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Monday, July 31, 2017

Ted Nelson's Birthday Party at the Internet Archive

I wasn't aware of Ted Nelson before the Internet Archive announced his birthday party, but it seemed like a good occasion to learn about him. Turns out he's a very interesting guy. Ted was one of the pioneers of the computer industry, starting long before the internet. You can listen to a 1979 interview here. There are many more interviews with Ted online, but this one is hilarious, as a clueless interviewer tries to convince Ted that nobody would want a computer in the home.

The program was preceded by a reception that included drinks and substantial snacks. 
One of several platters, before the crowd demolished it
The drinks included (sugar-free) lime Kool-Ade, Ted's childhood favorite.
Ted speaking
It was a warm evening, so there were fans.
Both sides of fan 
After the program, there was birthday cake.

Cake with lit candles
Cross-section of cake slice
Ted blowing out his candles
Video of Ted blowing out his candles
 It was a fun evening, and I am looking forward to learning more about Ted.

If you're not familiar with the Internet Archive, check it out. They have a lot more than the archived internet, including a free lending library, and the Wayback Machine, which has archived content no longer available via a regular search engine.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Afternoon Tea With SST@3

Second Sunday Tea at 3 is a group that meets once a month for afternoon tea, usually on the second Sunday.

In November, we went to Crown & Crumpet's Tea Stop Cafe on Post Street, in the New People building across from Japan Town. There are more substantial items available, but we all had the afternoon tea.
The full tea tray before we demolished it
Sandwiches served with salad
Scones and Crumpets, of course

An assortment of sweets for dessert
The full menu is available online
The Famous Teapot Clock
A steaming cuppa


Separate Tea Menu


On January 8 we went to Lovejoy's, now under new management, but still the same excellent tea service. The menu is available online.

J.K., Cynthia, Sue, Sierra, Susi, Candice 
Tea for One  
High Tea for four
The Queen's Tea includes everything on the High Tea menu, plus a crumpet and a petit four. Scone and crumpet are too much for some of us, but the petits fours can be ordered separately. When we were almost finished, our waiter brought us a tray of crumpets because they had made too many and didn't want them to go to waste. We somehow managed to polish them off!
Close-up of the Checkerboard Shortbread Tea Biscuit
Top Tier For One
 
Everybody's teapot is different
Lovejoy's is known for
its mis-matched china
Decaf chocolate truffle tea
with milk and sugar
Sandwich and Crumpet
     
The walls are festooned with tea towels and thank-you
notes from children who enjoyed the tea service
Our May outing was to Imperial Tea Court at San Francisco's Ferry Building. Cynthia, Susi and Sierra took the ferry over from the East Bay. It was a nice, sunny day, so I walked from home. Cynthia had arrived early to check out Dandelion Chocolate's new Ferry Building location, but unfortunately they had a water leak and had to close the kiosk. I went by after our tea experience and they were open. I was no longer hungry enough for a Frozen Hot Chocolate, but I did buy some bars to take home.

If you prefer a cold drink with your tea snacks, there are Iced Tea and Ginger Ale sections on the menu.
Hot tea is served in a heavy red teapot, with a white porcelain cup.

The menu includes both Dim Sum and Entrees. The Shrimp Dumplings are served with a bowl of dipping sauce.
Shrimp Dumplings, seasoned with Jasmine Green Tea
There are more substantial entrees for larger appetites.
Teahouse Spicy Noodles
Fresh Steamed Buns and Tea Egg
Close Up of peeled Tea Egg
Vegetarian Steamed Bun
Cross Section of Vegetarian Steamed Bun
Pork Buns
Home-Style Curry
Imperial Tea Court is a delightful experience. You can sit at the outside edge, as we did, and watch the crowds go by, or move inside for a more private tea.







Cafe Zitouna

After spending the afternoon on the Bay on the Chocolate and Wine Cruise, we were hungry for a meal and decided to try Cafe Zitouna on Polk Street. Tea Time has ventured up and down the Polk Gulch many times and we always find a restaurant we haven't yet ventured in to try. Cafe Zitouna is dishing up authentic Morrocan food and tempted our palates.  We decided to start with an appetizer, Tunisian Michwiya, which features tuna, onions, egg and capers.

Appetizer with a side of crusty bread. The best thing to hit the spot on a blustery day.
Angela ordered a wrap, the Merguez Shawarma with housemade lamb sausage and traditional wrap fillers of veg and onion with tahini sauce. YUM.


J.K. ordered the B'stilla, listed on the menu as The Pie From Heaven. This is a savory dish, but topped with powdered sugar and cinnamon, which makes for an interesting contrast.
(B'stilla) chicken meat, scrambled eggs in fresh herbs,
roasted almonds flavored with safran, ginger and honey
wrapped in a tissue thin warka topped with powdered sugar and cinnamon

Up Close with B'stilla

There was definitely enough for leftovers.
From their website:

Café Zitouna is the premier restaurant that combines an authentic Moroccan food with Tunisian Home made food in San Francisco Bay area.
Café Zitouna serves you like a traditional Maghreb family would at their home.

Morocco and Tunisia are the culinary star of North Africa in the Mediterranean sea, are the doorway between Europe and Africa (located very close to Spain and Italy).

