Saturday, May 9, 2009

Wanna stop and smell the roses? It'll cost ya....


Over the years, one of the most unsettling truths about the City I love is that it no longer loves me. Nor does it seem to care much for the hundreds of thousands of us that either grew up there, or even still can afford to call it home.

Seems every day, more and more San Franciscans are fighting tooth and nail to hold on to those seemingly small, yet VERY significant, pieces of their culture. It wasn't always this way. Frankly, it never should have been.

Such is the case regarding the SF Botanical Gardens (i.e. Strybing Arboretum). A recent city meeting was held to try and convince locals that it is absolutely a GRAND idea to start charging upwards of $7.00 to stroll through a public garden that otherwise has been FREE since 1940. For 70 years, maintaining these gardens was possible, but somebody finally figured out that they weren't turning a profit, and realized that in today's San Francisco, that's ILLEGAL!! The Dept of Parks & Rec claim the gardens as they sit now aren't good enough. Seems we must "Disney" ourselves up to compete with the rest of the nation, or the world, or the universe, or some other ridiculous argument that only serves to show, yet again, just how greedy and clueless our city officials have truly become.

Nancy McNally of San Francisco recently shared some disturbing photos with me regarding the upcoming King Tut exhibit at the California Academy of Sciences. I was confused. Was it a museum exhibit, or the newest ride at Six Flags??? So hard to tell!! And while we are on the subject, since when did good ol' Great America become SIX FLAGS? (I know it was owned by Marriott, but still). And am I the only one that became outraged when the new Giants ballpark was called PAC BELL PARK? 3 COM? ORACLE Arena (aka the old Oakland Coliseum)??!?!?!? What's next, Microsoft Gardens???

Okay, so here's the next question: What can I do?

Well, you can start by visiting THIS ONLINE PETITION to make your voice heard. Residents want to live in a city - not an amusement park.

Seems its working. Check out this recent post from Livin' in the Loin. (Great blog by the way!!!) Never underestimate the power of angry inner Sunset residents!!

The city of my youth was a city of character; bold and stunning uniqueness that stood out among other major U.S. cities. We never required a corporate sponsor. Since when does it cost money to stroll through a public garden? Before long, photgraphing our landmarks will require a permit and an ALL SEASON PASS!

To live here is/was an honor, a birthright, not an award to the highest bidder!!! ARGH!!

It's only noon, and I need a drink...

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Mother's Cookies Update UPDATE

Okay, here we go - Kellogg's HAS released Mother's Cookies at Safeway's in the Bay Area and they are in fact Mother's!!! No Flaky Flix (sigh) but plenty of the true classic favorites. If anyone out there would like to send me a package of Circus Animal cookies (because I know how you all love me) email me at Please let me know how these new Mother's Cookies stand up to the original.

Now go grab some milk and start snackin'!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Mother's Cookies UPDATE

Just when all hope was lost:

Earlier this week I posted a blog entry regarding the demise of Mother's Cookies, an Oakland institution for almost 100 years. I scoured through pages of comments on various sites left by heartbroken cookie connosieurs that were determined NOT to open that LAST bag of Circus Animal Cookies hidden in the pantry for fear that it may be their last. Well, I have some wonderful news for you all:

Circus Animals are back. Really. I think.

According to one of my readers, somewhere in all this hostile corporate hijacking and bankruptcy filing, Nabisco has just come out with what they call Nabisco Classics which, as far as either one of us can tell, are Mother's cookies. I don't see Flaky Flix in that assortment, but I do see circus animals, and that's just fine. I am still rubbing my eyes in amazement.

The only thing that really concerns me is that I have read time and time again how so many of these products are bought up by other companies,the recipe is changed, they are re-released, and long time fans run out to buy them up, only to be sadly disappointed that they are nothing like they used to be. As I read more about these new circus animals, I am seeing it seems to be the case. Big thumbs down. But I am still hopeful - I have to be!

This happened to me recently when I bought a few tubes of Flicks. Back in the 1970s and 1980s, Ghirardelli had these delicious chocolate candies called Flicks. They looked like flat oversized chocolate chips and they came in colored cardboard tubes. They vanished for years, then resurfaced not too long ago on one of those "candy from your childhood" websites. I couldn't resist, but to my dismay, these things were disgusting; nothing like the original.

Tomorrow is grocery day. I know what I'll be looking for.

Museum of Toons? ZOINKS!

Tucked away in between 2nd and 3rd Streets on Mission (Yerba Buena Gardens) is the too often overlooked Cartoon Art Museum. Started in 1984, this "museum without walls" wandered from exhibit to exhibit until finally setting up shop in 1987 at its current location. This was made very possible by the very generous backing of Charles M. Schultz (Peanuts).

