Sunday, September 14, 2008

An Orange and Coconut Water in Golden Gate Park

More specifically, I was in the San Francisco Botanical Gardens, in Golden Gate Park. They were beautiful, even on a cloudy day. I didn't have much time to spend there, as I am not a very seasoned visitor to San Fran and forgot to bring an extra layer. I got too cold and left early.

Anyways, I picked up the coconut water at an over-priced natural food store right near the park, on Carl Street. I walked about 4 miles from the house I was staying at, in Bernal Heights, to the entrance I was told I must use, Lincoln Way and 9th Avenue (I also highly recommend that area, as you are led straight to the entrance to the Botanical Gardens). I was pretty thirsty by the end of that, so finding the natural food store was nice. I have been slightly obsessed with coconut water ever since my last trip to New York. It's a great drink; not only is it coco-licious, it's actually incredibly healthy for you. It's got a ton of potassium and minerals, natural isotopes and is super hydrating (it's a naturally isotonic beverage). Heh...and check out this crazy long list of benefits I just found online (now it's starting to remind me of kombucha...mmm...kombucha):
  • Low in Carbohydrates
  • 99% Fat Free - Contains No Cholesterol
  • Low in natural occurring sugar
  • Contains organic compounds possessing growth promoting properties
  • Cures Malnourishment
  • Effective in the treatment of kidney and urethral Stones

  • Natural drink for feeding infants suffering from intestinal disturbances
  • Excellent oral re-hydration medium, an all natural isotonic for all ages
  • Re-hydrate naturally, free of added sugars or chemicals
  • More hydrating to the body then water
  • Lower arterial pressure
  • Relieve spasms and stomach pain
  • Ease burns
  • Natural diuretic

  • Presence of saline and albumen makes it an excellent drink in cholera cases
  • Maintains the human body's natural fluid levels
  • Can be injected intravenously in emergency cases
  • Helps in carrying nutrients and oxygen to cells
  • Eliminate swelling in hands and feet
  • Normalize the intestinal function and raise metabolism
  • Heal damage induced by antibiotics and toxins in the digestive tract
  • Boost poor circulation
Wow! Well, I don't know about all of this stuff, but it is damn tasty and definitely makes me feel pretty good after drinking it. It accompanied my orange quite well (man, and it had been such a long time since I had had an orange), though I was pretty starving by the time I had a chance to eat dinner, which was no where near as healthy as this lunch-time snack ... uck.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

UPDATE ON BAGEL SANDWICH...and then some Thai food!

Oh man...this is not good, not good at all. I have been in a constant state of pain for the hours. It was the bagel; I'm pretty sure it was the bagel. I remember this pain. When I was in New York three weeks ago I felt this constantly and I was on a horrible diet of pizza and bagels almost every day then (whoops). Stomach crampings, achings, just bad, really bad. Tonight it caused me to skip out on any beer for the evening (I've already learned my lesson with that), and I just couldn't fully enjoy the rest of my night at all, much less the tasty Thai food I had for dinner. Ugh. I'm still in pain as I write this. I just had some kefir milk (which I was just introduced to two weeks ago) and am drinking a hot ginger tea, for digestion, and because it's nice.

Ugh. That bagel absolutely KILLED me. I found myself spacing out a lot during drinks and dinner just to try to zen out on the pain. Poo.

Okay. So I've done some research and now I'm a little paranoid I may have celiac disease. I don't tend to just think I have a disease...really. I just read this article though and it freaked me out (thanks internet!). Ack! But I really might have something like this. I've always been super sensitive to food, and growing up I've really just seen stomach pains as a daily part of life. I used to think everyone else maybe felt pain, too, and I hated to feel whiny about it. Yeah, it's a bit effed up. I went on a detox the year after I graduated college and it was the first time in my life I didn't have pain. It was amazing. It's actually quite interesting to think of how different my life would be if I had figured out my food sensitivities at an early age (I'm also suspicious that I'm lactose intolerant). Totally different. It's very possible that I am unable to digest wheat...whoa.

So I learned from that article I linked to above that about 1 in 133 Americans are said to have celiac disease, but only 1 in 2000 knows it. Crazy, but believable. I'm sure a lot of people have all kinds of issues that go undiagnosed. And something that causes such a range of stomach pains seems like something super easy to ignore and/or just excuse away. I've been doing that as long as I can remember, and the pain can be pretty debilitating at times. So that cranky cashier or neighbor or whoever? Maybe they just have celiac disease and are in horrible pain alllll the time. I'm not excusing anyone here, just wondering how much happier of a world we'd have if people felt better physically. If we were more aware of our food peculiarities and sensitivities. Hm (trying to resist making a joke about food for thought...).

But...I'll probably still eat wheat until I know for sure. Heh. Just not bagels for now. Err..that's so hard to write. This will be an experiment (yay!). No more bagels. I just can't take it. I'm still in pain six hours later. I don't remember being this sensitive to bagels. I used to eat them every day during college, but I guess my immune system was pretty different then. Who knows what's happened in the meantime with my body chemistry. Or maybe I'm just more aware of my body (or just care more) since meditating and doing detoxes every now and then. Who knows. I just know my tummy hurts. Really, really bad.

And Now For Thai Food!

Alright, so for dinner we went to a fancy-pants Thai restaurant in the Mission District, Osha. I was pretty excited, mostly because I was starving, but the menu is motivating, and fun to read regardless.

