A few of my favorite books.

Since we are currently finding ourselves with more times indoor and in solitude, I decided to make another list of my favorite books after making ones for my favorite foreign films and animes. I am quite a voracious reader and sometimes I finish a book in a day. I definitely read quite a lot of dystopian series. Regardless, perhaps this will give you some ideas. This ought to keep you busy for a while.

The Night Circus. Erin Morgenstern.
This is currently my favorite book of all time. It's filled with magic and ethereally beautiful. I loved reading this before going to bed as I would get the dreamiest visuals in dreamland. I loved this book so much that I actually looked into acquiring the movie rights because I would be thoroughly heart broken if this were not done to perfection. Sadly it was already purchased.

Throne of Glass Series. Sarah J. Maas.
Currently I am really enjoying all the books by Sarah J. Maas. This one follows a mysterious assassin as she wins the title of the king's assassin and her journey across kingdoms to eventually revealing her true identity.

A Court of Thorns and Roses Series. Sarah J. Maas.
I just reread all 4 books of this series this past weekend. I might actually like it even better than the Throne of Glass series. It's like reading a very grim fairy tale. It makes me laugh out loud and fall in love with a lot of the characters. If you know a real life Rhysand and age appropriate for me, I am single. I typically date real life versions of him, so it's not that different than my usual.

Penryn & The End of Days Series. Susan Ee.
This is the end of the world taking place in the Bay Area with some cameos that you will recognize. One of the protagonists is an atheist archangel. Laugh out loud funny many times over. No pandemic in this one, just normal end of the world stuff.

Chaos Walking The Complete Trilogy. Patrick Ness.
This is a very enjoyable series and very unusual. Patrick Ness has a way of diving deep into the emotional aspects of human nature and I enjoy his books for this reason. This is a world where there is no more women and men's intimate thoughts are readily hearable to all around them instead of kept silent in their heads. Naturally, a boy meets a girl and the story unfolds.

The Mortal Instruments. Cassandra Clare.
Shadowhunters, vampires, werewolves, faeries, and a few other otherworldly creatures on earth and in between worlds fighting for power. Why was the movie so painfully bad? I actually saw it in the theatre. Back when we can go to theatre of course... This is a super fun series. If you enjoy it, I also recommend the prequel series The Infernal Devices and the sequel The Dark Artifices.

Shatter Me series. Tahereh Mafi.
This is another fun dystopian series with humans discovering their powers. Right now I am on Imagine Me and I believe there will be at least one more book. All the novellas are also fun as well.

The Picture of Dorian Gray. Oscar Wilde.
One of my favorites of all time.
Behind every exquisite thing that existed, there was something tragic.
-Oscar Wilde

Pride and Prejudice. Jane Austen.
There are few people whom I really love, and still fewer of whom I think well. The more I see of the world, the more am I dissatisfied with it; and every day confirms my belief of the inconsistency of all human characters, and of the little dependence that can be placed on the appearance of merit or sense.
-Elizabeth Bennet

Crime and Punishment. Fyodor Dostoyevsky.
Throughout my teens, this was one of my favorite books (sans epilogue). I was also a nihilist existentialist at the time.
Pain and suffering are always inevitable for a large intelligence and a deep heart. The really great men must, I think, have great sadness on earth.
-Fyodor Dostoyevsky.

The Stranger. Albert Camus.
Speaking of existentialism. I am not even sure how many copies of this book I own, but I had quite a collection. I think I scared away a few guys when they would come over and see my bookcase and get really intimidated. Amongst all the existentialists, Camus remains my favorite. Then I saw a picture of him dancing. The joy! One of the greatest beginnings of any book I have ever read:
Maman died today. Or yesterday maybe, I don't know.


Day 17 quarantine self portraits. San Francisco. California. 3.30.2020.

Shelter in place. San Francisco. California. 3.21.2020.

In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer. And that makes me happy. For it says that no matter how hard the world pushes against me, within me, there's something stronger – something better, pushing right back.
-Albert Camus


Chinatown love.

Chinatown in San Francisco has taken an enormous hit to its businesses due to xenophobia and general nervousness over the Coronavirus. It’s exhibited a disproportionate 80% decrease in businesses since January around Chinese New Year, their busiest time of year. I live next to Chinatown and I am constantly there running errands and taking my meals there. It would mean so much to these businesses if you would come out and support them as a community. I will continue to take all of my meals from Chinatown as much as possible and meet my friends there. I would be so grateful if you will try and support these businesses. This is not a San Francisco problem, but a global one. Please go support your local Chinese businesses because they can all really use your help during this extremely difficult time.

Thank you so much and please share this far and wide! And of course, stay calm and wash your hands.

My friend Jen put all of these on Google Maps for you:

