Friday, April 27, 2007

The Office- watermark!

FACT: The Office is, with Arrested Development, my favorite show.
Despite the fact that D and I don't have tv, only Netflix, we still love us some Office. We did see last night's episode, and here is what I have to say about that:

Best lines:

- Dwight saying "I've seen goats on chickens. Chickens on goats. Two chickens on a goat. Three pigs watching. They got it *exactly right." I was dying- how did he keep a straight face???

- And Michael "I need two men on this that's what she said!- NO TIME! - but she did!- NO TIME!!!" Like he had a split personality, one of whom had no choice but to say that'swhatshesaid!!!

Yep, those are my two favorite lines, and I definitely don't think of myself as the type who's particularly amused by juvenile sex humor. But maybe I *am* the type who is amused by those who are amused by juvenile sex humor.

What did you all think of it?

Friday, April 20, 2007

Paloma the Easter Egg

My parents had way too much fun getting Paloma her Easter outfit. Check out the lavender cloud that is my daughter.

Monday, April 16, 2007

It's Spring, you foodies!

The main reason I subscribe to the SF Chron is for the Food section, which is beautiful. They've just improved it and will include articles about sustainability, organics and food politics in general. I'm excited for it. I think since Michael Pollan's The Omnivore's Dilemma (and Marion Nestle's What to Eat, and many others) people have become much more aware of how their food choices distinctly affect our own community, our state and the world around us.

And here's the exciting part-- strawberries and asparagus are in season and bountiful! My favorite local farm is Blue Moon Organics. They produce the sweetest, freshest little fruits you can imagine. Some will argue that Swinton Farms is best, but I have to say that in my experience, Blue Moon has the best fruit the most consistently. At Monterey Market they're currently selling those little blue pint baskets. YAY!

ALSO, all you SAHMs (stay at home moms/dads/caregivers), tell me what you think of your experience at my blogpost on the MomsRising website. Can't wait to hear from you!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

MoveOn's Town Hall Meeting

Join's Virtual Town Hall: Iraq

Last night marked an historic event- the Town Hall meeting, convening seven major candidates for President in '08. Each candidate had about ten minutes to speak about how he or she would end the war in Iraq. Each did well. And I was surprised that after listening to all the candidates, the ones who I thought did the best were Edwards, Biden, Dodd and Kucinich. Amazing because prior to listening, I would have said my top candidates are Obama, Clinton and Richardson.

Edwards was very clear about ending the enormously bloated no-bid contracts that go to private contractors. Hallelujah. These no-bid contracts represent a ridiculous, opaque practice for a country that supposedly has a transparent democracy. Edwards also had a really detailed plan for withdrawal, which seemed carefully considered.

Biden was impressive for his depth of political experience and his knowledge of the region. I especially appreciated his answer to "then what?" What happens after troop withdrawal? What's the long term thinking for our engagement in the Middle East? I felt very confident in this man's ability to effectively lead.

Kucinich was very clear about withdrawing from Iraq, unsurprisingly. What was surprising to me was the kind of foreign policy understanding he showed. He wasn't afraid to talk about UN peacekeeping and various other diplomatic strategies. He's a man of vision, for sure. But he also can be a man of action.

Dodd was good, though I wasn't totally blown away. Still, he had some good points about withdrawal and foreign policy. I can't remember anything in particular, but that could be due to a certain adorable Minkie.

Obama had a plan but not as detailed as the others. I felt that Clinton was fighting against the past too much at times, conceding too much at times. She repeated a phrase about needing to "face reality," which kind of rang a warning bell with me. Richardson was forthright about what needed to happen diplomatically, but he sounded a little too much like "throw 'em in a room together and we'll make 'em do this and we'll make 'em do that...."

Those are my first impressions. It'll be interesting to see who emerges as the leader as this race progresses!

MomsRising and Imus

I'm posting the MomsRising email on the Imus debacle because this is a crucial moment in our culture.

