Wednesday, September 26, 2012

2 Macs from Mac Shack

After I picked up my black and white cookie in Manhattan, my boyfriend and I made our way to Brooklyn to stay the night. As we walked to the hotel, a passing promoter pressed a flyer into my hands. I glanced at it. "Mac Shack," it said. I read the menu. It was all macaroni and cheese dishes, every one! And they hadn't even known I was a macaroni reviewer! It was like a sign from the gods. That night, we went significantly out of our way to pick up some macaroni at the Mac Shack.

I got the veggie mac. Normally I prefer my macaroni plain and my veggies on the side, but we were having trouble finding a source for vegetables that were not a six-dollar salad, so I made do.

I admit, it tasted better than it looks.

The macaroni was a little more upscale than your typical side dish, what with the 4 different cheeses and whatever that green stuff was on top. The vegetables mixed in did not ruin the flavor as I had thought.

However, perhaps the flavor was just a little too exotic for my taste. Mine was not salty enough (a common complaint I have) and so I traded with Rico, because he liked mine better, and his was saltier--he got the Brooklyn South, with "queso blanco, fontina, emmenthal, and gouda." But in Rico's macaroni, there was a sour flavor that I didn't detect until I'd already committed to eating it. Probably we would have done better to just order the classic variety and save the fancy stuff for the gourmands.

One happy noodle for all macaroni all the time!
One happy noodle for perfectly cooked macaroni!
One sad noodle for some weird flavors.

1 happy noodle 1 happy noodle 1sad noodle

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Black and White Cookie from Zaro

In all the years I've been eating Giant Cookies, I've seen a lot of "black and white" cookies. But never ever have I felt interested enough in them to buy one.

All that changed this past weekend when, while buying lunch at Zaro in New York's Grand Central Station, I chose it. Out of all the giant cookies in the display case – and there were several varieties – black and white won the day. Partly it was because I'd never tried one. Partly it was because they were sitting out where I could pick them up, and I was able to confirm that they were soft and hefty—two of the Giant Cookie traits I like the most.

I ate the first portion of it that very night and found it to be just as soft as my fingers had already experienced. If I'd had my choice, it would have been a little more substantial and a little less cakey, but it was almost perfect, texture-wise. The frosting on top was also soft, with just a thin glaze keeping it from being too gooey. As one might guess, the black portion was chocolate flavored while the white portion was vanilla. I couldn't decide which one I liked better, because the former was just too chocolatey, and the latter was just too bland. Eventually I concluded that black and white cookies are not the ideal cookie for me. Even the cookie beneath the frosting seemed a little on the bland side.

I wasn't wholly impressed, but, in the right mood, I might buy this cookie again.

The bottom line:
Taste: 3 stars
Texture: 4 stars

Price: The receipt wasn't itemized!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Riding in style

Last weekend, my boyfriend and I traveled to the city of New York for a scintillating 1-and-a-half-day treat (a treat for New York, that is, to be graced with our presence!). Always on the cutting edge of cool, he and I blazed our way through the city like conquering heroes, riding high on the backs of our magnificent kick-scooters.

That's right, dear readers! The toy that you lovingly abandoned in your garage at the age of 10 and neglected forevermore has become our new, stylin' adult mode of urban transport. Here's the story.

Do you remember when the Razor scooter first came out, and it was such a big deal that it was right up there on the Cool-o-Meter with Heely shoes (even though they came later), but only among those who had not yet reached puberty? Well apparently at that time, my boyfriend had reached puberty, and in fact surpassed it, but still coveted one of the slick silver rides, ever since his tobacco-peddling, scooter-riding classmate at college had let him try out his delivery "vehicle."

Fast forward to 10 years later. He has 3 motorcycles and a car, but still hasn't gotten his hands on the simple self-propelled transportation equipment of his dreams. Four days before we were supposed to leave on our trip to New York, he called me and said he wanted to get us scooters to ride around the city. He launched into a discourse on the varying benefits of different brands and models of scooters, thoroughly overwhelming me with possibilities, and then said, in a voice filled with urgency, "Go try one out." He was contemplating ordering a pair online, right then and there, and getting 2-day shipping, but he didn't want to spend his money on something I might not like.

Unsurprisingly, I was unable to find one to try out within the next 2 days (although my story of trying to accomplish this task at Target during a power failure is worthy of a post all its own), but Rico cleverly located a store in New York that carries a wide selection of kick scooters, so we decided to stop there on our incredibly busy first day and try them out.