Here are some of my recommendations for
 Chinatown San Francisco for you. 
I personally like randomly picking a place and checking it out. That is how I found most of these. Happy exploring and supporting Chinatown! Bring cash as some of these are cash only. 
  • You can order Chinese delivery or take out.
  • I frequent New Cafe Honolulu as my go to east/west cafe for noodles soups/congee/Hong Kong milk tea/lemon iced tea. 
  • New Woey Loy Goey is my hole in the wall for rice plates and noodle dishes. 
  • Z&Y for best Sichuan. 
  • Great Eastern or Begoni for dim sum. 
  • Golden Flower for Vietnamese. 
  • New Lun Ting Cafe for rice plates: pork chop. 
  • Chong Qing Xiao Mian is my go to for spicy beef brisket noodle soup and you can also get their soups non spicy. I like the non spicy wonton soup and you can add noodles. 
  • Bund Shanghai for Shanghainese. 
  • Michael Mina likes to sit at the bar for chicken wings at Capital. 
  • Hong Kong Clay Pot if you are in the mood for clay pots.
  • Li Po, Red’s Place, Buddha for drinks. 
  • Bow Bow for karaoke and drinks. 
  • Great to take your kids down Grant for fun things to buy (including đź§¨) and there is Dragon Papa where they make dragon beard candy.
  • There is also a Matcha Cafe Maiko now as well. 
  • I typically get my milk tea from Boba Butt. 
  • Yi Fang Tea has the very popular brown sugar boba.
  • The egg tarts at Golden Gate Bakery are the best. 
  • You can probably even actually get into my friend’s at Mister Jiu's now for a Michelin starred meal. Or you can grab bites at their bar or upstairs at their gorgeous Moongate Lounge along with proper cocktails. 
  • Yuet Lee for late night eats: get the crab. R&G is great for seafood. 
  • I even like going into Far East Cafe for their lobster with their funky chandeliers and Chinese paintings on the wall. 
  • You can get all your Chinese produce and groceries at the stores along Stockton. 
  • Juicy Fruit has the best exotic fruits.
  • You can also get some great remade food for dinner at New Golden Daisy or New Moon on Stockton and Kam Po Kitchen on Powell.
Here is a few off my list for Oakland Chinatown. 
Here are a few of my staples: yang chow fried rice (bbq pork and shrimp), beef chow fun (I like getting it wet, which is with gravy, but you can get the dried version). I also love congee (rice porridge). And those eastern/western cafes I like getting congee or noodle soups with a milk tea or a lemon ice tea (my personal favorite). See anything there that you like other people are having, just order that. I do that a lot. Enjoy!
  • Baby Cafe Hong Kong Bistro
  • Tastee Steam Kitchen (hot pot)
  • Gum Kuo
  • Huangcheng Noodle House
  • Imperial Soup
  • Ruby King Bakery Cafe
  • Ben's


Californios. San Francisco. California. 2.26.2020.

I finally made it to Californios last night for dinner. Now I only have one more restaurant to check out on my "must" list for the Bay Area, which I am going for my birthday next month. So be on the look out for that one. This was my first Mexican fine dining experience and I was very excited for this meal and it absolutely lived up to my expectations, which as you are all well aware, is ridiculous to begin with. I was also excited to share this meal with my friend David. It was also David's send off for his much deserved retirement and moving away from California. A high end Mexican dinner seemed fitting for his next chapter and move. I loved the progression of the flavors. Each dish had a nice balance of textures and flavors using local ingredients with traditional Mexican ingredients to showcase its heritage. The progression of the dishes were nicely done as well.

Sorry for the dark pictures as we got a more private corner, as it was about me catching up with David rather than the kitchen counter to be near the action. I hope that you will find yourself there to check it out for yourself!

3115 22nd St
San Francisco, CA 94110

Californios is dedicated to the preservation, continuation, and elevation of Mexican cuisine. We be live unfollowing tradition and building upon it.

A Chilapita, a rare, regional dish from Guerrero. A Cascadia corn masa tart filled with fresh Pacific geoduck clam from Puget Sound, with pickled kumquats and a Fresno chile espuma

Purple Peruvian masa infladita, topped with sweet Hokkaido sea urchin and filled with Chile guajillo chileatole.

Bacalao, layered with confit potato coming from Little Organic Farms, olive oil and avocado mousse, Meyer lemon and pickled Serrano.

Berkshire pork taco prepared in the style of cochinita pibil with hoja santa crema., pickled onions and apple on a magic mana tortilla.

Quesadilla made from Oaxacan masa, from Tierra Vegetables Farm in Santa Rosa, California, filled with fermented peppers, sweet corn, hen of the woods mushrooms, mozzarella cheese from Point Reyes and huitlacoche mole.

Mindful Meats short rib street taco, with mole negro, shaved truffles and fermented spring onions on our house-fermented sourdough tortilla.

Hielo. A palate cleanser of Aztec Fuji apple sorbet and finished with key lime and fresh apple.

Banana tamale with chive salsa and crème fraîche. Finished with cold smoked Californios Reserve White Sturgeon caviar.

Kusshi oyster with gooseberry juice and fermented red pepper foam.

Ceviche of Pacific blue mackerel, with kiwis from Will Brokaw and winter basil.

Aguachile of caramelized onions, fresh and charred chicories, seaweed and fermented ramps.

Cedar-smoked and grilled sea bream in pipian and oro blanco, with charred little gem hearts and green apple.

A presentation of Devil's Gulch squab, from Nicasio, California. Squab asada with a sauce made from the bones and chile morita. Smoked squab broth with lemon thyme and huckleberry. Grilled wild yellow foot mushrooms and fermented red carrots. Fermented red ember pepper and fatality salsita.

Cigarette of Kenne goat cheese from Tamales Farmstead Creamery with satsuma mandarin, kumquat and sweet alyssum flowers.

Hickory king masa tostada, grapefruit curd, fresh grapefruit, Shan Lin Xi winter sprout gelée with hoja santa, tarragon and bronzed fennel.

Cherimoya, passion fruit, avocado and chickweed.

Momento Mori, chocolatl.
Milk chocolate bon bon with Marcona almond ganache.
Dark chocolate bon bon with California yuzu citrus.
Marshall's Farm liquid honey truffle with white chocolate, bee and fennel pollen.
Apple 'Oblea' with fresh dulce de leche.
A digestivo made of fresh young ginger juice, Lustau Royal vermouth, lime and pink lady apple.

First it rained truffles on my taco, then it rained caviar on my tamales.