Syriasly, you Saud to try this restaurant!

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Fattoush is my best friend’s favorite restaurant. She’s been talking about it for years, but I never had the chance to try it until I stumbled upon it last week. My friends and I had dinner plans that fell through, and I was so excited that we ended up at Fattoush instead. I can’t believe I delayed trying this restaurant!

My friends and I sat at a small mosaic-coated table and shared a bottle of wine that the owner recommended for us. We started our meal with pita bread and hummus appetizer and arabian egg rolls. Hummus is one of those dishes that just isn’t the same when it’s store-bought. Homemade hummus is where it’s at! It was so creamy and spicy!

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For dinner, our table was  covered with plates of lamb kebobs, olives, tabouli, lentils, and garbanzo beans. The kebobs looked fantastic with grilled vegetables! I ate a dish called Beriani. It was lamb, potatoes, yellow rice, raisins, and garbanzo beans all dredged in a cinnamon yogurt sauce. It was so. delicious. Possibly the greatest meal I’ve ever had!. The lamb was so tender… little bites of heaven. The yogurt sauce was rich and fattening, and the whole plate smelled like Christmas!

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The inside of this restaurant is warm and inviting with bench seats and lots of pillows. It’s very colorful and the stained glass makes it feel exotic. Most of all,  I appreciated that they didn’t add any kitchy snake charmers or other steotypes.  If the whole city was on fire, and I could only save one restaurant, I would save this one!

Fattoush
http://www.fattoush.com
26th and Church St.

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Holy Scrap!

I am a crafter. Whenever I hear about a new craft store I get all aflutter. I was with some friends last week and they mentioned this scrap yard slash craft store, and my heart skipped a beat!

Scrap is a donation-based warehouse for raw materials and scrap supplies. I visited this hidden gem today and I was mesmerized. It was like a gymnasium-sized yard sale!! There were aisles of fabrics, wood scraps, metal parts, art supplies, and thousands of other miscellaneous items! I just wandered around thinking about all the projects I could create. I saw a bin of buttons and thought about gluing them to a picture frame. And the shelf of cheap, broken tiles were begging to be made into a mosaic.

Scrap is not for the faint of heart. It’s dirty and smelly and crowded. If you are a paint-by-numbers, Michael’s-loving kind of crafter, you may be overwhelmed by the chaos. But if you’re the kind of artist who looks at garbage and sees a masterpiece then Scrap is definitely for you!

Scrap
http://www.scrap-sf.org
801 Toland St
It’s hidden in the industrial part of town so you have to ask Siri to help you get there.

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The new Bay Bridge is ugly

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They say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Okay, that’s true. But I beheld the new Bay Bridge today and I wasn’t impressed.

The Bay Bridge is made up of two parts: The East and The West with Treasure Island in the middle. The Eastern Span was damaged during the 1989 earthquake and has been seismically unstable ever since. So a new bridge has been in the works for many years now. After much anticipation, the new part opened last night at 10:00pm. And you might think it’s pretty…

If you think safety is beautiful, then you might like this new span. “It is designed to withstand the strongest earthquake estimated by seismologists to occur over the last 1,500 years,” according to The Sacramento Bee. So yay for that!

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And maybe you think engineering is awesome (shout out to my ramblin wrecks). Then you’ll be excited to hear that the new bridge contains “approximately 200 million pounds of structural steel, 120 million pounds of reinforcing steel, 200,000 linear feet of piling and about 450,000 cubic yards of concrete” (from baybridgeinfo.org).
If you’re a big expenses kind of beholder, then I should tell you that this bridge cost $6.4 Billion.
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Maybe you like that it includes a bike/pedestrian path. That maybe gorgeous to you! I walked the 8-mile walkway today and I didn’t enjoy it. Too much wind. Too much walking. But you might…
And I feel it’s necessary to mention that it took over 11 years and hundreds of thousands of workers to complete this project. And that’s pretty awesome!
I took all of these details into account before writing this blog post. I think all this is great, and I’m excited that we’re all safer. But at the end of the day, I look at the hundreds of naked light poles, and the tall white tower with unequal spacing in the crossbeams, and really,  it’s still ugly.
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Get Elevated!!

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I have been searching for alternate ways to exercise that can save me from the monotony of the gym. So last weekend, I hiked to the top of Twin Peaks!

