I’m pretty heartbroken as I’m writing this. Part of this is the world around us. I’ve also had a trying summer. It’s also things I can’t talk about.
But I can’t write this week’s newsletter without telling you I am heartbroken. Because heartbreak does something to me that nothing else does: It makes me stop eating.
It’s ironic as this newsletter is called Comfort Food. But when I’m heartbroken I don’t eat my feelings. There’s never been a tub of ice cream after a breakup for me.
Thinest I ever was was just after my divorce, never mind that I’d just given birth to my second child.
I go numb instead and pour it all into exercise and work.
I’ve been running everyday the last few weeks. There’s something I love about a summer desert run. It has to be under 100 degrees, so a lot of days that means I’m forced to go early. I don’t care how long I run, how fast I run, or whether I wind up doing more walking intervals than usual. It’s a desert. In August. And I’m running. It’s not a time to be hard on yourself.
It feels kinda like you are in apocalyptic training camp. On one hand, it’s unnecessary. I have a pool and a Peloton. I could exercise without this heat.
But it feels so cleansing. Everything is sweat out. Grit. Bacteria. Pain. Sadness. I’m caked with salt at the end. It actually feels like that drain after a day in the ocean afterwards.
And then I just go back to work.
I don’t have my kids this weekend, so I’m going to San Francisco. I might just get an enormous Mission Burrito. The kind I never really ate so much when I lived there, because it’s what? 10,000,000 calories?
Alamo Drafthouse isn’t open yet, or I’d go see the Aretha Franklin movie (again, it’s so good!) and get a Manhattan and a patty melt. Their patty melts are incredible. I also love their queso. Just little round chips and cheese dip.
If the weather is nice, maybe I’ll go to Palm City and get a sandwich and a can of wine and walk on the beach.
Or maybe I’ll just lie on my couch that has cocooned me through so much worse and enjoy the cool air and the space.
I landed in San Francisco around 2 pm, headed straight home, and cuddled up on my couch to finish my to do list, then take a nap.
My phone rang at 4 pm. “I’m crashing tonight,” Adimika said in lieu of hello. But it’s never a “crash” when you are always invited.
I went on a run in the inner Mission. I love the families and friendships you see running in the less glamorous side of the Mission (where I live). The Chronicle recently called it “gritty and wind swept.” I call it home. Real San Francisco, if you are gonna be a snob about it.
You smell the family BBQs. The Mexican garage parties where the whole block piles in. You see those old Mission families who have lived side by side owning their Edwardian and Victorians through multiple generations. That’s what this house was before I bought it. The daughter married the boy next door and the family had the two houses for generations, until they decided to cash in and move to Portland.
Somewhere on Florida or Alabama, there’s an old woman who has filled her sidewalk with gorgeous potted plants. It’s a tiny jungle. She has two folding chairs set out and a crate as a side table. Everyday she and her bestie sit down and have their coffee and in the afternoon they have wine. That’s me and Andrea now, basically, but also in the future. She lives a few streets over from me on the same block, and we will be Mission lifers just like this woman and her friend.
This is the thing I love about midlife on. I feel like so much of the hard work of who am I and will I achieve any of this is done. Now it’s enjoying it, seeing how much farther I can go, and pruning. My remaining decades are like a Bonsai tree not a mad dash to grow and fertilize a whole yard.
What do I want to do with my remaining 20-ish years working more than full time hours? What are the final books in me? Who of the thousands of friends that I’ve collected will be the ones I see or talk to everyday in my 80s. Where must I travel?
After my run, Adimika met me at Beaty Bar for our ritual frozen margaritas. I brushed the sweat out of my hair, threw on a turtleneck and we headed to Andrea’s for pasta. Fresh pasta from the farmer’s market with an easy tomato sauce. Butter is the secret weapon, she told us. Like, a whole stick of butter. We had garlic bread Andy painstakingly made in their Balmuda toaster that I talked them into. (It’s worth it. $300 but so much more than a toaster…topic for a future newsletter.)
And she made a tomato and feta salad with French feta from Gus’s and heirloom tomatoes from the market. I didn’t know how much milder French feta is! She grabbed me a few tomatoes too, and I’m so excited about my Tartine bread + Duke’s mayo + tomato sandwich I’m going to have in my yard on Saturday afternoon.
