The Power of Home Crafted Vanilla2.0

For You More Creative Types, Make Your Own Vanilla2.0

Yup – that’s right. Well, I goofed this week – I had intended to let had my guest post from Anna go live first, but some of you might have gotten a sneak preview of this one when the “now” feature got clicked. In either case, you can read Anna’s post  “Know Your Extracts: Sniffing out the Best Vanilla for Your Baking” once it goes live late this week, then perhaps you will be inspired to go on to the next step and try making your own version of Vanilla2.0

Vanilla is one of those elements in baking that you either love or don’t. Somewhat like using good quality Tumeric is in cooking. I got started on this road myself after watching some of the baking shows on TV that were using Vanilla Bean Paste which I hadn’t seen before. After visiting the blog which had posted a December piece “The Scandal Between Vanilla Bean Paste vs. Vanilla Extract” .and served as a good place to start (I didn’t necessarily agree with everything – they shared some great content on the post).  I started following links, speaking with other folks who do more baking and came across the whole movement of making your own Vanilla Extract.

Several great recipes are available online for making your own home inspired version of vanilla extract. But to make a good quality one, you need time and the right beans. It isn’t something you want to rush. In fact, if you get them started now. They will make great Holiday gifts this season.

Choosing which beans you want to use also takes some research. Areas to take note of include the grade of bean, the type of bean, the age of them and the source ( they can be expensive) and what liquid you intend to use to extract the flavor (a variety of options exist based on flavor or non-alcohol needs).

My next plan

I will be starting a batch in April in fact with ” Tahitian Grade B beans but I also like the Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Beans (Vanilla Planifolia so may make some comparison batches. A few of the online sites that offer recipes for making your own, including purchasing recommendations include: 

Once you get ready to start making your own here are a few things you will need to have on hand.

If you are like me and tend to be more creative, plan early:

  • You will need the beans; that means deciding on the grade of the bean and the ration of beans to the liquid mix; I saw lots of variations on this from 1 whole vanilla bean for every 2 liquid ounces of alcohol. I think to keep it simple I may start with a 1:1 ratio as in 1 bean to each ounce of liquid (then depending on the jar size might top off)
  • Extracting liquid; lots of options for this the most common include Bourbon, Rum, Brandy, and Vodka. The key factor is the liquid has to be greater than 70% proof
  • Bottles/Jars; You will need to decide if you are making a large batch then decant into smaller ones or just go right to the smaller ones. I think I will be hitting the swap and flea markets for vintage and unusual decanters to use as gifts. One common theme I heard was to avoid clear jars (or keep stored in a dark place) and my preference to stay away from plastics. As a back up I found 4 ounce Amber jars on Amazon that I may order to have on hand for “extra” last minute needs.
  • Labels: start thinking what size you will need and how you plan to label them if you are gifting them

Note: this post has some affiliate links to Amazon





5 Ways to Taste the Mediterranean Without Actually Going

5 Ways to Taste the Mediterranean Without Actually Going

Mediterranean cuisine covers many different countries in the Mediterranean basin. Every region has different influencing flavors in its food, however, there are core flavors that can be tasted throughout the Mediterranean region as a whole. Southern Europe features deep flavors such as the tomato-based flavors of southern Italy or the tangy and savory flavors of Greece with the use of bold cheeses and softening yogurt. In a country such as Morocco, the food is heavily seasoned in perfect blends for full rich flavor.

While some countries may use more or less than others, here are five great ingredients that will bring the Mediterranean into any dish:

Balsamic Vinegar

Balsamic vinegar comes from Italy, traditionally made from aged grape must. It has a rich flavor, much more complex than the typical wine vinegar, with hints of sweetness. Balsamic vinegar is not meant to be cooked and is often used as a topper for fresh fruit and grilled meat or fish. Many different types of Balsamic vinegar now exist locally and internationally which is a point of debate in many circles as to what is “real” Balsamic Vinegar. Bon Appetite Magazine does a good job of helping you sort through the various kinds in a 2017 article here.

Olive Oil

Olive oil is used frequently in Mediterranean food because of its abundance in the region. Olive oil is used in cooking but because of its bold flavor, it is often used as a condiment base for dipping bread. Luckily living in the Bay Area I have access to many types of artisanal olive oils including one of my favorites from the DaVero farm and vineyards


Lemon is a flavor that can be found throughout Mediterranean cooking and is often found alongside garlic, cumin, coriander, oregano, and parsley. Lemon is a much-appreciated ingredient because of the compatibility of its citrus tones with common Mediterranean dishes like fish.When you can get freshly picked lemons use them! Two of my recent favorite recipes include ways to preserve them and a “rocken” lemon cake recipe from King Arthur Flour that I think is hands down one of the best Lemon Bundt cakes I have ever had. Best part it translates into two loaf pans nicely as well.

Mediterranean Oregano

Oregano is best known for its uses in Italian cooking, but what not many people know is that there is a difference between Mediterranean oregano and Mexican oregano. Mediterranean oregano features a softer, sweeter, and more minty flavor than its Mexican counterpart, and is used in a variety of Mediterranean spice mixes, from Italian seasoning to Zataar seasoning


Tomatoes are powerful in almost every Mediterranean region’s cooking. It is a flavorful crop that can be kept and presented in many way, tomato paste, tomato purée, etc. It holds a very sultry flavor that can be sweetened or more rustic. A flavor that goes well with pasta, rice, meat, seafood, vegetables and so forth — making it very versatile.

Try It: Savory Yellow Rice with Chicken


  • 11/2 cups Basmati rice
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • ¼ tsp cumin
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 21/2 cups chicken broth


  • 4 boneless and skinless chicken thighs cubed (1.3 lbs)
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • 11/3 tsp cumin
  • 1/3 tsp coriander
  • 1/3 tsp ground cloves
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • 1/3 tsp curry powder
  • 4 garlic cloves minced
  • 11/3 tbsp lemon
  • ½ cup Greek yogurt
  • Sea salt and pepper
  • 21/2 tbsp olive oil
  • Medium onion sliced

Rice directions:

Melt the butter and add the turmeric and cumin. Stir just until fragrant, about a minute. Add the rice, make sure it is well coated and toast in the seasoning for about 4 minutes. Add chicken broth, bring to a boil and then let it simmer for 15 minutes.

Chicken directions:

Mix all the spices along with generous amounts of salt and pepper and 1 tbsp olive oil. Doing this in a bag will make working in the yogurt easier. After it is mixed thoroughly, add the chicken and onions and let sit overnight. Heat the remaining 1.5 tbsp of olive oil, add the chicken until cooked and serve with the yellow rice and tzatziki sauce.


Craving more Mediterranean flavor? Try these from the BitetheRoad archives:




Dressing up your coffee table books with book-bling

So with the Crown Mosaic done and wrapped… I realized I still have some pieces that needed to get a new life beyond finding themselves being sold. So I searched around for ideas and found one! I started making a series of “Book Jewelry” bookmarks.

Yup bookmarks, you know those things you used to use before e-readers came along. But these were designed to serve as a functional way to dress up books that often sit unadorned and naked on a coffee table or the bedside table and I supposed if you like a little pizzaz at church they might look good hanging out of the good book some Sunday services.

I first needed to organize myself and figured the best way was to store my cleaned and dried pieces in something better than an old shoebox. So I got myself one of these portable organizers, of course as luck would have it – they only had pink that day – but what the hell did I care I had a coupon and it was 50% off.  I got mine at Micheals, but Amazon has them as well; VonHaus Very Small Utility Tool Storage Box – Portable Arts Crafts Organizer Case with 4 Drawers & Adjustable Dividers (10.9 x 10.1 x 6.9 inches – Black/ Orange) about the same price.

Once I had the pieces cleaned and sorted the same was I did for the Crown Mosaic, I next begin the matching process. I also removed any old threads and looked for creative ways to “gather” them. Think of it as a mental game of visual balance. I didn’t want them all to be too “matchy-matchy” so I sorted and looked for other themes to balance them. I tied several types of ribbons and found I favored the velvet ones in black and grey. I went online and ordered a few kits of crimp ends (often used when making ribbon chokers) in different finishes. they aren’t very expensive and you can like them in local resources as well. In the end, I changed combinations as I went on, and sometimes when I had someone specific in mind. But the idea was to reuse them to catch someone’s give them as gifts I found some inexpensive slimline journals to “package” them in for mailing (except for the folks who we actually purchased books for.

Of course, I didn’t stop there – so the latest round is being adapted is for journalers and planner users, with a closed design that loops around the cover and pages. 

It kind of makes me happy to see these pieces getting a new life. .. and yea if you have some bits and pieces around your homes, or come across those boxes of them in the attic – send them my way!  several folks about my selling them. I hadn’t planned on it, but it is possible jsut drop me a message via the BitetheRoad Facebook page









What to do with old jewlery that needs a new home? Make a Crown of course!

Yup.. a Crown is what I said.

This was my season of “crafting” between making Meyer Lemon Marmalade, Seasoned Salts for gifts.
So a few people saw the end result of my “call for used and old jewelry” before the holidays. But a few of you asked to see the finished project. But let me step back a moment and explain what started this journey. For many years, each holiday season I would see this version in the window of an old “crim cram” shop each holiday season. If stuck with me and this fall I committed to making one for us. When I started it, it was to make something for us at the house, as luck would have it, a friend had an entire box of old jewelry collected back over several generations that she didn’t want and was glad to hand them over to me. So that began the process of making it real. But as I said, while this was supposed to be for us, it morphed into my deciding to make it as a gift for someone that would also have a timer lights and framed.

Getting started on the “Crown”


I knew I wanted a crown theme and that some crown pins would serve as the foundation pieces. So I went online and looked for stencils. When I found the one I wanted, I printed it to size and then used a sharp nail to outline it on the paper I intended to use as my background.


After doing some checking online on how best to clean them and get rid of some of the “old smell” I opted for washing them in a bath of warm water, a drop of Dawn Dish Soap, Ultra Dishwashing Liquid, Original Scent, Blue, 21.6 Fl Oz (Pack of 2 ),a few drops of tea tree oil and a splash of hydrogen peroxide. I only let them soak for a few minutes, then rinse them in cool clear water and dried them in the sun. The next step took the most time – separating the pieces into three groups; 1) for the mosaic, 2) for other projects and 3) too nice to break apart – hold on too for now.


After selected a background, and once I started the laying out the signature pieces of the mosaic and I realized I needed to choose how I was going to secure the pieces. I opted for Devcon 18245 Weld-It Cement – 1 oz.. It dries clear and stayed tacky long enough for me to move and shift things. I also lucked out with the thin wire lights with a timer that I had around the house – but these would workBRIGHT ZEAL 33′ FT Cool White LED String Lights Battery Operated LED Lights (Silvery Wire, 6hr Timer) – Silver Wire Fairy Lights – LED Christmas Lights – Twinkle Star Firefly Lights LED Battery Lights. Just make sure to determine how many lights you want.

After that:

It was all about adding pieces and textures, stepping away, coming back and filling in spots. It helped to snap photos and look at them that way from time to time as well. Making sure the frame and mat fit and time for gift giving.

 And not worry.. check out this post which will explain what I did with all the leftover pieces!







Looking for some food inspired things to do?

December isn’t just about the gifts. It’s also a great time to get out and sample whats happening around you.

I try to post local happenings on the BiteTheRoad Event Page or you can visit for lots of other ideas.

You can also send me your event and I will add them as I can.

Here is a series I am especially fond of:

This waterfront market, run by the Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture (CUESA), has over 100 food, fruit, and vegetable vendors on Saturdays and the entire Bay as its beautiful backdrop.

The Ferry Plaza Farmers Market operates year-round from 8 am to 2 pm.

On most Saturdays, free cooking demos take place in the CUESA Classroom (under the white tents in front of the Ferry Building) and are free to the public, with recipes and samples for all.

Check out whats coming up



With more than 100 vendors, it serves as the largest market surrounding the Ferry Building every Saturday, offering a wide variety of high-quality local produce, food craft products, and breakfast and lunch options.

Enjoy free educational programs by visiting the CUESA Classroom for Market to Table Demos by local chefs, and stopping by CUESA’s Food Shed education tent to deepen your understanding of sustainable food systems.

A Sunday morning treat at Le Marais

Planning and Brunch at Le Marais

A busy week of late, as I prepared for a trip to Alexandria, VA for a week of meetings. Including one of which is a workshop, I am hosting as part of my other world. But knowing that, on Sunday I took Dino for a morning walk and I even managed to get Paul up to go with a promise of brunch. We had heard a lot about the new Le Marais Bakery that made moved in on 18th & Sanchez. But hadn’t had a chance to sample it. It has been some time since I was last in France, so anytime I can enjoy some of the flavors I look forward to it. When we saw seating outside – we grabbed it for sure.

A menu I look forward to sampling more of

I really like the Le Marias  “Board” menu which lets you choose from a variety of options. This is perfect for me as I am not normally an omelet person. After waiting for an unusually long time,  a server came over to check on us and I think realized we hadn’t even been offered coffee. Once they fixed that and took our menu, we were pleasantly surprised when another server came by with an offer of two curtesy pastries to apologize for the delay.

Not being one to say no to the temptation of the baked kind, I went with the savory scone of the day and Paul grabbed the almond croissant. So just to stop you from wondering if you should? YES! You should. They were great. The scone was the right balance of cheese, dense and savory with chunks of ham. While the croissant was crisp, rich and layers of the almond filling but not so much it was like paste inside as some other spots tend to do.

We both opted to order from the Board Menu, my going for a smoked salmon and lox theme and Paul with a more traditional egg, avocado one. From a quality perspective  – I was very pleased.  While paying for the check, I went up to the counter and purchased a few other take homes and again was pleasantly surprised when the house tossed in an extra croissant for the trouble.

It is service like this, that will make me a customer on a routine basis. I don’t need extras on every visit – but I do appreciate places that put the effort out to recognize when”service had a moment” with a gesture. Overall a great showing at Le Marias Bakery in the Castro.


Le Marias Bakery

On Facebook: and Twitter and Instagram as @LeMaraisBakery

Thursday Date Night at AfterDark

We have been on a binge of late to try and sample some of what is happening locally and AfterDark was on deck.

Last week I shared about out try to the California Academy of Sciences for it’s Thursday night event. This week knowig I was working that day at the office and Pauls office isnt far we thought we would check out After Dark this week at the Exploratorium.

Since I was planning to go into the office Thursday for that late afternoon meeting and the weather was mild, I decided to walk. I arranged to meet a professional colleague at Cafe Flore for coffee first. Lucky me,  I got to see the infamous “Smoking Santa” get ready to take to the roof. It’s amazing to see what is going on around us, when we aren’t in our cars or stuck below ground.

Each week they highlight a few special themes. Last week was food and the food of tomarrow, on Nov 16th the theme also food related is: After Dark: Cooking Contraptions. They have a posted full list of the scedule as a well as the indivudal nights events here

After walking down to the Ferry building or Ferry Building Marketplace as it is officially what they call it (earlier than expected due to a power outage on the Van Ness/Market street area). I took some time to enjoy the sights, sounds and smells that being in the Ferry Building always offers. The Ferry Building actually has a cool history  to it and what it has become. It is well worth an afternoon or early evening walk through. If you are a cheese lover – the happy hour crowd at the Cowgirl Creamery‘s Sidekick spot is pretty rocken and on the night I stopped they had “oh so good Raclette” and grilled cheese goodness everywhere.Eventually Paul got out of work and we walked over the the Exploratorium. A hint – as long as you buy your tickets for the even by 5:00pm you can save a few bucks off the entry, not can get busy – so you might want to read up on what features it has and what you want to be sure to get in line for early.  

The Exploratorium is a meadering space that makes thinkers out of children and children out of adults! Below are a few of my favorites shots from the night. This is so a “do with your friends kind of place” very hands on and well worth  taking the time for it. After Dark is every Thursday from 6:00 – 10:00 pm. The whole idea of the place is interactivity – some on your own, others with those around you. They even offer a few “trust” activies for you to consider..  Which would you hit?

Sip or Squit; make the choice

This was one of my favorite displays – if you had two fountains and one looks like a toilet – would you still drink from it?

Would you drink from this?


Wrapping up the night, we walked back from Pier 15 towards the Ferry Building and ended up deciding to stop at Gott’s Roadside for burgers, people watching and even spotted a few celebrity Food Network folks walking through before grabbing Muni home for the night.

Ahh a day off!

Friday being my day off, that meant I got to do mostly catch up as I prepare for a trip to DC in two weeks, and offer a several hour workshop.. But since the weather wasn’t all that nice, after a quick trip to the grocery store, I tossed togther a hearty pan of “Cowboy Lasagna” which I have raved about before a few times before. This dish has become a real favorite as it takes only 30 minutes to put togther and 40 min to bake. Sure it isn’t my all-day sauce Italian lasagna, but it sure is a great alternative with some homeade cheese bread on the side. The recipe actually comes from the Trisha Yearwood cooking show.



San Francisco Ferry Building Marketplace

Ferry Scedule

Farmers Market 

Cowgirl Creamery’s Artisan Cheese Shop

For a full list of Merchants

SF Exploratorium

Pier 15
(Embarcadero at Green Street)
San Francisco, CA 94111

(415) 528-4444

More Contact Info











Bite-Cap3: The Final Chapter

Bite-Cap3 … well, it is Halloween, the most notoriously themed holiday for “sequels, prequels, and new adaptations”.

As many of you know or saw on Facebook – Sunday was our monthly book club. This months book was a Werewolf book; Mongrel by Stephen Graham Jones

So trying to stay in tune with the book and determine what to make to eat – I recalled a recipe for Braised Cauliflower I had been wanting to try. Which when I remembered, it looked a lot like brains. Which I imagine why when it is photographed it gets special treatment. So that started the menu. With some help from Lidia Bastianich’s cookbook Mastering the Art of Italian Cooking, my variation to her standard recipe for Braised Cauliflower is below. I also checked out several other versions including one at NYT and they all offered options and flavors and cooking technique (oven or stovetop). But I stayed with the style that Lidia’s version offered.

But I couldn’t stop there –

Last week I also caught an episode of Nancy Fuller’s FarmHouse Rules For the  Meaty Intestines – and I thought that would marry well with the brains.

Stuffed Bread intestines – this originated from Nancy Fuller’s FarmHouse Rules shown for Halloween on Meaty Intestines.  But since I wasn’t going to make a slow-cooked pork butt, which is what she used to fil her “Intestines”.  I improvised the stuffing some. (Note: The leftover stuffing is what I mixed with the leftover sauce and onion from the Braised Cauliflower and places around the Brain in the pan)

But the ones I served at Bookclub revised as follows:

Braised Cauliflower Brains


1 teaspoon chopped garlic
2 tablespoons
4-6 ounces chopped Bacon (I use a black pepper thick cute sliced)
1 large onion, large diced
1 large head of cauliflower (keep it whole)
1 can 28 ounces can plum tomatoes (San Marzano work well), plus the amount of one can of water
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
3 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon of dried rosemary
1/4 cup of red wine vinegar (or you can use 1/4 cup red wine)
2 teaspoons Parmagrante paste (omit this if you use wine)




In a Dutch oven over medium heat:

Add oil and bacon, cooking off until almost crispy, then add onions.

As the onions soften, add red pepper flakes. Stirring frequently.

Open and pour the tomatoes into a bowl and hand crush them ( I left some chunks for affect) and pour entire can, along with adding enough water the fill the empty can with water to the pot.

Pour the crushed tomatoes into the pot and then, adding enough water the fill the empty can with water into the pot.

Add Bay Leaves, Thyme, Rosemary, red wine vinegar, Worcestershire sauce and pomegranate paste (You can adapt for personal  taste – if you have red wine handy – swap that out for vinegar and pomegranate paste )

Stir and raise heat to a low simmer, place the head of cauliflower in the center.

Spoon some of the mixture over the head of cauliflower, like you are giving it a bath…

Bring back to a simmer and cover.

Cook for 25 – 35 minutes. It is done when a knife slides in easily.

Covered it will keep warm for a while or turn the heat back on to bring back to temperature when serving.

Serve by slicing or break it up as you please


Stuffed Bread intestines

– this originated from Nancy Fuller’s FarmHouse Rules shown for Halloween on Meaty Intestines.  But since I wasn’t going to make a slow-cooked pork butt, which is what she used to fil her “Intestines”.  I improvised the stuffing some. (Note: The leftover stuffing is what I mixed with the leftover sauce and onion from the Braised Cauliflower and places around the Brain in the pan)


Two (2) 13.8-ounce package pizza dough (I removed them from the container and wrapped in loose plastic wrap prior to using)
1 medium onion -small  dice
2 Jimmy Dean Sausage roles ( or any kind of ground pork will do)
1/2 cup packed fresh cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
3/4 cup shredded cheese ( I used  a mixture of Cheddar and Provolone cheeses)
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 large eggs
1 – 2 tablespoons tomato paste
All-purpose flour, for dusting work surface
All-purpose flour, for dusting work surface
1 box of long grain rice and almond mix
1 tablespoon of pomegranate seeds (optional)



In a Dutch oven over medium heat

Add oil and cook the pork sausage, break it up as it cooks -but you don’t want is so small that you haven’t any texture.

Add onion, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper stirring frequently.

When done, remove from heat and add 1 tablespoon of pomegranate seeds (optional)

Mix well and leave to cool uncovered (you can make this mix the day before and then use the mix on the day you need it for.While the meat cools, prepare a box of long grain & almond rice mix but omit the seasoning packet. Once made – mix it into the meat & rice mixture

While the meat cools, prepare the box of long grain & almond rice per manufacturers instructions mix but omit or use less than half the seasoning packet.

Once made – mix it into the meat & rice mixture

On the day you plan to bake the “Intestines” off:

On a lightly floured table, roll out the dough into so you cut it into 3-4 in wide strips however long you want them to be. Note: One thing I did was removed the dough from the tobe container the day before so I could let it breathe a bit and soften to room temperature before rolling.

Lay the meat mixture down the center, add shredded cheese alongside it, and the cilantro.

Now seal the edges, keeping the tube affect. Don’t worry much id they look a little ragged -that helps the effect.

Place on parchment covered sheet pans.

Bake in a preheated 375-degree oven for 25 – 30 min, switching pans 1/2 way through the cooking.


I especially love the tip from on the recipe – about using a wash of  1 – 2 eggs and 1-2 tablespoon of tomato paste whisked together to make the pre-bake glaze. That is what gave it the “intestinal” color.
Another hint is to use some of the tomato paste and dab it on the precooked bread to give it a “gashed” look.

Afer 5 min cooling, remove and let cool on a rack

Once baked and cooled a bit I laid them out as you saw to create an affect. I also mixed the leftover rice and meat with the sauce to serve it around the “brains” to help soak up the liquids and used a small rack, under the bread, in the serving pan, to keep them semi-dry.





Bite-Cap2: What a week! with visits to Academy of Science for Nightlife

Bite-Cap2: What a week! – Part 2

This morning I posted my “What a week! – Part 1” and included a Bite-Cap of the week’s happenings.

  • The launch of the #FoodMemories17 Guest series earlier last week,  
  • A follow up of my TechInclusion “TED” Style talk on Mentorship and LGBT at SF Armory building,
  • Getting a chance to listen to blogger and cookbook writer Cenk from talk about his newest cookbook “The Artful Baker”, dinner at some fun spots around town, a 5.4 mile local urban hike, an educational trip to the Academy of Sciences for a “Nightlife” event, a look back with a chocolate chip pie and wrapped it all up today with some killer themed food for the monthly book club (but that gets it own entry later this week). It’s no wonder I will be ready for bed early.  So here is a quick visual Bite-Cap…
  • The 5.4-mile local urban hike, and of course the Cholate chip cookie pie

But as I had so much more to share, Bite-Cap2 was required (and yes there will be a Bite-Cap3)

Bite-Cap2 starts with the fun night we had at the Academy of Sciences, Halloween themed Nightlife event …

A few weeks ago we saw the posting NightLife as a Thursday night activity; being a big Peaches Christ fan, it was an easy sell to check it out. But after reading up on the event, we decided to check out how the creatures come out at NightLife with Bay Area Science Festival and Peaches Christ Productions. Now they really did a great job at transforming the place into a perfect freakshow then topped it off with it’s supernatural tribute to ’80s horror movies and creatures even stranger than life. It included a tour of a “haunted museum exhibit” full of scientific curiosities and monsters then wrapping up with the centerpiece of the night—a STRANGER QUEENS drag show and costume contest hosted by local drag legend Peaches Christ.  Overall it was the perfect marriage or crowd, space, and planning.  It for sure has me inspired to check out more of the Thursday night events in the future at Academy of Sciences.

The has lots of fun stuff to see in and do on any day of the week, but the off a Thursday program series called “NightLife, billed as a new adventure unfolding every Thursday night from 6–10 pm” which holds my attention; great for date nights or peoples night out.

Academy of Sciences  ( and on Facebook

Not to be outdone – the exhibits themselves were pretty marvelous! My personal favorites were the jellyfish, as part of the Steinhart Aquarium and a visit to the Swamp to meet Claude the albino alligator was pretty cool. I grabbed a few shots without a flash, topside shots but later found out that below the surface they prefer you not take pictures. Luckily the Academy supplies you with them online include a cool video of feeding time with Claude! Note: Claude isn’t white- rather he lacks any pigments at all!

A quick video of those Jellyfish in action

I didn’t take a lot of shots that night. OK, ok,  I took some. Check them out in the carousel below:

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The California Academy of Sciences is a renowned scientific and educational institution dedicated to exploring, explaining, and sustaining life on Earth. Based in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, it is home to a world-class aquarium, planetarium, and natural history museum—all under one living roof.
Note: Save 42% on admission to the Academy and three other must-sees San Francisco attractions with CityPASS—plus 3-days unlimited Cable Car rides & Muni bus Passport.






Bite-Cap — get it, a Recap my BiteTheRoad week.

What a week!

From the launch of the #FoodMemories17 Guest series early in the week,  some follow up at my TechInclusion “TED” Style talk on Mentorship and LGBT at SF Armory building, getting a chance to listen to blogger and cookbook writer Cenk from talk about his newest cookbook “The Artful Baker”, dinner at some fun spots around town, a 5.4 mile local urban hike, an educational trip to the Academy of Sciences for a “Nightlife” event , a look back with a chocolate chip pie and wrapped it all up today with some killer themed food for the monthly book club (but that gets it own entry later this week). It’s no wonder I will be ready for bed early.  So here is a quick visual Bite-Cap…

Bite-Cap: 1 Food Memories; Telling Our Story

I had wanted to add a new feature to BiteTheRoad decided to use a more “crowdsourced” approach with a new guest feature called ‘Food Memories Stories Told. The overall idea was to offer a larger scope of unique stories through the common experience of food and eating and invite others to help grow it. (You can also read my initial post about Food Memories here.)

Yes, everyone is welcome to participate. From the novice to more experienced blogger, the home cook to the professional.  Each guest storyteller will share personal themes of food-related memories, recipes, moments of healing, love, transitions, and reflection and post them during the next few months. We will use the hashtag #FoodMemories2017 and all guest posts will be featured on the BiteTheRoad website and on its companion Facebook page I will also share it out via my twitter account @FVStrona,  the BitetheRoad Tumblr and  Instagram pages and of course, I encourage you to share your post to your networks. Our first guest feature went live with Travis’s 81-layer Biscuits.

Bite-Cap: 2 Talking about Mentoring LGBTs in Tech at TechInclusion

I did a 10 min “TED” Style talk and used storytelling as a way to share about the importance of mentorships and mentors for the LGBT person in Tech. It was a great afternoon with so many very cool people present, that it would have been as nice to attend and not speak. I had forgotten how I enjoy the process of planning using the storytelling technique and coaching through humor. It was fun to be back in the San Francisco Armory in this other role, even it I always enjoyed it from my regular one. As a venue – they do a great job with hosting programs. One of the folks snapped a picture of me in motion and I dressed it up a bit and shared about my social media hubs as well. You can check out my post on Monday afternoon of the blog to read more and see some of the slides.

Bite-Cap 3: Omnivore Books and The Artful Baker: Extraordinary Desserts From an Obsessive Home Baker

Omnivore Books, (Omnivore Books has a Facebook page as well) here the Bay Area, often hosts book and author events. My pal Brad suggested we check it out last week, and I am so glad we did. This months offer was the newest cookbook from Cenk Sonmezoy, the mastermind and home-schooled blogger behind the food blog Cafe Fernando. With cookbook author and blogger for, Irvin Lin serving as local Interviewer  – Cenk did some great storytelling behind his masterful cookbook and the powerful images he took himself in addition to the recipes he wrote. If I hadn’t already purchased my copy, I would have put this on my Christmas list. Its a classic trilogy of storytelling, recipe sharing and visual enticements.  The Artful Baker: Extraordinary Desserts From an Obsessive Home Baker is available at Omnivore or on Amazon.

Of course , hile I have finished reading the Artful Baker (Yes, I read them cover to cover like a novel), I did get inspired to pop out an old school Chocolate Chip Cookie “practice” pie. “Practice” as in it’s a recipe I hadn’t tried and it’s that time of the year when I start working on the menu for the Holiday Orphans party in December..

Bite-Cap 4: The weekend wasn’t all about food….

I did manage to get a 5.4 mile urban hike in on Saturday. This trail was a new one for me, but it has been part of Pauls exercise path previously, so it gave me a chance to explore parts of Glen Park that I hadn’t seen before. But I think poor Dino’s little legs might not have been as happy with the walk! I think other than the obvious – it’s what you don’t expect to see that always catches my eye.

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