACKLIGHT?!!? WHAT??!? Seriously. How awesome is that?! LET’S GO, GIANTS!!!

Related Links:
Special Effects SFX Hair Color Hair Dye Napalm Orange
Clairol Nice ‘n Easy Frost & Tip
Colortrak Tools Xtreme Highlighting Chunking Cap
L’Oreal Paris Chunking Blocks of Highlights for Medium Brown to Dark Brown Hair

Watched the San Francisco Documentary "Remembering Playland at the Beach" (38/366)

“There’s a place that you should see, where the young at heart will always be. Come along with me to Playland at The Beach”
~ “Playland Through the Years” by Dougal Hayes

Playland at the Beach was a 10-acre seaside amusement park in San Francisco along Ocean Beach, just down from where the Cliff House is now and where the Sutro Baths used to be. It was established as Playland in 1928 when George Whitney became general manager of the growing complex of attractions (they were mostly independently owned and operated, but the Whitney Brothers started purchasing pieces as they could). George Whitney operated Playland for decades, but after his death in 1958, Playland was just never the same. Over the next decade, it became run down and was eventually purchased by a developer in 1971 and was torn down on September 4, 1972. Condominiums now occupy the space where Playland used to be.

Here’s the trailer for the documentary:

This documentary is charming, heartfelt, and poignant. There are plenty of great interviews with people who visited the park frequently, as well as workers, all having their own fond memories of their special times at Playland. There are video clips and photographs showing what a fantastic place it was, and how people and the times changed through the years of its existence.

Last year, Nick and I went to Playland-Not-At-The-Beach, a non-profit museum and activity center dedicated to keeping alive the wonder, magic, and history of San Francisco’s Playland at the Beach. It’s nice to know a part of Playland is still alive and well, even if it’s not at the beach anymore, but in El Cerrito, across the Bay. If you love San Francisco, I highly recommend watching this documentary about one of The City’s most treasured memories, and even taking a trip over to Playland-Not-At-The-Beach to help keep its spirit alive.

Side note: Ever had an “It’s-It“? You know, the ice cream sandwich made with two giant, chewy oatmeal cookies, the whole thing dipped in dark, delicious chocolate? They were created at Playland at the Beach, and for decades were only sold there. Only after Playland closed were they manufactured elsewhere and sold to their adoring fans. Just one more reason Playland was truly a magical place.

Related Links:
Remembering Playland At the Beach DVD

Eaten at San Francisco’s House of Prime Rib (29/366)

“If God did not intend for us to eat animals, then why did he make them out of meat?”
John Cleese

The House of Prime Rib is a San Francisco institution. They’ve been serving their supreme cuts of rib roast, baked potatoes the size of small footballs, and delicious creamed spinach with bacon since they were established in 1949. Even famous figure skater (and local) Brian Boitano named HOPR the best prime rib he’s ever eaten, and has childhood memories of dining there with his parents, who even went on dates there together before they were married.

So as a native San Franciscan, I was shocked an appalled to realize I had actually never been there. I thought I had. I swore I had. But while watching an episode of Tony Bourdain‘s No Reservations, I realized I didn’t recognize the interior of the restaurant. Nick and I even had several conversations where I tried to convince him I had gone there – and he was with me on two different occasions! “You mean Ruth’s Chris?” he said. No way! There was NO WAY I had never been to House of Prime Rib. But I was wrong. And as shocked an appalled as I was, I also realized, this was actually kind of awesome. I’d finally get to go!

It was Wayne’s last night in SF for the weekend, so we decided we should take him to a special dinner. What place more epic, more San Francisco, than the House of Prime Rib? Even the famous Blue Angels and of course, the San Francisco 49ers have left tokens of their appreciation here!

HOPR basically has two choices on the menu – Prime Rib, or fish. Here’s what the menu reads:

Our Roast Beef:
Carved at your table, to your specifications, from our unique stainless steel serving carts. We serve only the best beef available, the top 2% of all beef marketed. Although this incurs additional expense, our Mid-Western corn-fed beef aged for 21 days, is the most tender, juicy and flavorful beef available.
The City Cut: A smaller cut for the lighter appetite.
House of Prime Rib Cut: A hearty portion of juicy, tender beef.
The English Cut: Some feel that a thinner slice produces the better flavor.
King Henry VIII Cut: Extra-generous, thick cut of prime beef, for king size appetites.
Children’s Prime Rib Dinner: Complete with milk and ice cream. (For children 8 and under.)
Fresh fish: Ask your server for today’s special catch and price.

