Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Cutest Pregnancy Ever?

I am in LOVE with this most adorable video documenting this gorgeous gal's pregnancy.  Dad and writer is a photographer, and blogs Pacing The Panic Room.  You can see the series, as well as the stories and the video there, every week, they did a photo shoot of her wearing American Apparel and I wish I was a skinny as she was, but love the idea of NOT buying maternity clothes.  Way to go you two, this video is FANTASTIC.

Magic- A Belly Grows from The Panic Room Videos on Vimeo.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Fresh Friday: Fresh-Dill Basmati Rice with Stil-fry Greens and Chickpeas

Follow along with me on my resolution to eat not just locally, but seasonally in San Francisco.  Fresh Friday!

This recipe was a little longer and more detailed (read complicated) than I would normally have time for on a weekday dinner, but I made it on a day off, so I had time to prep everything before hand, and start it before my husband came home from work. I omitted the masala, because I didn't have any,used quick-cooking brown basmati rice, used leaks instead of shallots, and added three or four small bunches (heads?) of bok choy along with the stir-fry greens. It was delicious, and the lemon makes it really fresh and light.  It wasn't hearty enough to be a meal, but could a good side to a lemon chicken I think. 

Fresh-Dill Basmati Rice with Stir-fry Greens and Chickpeas

2 cups basmati rice
1 pound stir-fry greens, washed and thick stems removed
2 tablespoons peanut or canola oil
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 shallots, minced
1 small onion, diced
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 bunch fresh dill, large stems removed, chopped finely (about 3/4 cup)
1 (15 ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 cups water or vegetable stock
1-2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
Freshly ground pepper
Pinch of cayenne
Juice of 1 lemon
1 lemon, sliced into wedges (optional)
In a medium-size bowl, rinse the basmati rice with a few changes of water, then cover with at least 2 inches of water. Set aside while preparing the other ingredients, allowing the rice to soak in the water for at least 20 minutes. When ready to use, carefully drain the rice with a fine-mesh strainer.
Steam the greens either in a steamer or a large, covered pot filled with about 2 inches of boiling water. When the greens are limp and bright green, transfer them to a bowl to cool and squeeze as much water as possible from it.  Roll tightly into bunches and chop finely.
In a large, heavy-bottomed 4-quart pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the cumin seeds, fry for 15 seconds, then add the shallots and onion. Sprinkle with the garam masala and sauté the mixture until the onions and shallots are soft, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the drained rice, folding to coat the grains with spiced oil mixture. Add the chopped dill, winter greens, chickpeas, vegetable stock (or water), salt, lemon zest, pepper, and cayenne. Cover and increase the heat to medium-low and tightly cover. Cook for 25 to 30 minutes, until liquid is absorbed and rice is fluffy, watching carefully to make sure it doesn’t burn.
Remove from the heat, sprinkle with the lemon juice, fluff the rice with a fork, and cover again. Allow to sit another 10 minutes before serving with lemon wedges.
From Veganomicon by Isa Chandra Moskowitz & Terry Hope Romero

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Love Week: Love Letters

One year for my Birthday, Andy wrote me a sonnet.  We had only been dating a month, and it was that new relationship predicament, of what to do. He typed it on a piece of his new "signature" stationary, which was part of becoming a "new man in San Francisco."  It was perfect and sweet, and still hangs above my dresser, where I see if every morning as I'm putting on my jewelry and getting ready for the day.  A simple love letter, to me, about me.

I love letters.  I'm extremely fond of the hand-written note, more so than email or even the telephone.  I love the time it requires to be set aside for the purpose, set aside for the person to whom the letter is being written.  I love being able to say what you want without interruption, and the patient anticipation of one being returned.
Do you send love letters?  To a long-distance love?  A note tucked in your sweetheart's pocket?  Even just to friends?

Work, Weekend, Wine Bar: J.Crew Blythe Blouse

I bought this blouse last weekend from J.Crew, and thought it'd be fun to show a three ways to wear it, "work, weekend, wine bar!"

 Work: tucked into a high-waisted ponte knit pencil skirt, and paired with a black pump and a lady-like work bag, all ready for 9 to 5.

Weekend:  Style it down with neon pink denim, some nude flats, a cross body bag and chunky accessories like this Marc by Marc Jacobs rose gold watch and Chloe round sunglasses -- ready for brunch or the park.

