Wednesday, February 29, 2012

French Chocolates!

Oh la la....I was the first follower on my friend's fantastic blog, 365 Days Of French Cooking, and look what she sent me from France!!!!

Beautiful bag from Yves Thuries Meilleur Artisan De France!! Can't wait to peek inside!

Les Petits Macarons and a  Le Toulouse Lautrecs "Bonbons Feuilletes."
Lucas took one of each!

They look just like mini cute but, all chocolate! Yum!
If this made you hungry, wait until you see my friend's blog!!!

Everyday a full list of what she cooks for her family! Delicious French food and wonderful photography!!!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Musee Mecanique; Antique Arcade Machines.

Hidden away on San Francisco's Famous Fisherman's Wharf, is this amazing FREE museum, called "Musee Mechanique". French for Mechanical Museum. It's the largest private collection of old vintage arcade games in the world. What an amazing privilege to stroll through time and experience these machines at absolutely no cost. Not only can look and marvel at these special stepping stones of the can actually play them. They have been modified to take todays 25 cent pieces.

This exhibit was enormous and took several minutes to even walk around.

Detail from "The Carnival"

Gotta love a "Bimbo-Box"

Classic machine
Buy a Drink for Dan!
You have got to love the note.
This is proof that art imitates life. Sign of the times.

Close up of the den.
World Series Game

Here is the ultimate classic fortune teller machine you expect.
I had to try the Guillotine. Put your quarter in the doors open dramatically

....and down comes the guillotine!
We can't leave the English out as they too had an execution machine.
Some were just plain creepy
I mean, what's going on here?

Most were just gorgeous and brought you back to another time. These really were so advanced. I can just imagine walking along the boardwalk and putting your coin to see these modern machines come to life!

The music drew a crowd. People were amazed at the amplified sound and extraordinary working mechanism. Works of art.

The fortune tellers even came with the famous little cards...

 Next time you are in San Francisco make it a point to visit this museum. Step back in time, enjoy the craftsmanship and beauty of this collection. Read more about it here:

I am linking up with:

Thursday, February 16, 2012

My Proud mommy moment!

Lucie is just the sweetest little girl. I am very proud of her. This year I had to pull her out of her dual immersion Spanish school and transfer her to an all Enlish school in hopes she would do better. Her Girl Scout troop fizzled out and now she's doing it solo. (BTW, if you can't get into a Girls Scout pay $12 for yourself and $12 for your daughter and you become her advisor and she can do all the Girl Scout events and have fun. No monthly meetings, etc. just sign up for things that interest you If you are interested in being a Juliette.... )

She's just rolled with the punches and remained as kind and giving as always. I was so proud of her on Tuesday when we picked up her Girl Scout cookies. These boxes are the cookies she sold door to door. Neighbors we know and some of the sweet ladies in Del Web's Sun City, where my mom lives. I loved watching her organize each order, put the sticky note with buyers name on each order and draw her cute "Thank-you" pictures for ladies in Sun City.

I am very proud of Lucie. She's as sweet as she is cute.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Making Chocolate Fondue

Valentine's day. Hum. It used to mean going out for a romantic dinner for two. It seems awfully complicated with two small children. Reservations, taking the kids to Kid's Park (our local drop in day care....which is awesome) and paying for that and of course....making lunches and doing homework somewhere in there as well. This year, I thought it would just be fun to stay home and have chocolate fondue together. I know the kids love that and it means more time together as a family.

Have you ever made chocolate fondue? So easy. You need two things for the fondue itself. Chocolate chips and cream. That's it.

ON the stove top, or right in the fondue pot (and you DON'T have to have a fondue can just heat on the stove and eat it out of the pot...) Slowly warm up about 3/4 of of a one pint carton of heavy whipping cream. Once it's warm (but not boiling) add a bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips. That's it folks. Easy. can play around with it and add some liquors...Frangelica with give it a peanut flair, you can add Grand Marnier will give it a an orange kick. Just add a bit and taste.

The fun part is all the goodies you'll use to dip. This was a school night and I did work all day, so I kept it simple. Strawberries (Lucie washed them the night before) a banana right out of the fruit basket, frozen Sara Lee Pound Cake (easy to slice will still frozen by the by) And some marshmallows I had left over from rice Krispie treats I made just before Valentine's Day. I did have pretzel rods that I forgot. The Rice Krispie treats would have been good too, but we had eaten them all. I wanted cheesecake but, me and Lucas are the only fans. So, it was very easy to set up.

This recipe makes enough for 6-8 people. We have left over chocolate...s I can break out the pretzel rods soon!

