Winter Adventures in the City

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Christmastime in Union Square!

Unfortunately last month, my laziness got the better of me, hence no posts in December. Sorry. ūüė¶ However, the lack of posts is not an accurate indication of my activities this past month. December was filled with holiday parties, fun adventures in the city, and lots and lots of shopping! I also got to spend time with my family and friends – they’re what make the holidays so special.

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December was also filled with a bunch of firsts, including running my first half-marathon! I’m so glad I live with runners. I’ve always wanted to run a half-marathon, but never had enough self-motivation to do it until now (thanks to the support of my housemates!). Although running for two hours straight is not the most enjoyable activity, I had a blast and can’t wait to do another one!

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My first half-marathon medal! Hopefully more to come!

The day of the half-marathon also happened to be Santacon, an annual event that happens in SF in which thousands of people dress up like Santa or other holiday objects. It’s basically a huge Santa-themed bar crawl. I couldn’t miss out on participating, so after spending two hours running, my housemates and I dressed up like Santa and went out into the city.

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In front of City Hall, on the way to Polk St for Santacon!

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My friends and I celebrating Santacon!

Even though the weather is much colder and cooler in December, I’ve recently realized that December is one of my favorite months. Although the holiday decorations are beautiful and the holiday spirit is so warm and infectious, it’s really the time we spend with our loved ones that make the holiday season so special. I had so many fun adventures this past December with both friends and family and I’ve learned that it’s really the people who you’re with that make each and every experience worthwhile.

October Fun in the City – Indulging in Childhood Fun

Beautiful view of San Francisco from Dolores Park

October was a month filled with a few life changes, new experiences, and tons of fun adventures in the city! All throughout October, it was Indian Summer in the Bay Area, which meant that the weather every weekend was absolutely gorgeous! Obviously, I had to go out to the city to take advantage of the beautiful sunny weather! Luckily, there is always something fun going on in San Francisco.

Listening to The Head and The Heart at Hardly Strictly!

The first weekend in October was one of the busiest San Francisco has ever had. With Fleet Week, a post-season Giants game, and the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival going on, it was estimated that a few million people came into the city that weekend! And you could definitely tell. The BART and buses were packed with people. My friends and I biked to Golden Gate Park, where Hardly Strictly was being held, and there were so many bikes parked there (some were even locked up to light poles) that we had to bike a mile further into the park just to find some open spots.

It was my first time attending Hardly Strictly and it won’t be my last! The free concert features bluegrass music, but also lots of other good music. We went to go see one of my favorite bands, The Head and the Heart. They were so good live! I had such a great time soaking up the rays of sunlight, jamming to some of my favorite songs, and enjoying the company of friends.

Looking out at the city and Pacific ocean from the top!

The next weekend, my friends and I ventured into the city to find the 16th street stairs that I had heard about through a friend and on Yelp. Leading to a very tall and steep hill in the Inner Sunset district of the city, these steps are decorated with small pieces of glass and tile to create beautiful mosaics of the sun, moon, and stars.

The famous 16th Avenue Mosaic Tiled Stairs

The following weekend was spent exploring the relatively new playground in Mission Dolores Park, which is a million times better than the playgrounds I grew up with. The playground is huge, with multiple slides, swingsets, and climbing things. It might seem a bit weird for a couple of 20-somethings to be playing in a playground, but we’re all kids at heart. With the difficulties we face as adults, sometimes it’s just nice to push all those troubles aside for a moment and pretend to be a kid again.

Dolores Park Playground

As I grow older, I’ve realized the world is really not as cut and dry or black and white, as we thought as children. With this realization, the world and people automatically become more complicated. Issues become more complex and one might realize that what he or she once thought were his or her beliefs may not actually be consistent with who he or she actually is or has become. Without us even realizing it, as adults, our actions have more weight and there is no longer anyone to tell us what is right or wrong or what we ought to do. Yes, friends and family can give you advice or help you think through and analyze¬†situations. But only you can make the decisions. That heaviness we feel with all of those decisions we have to make can be tiring and can make our shoulders and back sore. Sometimes, even for just a short moment, we need to cast off that boulder we carry and let go. Indulge in the lightness and freedom that we unknowingly enjoyed as kids. (But just for a few moments. After all, we’re now adults and have responsibilities. :P)

Playing like a kid with a giant parachute!