Wine Bar:  Lady meets edgy when paired with black lace shorts, a boyfriend blazer, and hello legs heels in blush suede! Quilted Marc Jacobs cross-body bag leaves hands free for holding a wine glass, or your date's hand.

I'm so excited to wear it!  What do you think?

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Love Week -- Flowers

Flowers are something special.  Years ago I worked at a flower shop, and it's a different place.  You know all the town's secrets, who has a mistress, who got elective surgery, who's getting married, who appreciates their secretaries, who comes into and out of this world. It's funny how we find such an answer in flowers.  There's a value with them, spending such money on something so temporary, because someone is worth it, and because flowers have the ability to bring such joy, and brighten up a day, a space, a memory.

They're also so traditional that we just can't get away from them.  Weddings, dates, proms, funerals.  I like spring flowers most, daffodils, peonies, and then dahlias all summer and fall.   Don't we just love?

Totally in love with this little frock from Kate Spade right now.  Love the length and the faux belt. How darling for a Saturday brunch, or an upcoming wedding by the water?

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentine's Day Breakfast

We celebrate holidays with food in this house.  I love you Valentine, and hope your days starts out savory, and ends sweet.

In case you're wondering, -- it turns out that chickens in love lay heart-shaped eggs, who knew!?

Love Week: Romance

Happy Valentine's Day!  I hope there is romance in your day today, even if it's a-typical (perhaps your sweetheart is cleaning the bathroom for you, perhaps your sweetheart is cleaning the bathroom so they can set up a lovely bath for you, perhaps your dentist is "romancing your teeth out of your jaw bone" as mine put it).

We'll be celebrating by ordering takeout, lighting a fire, opening a bottle of wine, and playing some scrabble.  It's Andy's treat to me, my ultimate date these days, takeout and spending quality time together.  I'm sure every newly married couple thinks they have it the best, but we're pretty certain that no one has as much fun together as we do, and that's our version of romance, caring for each other.  What's romance to you?

Monday, February 13, 2012

Love Week -- wedding details

I was updating my portfolio, and reminded how much I enjoyed making all the pieces of our wedding. I'm dying for another event to make for, and wish we could get married all over again, or have another super fun party to create things for.  I'm pretty sure our paper suite was my favorite part.  
In honor of Valentine's Day, I'm going to celebrate love all week!

Let's do it again.

Fresh Friday: Moroccan Spiced Spaghetti Squash

Follow along with me on my resolution to eat not just locally, but seasonally in San Francisco.  Fresh Friday!

Errr, Monday.  Sorry this week's Fresh Friday is a little late, due to my soft foods diet and vicodin-induced nausea, there wasn't much cooking going on other than a big pot of French onion soup.

I made this squash and served it with an simple salad of spinach from the farm and radicchio from a friend's garden, a little parm and a drizzle of olive oil and vinegar, along with green beans that we sauteed in the spices and butter that were left in the pan.  It got rave reviews and was crazy easy.

Moroccan Spiced Spaghetti Squash

1 spaghetti squash
3 tablespoons butter
1 clove garlic, minced or crushed
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
3/4 teaspoon salt

I sliced the squash lengthwise, rubbed with a little of the butter and turned the halves upside down on a silpat-lined baking sheet, and roasted for 45-50 mins in a 400 degree oven.
When it comes out of the oven, the squash halves look just like any other squash,  turn them over and let cool slightly, then using a fork, scrape the tines across the short side of the squash and pull it out as it "spaghetti's up."
In a skillet over med heat, melt the butter and saute the garlic a little bit, then stir in your spices, and toss the strands of the squash in the butter. Serve hot and eat it up!

recipe from Gourmet, February 2002

Wednesday, February 8, 2012


  I have a confession.  I've been holding on to a copy of Domino magazine for three years now, saving it for a time when I'm in serious need of a pick-me up.  Domino was the best magazine ever to grace the stands, in my opinion, and the day it came in my mailbox was even more exciting than now when the day House Beautiful comes is the best day of the month.  Perhaps the only magazine I've ever read every issue cover to cover, and when they folded three years ago, I was heart broken, as if it had been my name on the masthead that was no more.  So, the February 2009 issue came, and I didn't read it, saving it to savor it, wanting to allow the right amount of time, of attention, and state of mind to devour it. And then I just kept saving it, and saving it. I laughed when I moved and placed it, still in it's unopened plastic mailing cover, first in a moving box, and then into the bookshelf, waiting for that day that would be just right.