We did. Rico had been so anxious I wouldn't like them, that I wasn't sure what to expect. Would I be falling over every 5 seconds? I wasn't. Although I was a bit wobbly on my first try, I got the hang of it pretty quickly. The only problem was...the price. We tried out all 3 adult models, which I liked to varying degrees, but Rico was really only interested in the Razor A-5, a larger stunt model technically designed for kids, but big enough for your average sized adult who just wants to get around cheaply—it was half the cost of the adult scooters. The store wouldn't let us try that one out, and I was still kind of concerned about whether I could comfortably ride a kid's scooter, so we left and trudged our way back to the subway.

By the next day, though, Rico had commented so many times on how much faster we'd be getting around on a scooter, that I knew he wasn't going to let it go. He found a toy shop that carried it, and off we went. They did let us try one out, and it was quite suitable for me, although the price wasn't as good as it would have been online—or at the other store. I would have probably encouraged Rico to wait and just buy it cheap, except the storekeeper had been forced to mutilate the box in order to take the scooter out for testing, so I felt kind of guilty and we just bought 2 on the spot. Then we underwent our conversion from our usual plodding pace to ridiculous speed!

With emphasis on the ridiculous. If you've ever disrupted a sophisticated metropolitan scene by weaving at high speeds around the more sedate pedestrians on a child's toy, you will understand how I felt. If you have ever walked around in public in a dinosaur suit on any day other than Halloween, you will understand how I felt. If you have done neither, you need to loosen up a little! What are you, sane?

Just in case you are, I'll say it simply: I felt conspicuous.

But...conspicuous is good! We were the vanguard! Our Razors are on the razor edge of transportation innovation! We made the 3-mile trip from our hotel in Brooklyn to lunch in lower Manhattan in a little under 40 minutes! I am in awe of the efficiency! Travel twice as fast as you can on foot, with half the bulk of a bike, half the danger of a skateboard, and none of the shoe-changing of rollerblades! Scooter commuting seems like the best of all worlds! It's the next big thing, and Rico and I are at the forefront of the wave!

We are not the only ones who have chosen to commute around New York City on kick scooters (in fact, after we bought them, I saw several other full-grown adults with them). But we were still the oddball minority. Not that that's a big concern. To be honest, I'll secretly be a little proud if the rest of the world never gets in on this game, since then the joys of scootering will be forever my own "in thing."

But you, dear readers, are not part of that clueless "rest of the world." I want you to join me as a member of the elite few.  Get yourself a scooter and become as me and Rico, gliding effortlessly on the wheels of wisdom.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

San Francisco by the Cookies, a little for everyone!

If you haven't had enough of San Francisco yet, now's your opportunity to go ahead and visit my Picasa album, where I've uploaded the rest of the photos that didn't make it into this blog. If you were itching for more San Francisco tales, today's your lucky day, because my intro to these last 2 cookie reviews ended up rambling on a bit! And if, perchance, you're looking for some Giant Cookie recommendations, skip past the next paragraph, and search for the word "Biscoff." Forward, ho!

San Francisco is supposedly known for its good food, but I wouldn't know. I'm a picky eater by nature, and something about eating garlicky, cheesy lunches and walking all day was taking away my appetite (for anything but ice cream), which made it hard to get excited about expensive restaurants where everything on the menu was, well, not ice cream. We ended up eating mostly at national chains the whole trip. The first night it was Cheesecake Factory, just for cheesecake, though I later picked up some beans & cheese at an authentic California chain—Del Taco, which was a dead ringer for Taco Bell. Sunday night was California Pizza Kitchen--At least that one has California in its name. Lunch at In & Out burger, while a slightly more novel experience, was hardly what I'd call a San Francisco gourmet treat. Monday night, we actually ate someplace I've never heard of before, called The Mango, or something like that. But they messed up my order so bad I refused to eat it and ended up having Ben & Jerry's to fill the void. Tuesday's lunch was probably the closest I came to having a San Francisco food experience, and that was when I had soup at Boudin Sourdough. I love sourdough, so that was a great way to do lunch, although as a vegetarian, I was unable to fill my bread bowl with clam chowder, but instead chose the boring roasted tomato soup (I'm also not a fan of roasted tomato, but at least I could eat it). For dinner on our last evening, I had a Ghirardelli sundae—yes, that was my dinner. What can I say, I only had eyes for ice cream.