Perfect Fall Nails

Unfortunately, it’s finally starting to feel like fall here in the Bay Area. Our last few days of Indian Summer have gone and have been replaced by chilly, cloudy days (which means it’s in the high 50s to mid 60s… I know we’re spoiled here in California :P). Luckily, I was still able to enjoy those last few days outside, basking in the sun and taking in the breathtaking views of San Francisco, the Golden Gate Bridge, and that beautiful Bay. I don’t think I’ll ever get sick of living in the Bay Area. Most people around here are natives and rarely ever leave the area. I can totally understand why.

Even though the leaves don’t change colors here like they do almost everywhere else in the country, I still decided to paint my nails appropriate for the new season.¬†I first saw this nail design on Pinterest and fell in love with it immediately. It’s super easy, so beautiful, and perfect for fall!

Here’s a link to the original design by Glitter and Nails.

Although I didn’t use exactly the same colors as she did, I think I did a pretty good job in recreating this nail design. If you’re looking for fun yet fairly easy nail art for the fall season, I’d definitely recommend trying this out. (However, be warned, the glitter will get everywhere. :P)

Even though it’s no longer Indian Summer here in the Bay Area, sometimes it’s nice to have a change in weather. It helps remind us that time is moving and life goes on.¬†It’d be nice to stay in summertime, but after a while, it’d get tiring right? (Well, to be honest, probably not haha). At least now, it feels more like November and the weather change makes me more excited about the upcoming holidays. Without changes in life, we’d get stuck in a routine of being simply content (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing), but may result in a life without excitement or spontaneity. I suppose I associate change with growth and so I think without change, we cannot grow. So here’s to a new season and a new round of experiences and growth.

Celebrating in SF – Giants Victory Parade and Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies

Celebrating the Giants’ World Series Win in San Francisco

It was awesome living in the Bay Area this past week, with the Giants winning the World Series and the gorgeous weather. (Sorry, not trying to rub it in people’s faces or be insensitive, especially after Hurricane Sandy. My heart does go out to all the people affected by the natural disaster this past week.) Even though I’m not a huge baseball fan, I was excited to celebrate the Giants’ victory. So, I convinced two of my friends to skip school with me for a few hours to watch the victory parade last Wednesday. I figured it’d be ok to play hooky for a bit since it was a once-in-a-lifetime kind of opportunity, even though the Giants won the World Series two years ago. ūüėõ

In the crowd of people trying to watch the parade

There were so many people celebrating at the parade. We got there about 30 minutes late and we were so far back in the crowd that we couldn’t see much, especially me (I was at least a foot too short). However, despite not being able to see much, I still had a great time. I love being around people who are excited and passionate about something. There’s something so exhilarating and addictive about their energy.¬†But after a while, since we couldn’t see much, my friends and I resorted to taking pictures of ourselves at the parade.

Might as well take pictures of us since we can’t see the players

Unfortunately, I don’t own any Giants gear, so to be festive for the parade and Halloween, I painted my nails orange and black.

Black and orange

I also decided to bake some cookies for Halloween. I spent a while perusing Halloween desserts on Pinterest and foodgawker, but couldn’t find a recipe that was fairly quick and easy. So I decided to just make something seasonal instead: pumpkin oatmeal cookies with white chocolate chips and dried cranberries.

Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies with White Chocolate Chips and Dried Cranberries (aka the longest cookie name)

These cookies were pretty easy and straightforward to make. However, just to warn you, this recipe makes a ton of cookies. I baked four cookie sheets worth of cookies and some of them were pretty big cookies. Since I ended up with so many cookies, I took a third of them to a Halloween potluck and another third to my lab. I left the remaining third at home for my roommates, with a cute little note wishing them Happy Halloween. At each location, people gobbled up the cookies extremely fast – so fast that within an hour or two, they were completely gone.

I tried to draw a vampire, but obviously failed ūüėõ

These cookies aren’t too sweet, even with the white chocolate and cranberries, which is refreshing compared to the sweet Halloween candy I’ve been eating lately. Unfortunately, the pumpkin is rather difficult to taste. I’d say these cookies taste more like spice cookies (with maybe a hint of pumpkin) than pumpkin cookies. Either way, they’re a perfect dessert to bring to an autumn party or just a sweet way to end dinner. These cookies will definitely get you in the mood for fall, if you aren’t already. And be warned, these cookies will be devoured extremely quickly.

Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies with White Chocolate Chips and Dried Cranberries
Adapted from My Baking Addiction and Annie’s Eats

2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
¬ĺ tsp. ground ginger
¬ľ tsp. ground cloves
¬ľ tsp. grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter; softened
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup pure pumpkin puree
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 cup dried cranberries

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line several baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. Combine the dry ingredients in a medium bowl.
3. Beat butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar in large mixer bowl until light and fluffy.
4. Add the pumpkin, egg and vanilla extract to the butter/sugar mixture and mix well.
5. Add the flour mixture and combine until all ingredients are incorporated.
6. Fold in the white chocolate chips and dried cranberries.
7. Drop 1-2 tablespoons of dough onto the prepared baking sheets.
8. Bake for 12-14 minutes or until cookies are lightly browned. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes, then remove to wire racks to cool completely.

Apple Picking in Sebastopol – Apple Cinnamon Pull-Apart Bread

Growing up in the southwestern part of the US, I missed out on a lot of produce picking since the desert isn’t as fertile as New England or California, except for those Hatch green chiles. So when my housemates suggested going apple picking a few weekends ago, I jumped at the opportunity to finally experience the manual labor of harvesting fruit.

In college, I went berry picking once with one of my friends at a farm outside of Austin. Although we had an awesome time, we were more focused on just looking at the berries (and having a photoshoot :P) rather than picking them. So we ended up picking only a handful of them. This time though, my housemates and I were serious about the harvest. We traveled to an apple farm in Sebastopol, a town about an hour away from the Bay Area. The farm actually has more acres of Asian pears than apples, but they only let people pick apples. That day, golden delicious and jonagold apples were in season. We were led to several rows of trees weighed down with ripe apples and we went straight to picking. Since the apples were so ripe, they were pretty easy to take off the trees. Some of them were so ripe that they just fell of the trees as we picked off other apples. After only about half an hour, we had several boxes filled with apples and headed back to weigh out our bounty. We ended up picking about 35 pounds of apples that day!

The farm also had many blackberry brambles and let us pick some blackberries. If you haven’t picked blackberries before, let me warn you, it’s rather difficult. Choosing ripe blackberries is a difficult task in itself since most of them are either not ripe enough or too ripe (i.e. they get squished when you pick them). On top of that, the blackberries rest in thorny brambles and to get the best ones, you end up getting scraped and scratched by the thorns. I gave up pretty early, but my housemates soldiered on and ended up picking about 3 pounds of berries.

With its apples and asian pears, the farm makes and sells asian pear apple juice, which is very delicious and refreshing. In order to pick apples, we had to sign up for a membership, which basically meant buying 12 bottles of juice. In addition to the juice, the farm also makes several different jams using asian pears, blackberries, and other fruits. We bought a jar of plum amaretto jam and a jar of asian pear, lavender, blackberry ginger jam (that’s a mouthful).

With 35 pounds of apples, I went right to work at baking up something delicious using apples. It didn’t take much effort to find apple recipes. Apparently, everyone is in the mood for apples now – Baked by Rachel is even posting an apple recipe each day. That’s how I found this recipe for cinnamon apple pull apart bread.

Pull-apart breads seem to be trendy these days. I’ve seen pins of all varieties all over Pinterest, from sweet ones (such as lemon and cinnamon sugar) to savory ones (i.e. cheddar, beer and mustard). This type of bread is a bit more complicated than others I’ve made before since you have to cut the dough into strips several times and then try to pack those strips into a loaf pan. And with the cinnamon filling, it turns out to be pretty messy. It was also a little difficult keeping all of the apples together on top of the dough and in between the strips.

I’d like to say my bread baked up beautifully, but that was not the case. I let it rise for an hour, but perhaps this wasn’t enough time. When I baked the bread, the top browned, but inside seemed pretty undercooked. I baked it for nearly twice as long as the recipe says, but I think the bread was still a bit doughy. Perhaps it was because I used some leftover sweet dough that I froze and didn’t let it thaw enough before I used it?

Although I was pretty unsatisfied with the final product, my housemates enjoyed the bread. I had baked the bread late at night and left it out to cool, but when I woke up the next morning, 3/4 of the bread was gone! Later that day, they told me how delicious it was and asked for the recipe. So I guess the bread didn’t turn out that bad or my housemates like eating doughy bread. ūüėõ

Apple Cinnamon Pull-Apart Bread
Adapted from this recipe

For the dough:
3 1/4 ‚Äď 3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 pkg or 2 1/4 teaspoons yeast
4 tablespoon butter, melted
1/3 cup lukewarm milk
1/4 cup lukewarm water
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla

For the filling:
1/2 cup brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
3 tablespoons butter, melted
2 cups apples (I just sliced one large apple)

