Category Archives: food

Simple Pleasures

Today is the first day of the spring season. Although the spring equinox isn’t until March 20, today may as well be considered the first day of spring.  Where I live, the trees are vibrant with pink and white blossoms. Bunches of yellow daffodils have sprouted up everywhere in my neighborhood, clustered together along the street, in front yards, and in vacant lots. Several bulbs I planted in pots years ago have sent up green leaves with the promise of tulips and narcissus to come. My blueberry plants are covered with white blossoms in such abundance I can hardly wait to pick the first ripe berries in a month or two.

It’s also Super Tuesday, which is why I am writing about spring, flowers, and blueberries.

I’m not hiding from today’s events. I’m just taking a day off to contemplate things that make me feel more hopeful about my city, my country, and my world.

Which brings me to the subject of avocado toast. This morning I met a friend for breakfast and decided to find out what all the fuss is about with avocado toast. People speak of it with reverence. Sure, it’s been a thing for a while, but I didn’t see the point. Avocado on toast. It doesn’t really sound all that special, and it’s so simple that I was suspicious. But I have recently made the move to a more “plant-based” diet, and I was one egg shy of my quota for the week, so the enticing omelets were out. Fried chicken and waffles were not an option. At least, not this time.The French toast that arrived at the next table looked delicious, but I decided to be true to my plan–and besides, the toast came with a salad, which I am trying to learn to love.

So, avocado toast, as presented by Kitchen 388 on Grand Avenue in Oakland:

avocado 2

I have to say, it was a revelation. Great toast, creamy and delicious avocado, and, OK, the salad was great too. I don’t normally post pictures of food, because pictures of food, you know? But this dish was the thing that got me started thinking about the simple pleasures of life during complicated times. I’m sure everyone has comfort food they turn to in times of trouble or upset. I would’ve said that hot buttered toast qualified as a comfort food for me. Hard to get more simple than toast. But now I see that even something like toast can rise to a whole other level of comfort when it is piled high with perfect slices of avocado, a touch of olive oil, and a little sea salt.

For the rest of the day, I vowed to turn off the noise and look around for other simple pleasures right in front of me. I know they’re out there. I also know tomorrow will be full of prognostications and predictions and palaver by the pundits. So just for today, I’m immersing myself in the signs of an early spring, and savoring the memory of good meals shared with friends, and the wonders of avocado toast.



Remembrance of Pickles Past

The first time I bit into the pickles at Wise Sons Jewish Delicatessen San Francisco, I was immediately transported back to the grand Victorian house where my grandparents lived. 1825 Turk Street in San Francisco. That’s where my memory took me with that first bite: my grandparents’ tiny apartment kitchen. I’m not sure where theirContinue Reading

My Passover Seder Memories: Not the long version

  The Passover Seder is a highly ritualized family event, during which children must wait patiently to eat dinner until the last plague is listed, the last bite of horseradish is choked down, the last prayer is read, and the last song is sung. Depending on how hard core the leader of the Seder serviceContinue Reading

Memories of The Full House

As the phrase goes, “there is no there there.” And as every Oaklander knows, Gertrude Stein’s famous reference to the loss of her childhood home and the discovery that the city of Oakland had changed dramatically during the years she lived abroad (and more about that here in an excellent piece by Matt Werner), isContinue Reading

Cougar Days

Two nights ago I attended a celebration of Bob Wilson’s life. Bob was the beloved athletic director at Campolindo High School in Moraga, CA.. As a teacher, coach, father and mentor, he received praise from all corners. One speaker after another–students, colleagues, and one of his daughters– choked back tears in front of the crowdedContinue Reading

Noshing around North Beach

Is it really better to give than to receive? What if you could both give AND receive? Wouldn’t that be the best of all possible worlds? I think so. Last Christmas, I gave Mr. B a gift certificate for a San Francisco North Beach food tour (operated by Sidewalk Tours) and made it for two–soContinue Reading