And, of course, Giant Cookies. With no more days to describe and 2 more Giant Cookies to review, it's time to get crumbling!

The two cookies being reviewed today are the ones on the bottom center and bottom right. The others were reviewed in previous posts.

Biscoff Cookie

Rico had good things to say about Biscoff, but the cookie didn't do much for me. It looked like it was going to be great, but I was disappointed as soon as I broke into it, by the unbelievably hard edges, which managed to be both tough and crumbly at the same time! However, the middle of the cookie was a much more pleasant texture, and the big ol' chunks of chocolate were like chunks of heaven itself. I'll wager this cookie, with its tough exterior, was what we in the foodie field call an overcookie, and it's too bad that my only experience with Biscoff had to be an accident.
The Bottom Line:
Taste: 4 stars
Texture: 2 stars
Price: 2 stars (at 2.12¢ per gram)

Bristol Farms Peanut Butter Chocolate cookie

Sometimes you know as soon as you look at a cookie that it's going to be delicious. Such was the case when I ran across this Giant Cookie while killing time at Bristol Farms (which struck us as a lot like Whole Foods) before our flight. It was heavy and substantial, and looked to be overflowing with chocolate. I couldn't wait to devour (I mean review) it, but I responsibly saved it until last. And then I enjoyed myself thoroughly.

There are times when I get tired of peanut butter cookies, but I don't think I'd ever get tired of this one. It tasted scrumptious! And although it did crumble everywhere, it was the sort of doughy crumble that is born of not having too much egg in the batter (in other words, a good crumble). It was almost like eating straight-up cookie dough, except with a bit of crunch. And, as I ascertained just from looking, they didn't skimp on the chocolate. My only regret is that there are no Bristol Farms stores in my area, or I would try their chocolate chip cookie!

Now, I paid $3.49 for this cookie, which I think is some kind of a Giant Cookie record. But that $3.49 was divided up into 180 grams, for a price of 1.93¢ a gram. They won't be winning any cheapness awards, but with this cookie, every 1.93¢ is well spent.
The Bottom Line:
Taste:5 stars
Texture: 5 stars
Price: 4 stars

Sunday, September 9, 2012

San Francisco by the Cookies, Day 4

Our fourth and final day in San Francisco, we had pretty much exhausted our CityPasses. The only attraction left in them was the Aquarium of the Bay. We decided to see that as soon as it opened in the morning, see Coit Tower, and then go back to Golden Gate Park to see the Japanese Tea Garden and the Botanical Garden.

The Aquarium of the Bay proved quite interesting, although small. We walked through two enormous glass tunnels with fish and sharks floating on the other side. I had a blast petting the sharks, rays, skates, and sea cucumbers in the touch pools, but alas, it was over too soon!

A school of Sardines

We amused ourselves until lunchtime by buying one more giant cookie at Biscoff and strolling around the marina, where I saw the world's cutest seagull, played at being Rosie the Riveter in front of various historic sailing vessels, and took lots of pictures of pigeons.

the world's cutest seagull, sitting on a piece of wood.

Valerie sticking her face through a Rosie the Riveter poster, with ships in the background

A pigeon on a dirty windowsill

Having been spoiled by free admissions with CityPass, we then spent the rest of the afternoon going to attractions but refusing to pay the fee required to actually get in. We saw Coit Tower from its base, the Japanese Tea Garden from its gate, and the San Francisco Botanical Garden from its ticket counter.

Coit Tower
 Fortunately, the rest of Golden Gate Park was free, so we got unspoiled views of the top of Butterfly Hill and what might have been an "abandoned observatory," although I didn't see any signs explaining what it was and this awesome turkey-duck!

Duck with red around its face like a turkey

Well, I don't know what it is, but it is undebatably awesome! Sadly, I was too cold and worn out to take pictures of anything I saw after the turkey-duck, and really, I didn't see much.

We were just trying to kill time until our flight at 11-something that night, so our last few hours in San Francisco basically consisted of walking around the mall and various shops downtown, acquiring snacks for later, one of which was my last Giant Cookie of the trip.

Since we've got some time, let's review some cookies! But let's do it really fast, since I have lost most of the pertinent information, they are not very interesting cookies anyway, and you'll probably never have the opportunity to try them yourself.