1. Dissolve 1 tablespoon of sugar in warm water and sprinkle yeast on top. Let rest for 10 minutes or until foamy.
2. Combine and mix the dry dough ingredients in a large bowl.
3. Add the yeast mixture and remaining wet dough ingredients to the dry mixture.
4. Mix the dough until it comes together. Move the dough onto a well-floured surface and knead for several minutes until dough is smooth. Add additional flour as needed.
5. Transfer dough to a lightly greased bowl. Cover with a towel or plastic wrap and allow to double in size, roughly one hour. (You can also refrigerate the dough overnight, but make sure to let dough sti at room temperature for 20-30 minutes to warm up before rolling).
6. Line a loaf pan with parchment paper.
7. Prepare the filling by combining the sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, and butter.
8. Thinly slice the apples and roll out dough, on a lightly floured surface, into a 12 x 20″ rectangle (I just eyeballed this).
9. Spread the dough with the cinnamon filling and lay the apple slices on top.
10. Cut the dough into 6 sections, roughly 3 x 12″. Carefully lay sections on top of each other, this will be messy and dough will stretch.
11. Cut dough the into 6 stacks. Turn stacks on their sides and tightly pack into prepared loaf pan.
12. Allow to rise for additional 30-60 minutes or until roughly doubled in size.
13. Bake at 350F for 45-55 minutes. (I ended up baking for nearly 90 minutes.) After 30 minutes, cover with foil and continue baking.
14. When bread is golden brown, remove from oven, cool on a wire rack, and enjoy!

This post has been Yeastspotted and submitted to Bake Your Own Bread.

Savoring Happiness – Sailing in the Bay

I have a huge weakness for coupons, especially groupons. For some reason, whenever I see a cool groupon, I always end up buying it. I’ve gotten a lot better now and have reduced my spending. But I’m also really bad at using groupons and always rush to use them before the expiration date. After I had decided to attend UC Berkeley for grad school, I was so excited about living in the Bay Area that ¬†I bought a groupon for a sailing cruise, several months¬†before I had even arrived in Berkeley.

However, I never used it my whole first year in Berkeley… until a few weeks ago when I realized the expiration date was quickly approaching. Luckily, it was easy for me to reserve spots for me and my friends on a Champagne Brunch sailing cruise around the Bay. We departed from Pier 39 in Fisherman’s Wharf. As usual, fog was covering the Golden Gate Bridge, but lucky for us, most of the fog near the Bay Bridge had burned off already. So we got beautiful views of the East Bay and downtown San Francisco. The weather was gorgeous – sunny, but still cool – perfect Bay Area weather.¬†For the two-hour cruise, we sailed¬†under the Bay Bridge, around Treasure Island,¬†and along the Embarcadero, passing by the Ferry Building and Fisherman’s Wharf.

It was such a relaxing way to spend the late morning: laying out and soaking up the sunlight, sipping on¬†mimosas, and chatting and enjoying each other’s company.¬†As we sailed around the bay, I was once again awestruck at how beautiful San Francisco is and how much I love this city. Despite having seen the same sights so many times before, I never tire of them. Even all the touristy places that I try to avoid are still beautiful to me.

That day was another wonderful day that made me realize just how great life can be. You’ll always experience hardships and have ups and downs in life, but you just got to enjoy the amazing days that make you happy. It doesn’t matter if you’re sailing around San Francisco or eating at your favorite restaurant or just spending time with friends and family. I’ve realized that you’ve just got to savor whatever makes you happy at that moment. Those moments of happiness may be brief and fleeting, so enjoy and appreciate them while you can.

Relaxing in Stern Grove with Ok Go

Ok Go at Stern Grove

This past Sunday, I went with a group of friends to see Ok Go at the Stern Grove Festival in San Francisco. Every summer, the Stern Grove Festival hosts free concerts every Sunday in this beautiful park. Actually, it’s not so much a park as it is a forest… with tall trees towering over you as you walk through and wooded areas that you’d find in fairy tales. (At one point, I half expected the trees to start talking like in Lord of the Rings.)

Sitting amongst the trees (and pretending to be wood nymphs)

We got there fairly early, about 2 hours before the concert started. However, that was definitely not early enough. Some people were hardcore and arrived at 9am to snag the best spots in the park, right in front of the stage. With all of the lawn occupied by serious concertgoers, we ventured into the woods to find a decent picnic spot. Although we were hidden behind several trees, we still had a pretty good view of the stage and enjoyed a nice picnic while we waited for the show to start.