UNTIL NOW:   They are making a new one, on newsstands April 17th!!  It looks like a one-off, "Quick Fixes."    I'm having my wisdom teeth out this morning, and taking this news combined with that pain and reading my ever-old copy whilst I recover.

P.S.  It turns out I'm super nerve about getting my wisdom teeth out today, so much so that I didn't sleep at all last night.  Eeek!!  Here's hoping for quick and easy recovery!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Parenting hopes and dreams

We read a really interesting article in this weekend's Wall Street Journal comparing French parenting to American parenting, and the resulting toddlers.  The article is written by Pamela Druckerman, an American mom, living in France, and it's the kind of article that makes me think I CAN have the kind of children I want (French todlers) instead of the kind I'm afraid of having (American toddlers).

Why French Parents Are Superior

Soon it became clear to me that quietly and en masse, French parents were achieving outcomes that created a whole different atmosphere for family life. When American families visited our home, the parents usually spent much of the visit refereeing their kids' spats, helping their toddlers do laps around the kitchen island, or getting down on the floor to build Lego villages. When French friends visited, by contrast, the grownups had coffee and the children played happily by themselves.

She wrote a book about it, Bringing Up Bebe, and it's coming out tomorrow, published by The Penguin Press. You can read a great review of it (from the WSJ) here: Parenting A La Mode, or, in tomorrow's WSJ.

Get your own copy here.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Fresh Friday: Bittersweet and Nutty Mustard Greens

Follow along with me on my resolution to eat not just locally, but seasonally in San Francisco.  Fresh Friday!
Week 3:
-- I served this with a roasted acorn squash
Bittersweet and Nutty Mustard Greens 

2 Pink Lady apples
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon raw sugar
A pinch of cinnamon
1 bunch of mustard greens
2-3 leeks
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon soy sauce
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup walnuts, pecans or almonds
 (I used pine nuts that I toasted because it's what I had)

Core and dice apples into ½ inch cubes.  Melt butter in a medium skillet and add apples.  Sprinkle with raw sugar and cinnamon and cook over medium heat until soft and somewhat caramelized.  Remove from heat and set aside on your serving dish.
Toast nuts on a small baking sheet in a 350°F oven for 5-7 minutes until golden.
Wash mustard greens and leeks thoroughly. Cut off any tough stems on the greens and tough green tops of the leeks. Cut the greens into one-inch wide strips and thinly slice the leeks.  Using the same skillet as before, heat olive oil over medium high heat and sauté garlic slices until golden.  Add greens and leeks, stirring constantly until everything is wilted (about 90 seconds).  Lower heat and stir in soy sauce or liquid aminos.  Cook for another 2-3 minutes until greens are tender.  Add salt and pepper to taste. Combine apples and nuts with the greens in the skillet.  Toss well and serve immediately.  

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

MIT Chapel

I think there is something so wonderful about buildings that are designed specifically for worship.  I think it's something we've gotten away from, at least in California, and even more specifically, in Southern California.  When searching for a new church after moving, I was hopeful for a building that was designed as a church, with that single purpose.  Not a church that met in another building, not a church that moved into a strip mall, not a church that built itself a sanctuary that was more function than form, even though I believe wholly that church is about the people and community, not about the building.  I think there is something special about seeing God's beauty while in a place that reflects his creations creativity and ability, and for a building that has been built for the sole function of meeting God.

How incredible is this chapel at MIT?  To say Eero Saarinen is one of my heroes would fit the bill.

Don't you just love this light at the altar?  It breaks my heart when churches eliminated natural light, because it's better for media presentations -- power point, controlled lighting, video screens.  What a fabulous place for a wedding.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Saturday night at the ballet

We bought a season subscription to the San Francisco Ballet this year, and the season opened this weekend.  The first program this year is Onegin, which is a ballet adaptation of a Pushkin poem. Here's how they describe it online:

The passionate story of Russian aristocrat Eugene and his lost chance for love with the beautiful Tatiana, unleashes heartbreaking themes of unrequited love, anguish, and tragic irony. Set to a powerful score by Tchaikovsky, this production features lavish scenery and costumes by award-winning designer Santo Loquasto and lighting by James F. Ingalls.