The white chocolate macadamia nut cookie I picked up at the De Young Museum was ok, but too crunchy, and I couldn't detect much flavor (though that's probably a fault of my nose rather than the cookie). The gigantic nut-covered cookie I got in Chinatown was OK, but too crunchy, and I actually could detect some flavor, and it was pretty good, though it was not nutty as I expected but rather what seemed to be a plain sugar cookie with nuts on top. [Correction: It was almond.]

The Bottom Line:

De Young Cookie - Taste:3 stars, Texture:2 stars, Price: I don't even know.
Chinese Cookie - Taste:4 stars, Texture: 2 stars, Price: I lost my receipt.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

San Francisco but no Cookies, Day 3

Day 3 (Labor Day) dawned dark and foggy. The boyfriend was slowly adjusting to Pacific Time, but not fast enough for me! That morning, he went down to the pool by himself. I was planning to go, but I'd had enough of being cold, and at the last moment I decided I didn't want to walk through the chilly hotel all wet again. So I had a nice warm shower and sat down to eat yesterday's leftover key lime pie for breakfast.

Monday's plans were as follows:
  • Explore the Presidio park
  • Rent bikes and take them across the Golden Gate Bridge
  • Ride the bikes all over town and, most importantly, see "that wind-y street" that is apparently famous, although I'd forgotten I'd ever heard of it until someone asked me about it.
  • Umm, go shopping in the Marina district?

Tha plans for the afternoon were somewhat hazy—fitting, because so was the Golden Gate Bridge! We got to it in the late morning, having found that the Presidio is not so much a park as a neighborhood. We got our bikes at the cheapest bike rental in town at Sports Basement, which was, to my delight, a converted supermarket which still sported "Frozen Foods" and other incongruous signage. To get onto the bridge, we had to pedal the bikes up the world's biggest hill, which made me so hot I had to remove my jacket even though it was ridiculously cold out. I left it off when we were crossing the flat bridge, which proved to be a huge mistake as I cooled off and the icy fog settled on my bare arms. Here is a typical view as seen from the bridge.
Once on the other side, we were rewarded with intermittent views of the bridge unobscured by fog! There didn't seem to be anything but highway on the other side—at least, not within sight, and the person who'd rented us the bikes had warned us that most people don't have time to bike across the bridge and have lunch in the opposite city, so after the obligatory photographs, we just turned back. 

The entire trip barely took us an hour, so we had plenty of time for lunch, which we took at In & Out Burger back at Fisherman's Wharf. Our 3 hours were running low, but I still wanted to see that winding street - which I'd learned was better known as Lombard Street - so we made a break for it. Unfortunately, a misinterpretation of the map made that impossible, so we returned our bikes, sightseeing cravings still unassuaged.

One mistake wiser, we then took the bus to Lombard Street in confidence that we were going the right place. There, due to another misinterpretation of the map, we found ourselves at the foot of the steep portion and were obligated to walk up the street, rather than down, which would have been the sensible way to explore it. Unfortunately, I could not get any photos of the street, because I could not get high enough off the ground to see anything more than the bushes surrounding it. So instead, I will reward you with pictures of the Painted Ladies (yes, that's those houses), and even more pictures of all the people taking pictures of them. Frankly, I couldn't see what the big deal was about, which might explain why I completely forgot to mention them in my post about Day 2, which is when we actually saw them.

Then it was back to the wharf for us, where we decided rather spontaneously to take our cruise of the harbor, courtesy of CityPass. We saw sea lions on the docks, Alcatraz from the outside, the city from afar, and lots of fog. Angel Island, the Golden Gate Bridge, and in fact pretty much half the sights on the cruise were invisible.

After the cruise, although some shopping ensued, I did not buy any Giant Cookies, and that was basically the culmination of our day.

By the end of Monday, I had learned 2 more truths about San Francisco:
1) In order to see anything cool in this city, you must always climb up a huge hill first.
2) People who live in atrocious climates (like anywhere in the Northwest United States) think 60 degrees is the perfect temperature to throw the windows wide and let in the frigid air. Also to be eating outside. Brr.

Friday, September 7, 2012

San Francisco by the Cookies, Day 2

I found my missing blog post! Fortunately, I recovered it from my work computer before Evernote synced to the server and lost it forever. Here it is!