The Cartoon Art Museum is the only museum on the West Coast dedicated to cartoon art in all its many forms. This unique institution houses approximately 6,000 original pieces in its permanent collection and a complete volume research/library. In addition to seven major exhibitions a year, the museum has a classroom for cartoon art and a bookstore.

Currently, the museum is showcasing two very fabulous exhibits that are definitely worth checking out:

thru July 19th

The Cartoon Art Museum presents an in-depth look at the film and the graphic novel that inspired it in its latest exhibition.

The Art of Stan Sakai thru July 5th

The Cartoon Art Museum proudly presents The Art of Stan Sakai: Celebrating 25 Years of Usagi Yojimbo, a career-spanning retrospective featuring over 60 pieces of original artwork by the critically-acclaimed artist.

Click here for more information.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

For love of coffee

Last time I was in San Francisco was back in 2007. I was living just north of Boston at the time and had traveled back home to take care of some unfortunate family business. While passing through SFO, imagine my surprise to find a Peet's coffee kiosk tucked away at the end of one of the terminals!! It was been so long since I had enjoyed a true cup of coffee (New England is Dunkin' Donuts country). I think I sort of freaked out the girl behind the counter when I gleefully exclaimed, "You have no idea how happy I am to see you!!!" Still, she was more than cordial, and within moments I was indulging in a cup o' joe so thick that had I used a spoon, it would have surely disintegrated. Lucky for me, Peet's is now available at my local Kroger market in whole bean form here in Raleigh!

I mention this because today I go to work for one of the biggest coffee conglomerates in the known universe, Starbucks. Although I am the last to admit to being a fan of corporate coffee, I definitely look forward to surrounding myself with one of my favorite guilty pleasures. But still, I miss my hometown brew.

Luckily, there are a few very well-reviewed local coffee roasters worth checking out should you ever find yourself in need of something unique and tasty:

Blue Bottle Coffee
315 Linden St
San Francisco, CA 94102
(415) 252-7535

Numerous reviews say this locally micro-roasted organic coffee is tops. This would definitely be one of my first stops.

Philz Coffee
Three locations in the city, including the Castro, the Mission, and Mission Bay
Also coming soon to San Jose and Berkeley

Philz Coffee in San Francisco has developed a devoted following, and for good reason. The twenty blends that are now available by the pound are the result of 25 years of coffee alchemy and invention. How can a true coffee connoisseur resist?

Peet's Coffee and Tea
Various locations nationwide

Alfred Peet first started roasting the seedlings of the coffee revolution in his tiny location on Vine Street in Berkeley back in 1966. Today, his coffee is availble throughout the United States and has never lost its unique body or zesty aroma. This is coffee to swear by, and believe me I do, on a daily basis.

This list is far from complete, so it's really up to you to get out there and support your local coffeehouse to find that "perfect cup o' joe" and when you do, feel free to email me at because I never know when I will be back in my hometown, jonesing for java!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Edible Expeditions May 7- Nov 1

Coming soon to the Conservatory of Flowers in San Francisco's historic Golden Gate Park:

Edible Expeditions

This is a great opportunity for foodies of all ages to get a chance to experience gourmet finds frm all over the world. Arranged in lush garden demonstrations, you'll see chocolate, vanilla, coffee, rice and spices galore. Find out just how these treasures find their way into your pantry and onto your palate.

Click here for more information.

Mother's Cookies RIP 1914-2008

Old news for some, a shocking realization for others

As many of you are well aware by now, or if some of you are wondering why you haven't been able to find a package of iced oatmeal cookies on local Safeway shelves, Mother's Cookies of Oakland, CA bought the farm last October when bankruptcy swept them up and away, along all of our favorite treats as kids, like Circus Animals, Taffy, and the almighty most delicious Flaky Flix.

According to cookie legend, Mother's was founded in 1914 by a newspaper vendor named N.M. Wheatley, as a one-man shop. It expanded and moved to the 81st Avenue location in 1949.

Throughout the 1990s, up until their abrupt closure in 2008 Mother's had been handed of to many different owners and from what I have heard is currently owned by Kelloggs but whether or not these timeless treats will be put back into production is still in question.

I don't know how I can live in a world without Flaky Flix! It was pure genius - crispy wafers with chocolate creme in between , covered in milk chocolate, and THEN rolled in some sort of Corn Flake mixture. Sheer bliss.

Doesn't Kellogg's make Corn Flakes? Hmmmm.....

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