Archive for March, 2014

RECAP // March 2014 on Dig This Jive

| March 31, 2014


I didn’t start Dig This Jive in March 2010 by saying, “I want it to just be about [FILL IN THE BLANK].” It was never a narrow vision.

I wanted to start a blog that was filled with good news and ideas to balance out the muck I saw on social media, TV, news sites, and newspapers, a blog that would remind me to live rather than spend my time complaining about what I think I can’t do or buying in to the greed and cynicism of so many.

I also wanted Dig This Jive to provide a service to anyone who happened to come across it, to expose readers to things they might not know about, ideas that might encourage us to get up and try something new. Even if those things are as simple as venturing to a new sandwich spot, attending a community event, or trying a new recipe, I want each post to remind me, and by extension anyone who reads this blog, that we’re in charge of our happiness. It’s said that misery loves company, but, you know what? So do kind people, adventurous people, creative people, and happy people.

In a speech given at the 2013 Variety Power of Women event, Amy Poehler said, “All I have is the present moment and I want to be around people that do things. I don’t want to be around people anymore that judge or talk about what people do. I want to be around people that dream and support and do things.”

Me, too.

To my longtime followers: Thank you for always finding a reason to come back! Your support has encouraged me to continue to improve this blog, from the look of the content to the topics I cover.

To my new followers: Thank you for giving Dig This Jive a few minutes of your day! Your visits give me confidence to keep Dig This Jive going.

On to year 5!


SAN DIEGO SANDWICH SPOTS, PART 1 | Four places in San Diego to check out when you’re craving a sandwich.

10 THINGS: BLOGGING | I celebrated my 4-year blogiversary with a look back on what I’ve learned about myself and blogging since launching Dig This Jive in 2010.


ON CONVOY: GRANDMA TOFU & BBQ | A take on the Korean barbecue, mixed tofu soup, and pop music at this Convoy District restaurant.

SOUTH PARK WALKABOUT | The spring edition of the free community event may be over, but make sure to mark your calendars with the summer, fall, and winter dates.

TOASTING ABOUT SAN FRANCISCO | Getting the most on toast in San Francisco.


CURRY MANGO MAYONNAISE, 2 WAYS | How to brighten up egg salad sandwiches and chicken salad sandwiches with a little bit of curry, mango chutney, and lemon zest.

BALSAMIC MUSHROOM WAFFLE SANDWICH | A savory waffle sandwich featuring mushrooms, arugula, basil, and goat cheese.

EAT, DRINK, AND PLAY AT SILO IN THE MAKERS QUARTER ON APRIL 5 | The second edition of the Craft Beer + Bites event takes place from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday, April 5, and benefits the San Diego Brewers Guild and The Front Burner Fund. Also, get to know San Diego’s newest artisan ice cream company, Calexico Creamery.


5 BLOGS THAT INSPIRE ME | A list of the blogs that inspire the style of my blog posts.

SEEING NAVY, YELLOW, AND RED | Add some saturated color to your wardrobe and home with an item from this Lichtenstein-inspired list of nine.

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ABROAD // Toasting About San Francisco

| March 29, 2014


I learned about the toast trend in San Francisco from one of my favorite news outlets: “Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me!,” the NPR news game show. “Not since the Great Depression have skinny bearded people been this desperate to get their hands on bread,” said host Peter Sagal during the show that aired on January 18, 2014.

So when I vacationed in San Francisco earlier this month, I made it a point to get a glimpse of what all the fuss was about, even if I’m not bearded. Or tatooed. Or prone to have friends take photos of me in a trendy outfit in the middle of a café as I look away from the camera in an intentionally dismissive pose.

And I do mean “fuss.” Do a Google search for “San Francisco toast” and you’ll find article, upon article, upon article debating the socioeconomics of a trend that prices a comfort food we can make at home from a $3 loaf at $3+ per slice. There’s even one spot in San Francisco that’s said to serve a slice of trendy toast for $8!

Are these toasts a splurge at $3 to $4? Definitely. But I had never thought to treat toast quite the way these cafés served them, and I appreciate what I’ve learned. On every occasion, the toast served was sliced to order and the slices were thicker, about the equivalent of two slices from a pre-sliced, grocery-store bread. I liked it. While I’m on the fence as to whether San Diego cafés should join the toast movement (Young Hickory in North Park may be the first, serving two thin slices of avocado-laden wheat toast for $4.95), I know that I’m going to start making trendy toast at home.

Since I didn’t want to spend all of my time in San Francisco finding and trying twice-cooked slices of bread, I decided to limit my tour to three spots–Boba Guys, The Mill, and Blue Bottle Coffee in Mint Plaza.