If you haven't made Chocolate fondue, try it. It may become a family favorite.

I bought my fondue pot at Target on February 12 Th. I wanted one for cheese and oil fondues so I need a stainless-steel pot. This Oster pot worked like a charm and was only $29. Buy one here today and start having FUNDUE (pun sick)

Lucie loved it. Her favorite was the strawberries.

My goodies from Stanislas. Champagne, Chocolate and flowers. He had it covered.

Here are some photos from Lucas' 8 Th birthday party. He requested chocolate fondue. It was hit. Each guest got a ramkin on warm chocolate.

Can you tell his birthday is day before Halloween?

Sunday, February 12, 2012

San Francisco, Fisherman's Wharf

The nice thing about living in the Sacramento area is living close to both the ocean and the mountains. I am just over an hour from San Francisco (if you know how to avoid traffic.) and an hour and half to Lake Tahoe. Yesterday I went into San Francisco. This was just a quick trip to goof off by the Wharf and have lunch at The Rainforest Cafe.

First stop....Treasure Island.
Treasure Island is in the middle of the Bay Bridge. It's actually an easy on and off exit. As a tourist or first time visitor to San Francisco you could easily miss this little gem. It's really one of THE best views of the San Francisco skyline. The most crowded and well know is at The Golden Gate bridge. Treasure Island however, is not crowded. I have always parked easily and no walking, no paying, nothing. Now, I wish I had a nice camera but, I think you get the idea.

San Francisco Sky Line

Barge going under the Bay Bridge

Golden Gate in the distance with the Famous San Francisco fog

Lucie enjoying the view

The Bay Bridge

First Stop....Ghiradelli Square. This is on the far end of the Wharf. Closet to the Golden Gate Bridge. What's nice now, is that you can park and pay a meter with a credit card. I paid up to three hours at a time and I am sure you could do more. The 3 hours was about $8. Really not bad for the City. There were plenty of spots at 11 a.m.

You'll be amazed at all the little gems here. 

Shops, restaurants and of course, Chocolate. Even if you don't plan on buying any, step in to have a look. You are greeted at the door with one of their famous squares of chocolate.
One of favorite things to do here....have a spot of tea at Crown and Crumpet. So cute, and such a nice break from sight seeing on a cold day.

From Ghiradelli you can walk down to the Cannery. Which was an old Canary and is now filled with shops ans more restaurants. It's just a few blocks away. If you need some strength, make a stop at the very famous, Buena Vistas. You'd never form it's Spanish name that is where the Irish Coffee was first concocted. So, DO expect the best. In fact....I'd have to say YOU MUST stop here for a sip of history. 

The man who started it all.
Stanton Delaplane at the Buena Vista in 1975.

This is a fun place in the summer. The pubs are filled with live music and it's busy and lively.

Sunshine and ocean air....beautiful vegetation.

Now....time to walk along the Wharf. Time to for the sights and sounds of the seafood and fun.

You will be wooed and invited into restaurant after restaurant along the Wharf. All in fun. Be warned, you will be tempted. Why not? You can sit outside with some delicious seafood, wine...maybe a Bloody Mary. Or grabbed something to go.

If you want a quiet place to rest your feet and enjoy the ocean, try Boudins. Famous for their sourdough bread and sourdough bowls with homemade clam chowder. It's a two story restaurant and a lot of fun. Request a view if you want. I just sat at the bar once with my bestie and wine and soup.

Be sure to at least go in and check out their bakery. You may want to take home a sourdough lobster or clam. Too fun.

View from the Wharf Golden Gate Bridge in background

View of Alcatraz from the Wharf. The submarine that is docked here can be visited. Don't expect to go to Alcatraz if you have not booked a tour at least a week in advance.

Now....we have reached the far end of the Wharf. The most famous part Pier 39.

Pier 39 entrance. A fun stroll with shops, restaurants, activities, and of course the famous seal lions that just started gathering there. (fun but, stinky in that area) We here on a winter's day. Not too crowded. In the summer, expect lots of people and lots of lines. Public bathrooms here are well kept and where not crowded at this time of year.

Add caption

Julie and Lucie observing the sea lions!

Read more about Pier 39 here:

It was a long walk, but doable. So much to see on the way. If you'd like you can rent bikes, segways or one of these go carts:

Never a dull moment in San Francisco. This is JUST one of the sights to see and as you can imagine i couldn't capture it all....the street entertainers, the wonderful antique fortune teller machine museum (that's free....look for my next post...I went nuts in there) Ripley's Believe it or Not Museum, the wax museum, etc. It just goes on and on!! If you haven't been to San Francisco, I really hope you can. It's a fantastic city.