Dinner Accompaniments Included with Prime Rib Dinners:
The Salad Bowl : A colorful mixture of healthy, crisp, seasonal greens prepared at your table, tossed in our unique house dressing.
Mashed Potatoes : A generous steaming helping of the all American favorite, served with thick brown gravy.
Baked Potato : A superior sized Idaho potato served with butter and sour cream, with a sprinkle of chives.
Yorkshire Pudding : Straight from merry olde England! Light, airy batter baked to a golden brown dome, with a fluffy interior to soak up those savory beef juices.
Creamed Spinach : A light dish of garden spinach whipped with fresh cream and pieces of bacon.
Fresh Cream of Horseradish Sauce

So all you have to do basically, is choose your cut (and what type of potatoes you want), and you’re good to go. The price difference between the cuts is minimal, so there wasn’t much agonizing over which one to choose. We all went for the King Henry VIII cut. Go big or go home. This majestically ginormous cut is just the way one should enjoy Prime Rib. It’s also the only cut to include the bone. Plus, if you’re able to finish your King Henry slab, they’ll offer you another small slice on the house. No one ever leaves hungry at The House of Prime Rib.

Our waiter came and made the famous HOPR salad table side:

It was delicious. Soon after, came the rest of our feast. The Metal Meat Zeppelin was rolled out:

And from its cave of supreme savoriness:

Came our magical King Henry cuts. The plates were glorious:

And I was serious about the baked potatoes:

Even though we were in a whirlwind of meat magnificence, Nick actually managed to get to that second slice after finishing his King cut. That’s my husband.

House of Prime rib serves fantastic food. It’s definitely the place to bring someone visiting San Francisco – that is if they like juicy, tender, dry-aged, salt-packed, then slow roasted meat. Because that is what they serve here, and plenty of it. The staff is friendly and attentive, and the wine list isn’t bad. I also appreciate that they offer sparkling or still water at no charge (yes, I love my bubbles)! I’m anxious to find another person who hasn’t been there so we have an excuse to bring them. Have you been? We’ll take you!

Related Links:
House Of Prime Rib
The Complete Meat Cookbook

Driven the Crooked Part of Lombard Street (28/366)

“Every body continues in its state of rest or uniform motion in a straight line, except insofar as it doesn’t.”
~ Sir Arthur Eddington

A section of Lombard Street in Russian Hill in San Francisco has been dubbed, “The Crookedest street in the world”. Though that’s up for debate (Vermont Street, also in San Francisco, is supposedly even more crooked when measuring of sinuosity index for each street), Lombard street is still the famous tourist destination. Although I’ve been down the street before, and even brought out-of-town friends there, I recently realized I’d never actually driven down the street.

Our friend Wayne is in town from Australia this weekend and even though he’d seen Lombard Street before, he’d never gone down the world-renowned crooked street. What a perfect opportunity for me to drive it – and have a cameraman there as well!

After hiking the Filbert Street steps up to Coit Tower and enjoying the awesome views there, we hopped in the car and headed over to Lombard. There’s usually a lineup of cars waiting to drive down, so we were prepared – but we were lucky – there were only a few cars in front of us. We drove down. The turns are so much fun! We saw people walking up the sides of the street (there are stairs on each side of the roadway) and I wondered how the people who live on this block feel about all the tourists that frequent their street.

This was so cool (and the camera was having such a hard time focusing with the low light) that we decided we should make another pass. We hoped that we’d be lucky again and not hit too much traffic – and we were! There were two cars in front of us, but no one behind us … until we had started down the street. We saw a car coming and thought our plans were foiled – we were going to stop at some point while driving down to take a picture. But then we realized that that car was moving slower than we were and we had a pretty good sized gap between us, so I stopped the car for a second and Wayne jumped out. I thought he was going to just take a picture and hop back in, but he ended up running away from the car and to the side of the road to take pictures of me actually driving. Crazy Australian! Now I was driving down the street cracking up and yelling, “Get back in the car!”. I’m thinking the people who live on this block probably do hate the tourists frequenting it. At least the kind like me.

When we got to the bottom of the hill, we stopped to take the iconic shot showing all the turns, and we realized we had started the next wave. There were now seven cars on the block! Awesome.

This was super fun. I’d recommend going at night when it’s probably less crowded, and of course on a weekday. When driving down, remember that for the most part, everyone else is going for the same tourist experience, so I don’t think you need to worry about driving too slow. Everyone wants their drive down the “Crookedest Street” to last a little while. But be sure to have a quick camera with you!

Related Links:
San Francisco & Northern California (Eyewitness Travel Guide)

Opened Chinese New Year in Chinatown (23/366)

“When people are true friends, even shared water tastes sweet.”
~ Chinese proverb

Today was the first day of the Chinese New Year and we wanted to welcome 4709 in with style. We had been wanting to go to a restaurant in Chinatown called R&G Lounge, which we saw featured on Anthony Bourdain‘s “No Reservations“. R&G opened in 1985 and has become quite popular – they began as a restaurant on the basement level of the building, and have since expanded to three dining room floors, including a full bar and special events spaces. They serve Cantonese food and pride themselves on their quality, using the freshest ingredients possible.