For Boba Guys, toast isn’t only personal, it’s cultural. “For us, we grew up with toast as a snack staple, so we see it is a cultural bridge,” owners Andrew Chau and Bin Chen say in a March 14 Facebook status. “Our goal is to re-position kickass toast as an Asian-inspired snack, rather than a fad or harbinger of gentrification.”

Fittingly, their version seems to draw on the Taiwanese “brick” style of the comfort food. Dubbed Hong Kong Toast, the Boba Guys’ offering consists of a 1-inch thick slice of brioche bread that’s toasted, slathered with a homemade whipped buttercream made from organic condensed milk, and drizzled with honey before being sliced on the diagonal. Served warm, the toast has a sour smell but tastes subtly sweet. Its texture is airy and would be dry if not for the whipped buttercream, which is surprisingly light in flavor despite being made with syrup-thick condensed milk.

It’s basically a made-to-order pastry. As such, I didn’t mind parting with $3.25 to try it since I could imagine paying for a similar kind of baked good at one of my favorite San Diego patisseries. What I wouldn’t do again is eat a whole Hong Kong Toast while also drinking a 16-ounce milk tea with boba ($4); it’s too much dessert and dairy in one sitting.

Boba Guys // 3491 19th St., San Francisco, CA 94110 //


Whereas toast at Boba Guys is a reflection of the owners’ childhoods, toast at The Mill represents the hard work and commitment of inspiring, self-made artisan baker Josey Baker (that really is his last name). “It seems kind of boring to not be committed to something,” says Josey in the 14-minute documentary “Josey Builds a Bakery!” “I’m not trying to be a croissant master, or a cookie master, or a whatever,” he says. “I just want to make bread.”

A rotating menu of thick-cut toast featuring four different Josey breads is offered at the lovely sit-awhile expanse, with prices starting at $3.75. I ordered the Cinnamon Sugar Toast, and pictured is the singed version I was served. It consisted of a slab of hot-toasted Cinnamon Raisin bread on which organic butter from McCleland’s Dairy was spread (unevenly), organic sugar and cinnamon was dusted (also unevenly), and Maldon sea salt was sprinkled.

While my toast’s preparation wasn’t picture perfect, I ate the whole thing, including the burnt crust, and I was rewarded with tasty revelations. A barren corner of the hearty slice exposed a delicious sourness to the chewy, I-could-eat-this-as-is bread. Although large crystals of the Maldon sea salt made me pucker, the memory of them was quickly suppressed by sections soaked in melted butter and cinnamon sugar, sections which tasted as divine as a helping of bread pudding.

Overall, I’d get toast at The Mill the next time I’m in San Francisco. But now that I’ve seen photos online of The Mill’s ideal serving of Cinnamon Sugar Toast, I’ll insist on a redo if I’m landed with a result similar to the one pictured. As committed as Josey is to high quality baked products, I’d like to think he would want me to.

The Mill // 736 Divisadero St., San Francisco, CA 94117 //


Blue Bottle Coffee’s Mint Plaza location is the epitome of hidden in plain sight. Located just off of Mission Street in a refurbished corner of the landmark San Francisco Provident Loan Association Building, the café is marked simply with a square sconce bearing a blue silhouette of the coffee roaster’s brand. Finding it felt like I was in on a secret, a feeling that dialed up my eagerness to try their take on the toast trend, particularly when this Blue Bottle café is currently the only one that offers freshly prepared food with their raved-about coffee program.

Though I’d done enough research to know that Blue Bottle’s Mint Plaza café served toast, I realized upon the delivery of my toast order, which cost $5, that I hadn’t paid attention to the many photos that showed me what I’d actually get. Yes, the toast served is made up of two thick slices of Acme Bread. True, they’re expertly toasted to a deep golden hue, making the outer edges crisp and flaky while leaving the middle chewy. But as lovely as the bread is, as is or smothered with the whipped butter and delicious raspberry jam that are served with it, the $5 price didn’t sit well.

I mean, the only real preparation of the bread was in its toasting; Boba Guys and The Mill do the work of preparing the toast’s toppings and they both get creative with them. Is Blue Bottle’s toast worth $5 because it’s Acme Bread? Because I get two slices? Because of that damn fine raspberry jam and whipped butter? Maybe for others. As for me, I regret not putting my $5 towards trying something more substantial, like the Blue Bottle Benedict I saw many other people enjoying.

Blue Bottle Coffee at Mint Plaza // 66 Mint Plaza, San Francisco, CA 94103 //

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Eat, Drink, and Play at SILO in the Makers Quarter on April 5

| March 28, 2014

On Saturday, April 5, SILO in the Makers Quarter will host the second Craft Beer + Bites, a 21+ beer and food event celebrating the SDSU Business of Craft Beer Program and benefitting the San Diego Brewers Guild and The Front Burner Fund.

