South Bay day trip

Today promises to be a gorgeous Sunday, so here’s my plan of attack for an art- and food-filled South Bay/Peninsula day trip. (Contrary to my previous post, I’ve decided to try and hit the Illustrated Bites art show at the Curiosity Shoppe in San Francisco later this week.)

1. Hit the San Jose Museum of ArtThis is probably my favorite small art museum anywhere. I find the exhibitions consistently well curated: diverse and fascinating with straightforward, down-to-earth placards that illuminate your understanding of each work. Names like Calder, Thiebaud, and Warhol mingle with up-and-coming and regional artists for a fun, approachable take on modern and contemporary art.

Among the works at the Renegade Humor exhibition (on view through July 8)
are Walter Robinson’s Melt, 2008 (the pink animal cookies), and
Brian Goggin’s Desire for the Other, 2004 (the red millipede-shaped
couch stuffed with household items).

 Betsabeé Romero’s Espiral Sin Fin, 2008,
part of Mexicanisimo Through Artists’ Eyes (through Sept. 23).

Frank Lobdell’s 2.22.93–4.8.93 Bleeker, 1993,
centerpiece of the exhibition Frank Lobdell: Wonderland (through Aug. 5)

2. But first…check out Psycho DonutsThe San Jose location is a five-minute walk from the museum. It’s off-the-wall sugar overload I’m not sure I can handle—I mean, Nestlé Crunch pieces on a chocolate doughnut with chocolate icing? A strawberry-icing doughnut with freeze-dried strawberries and a Pocky stick? Yowza. But I like to say I’ve at least tried a place, so I think I’ll go for the “donut sticks covered in cinnamon & sugar served with custard ‘mayo’ or raspberry jelly ‘ketchup.'”

Relatively innocuous-looking “donut fries.”
Relative to Psycho’s other doughnuts, that is.

3. Post-museum, head to Walia Ethiopian Cuisine. It’s been awhile since I last had Ethiopian food in the Bay Area and I always did like the spiciness of the wots and the spongy injera bread.

4. Stop by the library to pick up a hold copy of Tamar Adler’s An Everlasting Meal. I love libraries. I’ve always loved being able to wander in and be surrounded by all these books, all this knowledge, that I can check out for free! I also love the smell of old books (incidentally a scent bottled by CB | I Hate Perfume). These days I like to audition a book before I buy it, because my shelf space is getting so limited that I want to be sure that I’m going to read the books on it over and over again. Remember that line from Anne’s House of Dreams by L.M. Montgomery when Anne is telling Leslie, on her first visit, to feel free to borrow any of her and Gilbert’s books?

“Our library isn’t very extensive,” said Anne, “but every book in it is a friend. We’ve picked our books up through the years, here and there, never buying one until we had first read it and knew that it belonged to the race of Joseph.”

That’s how I feel about my books. They’re comforting, like being surrounded by a shelf of good friends. Plus I’ve been hearing so much good press about An Everlasting Meal that I’m eager to see if it’ll become a new favorite.

5. Drop by the gourmet grocer for some of Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams. It seems that ever since Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home won the James Beard award for Best Cookbook in the Baking and Dessert category, a few more Bay Area markets have begun stocking the Columbus, Ohio–based ice cream. This excites me. It retails for $12/pint (!), so plus S+H it can add up. Talk about exercising self-restraint.

Lick the screen: Dark Chocolate and Salty Caramel.

I first tried it last summer when my brother had some shipped to me for my birthday. I’d never heard of Jeni’s before that, but after my first taste of the fudgelike Dark Chocolate (so rich I could eat only two spoonfuls at a time) and the Salty Caramel with its distinctive creaminess and sea-salty caramel flavor, my eyes just about popped out of my head. Then, of course, in the following months I became more aware of it showing up in Garden & GunNat Geo Traveler, and Saveur as well as on Food52.

So far I’ve also tried and liked Riesling Poached Pear sorbet (refreshing and textured, like biting into a cold pear) and Brambleberry Crisp (pie à la mode all mashed up together). Next up is the Buckeye State; it’s so chocolate flecked. No stinginess in chocolate chips for me! Anyway, I can maybe take home a pint and then go to work on the Adler book.

“To enjoy the flavor of life, take big bites.” –Robert A. Heinlein

(via San Jose Museum of Art, Psycho Donuts, Walia Ethiopian Cuisine, and Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams)

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