For dessert, my favorite things she makes: Peaches and strawberries dunked in sweetened cream.
It was a brilliant homecoming meal. I love my San Francisco family.
FARMHOUSE THAI HAS DONE AWAY WITH THE LITTLE LAO SET.
This was the most popular menu item they had by a mile. It was prominently featured on their website. Every time you got near Farmhouse Thai they were selling the Little Lao set.
We call it “Thai trough” because it’s a huge chaffing dish full of incredible bites of everything delicious you can imagine. And believe it or not, the vegan one is better than the meat one. Absolutely one of my favorite meals in SF.
GONE. If anyone has reports on the Little Lao sets whereabouts or how and why it is gone, please let me know and I’ll report back.
I am filled with regret I didn’t get one last one before I moved…
Another perfect Mission day. 70 degree weather. I worked all morning, had my tomato sandwich. Unfortunately someone tossed my Duke’s mayo :(. Olive oil was not quite the same but the tomato was so delicious I tried not to dwell.
Andrea and I ran errands in the neighborhood. Chief among them: Gifts for Eli’s birthday on Tuesday! Our fourth kid bday in pandemic :(
Eli has been obsessed with making paper weapons lately. She makes a prototype and then perfects it with Apple, covering the blades with aluminum foil to make them look fancy. “This is a scythe,” she told me on Friday. “Not a pick. Not an axe. Not a pick axe.”
Would you believe it– at Aldea we found a mosaic bejeweled weapon making kit??? And next to it: A comic making kit! Perfect for Evie’s “hey, it’s not your bday but I still love you” gift. The girls will be so happy they are still getting presents from Aldea. Eli was their first ever baby registry baby, and we’ve gotten a discount ever since.
We stopped for a drink at the Beehive which has an adorable Parklet by 19th street park. I got the Thunderbird which was grapefruit-y and mezcal-y without being smokey.
And then, I went on a 90 minute run/walk through the Mission and the Panhandle and Golden Gate park and back. The weather was perfect. It was just starting to get crispy in the Mission, and as soon as I turned down Oak I felt the ocean breezes, filtered through the Eucalyptus trees. I finished Pat Barker’s “The Women of Troy” on audio and loved every second.
I ordered Sunset Squares, watched Nine Perfect Strangers and then went to meet my friend Sheila at the Homestead.
When last we were in San Francisco, we were at a birthday party for Sheila’s daughter. My children ran in the ocean at Crissy Field and then seemed shocked they were cold and sandy. I made my cardigan into shorts for Eli and Evie went home wearing Sheila’s beach blanket for a dress. We were long overdue returning it, so a good excuse for a drink!
The Homestead is ironically the first place Paul and I ever had a drink. It has a lot of sentimental punch.
We sat outside, and fortunately, I had her blanket! Several people stopped to tell me what a baller move it was to bring my own blanket to a SF bar. I didn’t give the backstory and just soaked up the accolades.
I used to always walk around the Mission with a coffee cup. I’d always have one at school drop off and people would always remark on it. Somehow it seems more baller than a travel mug, I don’t know why. Both are mugs from my kitchen. What’s the difference?
“You are basically treating all of the Mission like part of your house,” someone once said.
I misbooked (or did I?) my flight, and so I have another surprise day here.
That’s actually a good thing. I could use another day of headspace, and I’m getting a lot of work done here. Paul could use a special Apple day with the kids, who come back at noon, about 8 hours before I fly home.
Today I am going to walk/run down to the Exploratorium gift shop to get Eli gifts, and I’ll probably linger at the Ferry Building. We’ve had our eyes on a crystal making kit. I’ll definitely need a ride back.
Tomorrow, I am working even though I told my team not to. But I am definitely going to take a break to hike up Corona Heights and soak in the city at a glance. Maybe I’ll take my own little picnic up there. One of those incredible ham sandwiches from the little deli at 19th and Guerrero.
Emotional clouds are clearing. I should be back to devouring everything next week. If you are also heartbroken, hang in there. It seems to be going around.