I found a website that gave detailed instructions on how to get there from Market and Castro. I live pretty close to the peak, so I was able to skip a few steps and join the route at Douglass and 20th. This path took me up a few streets, but also across a pedestrian skywalk and up several hidden flights of stairs. The last part was this dirt path with homemade steps that lead to the very tippy top of Twin Peaks… with a gorgeous view of the city. The total trip was 2.33 miles, over a 900-foot elevation change, and it took me about an hour. You can read the full directions here.

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I really enjoyed this hike for many reasons:
(a) it was strenuous but not impossible
(b) I felt like I’d found a secret passageway
(c) no driving required (other great hiking destinations require a 30 minute drive)
(d) very quiet and peaceful
(e) awesome view

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I hiked up this hill!

I am really trying to make my health a priority. San Francisco is full of healthy fit people and I feel so inspired to take care of myself. I am a member of a gym and I have the most amazing trainer! But the gym can get boring and I get tired of running on the treadmill.

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The secret to getting healthy and losing weight is variety. I live in a city where I could plan a different outdoor workout every single day!
Monday – running on Ocean Beach
Tuesday – hiking at Muir Woods
Wednesday – paddle boarding in Sausalito (stay tuned for a whole blog post about this!)
Thursday – strength training on the structures at Esprit Park
Friday – hiking to the top of Twin Peaks

Oh my gosh, I should totally write a book!!
San Francisco: it’s a city and a gym, by Kim Etzel.

Do you live in a city that has fitness possibilities? What outdoor exercises could you explore? Like, if you live near Chichen Itza, you could run up and down the stairs of the monument. Let me know about your hometown!

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Massive wildfire at Yosemite

Wildfire Frenzy

I was planning to write today about a restaurant, but I changed my mind in light of recent news about wildfires in California. Right now, there are 11 different wildfires burning in the state of California, including a devastating fire that has burned 225 square miles of Yosemite National Park. Statewide, more than 8,300 firefighters are battling nearly 400 square miles of fires. (source CBSNews).

Official reports today say that the fire at Yosemite is dangerously close to the reservoir that provides most of the drinking water to San Francisco, as well as our electricity. Firefighters are doing what they can to contain the fire and prevent damage to our favorite park, and our water, but they admit that their resources are running thin.

courtesy of cbs news

What about the trees?

Historically, the Giant Sequoias and the Eucalyptus trees are fire-resistant due to an oil produced in the bark. This may explain the abundance of these two species (evolution and adaption make me all tingly inside). But this fire is one of the largest in California history so park officials are taking every precaution to protect the trees.

courtesy of nbclosangeles.com

Let’s talk about climate change

I think it’s time we get our heads out of our butts and take the data on climate change seriously. It’s not a theory or a hypothesis anymore. There is overwhelming scientific evidence that the temperature of the earth is increasing, and there are going to be serious consequences. One 2006 Arizona State University study found that rising temperatures appear to be a major driver of increased Western wildfires in recent years. One reason is that, as winters get warmer and warmer, the snowpack in the mountains has gotten smaller and is melting earlier in the year. (source washingtonpost.com).

photo from evergreenmagazine.com

So I decided to write this today because I’m feeling overwhelmed by the evidence, consequences, and future projections of climate change. If you are feeling overwhelmed too, I have a few suggestions about what we can do about it. We all are doing a good job reducing our electricity and water consumption, and staying informed about greenhouses emissions. Keep it up! You could also try buying local produce, because it takes a lot less gas to get it to you. Look for biodegradable or recyclable packaging at the store and avoid styrofoam at all costs.

I apologize for using this blog as a soapbox. My heart is heavy today and I wanted to let you know. I have made an effort to educate myself about climate change and the practices that are affecting it, and I think in the next 5-10 years we are going to see some serious action from government and individuals to fix it.

If you want to read more about the fires that are sweeping through California, Oregon, and Idaho, please visit http://www.inciweb.org/.

7 things I miss about Georgia

Because I write a blog about SF, I feel like I’m supposed to be mega in-love with this city all the time. But that’s not the case. There are times when the concrete wears on me, and the hustle and bustle gets me down. Today in particular, I’m feeling homesick, and I’ve got Georgia on my mind…

1. Seasons

When I lived in Georgia, summer seemed to last for ages. It would be so hot hot hot, for months. And October would arrive and it was still hot. And then one day, I’d walk out of the house and be like “Hmmm, I need a light jacket today”. That was my favorite day of the year! It was that desperately-awaited break from the heat.