When we heard about Don Imus' racist and sexist remarks against the Rutgers University women's basketball players, our mama hackles were raised. We want to raise our children with media that's intelligent and sane, not pandering to the lowest common denominator. Imus' comments were just plain wrong and unacceptable.
As mothers of all colors, we need to call him out on that, for our children's sake and our own. One fundamental lesson we want to instill in our children is respect for every person's humanity. The media is so influential in creating culture. Let's make sure that the media knows where moms and all caregivers stand--no more trash talk!
SIGN THE PETITION: "Mothers of all colors must come together to build a culture that is respectful to our children, girls and boys. The comments that Imus made on the radio about Rutgers University Women's basketball team were horrifyingly inappropriate, and he should be fired."
*Click here to sign the petition now (and don't forget to forward this email to friends!):

Imagine for a minute that your child had a dream and she spent her entire life working to achieve, working really hard and making everyone so proud, and then, when her dream was within her grasp, a big guy with a radio show and an audience of millions, called her out saying she was a "nappy-headed ho."
The women's basketball team at Rutgers had just played in the N.C.A.A. championships, a phenomenal achievement, when Don Imus from MSNBC and CBS Radio spewed this venom about the team. Don is brushing his comment aside, saying that he was just trying to "be funny", and NBC News announced that they will suspend him for two weeks, though he is still on the air this whole week. To read more about it, go to the New York Times at:
PASS IT ON: Tell your friends about this petition by forwarding this email. Help send a loud and clear message to Imus' employers, advertisers, and guests. The more people that sign on, the more impact we'll have when we deliver the petition to MSNBC and CBS Radio.
We want to raise our children with media that's intelligent and sane, not pandering to the lowest common denominator. Let's make sure that the media knows where moms, dads, grandparents, aunts, uncles and all caregivers stand.
*Don't forget to sign the petition at:
Best - Anita, Emily, Cooper, Donna, Joan, Kristin, Ashley, Katie, Mary and the MomsRising Team
p.s. You can use this easy link to tell your friends about the petition:
p.p.s. We appreciate these media principles by Common Sense Media (
1. We believe in media sanity, not censorship.
2. We believe that media has truly become "the other parent" in our kids' lives powerfully affecting their mental, physical, and social development.
3. We believe in teaching our kids to be savvy media interpreters—we can't cover their eyes but we can teach them to see.
4. We believe parents should have a choice and a voice about the media our kids consume. Every family is different, but all need information.
5. We believe that the price for a free and open media is a bit of extra homework for families. Parents need to know before they go.
6. We believe that through informed decision making, we can improve the media landscape one decision at a time.
7. We believe appropriate regulations about right time, right place, right manner exist. They just need to be upheld by our elected and appointed leaders.
8. We believe in age-appropriate media and that the media industry needs to act responsibly as it creates and markets media age-appropriate contents.
9. We believe there should be one, independent and transparent universal rating system for all media.
10. We believe in diversity of programming and media ownership.
-Your donations make the work of MomsRising possible. To donate today on our new, secure website go to:

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

chocolate review! Cocoa Bella

Hello, you delicious collection of mouth watering artistry.

To you, I say yes, yes, yes! To every unique piece in your box, I say yes.

Yes to the Rosemary Caramel!
Yes to the Caramel with Hawaiian Pink Sea Salt!
Yes to the Passion Fruit Puree in Ganache!

Yes, yes, yes, you Caramelized Butter Ganache, you Lemon Buttercream in Dark Chocolate Cup, you Apple Cinnamon Honey Puree in Dark Chocolate.

And yes, you brilliant French Caramel Champignon, with your chewy caramel stem and your almond praline cap. You little mushroom, you amuse bouche.

Yeah- good times at our place after we were gifted with this box of Cocoa Bella Chocolates! The store is in the ginormous Bloomingdale's/Nordstrom's shopping center. The riches that await you come from all over- Belgium, France, Switzerland, the US. I don't even want to think about the carbon footprint of this little blue box of goodies.