It was fantastic. I think even a non-ballet lover would enjoy it.  You can get tickets here, they added an additional performance so it's running through February 3rd.

photo:  Erik Tomasson

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Good news for Spring 2012

So in love with Valentino's continued pieces of the "Rockstud" collection.


And how sweet is this little Miu Miu Bow t-strap sandal for Spring 2012?
I love the gold metal heel.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Fresh Friday: whole wheat pasta with chard; roasted romanesco with cilantro dressing

Follow along with me on my resolution to eat not just locally, but seasonally in San Francisco.  Fresh Friday!

Week 2:

Whole Wheat Pasta with Sauteed Chard
boil water, cook your pasta.
Heat two tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Finely chop 2 leeks, add to the skillet with salt and pepper and a touch of garlic if you like, and saute in the heated oil for a few minutes.  Add the chard, and coat with the oil and stir with the leaks, saute until limp, and toss with your pasta and a touch more olive oil.  Sprinkle with Parmesan, and eat it up!

Roasted Romanesco with Cilantro Dressing

One or two heads of romanesco
salt and pepper
chili powder
olive oil

Heat oven to 425 degrees, cut the romanesco into bite-sized florets.  Put a tablespoon of olive oil in a bowl, and add a pinch of chili powder, salt, and pepper.  Toss the romanesco in the bowl and coat with the spiced oil, and spread in a single layer on a baking sheet. Roast in the oven until starting to brown, I think it was like 25 minutes for ours.

Cilantro Dressing
1/4 cup olive oil
juice of 1/2 lime
1 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
1 clove garlic
1 tsp honey
salt to taste and fresh ground pepper

While the romanesco roasts, combine everything for the dressing in a food processor or blender and blend until smooth.
Dip the roasted romanesco in the dressing, or I guess you could drizzle it over the top

This romanesco recipe came from our farm's, eatwell.com, via cristiescorner.com

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Central Europe 2011 Part III, Austria

After our stopover in Czesky Budjrovich, we continued on and crossed the border into Austria, and stopped off in Salzburg.  Not the highest place on our list, we only planned one full day in Salzburg, but it turned out to be our FAVORITE place!  We talk dreams of moving there to have babies and live a small perfect life.  We rented bikes, bought picnic goods and spent the day riding around and tracking down all the sights from The Sound of Music, and fulfilling the fantasies of the 7-year-old girl inside of me, singing the songs and dancing around. We had nice weather for the first time, and loved every minute of the day.

An Alpen in her natural habitat 

Maria's Church! At her Abbey! Nonnburg Abbey 

The FRONT Von Trapp mansion, can you believe they used two different ones, a front view and a back view??  We picnicked across the lake looking at the back view, where the kids fall in the water in their play clothes! 

the 16 going on 17 gazebo, and below, is Andy indulging me in my 7 year-old girl fantasy of being Liesl when she dances around with Rolf, leaping from one bench to the next!

Seriously. Favorite Day.

The next morning we got up, rented a car, and drove to Vienna.  It was an amazing drive, the Austria I'd been longing for -- huge Alps, expanses of lush green grass, and those hunky brown and white cows with big bells on!  We packed our left-over picnic food, bought a map, and hit the autobahn! We made two significant stops along the way, in the tiniest ever town of Hallstatt in Salzkammergut, and to take a gondola ride and hike a mountain top.  Hallstatt is built on this teeny tiny bit of land between a huge mountain and a beautiful lake, not even room for roads, so everything is quite literally on top of each other.  It's charming like crazy, full of incredible views on all sides, and home to the Kirche und Beinhaus, which is the Bone House church.  No space to live, and no space to die, they didn't have room to bury their dead, so instead, they placed the cleaned, dried out, and decorated skulls and femurs in a chapel, a bone house. The year of death was painted on the skulls and they go back to the 1800's.

Onward to Vienna, but not without finding a gondola to an alpen summit!  We took a ride up two gondolas to the top of this crazy mountain, and hiked out to a view point where there were all these paragliders, and "relaxation couches" where we ate our little lunch, and watched people jump off the side of the mountain and sail over the lakes and valleys below. Dream life. We continued the trail to another overlook, and tried these five "fingers" -- little planks that extend over the cliff and give you five different thrills, before we had to head back and catch the last ride down the mountain or be stuck there overnight!

