Tag Archives: San Francisco

Amazon fail and independent bookstores in San Francisco save the day


As a household, we have been all over the ease and efficiency of Amazon Prime, which offers free two-day shipping on practically everything for the annual fee of $79. That’s $79 a year, or about $6.60 per month, so as not to find parking and fight the crowds to buy grain-free cat food or chlorine-free diapers while loading up the car with an infant in tow, invariably at a big box store like Costco or Target anyway (the latter of which does not presently exist within the city limits). The ease of delivery right to our door prevails over revving up our car at over $4 per gallon of gas, even where it’s still a rare transportation choice for our public-transit lifestyle. The annual fee includes free streaming of plenty of movies and TV shows, which, as an aside, prompted our household to defect from Netflix. Amazon, however, was built on book sales, so I was quick not even to question its ability to fulfill a recent order I had for several new baby board books in a Babylit series of Romeo & Juliet, Jane Eyre, Pride & Prejudice, and Alice in Wonderland, all by Jennifer Adams, that would be gifts for some special babies turning one. I was confident I’d have these in my hands within a matter of a few days, if not two days.

To my unpleasant surprise, Amazon revised it’s delivery date on several of the books, some reasons having to do with lack of current stock or its inability to ship these certain items in pre-order status on their actual release date. This left me scrambling to find these books locally. The interaction of technology, namely Google Shopping, which helps identify “nearby stores” that have your item, and the real bookstores themselves, with people who actually pick up the phone within three rings and then walk over to the actual shelf to check if a book that their database says is in stock indeed is, and then holds said books for you, saved me from showing up at the party empty-handed. WIN for the independent bookstore, which I confess I have always morally loved, but only irregularly financial supported. The detour the Amazon fail provided enabled me to discover a local shop that I’ve passed, but never walked into, Alexander Book Co., and one that used to be one of my neighborhood bookstores, Books Inc. in the Castro. I heartily thank both booksellers for being there this past week.

Food Explorations for the Mind and Tastebuds = Asian Culinary Forum


20100510FFacfIt’s been a privilege so far to have joined, as of last year, the board of Asian Culinary Forum, an SF-based nonprofit dedicated to exploration and enjoyment of Asian foods from around the world.  Under the enthusiastic and diligent leadership of executive director Thy Tran and an equally enthusiastic team of board members who bring in wisdom and experience from food careers and avocations, I’ve really gotten the chance to learn so much more simply by listening in on all of the conversations already in progress about food trends and mysteries, the development of ideas into programming and events for the current year or perhaps shelving them in orderly fashion for long-term planning.

This weekend’s symposium, “Filipino Flavors: Tradition + Innovation” at The International Culinary School at The Art Institute of California-San Francisco is set to bust through, in a metaphorical sense, the picket fences of lumpia as a barricade between, on the one hand, the concept of pedestrian home cooking in your typical Daly City household and, on the other, the development of Filipino cuisine as ripe and intricate culinary subject matter.  The beautiful thing about ACF’s events are that they’re not all talk; there are some serious eating occurrences planned this weekend!  I suggest you cast your spoon and fork into the adobo deathmatch assortment and cast your vote for your favorite contender at Saturday night’s Adobo Throwdown:

Whose recipe reigns supreme? Considered by many to be the national dish of the Philippines, adobo is personalized by household with each version passionately championed. Enjoy a gustatory tour of long-held family recipes and innovative variations on the theme. Taste, drink, mingle, move and groove to live music, then cast a vote on your favorite entry. Competition is open to all community members and amateur cooks. (Competitors are set – see below!) Top prizes will be awarded by popular vote and by our panel of distinguished judges. Keith Kamisugi will serve as our gregarious master of ceremonies and Lumaya will provide music. $20 per person.

Ticket sales end May 12! [buy now]



Fred Briones | NAME OF DISH: Not Your Mom’s Adobo
Aimee Crisostomo | NAME OF DISH: Adobo
Clemente P. Escopete | NAME OF DISH: Uncle Clem’s Abobo Bicolano
Lizelle Festejo | NAME OF DISH: Tuna Squidobo
Steffany Farros | NAME OF DISH: Howard Family’s Awesome Adobo!
Jennifer Kirk | NAME OF DISH: Captain Kirk’s Adobo
John Melana | NAME OF DISH: J’s Tomadobo Chix and Ribs Recipe
Pauline Rivera | NAME OF DISH: Jalapeno Pork Adobo
Chummy Sevilla | NAME OF DISH: Slow Braised Pork Adobo

THE JUDGES: Dawn Bohulano Mabalon, Assistant Professor, Department of History, San Francisco State University; Marie Romero, President & Publisher, Arkipelago Books; Vice Consul Leah Victoria Rodriguez, The Philippine Consulate General in San Francisco and, the toughest judge of all….YOU!

Then, on Sunday, we’ve placed a creative interlude amidst the furious cooking and exploratory academic and industry panels:

Sun May 16 | 1:00–2:30 pm, with light refreshments
Local writers share their poems, fiction and essays about two of the most important facets of life: our families and our food. Barbara Jane Reyes, Rashaan Alexis Meneses, Aileen Suzara, Aimee Suzara, Lizelle Festejo, Yael Villafranca and Lisa Suguitan Melnick read from their books and works-in-progress. Oscar Bermeo emcees.  $5 general admission, $3 students. Ticket sales end May 12! [buy now]

Designer Max Medina at The Mystery Parade created the superb symposium poster and collateral.  Thanks, Max!