From 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., attendees will get to sample beers from 10 local breweries and food from 10 local restaurants and food vendors. They’ll also get to play a variety of interactive games from bocce ball to life-sized Jenga, and shop wares from local makers, artists, and mobile boutiques.


Joining the likes of Alchemy, The Patio on Lamont Street, and Sessions Public in the food lineup is Calexico Creamery, San Diego’s newest artisan ice cream company. Owners Monique Fresquez (aka La Creamera) and Ivan Feerman (aka El Scoopo) will serve two ice creams, each of which will be paired with a different Groundswell beer. As is true of all of Calexico’s frozen desserts, the helados will be inspired by Mexico’s culinary traditions and made from scratch using 95% organic ingredients.

“We use all organic milk, cream, eggs, and cane sugar in every single one of our ice creams,” says Monique, who officially launched Calexico Creamery with Ivan, her husband, just last month. They also believe in supporting local, sustainable food systems, sourcing as many ingredients as possible from local farmer’s markets.

“Care for the environment is one of our priorities,” she says. “We feel that even the most simple act, such as buying ice cream, can have a positive impact.”

Though this will be the company’s first showing at Craft Beer + Bites, Calexico Creamery has quickly become a must-stop stand for regulars at the North Park Farmer’s Market, the Kearny Mesa Farmer’s Market, Ripe Market North Park on Saturdays, and the La Jolla Open Aire Market. How to find Calexico Creamery among the Craft Beer + Bites canopies? Simply look for the sweet white and baby blue 1964 Cardinal camper which Monique and Ivan have turned into the Calexico Creamery ice cream trailer.


Sloshing out suds during this edition of CBB are Green Flash, Lost Abbey, Societe, Alesmith, Karl Strauss, Twisted Manzanita, Thorn Street, Culture, the aforementioned Groundswell, and BNS.

Tickets for Craft Beer + Bites, which include 4-ounce pours from each craft brewery as well as food samples from each restaurant, can be purchased online before April 5 for $32.04 (that’s $30 plus a service fee). Tickets at the door are $35 flat.


(Photos by Chris Brake. Flyer and photos courtesy of SILO in the Makers Quarter.)

Craft Beer + Bites takes place at SILO in the Makers Quarter on Saturday, April 5, from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. // 753 15th Street, San Diego, CA 92101, on the corner of 15th and F St. // $30 in advance ($32.04 with service fee), $35 at the door. Advance tickets available at

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San Diego Sandwich Spots, Part 1

| March 26, 2014


I’m no Joey Tribbiani when it comes to sandwiches, but I will seek one out from time to time. When I do, these are four spots in San Diego that come to mind, from fast-food cheap to treat-yourself expensive.

That said, I’d like to post an SD Sandwich Spot sequel later this year (particularly because I wanted to include Bread & Cie on this list but just didn’t have time this past month to make it there for lunch). So, if you live in this fine county, please feel free to leave a comment with your go-to sandwich stops. Who knows? They may just make my second list.


Cali Baguette Express’ made-to-order Vietnamese 12-inch sandwiches, aka bánh mì, are priced between $3 and $4.75 before tax*. Pictured above is the BBQ pork bánh mì, a favorite of mine and my husband. We’re also partial to the Cali Special, which is filled with slices of pork loaf, Vietnamese ham, and pâté. Playing off the proteins in the slightly hollowed out baguette that’s crumbly on the outside and chewy on the inside are sweet-pickled slivers of carrots and daikon, crunchy cucumber, fresh cilantro (stems and leaves), and crisp slices of jalapeño (which can be left out upon request). Sorry Subway: With layers of flavor and texture and heat for under $5, I’ll have a Cali Baguette footlong any day. // Cali Baguette Express is also located in Mira Mesa, Rolando, and Chula Vista.


When it comes to ordering a sandwich at Con Pane in Liberty Station, your first decision is on the sandwich filling. How does the turkey, avocado, Applewood smoked bacon, house roasted Roma tomatoes, and crumbled Gorgonzola in the Turkey Cobb strike you? What about the roast beef, goat cheese, and thinly sliced red onions in the Seasoned Roast Beef sandwich? Or the Almost Grilled Cheese made with triple cream French Brie and the aforementioned Gorgonzola? All good choices. Next, pick a fresh-baked-onsite bread, such as the fragrant Rosemary and Olive Oil or the nutty Hazelnut and Raisin. Finally, choose between a half sandwich and a full sandwich. I usually opt for a half since Con Pane doesn’t chinze on their ingredients. That way, I have room for one of Con Pane’s cinnamon rolls. Be still my stomach. // Half sandwiches at Con Pane run between $4 and $5, whole sandwiches start around $7.50*.