On Sunday, the day of rest, my boyfriend woke me up at the ungodly hour of 5 AM (are we sensing a pattern here?) because it was "really" 8 AM. I argued that we were in California, we should be on California time, and besides, none of the attractions would be open until around 10. After a few go-rounds, he finally let me sleep, while he went for a swim in the hotel pool. He came back shortly thereafter because the pool wasn't open yet. I had not been able to go back to sleep because all the discussion had woken me up anyway, so I crawled out of bed.

Following a discussion of our plans for the day, a swim in the hotel pool (which was open by this time) and breakfast at the hotel we'd considered but hadn't stayed at, it was time for our sightseeing marathon, courtesy of CityPass! CityPass is a neat invention that contains discounted tickets for several local attractions and offers unlimited free rides on the local transit system. It ended up being a hassle-free way to see the city, and if you are going to San Francisco (or several other participating cities), I totally recommend it. You just have to find it first.

Here's how we got our CityPasses. Weeks before the trip, we discovered the existence of CityPass and debated whether it was the choice for us. Was it really worth the 69 dollars? Yes, we concluded, but was it worth it to buy it in advance? You could buy online and have it delivered by mail. You could buy online and pick it up at any CityPass attraction. You could buy at any CityPass attraction. By the time we'd decided to buy, it was too late to have it mailed, so we chose to just purchase it onsite.

Now, when we arrived at the hotel, in addition to advising us about where to have lunch, the desk clerk also told us we could buy a CityPass at the Concierge desk, or the Visitor Center, which she nicely pointed out on the map. Once we had made our winding way to the Visitor Center, we had second thoughts about buying the CityPass there, thinking maybe we could get it cheaper back at the hotel. When we got back to the hotel, we found that they were not selling the CityPass there—guess we had misunderstood something. On our way back to the Visitor Center, we passed the Museum of Modern Art, which was one of the CityPass locations. We could buy the CityPass there and see the museum at the same time! But I had second thoughts about buying it there too, since I was suddenly afraid that some of the attractions might be closed for Labor Day or have conflicting hours and we wouldn't be able to get our money's worth. I wanted to ask bunches of questions, and I figured I wouldn't get the best answers from a harried museum ticket seller with a line out to the next block! So we walked on to the Visitor Center. By now it was so late that the sales desk had no one at it except this one dude counting his cash. I made him answer all my questions, and finally—finally—I bought the two CityPasses.

And we still had time to see the SF MoMA before it closed, happily bypassing the block-long lines with our pre-paid tickets in hand! But that, in case you were confused by my wanton disregard of traditional chronology, was still Saturday.

Since I've spent too much time digressing about Saturday, I'll try to keep Sunday's tale short and sweet. After breakfast (at the other hotel, the one we'd considered but decided not to stay at) we made a morning trek, via bus, free with CityPass, to Golden Gate Park, which, contrary to what you might expect, was not near the Golden Gate Bridge. There we visited the De Young Museum (more art) and the California Academy of Sciences (science) right across the way. The De Young Museum was where I picked up Giant Cookie #2, which I shall review at a later date, since I have a backlog of Giant Cookies to gnaw through, and I have already gone on too long in this post). The two museums kept us busy until late afternoon, when we took the bus down to the shore, to explore the most arctic, foggy beach I have ever set foot on. Unsurprisingly, we didn't stay there long.

The boyfriend was having a craving for steamed buns, and we needed to check out Chinatown anyway, so that's where we headed next. I myself have a mild obsession with the Chinese pastries known as moon cakes, but I haven't been able to find any for probably two years. I had pretty much given up on ever eating a moon cake again, and thus I was delighted with surprise when we stopped in a bakery and found the mother lode of moon cakes, with every kind of filling under the sun! I limited myself to just two. I also bought the biggest Giant Cookie of the entire trip—some kind of peanut/almond thing which I haven't tasted yet. Chinatown, unfortunately, rolled up its sidewalks shortly after we arrived, so we left and completely forgot to even go looking for the big fancy gate that's supposedly around there somewhere.

By the time we got back to the room, I was so sleepy I couldn't even eat my dessert, and you know if I'm skipping dessert, I'm really sleepy!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

It's Gone

I spent hours - really, hours - composing today's post on my second day in San Francisco. However, it is not there in my Evernote account where I saved it earlier. Ugh. There is no way I'm rewriting that. Here are some photos instead.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

San Francisco by the Cookies, Day 1

If you were reading back in June, you will recall that my boyfriend was job hunting and was contemplating leaving me for a state named California. He ultimately chose to stay here ...for now... but in the last week of freedom before starting his new job in DC, he wanted to take a trip out to the West Coast to see what he was giving up. Well, I thought that was a terrible idea (right up there with moving away from me!) but I came with him to see what I might have to face if he changed his mind later.

