Chinatown Lunch

Chinatown Lunch

My Darling Sister,

I thought I would share my lunchtime walk with you today. We started out towards a geocache located in Chinatown. We walked two blocks to Kearny and agreed we were both starving – I spotted the House of Nanking. I hadn’t been there since college (1999) and it has changed since then.

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I ordered the wonton soup, expecting the tradition clear broth. This was the BEST I have ever had! Coconut milk as the base, with slices of lemon and fresh basil leaves and stems. They had fresh pork wontons in there, and crispy rice with a splash of hot oil. No more crazy lines to get in, and cramped seats – it is more open and there was no wait. Food came out right away!

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So tasty!

Next we headed up Washington to our geocache. It was located in an alley that has a fortune cookie factory you can view for free! So of course we did.

Interesting sign.

Interesting sign.

Fortune Cookie Factory

Fortune cookie making! We payed a dollar to take photos - as the sign requested.

Fortune cookie making! We payed a dollar to take photos – as the sign requested.

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My favorite colors.

My favorite colors.

Next geocache was located near the Cable Car Museum.

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First off this museum is SO LOUD! Obviously it is still a working station driving the cables for all the cable cars to run across the city. It is also free!

Cable car waiting for its run.

Cable car waiting for its run.

Hipster cable car man.

Hipster cable car man.

You can barely make out the Mason sign in my picture, but each wheel is labeled for which cable car it runs.

There are what run the cables for the whole cable car line.

There are what run the cables for the whole cable car line.

Giant spool of cable. It is super heavy. Even a 4 inch piece of cable is heavy to hold.

Giant spool of cable. It is super heavy. Even a 4 inch piece of cable is heavy to hold.

You can purchase old street signs for $175.00. Not bad.

You can purchase old street signs for $175.00. Not bad.

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We saw this building on our walk back and decided to check it out. On our walks we have discovered hidden temples before – although this isn’t quite hidden.

The entrance.

The entrance.

FullSizeRenderI didn’t take any pictures inside, but it is altars and beautiful lanterns hanging from the ceiling. There is incense burning and old ladies sitting around folding prayer papers. Pretty cool.

Mosaic on the outside steps.

Mosaic on the outside steps.

Some cool fruits and my favorite colors.

Some cool fruits and my favorite colors.

Kumquats? Anyhoo hope you enjoyed my lunchtime walk. We got 6,800 steps in!

Geocaching: Lunchtime Treasure Hunts!

Geocaching: Lunchtime Treasure Hunts!

Darling Sister,

Im so excited to share this app with you. Geocaching is a outdoor treasure hunting game using GPS-enabled devices (your phone). Participants navigate to a specific set of GPS coordinates and then attempt to find the geocache (container) hidden at that location.

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During lunchtime today, we tried our first Geocache. This was the first clue (they are in the titles of the caches) Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough. I won’t reveal how that played into finding it. The GPS alerts you when you are within 30 feet of the hidden container. We spent around fifteen minutes searching and going over the clues. If you are really stuck there are hints and photos to help you locate it.

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Our handles are MAYONAISE and THE MYSTERY PARADE

Some tell you ahead of time to bring a pen or pencil. We didn’t realize that till we discovered it, and borrowed a pen from a business-lady nearby. Log your discovery on the app, and add some words.

Fired up from our find, we headed to the next closest point on the map – general vicinity of the Exploratorium. This one was super fun because the summary offered the clues. “Through air, elevated flows, cut between, surface arrows show, by wind, chorused voices sometimes blow.”

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Score!

The Mystery Parade solved the riddle on this one. You put them back exactly where you found them (discreetly) and move on to the next.

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We stopped to try out the rickshaw obscura in front of the Exploratorium.

The third location was a bust. We could not find it, but saw that someone located it 4 days ago. We logged – stating we did not find it. Maybe you can find it! It’s on the corner of Mission and Steuart. “One to All”.

Container sizes can vary from small to large, so keep you mind open.

Tomorrow we will set out again during lunch to locate more treasure! This is a fantastic way to invigorate our lunchtime Fitbit steps. We should try it out on the weekends around Martinez, there are tons in the hills.

Have a great day!

 

 

 

Rock City

Rock City

Darling Sister,

Today I searched out the sand caves at Rock City in Mount Diablo State Park with Andie. I had vague memories of hiking around in high school, and knew I wanted to find Sentinel Rock. The original plan was to park off the road past the homes, and hike in on Summit Trail. I didn’t see anywhere safe to park so we drove in through the south gate. Only $10 parking for the day. I didn’t get as many steps in as I had hoped, but I definitely got a workout!

FullSizeRenderAndie was brave enough to climb up inside one of the caves.

Copied from www.everytrail.com, here is an explanation of how those caves are formed.

“Mt. Diablo State Park is famous for its stunning sandstone formations, also known as ‘tafoni. Although commonly referred to as “wind caves,” the element most responsible for creating these formations is water. Mt Diablo is probably only 2 million years old at the most, and the caves are only a few hundred or thousand years old. Geologically speaking, the porous sandstone in which these caves form can’t stand up to our Mediterranean climate of wet winters and dry summers for long.