The North African region called Maghreb. Much imperial and trade influence has been filtered through the area and blended into its culture. Unlike the herb-based cooking across the sea to the north, Tunisia and Moroccan cooking is characterized by rich spices. Cumin, coriander, saffron, chiles, dried ginger, cinnamon, and paprika are on the cook's shelf, and in her mortar. In one word come visit us or order online and you will be glad you did
. Additionally, the menu at Cafe Zitouna is Halal Dhabiha.

The casual family atmosphere of Cafe Zitouna is a welcome break from the hustle(!) and bustle of Polk Street. It was certainly a cozy place to rest our weary feet and nosh down some delicious ethnic food after our lovely boat ride under both bridges.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Irish coffee, Ireland style

Yes, apparently you have to go to Ireland to get the real deal.  The difference is in the cream:  over there, they layer on thick cream that doesn't dissolve like the sprayed-from-a-can whipped cream with which it's served in the States.  Powers is the whisky of choice.

I had one at Tigh Ned's ("Tigh," pronounced like tea, appropriately enough for this blog; it basically means pub) on Inis Óirr (i.e, Inisheer), one of the Aran Islands, while waiting out some rain and the arrival of a pony trap for a tour of some of the island.  This came with sugar already in it, just not so much that the primary taste sensation was sweetness.  It was a good cup of coffee in which I could taste the whisky, and the thick cream made it smoother.


The next day, I had this one at the Roundstone Cafe in the village of Roundstone in Connemara.  The lady at the cafe served it without sugar so I could add to taste ... and the Demarara crystals were lovely.  Fortunately, I think us kids can try this at home!

We were on a short meal and leg-stretching break, and I chose to have an Irish coffee then nosh on a Clif Bar back on the bus.

It was just as good as the one at Tigh Ned's.  There's a new Irish restaurant in Oakland near Jack London Square, called Slainte, and I'll have to see if they make them like Mam used to, won't I?

BTW, one of our day trip guides mentioned the Irish sitcom "Father Ted," in the context of acceptable Irish alternatives to actual naughty words.  The opening helicopter shot sequence is up on YouTube, and the chopper flies over Inis Óirr.  The dead giveaway is the old shipwrecked tanker on the southern shore; the sea heaved it up in a winter storm in 1960 and there it's sat ever since.  Lovely little island.  It's in the Gaeltacht, but apparently people speak Irish at home and among their friends and English in public, so I didn't have a chance to look like an amateur.

Update on Dagoba's xocolatl bar

In Neo-Pagan and Berkeley folk music circles (not quite "But I repeat myself," but close; think Venn diagram), there is a version of "Give Me That Old Time Religion" with more verses than one could actually sing, because people have added to the collection over the years.  Ahem.  One favorite goes:

We thank great Quetzelcoatl
And the sacred axolotl
For the gift of xocolatl
And save a bite for me!

So ... as for Dagoba's xocolatl bar ... "rich dark chocolate, chilies & nibs" ... I like it!  It's a very crunchy dark chocolate bar with a lovely chile afterkick that emerges from the chocolate taste on the palate and lingers a bit.  It's relatively mild in terms of heat, not like biting into a jalapeño or anything.  More spicy than sweet.

And that's the update to her candy post J.K. promised I'd give you!

Candy at the Winter 2017 Fancy Food Show

Nassau Candy had a huge display of their many candies. I took a lot of pictures, but they mysteriously disappeared from my phone and I couldn't find them in the cloud, either. Their website doesn't list their customers, but they carry many name brand confections and other products, so I'm sure you're buying from their customers, especially if you live near a distribution center, as Tea Time does. Take a look at their website for pictures of everything. You might be inspired to try something new.
Ghirardelli featured their caramel chips. Tea Time makes our own caramel, but this beats cutting it up into tiny pieces and rushing to mix them into our cookie dough before they spread!

I don't remember anything about these, except that they were delicious!
Doscher's Old-Fashioned Candy Canes are the best!
Unfortunately they don't make crushed candy canes, but these pieces are a start. A plastic freezer bag and my hammer and I'll have peppermint marshmallows. The French Chews are good, too, although not suited for inclusion in cookies or marshmallows. Also available as bars.  Just eat them. They'll keep you from finishing off the marshmallows as you cut them.

Fun packaging for the holiday season
We still miss Toffee Talk, and thought we'd have to make our own. Then we discovered Enstrom's.
  

Gerrit Verburg was back with my (and the Doctor's) favorites:  Jelly Babies and Licorice Allsorts, plus the rest of their lines. You can find their candies (plus much, much more, including old favorites) at The Candy Store in San Francisco.
Jelly Babies, Licorice Allsorts and Gumbites from Gerrit Verburg
More Licorice Goodies from Gerrit Verburg
Dagoba, a formerly local brand now manufactured by Hershey's (along with Scharffen Berger chocolate) gave me the most amazing press kit of the show.  A cute little shopping bag was filled with three full-size products:  cocoa powder, chocolate drops, and a xocolatl bar! See an update from Beth, our expert on spicy things, here. Angela and I are not fond of anything too hot. I was so amazed by this generosity that I forgot to ask for a press kit from the Scharffen Berger folks at the other end of the counter!


Amano Artisan Chocolate, a Tea Time favorite, had their own booth this year. With some artisan chocolatiers, we have to taste everything to find out which bars we like, but not Amano. We like everything they make.

This is the current selection of Amano bars at Fog City News in San Francisco, where you can find artisan chocolate, greeting cards, and calendars in addition to a great selection of magazines and newspapers, and also load your Clipper Card.