San Francisco is known for its “great weather”. It is 65 degrees and mostly cloudy every. single. day. Jeans + sweater + scarf. Every. single. day. Check the weather in Jan, May, Aug, or Oct and it’s always 65 degrees and I’M SICK OF IT!

2. Georgia Tech Football

I avoid Facebook following the Homecoming game. If I sign on and see my friends wearing white and gold, marching down the hill, and cheering on the Jackets, it makes my heart ache. I watch all the games still, but it is nothing compared to seeing them play in Bobby Dodd Stadium. This past week was band camp, and I got so nostalgic seeing all of @GeorgiaTechBand‘s pictures.

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3. Cheap Rent

Ask anybody to name the thing they hate most about SF. They will say the rent, the rent, the rent. The fact that I have to pay $1800 per month for a 1BR 600-sqft apartment is ridiculous. But the worst part is that my rent is cheap compared to the city average! This place is surrounded by water on three sides, so there’s no more room for more apartments. That causes the supply/demand model to be completely broken.

I know people who live in Georgia and pay less than half what I do, and they have a ton of space and closets and a DISHWASHER!! Click here to see a map of San Francisco with the average rent for a 1BR apartment. 

4. Barbecue

If I describe my perfect day, it would include a backyard, a cold beer, and the smell of charcoal. I can’t think of anything better. I don’t get barbecue very often here in SF because (a) no one has a backyard, (b) it’s too cold, and (c) it’s not really that important. I have dreams about pulled pork with a side of baked beans. I love the feeling of sticky BBQ sauce all over my fingers and face. Mmmm, I really miss the taste of juicy, smokey, grilled-all-day pork!

pork sandwich at country’s barbecue, columbus ga

5. Swimming

How can I miss swimming when I live 3 miles from the ocean? I’ll tell you. The Pacific Ocean is like ice water and I wouldn’t even stick my toes in!

I grew up with a pool in the backyard, a lake house close by, and the beaches of Panama City just 4 hours away. I could swim while I was still in diapers, and I didn’t stop until I moved away. I have so many fond memories of the summers I spent at Lake Martin… skiing, lounging in the sun, and eating fresh picked blueberries. Some of you are probably sitting by the pool, with your toes in the water, reading this blog on your ipad right now!

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lake martin alabama. photo was taken by my mamma.

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6. Spanish Moss 

I was in Georgia this past June, at Sea Island. One afternoon I took a bike ride down a street that was canopied in oak trees and spanish moss. It was so peaceful and calming, and filled my heart with joy… I felt like I was home. The old oak trees remind me of a simpler time… you know, the era of “sitting on the porch and drinking sweet tea” that they sing about on country radio. On top of all that, spanish moss always makes me think of Savannah, which is one of my favorite cities in the world.

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7. My Family

The only reason why I love Georgia so much, is because my family is there. My family has had celebrations and tragedies this year. I’ve tried to be there as much as possible, but I’ve also missed a lot! The little things like birthdays, and game nights. I spend a lot of time pondering the pros and cons of living in SF. I love this city, but today the fact that I’m missing my family is outweighing the good.  At the end of the day, it’s not the city where you live but the people you’re with that matters most.

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Slide into Sliders

Another post about hamburgers

So I guess I really love burgers. I have never written about anything twice in one week, but here I am writing again about beef. I had another delicious meal and I just had to share it with you!

Sliders is a burger place in the Castro. I ate there before seeing Metropolis at the Castro Theatre. I ordered their signature cheeseburger with fries and a Coke. The meat was cooked on a spinning grill over and open flame. It was served to me as just meat and cheese on a bun, then I got to pile on my own accoutrements at their gorgeous “toppings bar”. I chose the standards: lettuce onion tomato pickle mustard mayo.

My dinner was fantastic! The burger was the star of the show. It was so savory and beefy that I almost didn’t need the buttered bun, dressings, or accessories. But of course, those things pushed it over the top. Now I’m going to say something crazy. You may want to sit down.

Sliders has the best burger in town

I told you all about Barney’s, raved about Burgermeister, applauded Whiz Burger, and celebrated Burger Bar. All of these are great places, and I would praise them again. But I’ve decided that Sliders is my favorite.

And if you’re a vegetarian, you should go to Sliders for the tv. I just sat there for thirty minutes and watched America’s Funniest Videos.

Sliders
http://m.yelp.com/biz/sliders-diner-san-francisco
On Castro St between Market and 18th

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