And don't be fooled- this is not your traditional box of chocolates. Perhaps you were clued in by my swooning above? If the perfect little French mushroom-shaped chocolate doesn't give it away, then the gold leaf on the strawberry and lemon buttercream cups certainly does.

The artistry in making these fine chocolates is matched or exceeded by taste. The passion fruit egg has the freshest fruit taste- and I used to have a passion fruit tree in my backyard. The raspberry pate de fruit with dark chocolate ganache not only has a fetching mod design, it presents a fresh and fabulous fruit flavor and texture.

The jasmine tea milk chocolate offers a unique combination of tastes that work surprisingly well together. Milk chocolate turns out to be the silkiest of backdrops against which the delicate flavor of jasmine unfolds.

I could review each piece in here, but I think you get the point. This is a chocolate experience. It's not the giddy fun of an enormous, homogenous bar in front of you. It's the wonder of artistry in a tiny edible package, eighteen unique times.

Friday, April 06, 2007

double chocolate review!

This week I'm doing two chocolate reviews-- and look for my special post-Easter Cocoa Bella Easter Assortment review! I cannot wait.

First up: plantations Arriba Chocolate, Premium Varietal from Ecuador, 38% Arriba Cacao, $3.49 for 100 g (3.5 oz).

The back of the box tells us the Arriba varietal is grown solely in Ecuador with a perfumed floral scent before roasting. The pure flavor is preserved by not adding vegetable fat or "vanilla covering aroma." The box also tells us the chocolate has less cocoa butter fat and high cocoa solids content.

Their mission is to safeguard heirloom chocolate varietals (here I was thinking only of tomatoes when I thought of heirloom varietals!); encourage sustainable shade grown cultivation, preserving the rain forest; and guarantee a fair price to farmers.

This is an *extremely* pure bar in terms of politics and chocolate. I bought it because knowing that the business of coffee/chocolate growing can be downright sordid (we're talking child labor in bad conditions), I wanted to support those who grow these cash crops ethically (I'm not fooling myself into thinking this is some sort of staple! I savor.).

You know how Central American coffees are generally pretty mild? They can be brewed strong, but they're not richly robust like French roast or Italian espressos. They're delicate, they can be overwhelmed by milk, and they're all around pretty gentle.

This chocolate is like that. Mild, smooth (taste, not texture), with a delicate chocolate flavor. It's quite nice.

My main quibble is with the texture. The box did warn me of this-- it said there was a lower cocoa butter content. The lower fat means the chocolate itself isn't quite as smooth in texture as it could be. The texture is also somewhat light- not totally, but somewhat suggestive of a crumbly texture you might expect with the lower cocoa fat content. I was a little disappointed with that.

Overall, I'd say this is an excellent bar in terms of growing practices, an agreeable bar in terms of taste and an average bar in terms of texture. This brand might make a better dark chocolate- I'll have to try and see. :)

Next we have Venchi, Vaniglia chocolate. $2.99 for 45 g (1.58 oz). Milk chocolate flavored with natural vanilla. 31.7% cocoa.

Wha-? you might ask. Why have a fine *chocolate* that's flavored with *vanilla*? Especially since we read above an implication that vanilla might simply be used as a "covering aroma"? Well, it's done pretty often, but usually with inferior vanilla.

This, however, is no inferior chocolate OR inferior vanilla. The first bite releases the MOST heavenly, pure vanilla scent. This isn't bourbon vanilla-- it's as if someone scraped a precious vanilla bean into the chocolate minutes before your first bite. It's that pure and good. The vanilla clearly isn't meant to merely stand by as chocolate takes the lead. The makers of this chocolate intended for Vanilla to be The Flavor, with chocolate carrying and complementing it. They did an admirable job.

The texture is totally smooth and melts in your mouth without being gritty or waxy, the two most common offenses I've found in chocolate texture.

I did find that it's best to eat this little bar in even littler bites. The more you eat, the more the vanilla starts to overwhelm. So savor this one in small portions, and you'll get the most enjoyment out of it.