Saturday, February 12, 2011

Walk This Way

So, the company I work for participates in the Virgin Health Miles program. As a result, a bunch of us have been wearing pedometers provided by the program. As a participant, you get paid by racking up pedometer steps by walking, running, or other forms of exercise. In addition, you can set up challenges to spice things up a bit.

A co-worker and I started up a one-on-one challenge with the goal of putting up as many steps as we could in two weeks. To make a long story shorter, on the final day before we left work we both checked in. I had slacked a bit in the last couple days and I was down over 11,000 steps. I could either give up or just go for a win.

The contest would end at midnight, so at around 9pm, I did 7 miles (some jogging and mostly walking) and checked in my steps. I found that I was up about 2000 steps. I figured it may have been enough, but I wasn't too sure. You're allowed to check-in the previous days miles the next day for challenge purposes. And, I had no idea whether or not my opponent might have put up some real numbers in the final hours as well.

Anyway, with about ten to fifteen minutes until midnight, I decide what the heck, let me run up and down my stairs for five more minutes. I racked up another 500 or so steps, and checked them in. And, that was that.

Today, I find myself a victor by a final margin of... 79 steps! I don't know how much closer you can get when the totals are in the 135K range. Pretty funny. My co-worker was not amused. She can't even look at my face right now. I have to watch out now though as I'm sure she and others in the office will no longer be slacking in the final hours of any future challenge.

Monday, February 07, 2011


It's been quite a while since I've done any fancy dining. The dry spell was broken last night when we went to Quince in San Francisco. We arrived a little early for our reservation, but it wasn't too crowded and so we were seated immediately.

After perusing the menu some, we stuck with our original plan which was for the Seafood and Shellfish tasting menu with the wine pairing. I've been drinking a bit more wine recently, and so it seemed fitting to splurge a bit on this occasion.

The bread came soon after we ordered. There were two selections, a baguette and also an onion roll. While both were good, we thought the onion roll was extremely flavorful. It was so good, in fact, that I think by the end of the meal I ate four of them (and only one baguette).

The amuse bouche was decent, but nothing super special. There was a little fried lobster snack, a miniature beet salad, and a cold, refreshing pea soup.

Amuse Bouche - Lobster Snack, Beet Salad, Pea Soup

Our first dish was really excellent and was quite possibly my favorite for the night. It was a 'ravioli' composed of sea urchin wrapped in halibut sashimi. On the side, there were mandarin oranges. I can't really describe how awesome this tasted. Given enough of it, I could definitely make a meal out of this dish alone.

Seafood Ravioli - Sea Urchin Wrapped in Halibut Sashimi

The next dish was a seafood pasta with a squid ink sauce. This dish worked for me. First, it had sardines, clams, mussels, and scallops. For those of you that know me well, I really do like sardines. I find myself eating them straight out of the can more often than I'd like to admit. On top of that, I'm a real fan of squid ink sauce. So, this dish really worked for me. I do think that some might not enjoy it so much.

Seafood Pasta with Squid Ink - Mussels, Clams, Sardines, and Scallops

This dish was followed by lobster and split pea dumplings. I don't appreciate lobster as much as most, but I still enjoyed the dish. I thought the pea dumplings were fairly ordinary. Overall, I would say this was one of my least favorite for the night.

Lobster and Split Pea Dumplings

The next dish was turbot with artichokes and carrots. The sauce was light tasting and worked really well. The fish was delicious. I think this was my second favorite dish following the seafood ravioli.

Turbot with Artichokes and Carrots

After a blood orange palate cleansing dish...

Blood Orange Palate Cleanser

We were on to dessert, a lemon tart and meringue.

Lemon Tart and Meringue

And, the night ended with some petit fours. There was a lemon candy, white chocolate, and also a pistachio nougat. The candy was a bit sweet, but the chocolate and nougat were to my liking.

Petit Fours - Lemon Candy, Chocolate, and Pistachio Nougat

I would say that all in all, I had a pleasant dining experience at Quince, and I would recommend the restaurant to others. One thing to know is that, at least when we were there, the other diners were a fair bit older than us. But, I never felt out of place, so I guess that would only be an issue if you made it out to be one.