R&G is famous for their Salt & Pepper Crab, which is lightly battered and fried. We came especially to try this one.

Since it was a celebration, we wanted to indulge, as well as get a good sampling of their menu, so we ordered a few more dishes.

Peking Duck (Red for good luck – it IS Chinese New Year!):

Honey Walnut Prawns (Nick’s favorite):

R&G Special Beef (another signature dish):

and Chicken Chow Mein (long noodles for long life!):

Everything was delicious. The crab came first, and there was almost absolute silence as we devoured it. Eat first, talk later. It was pretty funny. The other dishes came out pretty quickly after, and we just enjoyed everything. Aaron scored the crab body, and it was an irresistible photo op (look at all that battered goodness!):

He also brilliantly noted, “Don’t let them take the dish away – we should sprinkle the remaining fried bits onto the chow mein!”. Slam dunk, Aaron. Good man.

After our delicious dinner, we headed over to Li Po, a cocktail lounge that is rumored to have been an opium den back in the day. The place is so old, I don’t really have a problem believing that. The decor is really cool – a mishmash of different things added over the many years. It supposedly gets really crazy on the weekends, but the crowd was pretty tame tonight, which was a good thing.

Li Po was also featured on a Tony Bourdain show, The Layover. They’re famous for their “Chinese Mai Tais” – a combination of four different liquors and a bit of juice – so of course we had to get those. Yum!

Since it was a school night, we didn’t want to stay out TOO late, so after hanging out for a bit, having fun listening to the surrounding games of
Liar’s Dice and watching “Uncle” (our nickname for the bartender) work the crowd, I had one final beer, and we headed home. Happy Year of the Dragon!
IMG_5094-1 (dragged) IMG_5103-1 (dragged)

Related Links:
R & G Lounge
Li Po Cocktail Lounge

Hiked San Francisco’s Land’s End Trail (22/366)

“The Bay Area is so beautiful, I hesitate to preach about Heaven while I’m here.”
~ Billy Graham

Ryan was up for the weekend so we wanted to do something fun. We also hadn’t hung out with our other good friend Mike, so we decided we should enjoy the dryish spot we saw in the weather forecast with something outdoorsy.

Aaron turned me on to a website called that showcases fun things to do and new places to go in the Bay Area, and while surfing it the other day I found a suggested hike at Land’s End, near where the ruins of Sutro Baths are. Nick and I visited the ruins for the first time last year, but never even realized such a cool trail existed literally just steps away.

The trail starts just above the Sutro ruins – there’s even a parking lot. Today it wasn’t crowded because of the rainy weather.

This trail is part of the
California Coastal Trail, which is a network of public trails along the 1200-mile California coastline, from the Oregon Border to Mexico.

There are great informational signs at the beginning of the trail, with maps and suggestions on what to do and what to look for. The path we decided to take was to a place called “Eagle’s Point”, about a mile and a half away, and then we’d take a slightly different route back for a change of scenery.

We hadn’t walked far before we saw a great spot to just sit and enjoy the surroundings. Even though the sun wasn’t out, the view was still beautiful:

A good deal of the path was either paved, or packed solid, and there weren’t that many big puddles or muddy spots. It was a very pleasant walk. There are a lot of little spots through the trees where you can catch more glimpses of the Golden Gate Bridge. You forget that you’re in San Francisco until you see it, but even then it’s from a different perspective, and it’s majestic every time.

Along the way, there are signs at points with more information about their historical significance. Did you know that hundreds of shipwrecks have occurred at the Golden Gate because large ships could not navigate the challenging conditions of the channel? The wrecks have been dynamited and mostly cleared away, but you can still see parts of them at low tide.

About halfway to Eagle’s Landing, the trail becomes more “trail-like” – at a certain point bikes are no longer allowed because the trail isn’t smooth, and there are stairs and other surface variations. But the views are still gorgeous.

Along this more secluded area of the trail, there were some off-limit paths off the main one, and more wildlife to be seen:

We made it to Eagle’s Point and although it was raining, we were still having a lot of fun. We even stopped for a beverage break (thanks, Ryan!).

After reaching Eagle’s Point, we took the El Camino del Mar path back down to where we started. As we were walking along, Nick noticed we were able to see our old trail below us. Super cool!

I had so much fun on this hike. I can just imagine how breathtaking the views are when the sun is out! Thanks so much to Nicky, Ryan, and Mike for hanging out today and going on this wet adventure with me through the rain! Awesome times! Twenty-TWOOO!!!

Related Links:
Land’s End – Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy