Stay Away From The Beach…For Now

Great HighwayI wrote about the makeover Great Highway was going to get a few months ago and I’m glad, in a way that it’s finally started. That being said, the beach is not the best place to go right now.

My wife [hear after known as wife because she doesn’t like public attention like I do] and I like to shop at the beach Safeway because it’s bigger and the lines are smaller. We took our once a week trip out there as opposed to our trips to the worst Safeway in San Francisco, but we were in for a rude awakening this day.

Construction workers were everywhere. The road was torn up all over the place and our usual trip of driving out Lincoln Way and making a right had to be re-routed due to the construction. On the upside, there are a lot of construction workers there so that means that the job will usually be quick. The down side is that it’s not a pleasant place to be right now which is a bit of a shame with the warm weather starting to grace our coastline and giving us sunnier days [side note: wife hates sunnier days. I think she was given up for adoption by a young Viking girl because the foggier and more unpleasant it is the happier she is.]

Go to the beach he said. You'll love it he said....

Right now if you need to cross the park down by the beach do it at 45th and Lincoln Way and drive through to 43rd and Fulton. It will be a much easier drive for you than having to go all the way to the end and then having to snake around the west end until you can find the exit at 47th and Fulton.  Just give the workers some time to finish off the job they’ve started and I’m hoping it’ll become a nicer place.

All this being said, I am hoping that this makeover will bring back a little of the beach area we once had. You have to be a very stalwart type of person to love Ocean Beach, but there was no reason for it to be left as a Russian industrial park looking place. I would like to see some food trucks out here on weekends and it would be nice if there was a way to have some craftspeople to set up shop on the large walkway on the sunny days that we do get out here. The first thing that needs to happen is a good marketing game played by the city to make people want to come out here. It’s a great place to relax and watch the surfers if you’re not going to surf yourself.

Greek Yogurt

I’ve been hearing Greek yogurt mentioned all over the place, but no one goes into detail about what’s so popular about it. My wife and I were out shopping yesterday and she said, I’ve got a coupon for some Greek yogurt so I figure I’d try it and see. To most guys yogurt is chick food. I think because of Jaime Lee Curtis and all those Activa ads about how it makes her go to the bathroom easier. I never felt that way and used to eat yogurt a lot so I figured I’d give it a try.

Wow, I was in for a surprise. It’s thick, really thick like sour cream thick. Mine was fruit flavored which I learned later that it’s better to get the plain and add your own stuff to it. It was 100 calories, Og fat and 10g protein. I actually felt kind of full after eating the 6oz cup of the stuff. It had a tang to it, but the consistency of pudding. I’ve been losing weight lately and I need to pack on more protein and this is a good way to do it. You can add maple syrup and nuts to it, coconut, berries whatever if you like it sweet, but for the tanginess you can also use it to replace sour cream or mayonnaise.

It’s a very versatile substance that can adapt itself to sweet or savory dishes and save you some calories and lower your fat intake. Just to get an idea of what you can do with it Chiobani and Fage have recipe pages that give you some ideas to get you started. It also has probiotic cultures in it so if you’ve been taking antibiotics, have gut troubles or are like Jaime Lee Curtis it’ll help you out there too. Apparently Greek yogurt is such a buzz word these days that even Ben and Jerry have made a frozen yogurt using it. Our own Straus Creamery in Petaluma has also gotten on the bandwagon as well [which incidentally if you want to taste what whole milk used to taste like not to far from the farm you should try theirs].

While it seems like the new superfood you have to watch the labeling. There are some companies [neither of the two mentioned above] that are trying to skirt around the definition by putting additives in it. Give it a try, but buy the plain and play around with it. I think you’ll like it.

Enter The Dragon!

Gung Hay Fat Choi!

I wish all of my readers a very healthy, happy and prosperous Chinese New Year! I unfortunately will not be giving out any red envelopes other than the picture in today’s post. I wish all of us in San Francisco a prosperous new year and that the economy turns itself around and that the job market begins to work in our favor in the year of the Dragon.

Times have been tough for many of us and the year of the Dragon which we are now entering is the most auspicious year of the the 12 year Chinese astrological cycle. This will be a year of increased spending as it is considered to be good to have a child born during the year of the dragon.

If you have anything that you sell that would be useful to parents then this is the year to get started. While the parade itself won’t be until February 11th, today is officially declared a holiday in San Francisco  since my daughter has the day off from school.

My wife and I can never remember getting Chinese New Year off from school as a holiday and I haven’t heard a single firecracker go off in months. I have seen an uptick in the local neighborhood activity in the strongly Chinese-centric areas of the Sunset with Noriega between 33rd and 30th avenues being a place that has been more crowded than Chinatown over the past few days.

The traditional Chinese New Year Parade on the other hand has been scheduled for February 11th in San Francisco, so perhaps things will get busier around then. My the year of the dragon be prosperous for all of us!

Jack LaLanne the legend is dead.

Jack LaLanne, the he-man before it was cool to be a he-man has died. He was pre-Schwartznegger, pre-Joe Weider. He was the guy who got all the average joe’s to get in shape. Lalanne started by opening a fitness club in Oakland in 1936, a time when it wasn’t considered proper for men and women to exercise. He later opened up another one in the old Stonestown Mall. Those who remember that mall will remember the stairway down in the center courtyard area with the black wrought iron hand rails and the dark red striped velvet and satin wall paper [that my mother always referred to as whorehouse wallpaper].

The San Francisco fitness center opened up after he landed a gig at KGO-TV doing a morning fitness show. It was an early morning show I suppose to get people pumped up to go to work in the mornings. My mother watched him religiously and even got me into the show and had me exercising before I’d walk off to school. When the fitness center opened in SF my mom had to go because Jack was going to be there for the grand opening. Looking back, I think it would have been easy to meet Jack if you just drove over to his Oakland gym, but it was more convenient to hop in your station wagon for the five minute drive over to Stonestown. We got there and there was Jack in his jump suit and ballet slippers [how can a guy look macho in a jump suit and ballet slippers?] Flexing and mugging for the cameras. Then we all got to meet Jack and shake his hand and get a autographed photo of him. I wish I still had that photo now. It’d probably be worth something.

He was a great pitch man for fitness and while he could have turned into a product mill for thousands of products he only had one, The Jack LaLanne Power Juicer. To hear him talk about this you’d think it was the fountain of youth. My mom even bought one and I remember for a few months we enjoyed fresh squeezed juice with our breakfasts until she started to mix carrots and zucchini into my orange juice. I am still scarred to this day about drinking carrot juice because of that incident of which I will speak no further.

It turns out he went a little bit farther in his later years by writing a few books promoting healthy eating and exercise. He even has a website and a blog that his last post was on the 20th of this month only a few days before he passed. I found a few recent pictures of him and I have to say for guy who was 96 he looked like he was in his early 60’s. As a matter of fact to celebrate his 60th birthday he swam from Alcatraz to San Francisco while shackled AND towing a boat with camera men filming him. Something no convict had ever attempted. He became a national figure, but he was always a part of the Bay Area. Now if I had only listened to him better when I shook his hand and he told me, “Now you listen to your Uncle Jack, exercise, eat healthy and don’t smoke!” OK, I got two of the three at least. I’m thinking though that his shot of brandy he enjoyed every night helped him add a few years.