Saturday, November 16, 2013

Short Story

Second Hand
Nov 16, 2013

She’s been wearing me for five years now. I’ve watched so many people come and go; she can’t seem to make up her mind. How she has changed! And yet stayed so very much the same.

I think I am her favorite, though I am plain and not particularly stylish and in some cases, like in the rain, not very functional. I absorb everything, including all those drinks and sauces she spills. More ranch dressing, really? But I fit length-wise and that’s all that really matters to her.

I have seen the most beautiful places. France, Italy, Spain, Amsterdam, New York, Seattle, San Francisco – the Golden Gate Bridge really is as spectacular as the photos. The many times when she’s needed me, I’ve been happy to wrap around her torso and arms, happy to live my destiny as she lives hers.

One time she took me to the top of Piazzale Michelangelo where she sat on the steps with her friends and drank cheap champagne over the rooftops of Florence. The sunset made the sky all pink and orange. She made me really love sunsets. She would always talk about how beautiful it was, the time of day when time slows, when the sky changes its mind and you can love without judgment.

And the Eiffel Tower! How magnificent. At night it sparkles and glitters. We would go there all the time. Once, alone, in the middle of the night, she walked under the big beams on the way home and I think she was crying but when I looked up at her she was laughing.

There were a lot of nights in Paris. When her old lover came to visit for Thanksgiving, she took him to the tower to sit and drink wine. I kept her warm. She ate a whole block of cheese nervously, probably to keep herself from thinking too hard, because if she did she would realize that she did not love him and never would.

I sometimes heard her talk about warm places she’s been: Africa, Japan, Hawaii, India. Imagine, seeing the Taj Mahal! Or spreading out on the sand in Kauai. How lucky those tee-shirts are. 

I’m important, I remind myself. What would she have done that winter night she was stranded in Barcelona? But still, she could take better care of me. Like the button on my sleeve that fell off two years ago on an airplane. Instead of replacing it she just folds the flap over the hole.

And does she think these stains don’t accumulate? I’ve been washed three times, maybe. How I’d love to be new again, and the dyer, so terrifyingly spectacular. I’m important, I remind myself; I am hers and she is mine.

Then things took a turn. She’d stash me in the corner of bars while she danced, keep me in her boyfriend’s car “just in case,” leave me on the couch crinkled and forgotten. I was sad because I didn’t get to see the things that she saw, but mostly because I think she loved me less.

One August afternoon she stuffed me in a bag and when I awoke we were at the Goodwill on Clayton Road. Somebody pierced me with a price tag and I never saw her again.

Months later a teenage girl convinced her mom to buy me – because she’d grow into me and that, after all, she needed a black coat and she promised to fix my button and I was only five dollars. So they took me to their house and the girl hung me on a pink plastic hanger. Where would you like to go first? I asked as she put me in the closet.

I’ve lost track of time now, wondering what’s happening out there and whispering to the others in the dark about the Louvre and Times Square and thinking about those tee-shirts on the beaches in paradise.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Studio Gourmet in San Francisco

Studio Gourmet was another success on Tuesday with Chef Mark Dommen from Michelin-rated One Market Restaurant in downtown San Francisco.  

During an in-depth interview, the Napa-based chef spoke candidly about his life growing up in the rural countryside of northern California and starting his "farm-to-table" mantra early on. From starting out at jobs like dish-washing during school summer breaks and a minimum wage internship at Hubert Keller's Fleur de Lys, Dommen went on to graduate from the California Culinary Academy and has since traveled around the world to cook, including Switzerland, where he owns a dual-citizenship. Now the Executive Chef and Partner at San Francisco's One Market Restaurant with over 20 years of cooking experience, Dommen has mastered contemporary, seasonal and fresh American fare, and stresses the importance of always taking care of his staff. 

On the menu Tuesday night was a deeeelicious bacon-wrapped pork tenderloin stacked on a sautéed apple slice with a dandelion and mustard green persillade, followed by baked (not fried) Dungeness crab cakes. 

Left: Brad Lev, Host and Founder of Studio Gourmet; Right: Chef Mark Dommenfrom One Market Restaurant

For all you foodies out there, here's something you might not know: Dommen was voted one of the "Hottest Chefs in the Bay" by SF Eater. Atta boy, Mark.

For the next Studio Gourmet event, visit

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Walrus the wise.

rnh, 3-13-11
—It’s sort of like a story, isn’t it? Of things coming together and coming undone.
—Shitty story.
—How can you be sure?
—There are other people to take care of that.
—So what now?
—Have we ever known? Does anybody know?
Probably not.
—We’re mistaking this for something far less (or more) complicated.
—What do you mean?
—You know, love, or whatever.
—I didn’t know that was in question.
—Don’t you remember how you were broken?
How could I forget?
Those walks. So long and heavy.
You made me take my shoes off once.
The night it rained.
I didn’t understand.
I know. 
—Maybe if we had a compass…
—That’d be too easy. We should be desperate, raggedy, semi-coherent, wanting…
Aren’t we?
This—this intimacy; these fragments with no real organized continuity;this talk of who is going where and why and when and with whom—would never have continued, or, in the very least, started, had you—had we—not been so stubborn. So goddamn stubborn.
We like it that way.
I’m dead serious about all this.
Talking about “potential” and “what ifs”—it was all talk and no action.
This is not what I envisioned.
What did you envision?
I don’t know. This is all far too…predictable. Or I guess maybe unpredictable. The way we are. All of the things we don’t speak about. It’s always the same thing. It’s always the same dead-fucking-end.
Hah, yeah.
Trying is out of the question.
And don’t even think about public engagement.
Definitely not.
I hate your stupid shoes.
We used to joke about them.
That was then.