We got quite a spread. For appetizers: Tom Yum soup (From the menu: Hot & sour soup, lemon grass, galanga, kaffir lime leaf, mushrooms, tomatoes), and a mussels dish that I can't actually find in the online menu. Both of these dishes were A-MAZING. Wow. Even with a horrible stomach-ache, I was distracted enough by the deliciousness that I could once again be social. The Tom Yum soup (usually I go for the Tom Kha, which comes with coconut soup..mmm) was crazy good. It had a ton of lime juice and a perfect amount of green onions. Perfect amount of spicyness. Perfect. The mussels were equally satisfying, with a thick (super) gingery sauce I couldn't get enough of. I was incredibly excited about the sauce. Out of this world.

Unfortunately, with such an intense appetizer experience, my expectations were pretty high for the entrees, which didn't pull through quite so much. They were good, definitely. But having lived in Portland, my Thai standards can be pretty high. This place was expensive, too, with dinners ranging from $11 to $16 and more. Some of the best Thai in Portland can be found easily in the $7 and up range (my favorite in this range is Baan-Thai), and my faaavorite place by a bit more (Khun Pic's Bahn Thai - Go there), is an experience in and of itself, and in a similar price range as Osha. Osha unfortunately couldn't hold a candle to Khun Pic's, but not many places could. I was spoiled in Portland, and now I guess I'm a bit of a Thai food snob as a result. Everyone else loved our entrees, if also agreeing it was a bit over-priced. I was underwhelmed and left the restaurant still dreaming of our starters.

We ordered the Volcanic Beef, a Pumpkin Curry, Pad Khee Mao, and a ginger rice and brown rice on the side. The ginger rice was tasty and subtle. Both rices were a really good texture. I guess of the entrees the Volcanic Beef took the cake. Aside from being well displayed, it had a yummy sauce, tender meat and onion rings! Onion rings! The rest was okay.

So my stomach pains are dulling away and I'm getting sleepy now. I think the ginger tea helped? Or the kefir?

Goodnight now.

At the Coffeeshop

The Veg-Hed Bagel Sandwich what I got at Nervous Dog Coffee, a comfy cafe in Bernal Heights (near the Mission District) in San Francisco. Nathan and I are staying in this area with his brother and I'm spending the day doing what I've been aching to do since arriving back in the states three weeks ago - staying cooped up in a cafe with my laptop, playing around on the internet...all day. It's privileged and luxurious, yes, and quite wonderful.

I was hoping this place would have food, and it does! And it's tasty!! And with vegetables!!! Exclamation points!!!! The sandwich was very satisfying, one of about four of their special sandwiches (though you can build your own, too). The bagel was toasted (they had run out of a lot of their bagels by one, when I arrived, but thank god there were still some Everythings left), and the sammich was piled with cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, spring lettuce, and maybe some other stuff. It had a lemony hummous that was pretty yummy, and some cream cheese, which was a nice touch. I was surprised it wasn't messier. I am notorious for being a mess with certain foods (tacos, give me a stack of napkins. A STACK.), but sandwiches can be hit or miss in the messy department, you know? But this sandwich was prepared with a clear consciousness for the consumer - stacked thicker in the middle and thinner around the rims to help facilitate pinching the sammich at its borders in order to keep the innards contained. Genius! The handling of such a sandwich is a sweet trick I learned from a master sammich-eater (who only showed me the trick because of how much I was grossing him out), and clearly this good samaritan preparer was trying to nudge customers in the right direction, as well. Fortunately I was already in the know, but it was nice to see a sandwich taken seriously. For once! (I have no idea what I'm talking about.)

The Kettle chips I got were totally unnecessary, but it's so hard to resist the crunch factor they provide when sandwich-munching. I'm a sucker for the crunch factor, and Kettle chips do provide a good crunch.

The chai was suuuper good. It had a great name - Pirate's Chai! Argh! I'm not sure why it was named Pirate's Chai, but I loved it. It was a green tea chai, not too sweet, a cool green color, and the same price as the regular boring chai. Too bad I don't live in this area; I would totally frequent this place.

They also had some yummy looking egg breakfast sandwiches (you could get it with a bagel or english muffin), and some breakfast turnovers and lunchy quiches, none of which I actually had. The drink selection looked pretty good, and the prices were not quite as expensive as what I've been seeing in the area, well, not as expensive as the one other coffee shop I've been to since in San Fran at least. Meh.

All in all it was pretty darn good.

Friday, September 12, 2008

My First Post (Almost) EVER

My first actual blog post ever was here.

So I'm not so much for putting myself all over the net (I prefer vomiting in the toilet), but deep down inside I think I knew I was going to be giving in at some point, and that point came when I found myself thinking so friggin' much about food...and how delicious it can be. Mmmm. I already take pictures of almost everything I eat these days, and I love giving restaurant recommendations to friends and family, so setting up a site where I can share my food appreciation seemed appropriate. Also, I've been cooking a lot more (and better) and it will be nice to have an outlet for that as well.

I am fairly sensitive to food in general (sugar makes me loopy, caffeine makes me way too jittery, etc.), and I'll try to keep an account of my reactions and moods...cuz they have a lot to do with the food I'm eating. I think a lot has to do with the food I'm eating actually. It's disturbing how little people in the Western mainstream (and its margins) think about the things (food and otherwise) they put in their bodies. Not that I'm super conscious all the time of how I'm polluting or fueling myself, but this blog will hopefully help in that. Or at least help in guilt-tripping me into caring more, like the good ex-Catholic that I am.

This is one of those things I have been meaning to do for a long time now, but here goes.