 Andy and our rental:  a Ford Fiesta

Last stop, Vienna!  Where, we didn't take many photos it seems.  Which might be because I left the plug converter in the room in Prague, and we ran out of camera battery and were unable to charge it... but I can't remember.
Vienna: we discovered that the same operation that we rented bikes from in Salzburg, was in Vienna, where we were already set up! You pop your credit card in a machine, enter your password information, and it unlocks a bike for you to rent by the hour, seriously, why is this not in San Francisco (and for a euro an hour!)??   So we tried to see Vienna on bike, but got lost, and had an unsuccessful day.  We made it out to the Danube, and saw a much more real-life side of Vienna then we maybe needed to, but we capped off the night with our favorite dinner treat:  a sausage served "hot dog" style, meaning they take a long roll, like a sour dough roll, cut the top off and make a little hole and stick it on a spike. Then in the hole that the spike makes, they pump in mustard, and then shove in your sausage!  It's all perfectly contained in the bread, and is all the sausagey perfection I could ask for. YUM!

The next day, we had tickets to see the Lipizzaners at the Spanish Riding School.  They only had performances on Saturdays, which we weren't there for, but they sell tickets to their morning practices on some weekdays.  Oh MAN, soo great!  Word of caution, the arena is indoors, and if you're allergic to horses, like me, it's pure misery.  You're not allowed to take pictures, and I obeyed.  We then toured the Hoffberg's palace, Schlas Schonnbrunn, and got wine on the canal in the Palace Urania.

Schonnbrunn Palace

ein Sachertorte und zwei cappuccino

And then we flew forever, got delayed on the runway for four hours and missed our connection in Boston and got a wonderful nights sleep at a hotel courtesy of the airline, before giving up our seats the next morning and getting a $700 voucher! And then we're home. Whew! Can you believe it?

Friday, January 20, 2012

Fresh Friday

I'm starting a series this year, to partner with my resolution to eat locally AND seasonally. "Fresh Fridays!"  I know how much easier it is to do this in California than most other places in the country, however, let me just tell you, we're getting slightly over eating winter greens in our house. Here's the deal:  we're using our CSA box and a food wheel as our guides -- even if the food wheel doesn't say it, if it comes in our CSA box, we count it as allowable, and can buy more of that from the market if we need to.  In the Bay Area, seasonal vegetables in January are bitter leafy greens like spinach, kale, mustard greens, bok choy, and we're getting leeks, broccoli, romanesco, oranges, some apples, and winter squash. Frozen and canned food is allowed, however, we're really trying to be local as well, and are therefore trying to avoid them as much as possible.

Week 1:

Winter Squash Baked Risotto  (this recipe is adapted from one from Real Simple, and it's both simple and amazingly delicious. We've made it so far with butternut, acorn, and red kuri squashes, all have been great!)

about 3 cups of squash cut into 3/4 inch cubes.
1 cup pearl barley
about 2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup dry white wine
3 cups vegetable broth
1 tablespoon of butter
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
5 or 8 oz of spinach, however much you like/have
salt and pepper
tsp of garlic

Prep your squash and your onion, pre-heat oven to 350, and then heat olive oil in a dutch oven on the stove. Add the onions and garlic and saute until soft, about 3 minutes, crack some salt and pepper in there.  Add the squash and saute another 5 minutes until it's soft too.  Add the barley and stir, cook for one minute, add the wine, cook for another 3 minutes, add the broth, stir and bring to a boil.  Put the lid on and transfer your dutch oven to the heated oven, and cook for 45 minutes.  Pull it out, stir in the butter and most of the Parmesan, and then the spinach.  Garnish with the rest of the parm sprinkled on top.  Serve it with your same dry white and enjoy!  serves about 6.

photo credit: Real Simple

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Resolutions: 2012

2011 resolutions were largely culinary, and we did pretty well, aside from some weight gain:
*produce from the farmers markets, go weekly. (this turned into a CSA box instead)
*pick up our wine shipment in person at least 4 times a year (good reason to get out of the city for the day)
*meal plan weekly
*try at least two new recipes a week
*leave the country at least once

So, for 2012 I'm resolving to:
*buy only seasonal veggies if more than the CSA is needed --this means no tomatoes for a while, and right now it's meaning a LOT of bitter winter greens and squash.
*fight the inappropriate growth of my body
*run a race
*limit meat to one meal a week, if that
*allow myself the freedom to be a better friend, even if I can't be a perfect one
*deepen my relationships at work
*leave the country at least once

Sunday, January 8, 2012

four month sum-up

we traveled, we loved, we ate, we celebrated!