While I was in San Francisco, I really outdid myself in the Giant Cookie department, buying 5 whoppers throughout the 4-day trip. And so, in keeping with my concerns aired in last post, I think this is a lovely opportunity to tell you a good old-fashioned narrative while still satisfying my compulsion to blog about giant cookies. It may have to happen in installments, because 4 days and 5 Giant Cookie Reviews are a lot to digest (get it!?) at once.

Day 1

On Saturday, my boyfriend cruelly dragged me out of bed shortly after 5 AM in order to catch our 7:05 flight. Even with this obscenely early wake-up, we still almost missed our plane; thus, my record of harrowing near-misses (and complete misses) every trip I take by air remains unbroken. I also lost yet another pocket knife to the sticky fingers of the TSA. It's a good thing I don't look like a terrorist, because I sure do carry around a lot of weaponry.

Thanks to the magic of time zones, we arrived in San Francisco only 2 hours after we left DC, leaving us with an entire day to entertain ourselves! And we weren't sure how to do it, especially since we were starving to death and incapable of coherent thought. Our hotel check-in clerk suggested we rectify this at a local establishment called The Grove, where we found a cute coffee-shop-like atmosphere, a really good grilled cheese sandwich, and Giant Cookie #1!

Giant Cookie from the Grove

Having eaten this cookie under the influence of a stuffy nose, I'm not sure how good it actually tasted, but the texture wasn't anything to jump up and down over. Cute and gigantic though it was (I wish I had gotten a picture of all the cookies sitting in the case, cause they looked pretty picturesque!), it was just any other cookie once it reached my mouth. It tasted like your standard Tollhouse cookie with just a little bit of softness and a little bit of crunch and a sort of chewy, sort of cakey texture. In other words, not really distinctive in any way. It weighed 120 grams, but I forgot to check the price, so I can't speak to its value. But as for the other criteria...
The Bottom Line:
Taste: 3 stars
Texture: 3 stars

The rest of Day 1 passed in sort of a haze of exploring and shopping, during which we discovered 2 truths about San Francisco:
  1. All the streets smell like pee (Ok, maybe just the streets downtown, but that was all we'd seen of SF so far, so it didn't make for a very good first impression)
  2. It has the worst climate imaginable.
Do you want to try to imagine it? I'll help.

San Francisco has no summer. I'm not even going to bother with the infamous quote about summer in San Francisco, because if you haven't heard it, you will, and shortly thereafter, you will have heard it enough times to never want to hear it again. I had heard the aforementioned quote years back, so I was somewhat prepared, and, like any responsible traveler, I had also read the weather forecasts before departing.

But no second-hand account by hyperbolizing writers nor thorough academic study of meteorology (which reveals, in case you were curious, that, at the warmest part of the year - right now in fact - the average highs in San Francisco are something like 74 F - barely warm enough to keep my nose from running - and the lows are a miserable upper 50's) could prepare me for the dreadful weather that I was about to experience

When we arrived at the city shortly after 9 am, the air was so cold, all I could do was complain about it. In a slightly more proactive gesture, I also donned my arm warmers, and soon followed them with my jacket. By the time we left our room for the second time, after lunch, it was warm enough that I left my jacket there. At some points during the day (lasting about 5 minutes each, while walking in the direct sun), it was even warm enough that I could take off my arm warmers and wear just my T-shirt! But come sunset, the bitter cold set in, and me without my jacket was a pitiful sight indeed. The next day, having learned my lesson, I wore my jacket, and my arm warmers, and added to the collection a winter headband, all of which I was then forced to carry around in my arms throughout the warm part of the afternoon. What kind of a place requires you to dress for winter in the morning and summer in the afternoon, every day? For the entire year!? Not the kind of place I'd want to live, that's for sure! Count me among the ranks of the hyperbolizing writers!

In summary, by Day 1, I had acquired one Giant Cookie and firmly made up my mind as to the (un)desirability of San Francisco as a permanent home.

Stay tuned for more Giant Cookies and more touristic adventures!