On tafoni structures, you can often see a dark mineral crust called a duracrust. This is what remains of the mineral cement that holds the sandstone together. Brought out by capillary action as rainwater evaporates, it’s then deposited on the outside of the rock. When the duracrust falls off, the sandstone underneath erodes rapidly…”

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While following the winding trail, we came across some trees that looked like manzanita, and Andie thought they might be called refrigerator trees, since the bark was cool to the touch. They were unlike manzanita I had seen before. Their bark almost looked like muscles.

Thanks to www.everytrail.com our questions were answered.

“The mountain is home to many endemic plant and animal species, including the Mount Diablo manzanita (Arctostaphylos auriculata), found nowhere else in the world. Some botanists think the peeling red bark of the manzanita is the tree’s way of shedding harmful molds and fungi. The plant flowers early to take advantage of winter rains in our Mediterranean climate.

The Mount Diablo manzanita (Arctostaphylos auriculata) grows only around Mount Diablo. Its blossoms are pinker than those of other manzanita species…”

I knew from past memories that the Sentinel Rock had to be to the North somewhere, and Andie climbed up a boulder to use the panoramic view to spot it.

FullSizeRender-4We followed the trail, which included steps carved into the soft stone. You would have enjoyed the hike.

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FullSizeRender-6The view from the top of Sentinel Rock! We made it. Phew! I was worried, there was a woman who was huffing and puffing at the base who said she couldn’t make it to the top and had to come back down.

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The steps leading down. Supposedly around 1933 they installed the pipes and cables for a safer trek to the top. Made me wonder how old the initials were that are carved into the rock. (It is illegal to deface any state park property – even though the soft stone is covered with carved initials – don’t be lured into adding your own – not that you ever would!)

IMG_4941The moment Andie brought to my attention that I was crouching in poison oak! F.Y.I There is TONS of poison oak all over the mountain right now. 

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The perfect way to end our hike – Ice Monster! Andie introduced me to this Taiwanese shaved snow amazingness. I got the strawberry with bananas and condensed milk syrup. Andie got the honeydew. You really have to try this place, it is like nothing else. One of a kind in our area.

p.s. I bathed myself in Technu and am itching as I am typing this.

Proper Steps

Proper Steps

Darling Sister,

To get working on my steps for the day, I walked over to SOMA for a healthy lunch to go, and a public space with a fountain to enjoy it.

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You would like this simple, fresh made lunch from Proper Food at First and Mission. I had the Miso-glazed Salmon & Soba Noodles. They are going to be opening another location close to my work soon.

I headed up the stairs right outside to the public space. Nice fountain, greenery and plenty of tables with seating. It is a bit noisy, they are erecting the new bus terminal right next door. But the lack of people in the space made up for it.

FullSizeRender-5You should check the list to see what public spaces are open near you!

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After the tasty lunch, I spotted this guy made by Ugo Rondinone, on the way back to the office. Thought you might enjoy him. Have a great work day.

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Get Your Steps In!

Get Your Steps In!

Darling Sister,

I loved this David Sedaris piece in the New Yorker about going Fitbit crazy – it reminds me of us!

I’ve convinced almost all of my office-mates into getting Fitbits and joining our workweek challenges. Lesson learned: don’t invite professional yoga instructors and marathon runners to your challenges unless you are ready to take it up a notch!

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I personally have the FLEX, which is simple and works for me. The band has little LED dots to represent how far you’ve walked that day, and the dancing – vibrating – light party when you reach your step goal is pretty addictive. There are many options to choose from, some models include caller id and music control with a LED face.

If you want a band that goes with your work wardrobe, a company called FUNKtionalWearables based in San Diego sells some creative alternatives on etsy.


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Fitness is more fun with a little competition, a little motivation, and someone else doing the math!

It’s been raining out: how far have you walked today?

Later!

Adventure of an Afternoon

Adventure of an Afternoon

Darling Sister,

I’m so delighted we could meet for lunch and a quick tour through the Contemporary Jewish Museum today! Although it’s so close to my office, this was the first time I’ve eaten at Wise Sons Deli, and the first I’d heard of the Discover and Go program: free museum admissions with your library card! I don’t know how that has escaped me for so long, but it’s a great reminder to get (and carry) one – you never know when we’ll be able to sneak away from work and meet up for a little exploring.

First stop: Wise Sons. Delicious pastrami, smoked turkey, lemonade, and (who knew!) celery soda!

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The wait wasn’t as bad as I’d heard it would be (and the company was stellar, of course!).

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Post-nosh, we headed into the museum to check out the J. Otto Seibold exhibit. I loved the constructed exhibit and his hand-drawn studies for the Mr. Lunch series of charming children’s books.

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We got our passports stamped!

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In the hands-on hall, I loved making paper art to contribute to a group piece in-the-making. In true sister fashion, we both made pieces with a heart theme and it looks like we weren’t alone – darling!

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The giant-sized light bright was also pretty pleasing. All in all, a wonderful couple of hours with you, darling sister!

 

Yours in adventure, XOXO.

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