September and October were nuts for us.  Saudi Arabia (Andy), San Diego, Seattle, Berlin, Prague, Salzburg, Vienna, 30!, Holiday, Bend. whew.

Andy and I celebrated our 1st year of marriage in Seattle, where Andy had a conference.  We spend a couple days in his conference hotel downtown, and while Andy taught and learned, I saw friends and played in the City, and then we spent the weekend with some friends in Ballard, along with some other friends who drove up from Portland.  We got to see my family for dinner one night, and spent Sunday with them, eating an amazing brunch and swimming in a fabulous pool.  It was full and lovely. We didn't take any pictures if you can believe it.

I marked 30 with glam.  Call these the crisis of turning twenty-ten, by Valentino:

(I was also spoiled by my wonderful husband, who also felt the need to mark the occasion.)

Hello Central Europe!  We took a fabulous trip to Central Europe, into Berlin and out of Vienna.  We had thought we'd spend the time in either Argentina or Italy, but with Andy's recent travels to the Middle East, we had enough airline miles to book a trip, and those places were unavailable.  We decided to pick the dates, and go where ever we could get tickets, and this worked, so we booked it, and started planning.  Two glorious weeks that felt like a second honeymoon, and were a blessing to be away from work, away from life, and enjoying each other and our spirits of adventure.

We spent Thanksgiving with The Coughlin/Walther side of the family, but here in the Bay.  Andy's folks came down and cousins came up, and it was a huge, fun day of family and fun, before the misery of the Holiday shopping season hit my life. We spent Christmas just the two of us, and cooked a fabulous meal where I roasted my first chicken. Vegetarian no more!

 Andy headed up to Oregon the next day, and I joined him a few days later, and we got just enough snow to satisfy before we headed off to the high desert for New Years.

Now, enough wrap-up, here's some hot NYE shoe:   Palais peep toes from YSL.

Happy New Year!!

We spent our 2011-2012 transition in Oregon with Andy's fam, and spent NYE and a friend's Birthday by renting a cabin at Brasada Ranch, about 30 minutes outside of Bend, Oregon.  If you are looking for a perfect high-desert resort with mountain views and amazing facilities, I highly recommend it.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Central Europe 2011 Part II, Czech Replublic

We kicked it down to Prague for the next week.  Oh Prague.  Those copper-topped buildings, and cobblestone streets (murder on your feet but so pretty to look at), pints of delicious Czech beer for less than $2! Bridges and rivers and palaces!  We saw The Marriage of Figaro, performed by the Czech National Opera, in the same opera house debuted Don Giovanni in.  Beautiful.  We spent our last coins on two champagnes during intermission, instead of dinner.  La Vie Bohem!! After the opera, we went out dancing, and learned that we were just too old for it, at least for that club.  We tried.  We spent several days exploring the streets, the sights, the many cathedrals, and fighting the cold air by drinking our weight in hot wine.  We ate heavy Czech food, too much sausage and cabbage and dumplings, but the perfect amount of delicious pilsner. 

wine at the palace vinyard

on the Charles Bridge

John Lennon wall

We took a day trip out to Kutna Hora, a mining town about an hour train ride away, where we took a tour of an old silver mine (!!!).  Incredible, but maybe a little wetter and drippier than I had expected.  (Andy loved every second of it, I was creeped and ready to be out after about five minutes of the 90 minute tour.)

On our way down to Austria, our train had a stopover in Czesky Budjovic, which just happens to be where the Budvar brewery is (Budvar is the 2nd largest Czech beer brewer after Urquel), and so we decided to extend our time in Czech Republic by extending our stopover and getting out into the town.  Like so many other things on our trip (Guggenheim closed for a changing of exhibit, Josefhov sites all shut for Yom Kippur, funicular railway out of service) our timing was off and it wasn't a work day, so I didn't get to see any machines in action, but the beer was delicious.  We hung out in the pub to kill time before our train, and tried all the beers we could drink.

 (I LOVE how things are made)

 Fun fact:  When Anheiser Busch was coming up with a name for their beer, they chose Budweiser because  the Czech's Budweiser Budvar is synonimous with "good beer."