Fun and food.

Yesterday Erik and I went to see the new Harry Potter movie in the afternoon. It was good, and as all the reviews have pointed out, better than the first one (though I liked that one too). Also it was scary and dramatic. I think if I saw it as a little kid I’d be pretty traumatized about certain scenes. I refrain from saying more because others haven’t seen it.

In the evening we went to the San Francisco Symphony to hear this absolutely wonderful young cellist, Han-Na Chang. I’d heard her before in San Jose and just loved her. She’s very good, and fun to watch, too. It’s funny because all the photos of her make her look all demure and cute, but when she plays she looks fierce and crazy. And she has really short hair now. Here’s a more recent picture of her, though her hair still isn’t so short in this one. She played a Brahms double concerto for violin and cello with a violinist who was also very good and also didn’t look like her pictures: Kyoko Takezawa. Han-Na Chang looks not as nice as her pictures, but Kyoko Takezawa looked better in real life than her photos! She was stunning. The two looked and played well together.

Since I always feel that a great concerto is a tough act to follow, especially when what’s coming is something like Strauss like it was last night, we left at intermission and wandered around for about half an hour before finding what we were looking for: Citizen Cake. It’s a small bakery, bar and restaurant, and the people were really really nice. We stood outside for a while looking at the menu, and trying to decide whether we really wanted pastry after having spent so long trying to find it. We looked up and noticed one of the staff smiling at us and beckoning us in from behind the counter, a really funny exaggerated, ‘Come in, my children, come in, come in!’ kind of gesture. We did go in and everything looked soooo good. We finally decided on a round piece of cake with the silly name of Retro Tropical Shag, which was very rich but had a pleasing taste of… passionfruit! I’ve never used this before as a criterion for food, but that passionfruit mousse produced the yummiest burps I’ve ever burped. Go here to see a picture and description of the cake. Ours was prettier, but the description is judicious. I want to go back to Citizen Cake sometime. It’s a block from the symphony hall, so that shouldn’t be too hard. (The reason we couldn’t find it was I was convinced it was a block away from Davies, closer to BART, when actually it was a block further.)

Today I decided to bake something and enlisted Erik’s help (well, okay, I just wanted to hang out). We tweaked a carrot cake recipe, leaving out the rich cream cheese and butter frosting, adding persimmons and freshly grated ginger. Yummy stuff, especially hot out of the oven. By the way, if you ever choose to grate a persimmon, leave a piece of the skin on the piece you’re grating, it will make it easier. We made lunch too. Frozen potstickers boiled with chopped yellow onions, scallions, napa cabbage, kale, and spinach make a tasty soup. Yum yum.

[This post was imported on 4/10/14 from my old blog at]