Rubicon Deli targets people with big appetites. The proof is in the photo, which may look like a whole sandwich but is, in fact, a half order of the Rich Boy on Dutch Crunch bread. It’s a spicy and hefty helping of chipotle grilled chicken, Monterey Jack, avocado, lettuce, tomato, red onion, and garlic Tabasco aioli. Other favorites include the turkey-based Rubicon Special and the Hog’s Breath with ham. And just so you know: I ordered this sandwich for take-out (online, too!) so I could take photos of it, but there’s no reason why you couldn’t enjoy the meal at Rubicon’s swank Mission Hills outpost. In fact, I mean to in the future. // Half orders start at $6.99, whole orders at $10.49*. Also located in Mission Beach and Reno, Nevada.


Pictured are the Steak & Egg Sandwich, a savory, oozy, and crisp combo of Meyer Ranch steak cooked medium rare by default, a fried egg, arugula, parmigiano reggiano, and balsamic aioli; and an Avocado Sandwich, a spring special that includes a sun-dried tomato spread, sunflower seeds, fried leeks, and a balsamic glaze. Both are on thick grilled slices of focaccia bread and are served with a house made cabbage slaw that packs a crunch and a bright, vinegary tart punch. I’m also partial to the Pork Madame during Sunday brunch, the Steak Sandwich served outside of brunch hours, the Pork Loin wood-fired Sandwich, and the Sausage Poutine Fries if I’m there with enough friends who aren’t prone to eater’s remorse. Before you go, just know: these gourmet sandwiches come with gourmet prices. // Outside of the Toasted Cheese Sandwich, Tiger!Tiger! sandwiches start at $9*.

(*Obviously, all prices are subject to change after this posting.)
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5 Blogs that Inspire Me

| March 21, 2014


These blogs are the creation of smart, sincere, independent women, each of whom are producers of something beyond social media content, are design inclined, and aren’t afraid to draw readers into their personal lives once in a while. These blogs also lack cynicism, focussing instead on what’s positive and cherish-worthy about life. This isn’t to say that these bloggers ignore or suppress the unhappy; it’s simply that they don’t dwell on it. That’s the kind of online company I like to be around, and the kind of blogging I want to learn from. If you do, too, read on!


Let’s start with the blog I’ve followed the longest. Most of Kelli Murray’s posts focus on style for women, for baby girls, and for the home, and her taste is impeccable. She also shares details on her latest art pieces (she’s an illustrator by trade) and the occasional DIY. But what I admire most about the way Kelli blogs is how vulnerable she’s willing to be with her readers, from opening up about the madness that comes with running her own business to the worries that come with being a mom. She’s courageous. Someday, I’d like to be as brave on this blog as she is on hers. //


White space: the final frontier. Before I started following Oh Happy Day, a party and lifestyle blog by San Francisco-based event planner Jordan Ferney, I didn’t think about taking advantage of it. Now I consider how I might use it in a blog post to make the post feel less heavy. I also like the various ways Jordan tags items in collages that accompany her lists, from using numbers, to spelling numbers out, to leaving out numbers all together and using captions. Outside of her blog post elements, I’m inspired by her countless DIY party projects. //


If Creature Comforts were a textile, it would be a soft, cotton bed sheet featuring some kind of watercolor print, and it would be spread out on the grass under the shade of a Japanese Cherry tree on a spring afternoon that lasts all year. Deadly sin be damned, but I envy Ez Pudewa’s artistry and eye for what’s chic and timeless. Beyond the literal takeaways of free printables and Photoshop brushes, Ez reminds me that I don’t always have to color inside the lines or use opaque hues. I’m grateful. //


Photographer Tracy Benjamin makes recipe sharing look so appetizing that I decided to start sharing food how-tos, too. Not only has Shutterbean showed me the value of including overhead and eye-level shots of food in my recipe posts, but the blog stands out to me because Tracy does what traditional cooking publications don’t: She gives readers a pictorial of how she brings a dish together. My recipe posts follow her lead because I agree that showing is better than telling. //


Chelsea Foy (neé Costa), the blogger behind Lovely Indeed, lives in bold. It’s apparent in the bright, saturated colors peppered throughout her posts, the cheerful and encouraging tone in her writing, and the smiles she flashes in her photos. Whenever I lack energy to work on my next blog post or to think up new blog topics, finding some oomph is as easy as visiting Lovely Indeed. I also turn to this blog for ideas on clean graphic design, fun color combinations, and DIYs. //

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