I first started listening to Ok Go in high school, after seeing their famous treadmill video. However, my favorite video remains to be their “A Million Ways” video, in which they perform an amazing choreographed dance in someone’s backyard. I distinctly remember watching that video whenever I wanted to procrastinate doing homework and secretly longed to get three friends to learn the dance with me. However, I could never convince my friends to do it. ūüė¶

The concert was great! Ok Go is definitely a fun band to watch live. They do crazy things on stage, such as play one of the songs only using hand bells and shoot water-soluble confetti out of giant cannons. The show was so entertaining and a majority of the crowd was dancing and rocking out. It was a great afternoon filled with food, music, and friends. Not to mention, the weather was absolutely gorgeous! It’s days like those that make me absolutely, whole-heartedly love living in the Bay Area, despite all of the hardships and difficulties I’ve been facing in grad school. Even though grad school has been a tough journey, fun and relaxing days consisting of treks into the city and hanging out with friends make it much more enjoyable.

Night at the Museum – California Academy of Sciences

Last Thursday, one of my favorite bands (Of Monsters and Men) was playing a special show at Nightlife at The California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. I was so excited to go since the tickets were only $12 and the Academy of Sciences is such a fun museum. A cross between a science museum and a natural history museum, its major attractions include an indoor rainforest, planetarium, aquarium, and rooftop garden that looks like it’s straight out of The Teletubbies.

Every Thursday night, the Academy of Sciences hosts Nightlife where they open the museum up to the 21+ crowd, serving beer and cocktails as you wander through the museum. (They do check IDs, which I learned the hard way when I tried to sneak in when I was 19. What a rebel I was. :P) I’ve been a couple times before, but always missed the planetarium shows. So once my friends and I entered, we made a beeline for the planetarium to get tickets for their show on the landing of Mars Curiosity. The planetarium is an amazing half dome screen with seats so comfy, it’s hard to not sleep in them (the only other time I actually saw the show, I ended up sleeping through it since the seats were so comfy and I was dead tired… oops!).

After the show, we wandered through the three-story rainforest, admiring the foliage on each level and the beautiful butterflies flying about.

Next, we walked through the massive aquarium that houses a huge variety of aquatic life, including jellyfish (of all different colors), beautiful coral reefs, and an albino alligator!

The California Academy of Sciences is a fun museum that caters to both adults and kids. And their Nightlife event is definitely a great night to spend with a date or hanging out with friends. As a kid, I had always wanted to be in a museum at night and thanks to Nightlife, I’ve finally experienced it as an adult. If you’re ever in San Francisco, you should definitely make sure to pay a visit to this awesome museum.

Berekeley’s Best Pizza – Now Made in my Kitchen

The perfect dinner: Cheeseboard Pizza

If you ever visit Berkeley and ask about a good place to eat pizza, everyone will tell you to go to Cheeseboard. It’s a cooperative pizza shop that sells a different vegetarian pizza every day, but only sells one kind of pizza each day. They’ll sell you any amount you want, from one slice to half a pizza to a whole pizza. (And they always give you an extra small slice!) Now, their pizzas are definitely not ordinary pizzas. All of Cheeseboard’s pizzas are white pizzas. So, they have no tomato sauce and are brushed with garlic olive oil and topped with cheese instead. However, it’s the (sometimes crazy) combination of high-quality toppings that make their pizzas so awesome.

Cheeseboard’s famous corn pizza

Some of the more interesting pizzas they offer include one topped with figs, arugula, and blue cheese and one topped with peaches. Since I absolutely love figs, I had to try the fig pizza. However, despite being a bonafide fig lover, it was a little too weird for me.

Cheeseboard’s best pizza, in my opinion, is the famous corn, lime, cilantro pizza. They usually sell it once a week and the line is considerably much longer on that day. Now, corn pizza may sound a bit weird, but it’s absolutely delicious! The corn is sweet, which contrasts nicely with the saltiness of the feta cheese. The best part is the squeeze of lime on top, which brightens up the flavors of all the ingredients.

Our own pizza creation

Although all of their pizzas are delicious, I usually only like going to Cheeseboard for the corn pizza. Since we had a little craving for pizza, but didn’t want the one that Cheeseboard offered that day, my friends and I decided to make our own. Inspired by our favorite Cheeseboard pizza, we made our own corn, cilantro, and lime pizza. It was just as delicious as Cheeseboard’s! Another pizza we made was topped with barbecue sauce, red onions, corn, and chicken. This one was so tasty! The sweet and tangy barbecue sauce worked great with the chicken, onions, and corn.

Even though it’s super easy to just call your favorite pizza place and have them deliver you a pizza, it’s way more fun making your own. The pizza dough is so easy to make and you can top your pizza with any topping you want. No extra charge! Now I don’t have to wait in Cheeseboard’s extremely long line that’s out the door and around the corner since I can just make delicious pizza at home. ūüôā

Pizza Dough
Adapted from allrecipes Amazing Whole Wheat Pizza Dough

1 teaspoon white sugar
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups bread flour

1. Proof the yeast by dissolving 1 tsp of sugar in warm water. Sprinkle the yeast on top and set aside for 10 minutes. The yeast should become foamy.
2. Once the yeast is foamy, add the oil.
3. Mix together the 2 cups of whole wheat flour and salt.
4. Add the yeast mixture to the flour and stir to combine. Add the remaining 1 1/2 cups of bread flour as needed.
5. Knead the dough on a well-floured surface until the dough becomes smooth. Add more flour if necessary.
6. Place dough in oiled bowl and coat dough with oil. Cover with a towel or plastic wrap and let rise until doubled (about 1 hour).
7. Punch down dough and reshape into a ball. Let rise for another 45 minutes.
8. Sprinkle a pizza pan or cookie sheet with cornmeal.
9. Divide dough into number of pizzas you want to make. Roll dough onto the pizza pan or cookie sheet. Depending on your crust preference, you can roll the dough pretty thin (for a crispier crust) or leave it fairly thick (for a more fluffy crust).

BBQ Corn and Chicken Pizza
1. Roll pizza dough onto baking sheet covered in cornmeal.
2. Spread barbecue sauce onto the crust and top with grated cheese. You can use whatever cheese you have on hand. We only had gouda. ūüėõ
3. Top the pizza with corn, chicken, and red onions.
4. Bake the pizza at 350F for 20-30 minutes or until the edges are slightly browned.
5. Cool the pizza for 5 minutes and cut into slices.

Cheeseboard’s Famous Corn, Cilantro, and Lime Pizza
1. Roll pizza dough onto baking sheet covered in cornmeal.
2. Spread garlic olive oil (minced garlic mixed with olive oil) all over the dough and top with shredded mozzarella.
3. Top the pizza with corn, feta cheese crumbles, and cilantro.
4. Bake the pizza at 350F for 20-30 minutes or until the edges are slightly browned.
5. Cool the pizza for 5 minutes and cut into slices. Right before eating, squeeze lime juice on top (you won’t regret it!)

This post has been Yeastspotted.

Restaurant Review – Tacubaya

I’ve been reading Jen’s blog, use real butter, for nearly five years now. Whenever I wanted a break from studying in college, I’d look up her blog to read about her new adventures and drool over her amazing food photographs. Her kickass attitude and triumphant battle with cancer has inspired me to be a strong, independent woman like her.

So, when I saw her post about Tacubaya in Berkeley a few years ago, I vowed to myself that I’d go there someday, not knowing (but hoping!) I’d eventually be going to Berkeley for grad school. It took me almost a year to get my butt down there, but I finally paid the taqueria a visit after getting a pedicure on Fourth St. (It’s definitely not your hole-in-the-wall taco joint like the ones in the Mission or the taco trucks in Oakland, probably because it wouldn’t fit in with the classier, more posh part of Berkeley that is Fourth St.)

Despite having grown up in New Mexico, I am rather loath to eating Mexican food (although New Mexicans make a clear distinction between Mexican and New Mexican food). Perhaps growing up surrounded by tacos, burritos, and enchiladas (which I still cannot eat to this day after rather unappetizing versions served for school lunch) has dampened by desire for Mexican cuisine.

Tacubaya was much different than most Mexican restaurants I’ve been too. The food was very fresh, crisp, and¬†surprisingly¬†light. A lot of Mexican dishes can be heavy, loaded with beans, rice, or potatoes. It was actually quite refreshing eating the food at Tacubaya.

They offer a wide variety of tacos, from the traditional taco al pastor to the more exotic taco de lengua. Intrigued by the tongue taco, I knew I had to order it. The pieces of beef tongue were pretty moist and juicy, not as chewy as I would have guessed. However, I couldn’t think about what I was eating too much because the thought of eating a tongue did gross me out a bit. The taco was very light and refreshing, just what I’d want from a taco. If you’re ever in Berkeley, definitely check out Tacubaya on Fourth St! I know, why would you go to the Bay Area for Mexican food? But trust me, you won’t be disappointed.