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Now that Halloween is just around the corner, one of the things that I miss is the large Castro Street Halloween party. It was a time to gather friends and go costume watching. Well the city put a stop to it so no more Castro. The bad thing about the Castro was the huge crowds and the aimless wandering without a purpose, so I came up with an idea to have a purpose by having a Halloween Scavenger Hunt that will work for any place with lots of people in costume.

The rules are simple. People are divided into teams and set out with a list of costumes that they then must seek out and take a picture of. They were limited to 1 hour and could not use the same costume for multiple answers. After an hour everyone reconvened and shared answers. It helped that we had friends who lived within walking distance so we could meet up there and share our answers.

Here are the items that I came up with for the first Halloween Scavenger Hunt that we did with the answers that my team found below.

1st Halloween Scavenger Hunt Clue Sheet 2002.

The Questions

Teams must find each of the following.

1. – Any character from the a Wes Anderson film
2. – Any Lord of the Rings character
3. – Any animated character
4. – Any Pixar character
5. – Any secondary Simpsons character (no one from the immediate Simpson’s family)
6. – Any notable musician (has to be specific).
7 .– Any literary character (has to be specific).
8. – Any Nobel Prize winner
9. – Anything with a Hitchcockian theme
10. – Any comic book villain
11. – Any corporate logo
12. – Any group coordinated costume
13. – Any costume based on a play on words (i.e. cereal killer)
14. – Any costume that requires batteries or is power driven.
15. – Any food related costume.
16. – Any famous athlete (must be specific, not just someone wearing a jersey)
17. – Any costume that incorporates the use of ones own genitalia.
18. – Any famous artist or work of art. (must be specific)
19. – Any ethnic themed costume.
20. – Any television personality (i.e. Donahue, the Crocodile hunter, Oprah)

The Answers:

Halloween Scavenger Hunt 2002

Starting from the top row then across.
1. we found 2 people dressed up from the Royal Tennebaums.
2. I assume they guy dressed up as Gandalf
3. Scooby Dooby Doo!
4. Sully (& Mike) from Monster’s Inc.
5. Duff man!
6. Slash from Guns N’ Roses
7. Pinocchio from the book, right?
8. We all guessed that he dress up as Yasser Arafat
9. Another team saw a person with birds on a wire chasing them ala Birds, but we didn’t see anyone.
10. Catwoman
11. Boy’s Big Boy
12. more that one = a group so Teletubbies count.
13. Dr. Pepper. (*groan*)
14. As you can see in the picture the guy was wearing some sort of fiber optic suit.
15. McD’s french fry super super super sized.
16. Dennis Rodman
17. No quite there own genitalia, but close enough.
18. Van Gough
19. An Indian (of the Land O’ Lakes tribe) and the St. Pauli girl.
20. In a stroke of luck we ran across Sally Jessie Rafael AND Geraldo Rivera AKA Gerry Rivers.

If you are interested, here were the clues for the 2nd and 3rd Halloween Scavenger Hunts.

2nd Halloween Scavenger Hunt Clue Sheet 2003.

Teams must find each of the following.

1. – Any Johnny Depp character
2. – Fighter Pilot Dubya
3. – Common household item
4. – A Nemo character
5. – Mexican wrester
6. – Any 2002 California Gubernatorial candidate
7. – Any Stephan King character.
8. – Anyone of the Forbes.com Billionaires
9. – Frank Chu
10. – Fast Food mascot
11. – Any dead famous musician that is not Elvis.
12. – Any group coordinated costume
13. – Any costume based on a play on words (i.e. cereal killer or bargain hunter)
14. – Any video game character
15. – Costume incorporating a pet.
16. – Any participant of the 2003 World Series, ALCS or NLCS.
17. – Any Non-American celebrity.
18. – Any famous work of art. (must be specific)
19. – Any Quentin Tarantino character.
20. – Any Internet icon or sponsor.

3rd Halloween Scavenger Hunt Clue Sheet 2004.

Teams must find each of the following.

1. – Tom Hanks character
2. – Vice-President or Vice-Presidential Candidate
3. – Charles Dickens character
4. – 2004 Olympic participant
5. – Reality TV icon
6. – 80’s music icon
7. – Michael Moore
8. – Non-Pixar CG animated character
9. – Historical Military Figure
10.– Any original trilogy Star Wars character (not Luke, Han, Leia, or Darth Vader, and must be specific. Will not accept generic soldiers)
11. – Costume thats incorporating a cape.
12. – Talk show host
13. – Costume based on a play on words (i.e. cereal killer or bargain hunter)
14. – Video game character
15. – Alien
16. – Red Sox player or fan.
17. – Non-American television or movie celebrity.
18. – Famous work of art. (must be specific)
19. – Food industry character that is not restaurant or fast food chain related.
20. – Anyone with a similar costume as a team member. (must take photo together)

Enjoy and Happy Halloween.

Simplify Media is a new application that lets you stream music from your iTunes library and access it on another computer. That is not new, but they have just released an iPhone app to also connect and stream your music. So now I can access all my music from home either from my work computer or from my iPhone. What is also nice about the iPhone app is that it also connects to show lyrics and artist information in addition to album art. Now if this wasn’t enough, you also have the ability to share your library with up to 30 friends. Definitely worth checking out.

Hawaiian French Bread

grits, eggs, fried chicken, and corned beef hash

We started the morning off early by heading to The Coffee Company” for some Sunday Brunch. We got there early to beat the church crowd. I ordered the corned beef hash, and it was the best on the west coast that I’ve had. Courtney ordered the French Toast on Hawaiian bread. I’m not a breakfast person but this was definitely worth getting up early for.

hollyhock house

After the previous night of eating and eating, and getting up early for breakfast, we weren’t in the mood for any big lunch. We ended up walking around to see the Hollyhock House designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. We just missed the tour, but it did lead to great views of the hills.

Courtney finally gets her Pinkberry

Hoon and the giant shaved ice Pinkberry

We ended up getting snack by having the infamous Pink Berry. This was Courtney and my first time. I ended up trying the shaved ice, which was massive. Unfortunately they were out of mochi, but we managed. We decided to just park the car and walk around in LA to build up an appetite. Since we had an early breakfast, a snack during lunch we were ready to eat early.

Burger detail @ Father's Office

Next up, Father’s Office. We had heard that it gets crazy busy with a line out the door, but since we were finally recovering from our full feasts, we were getting hungry around 4pm. We walked right in and ordered, though it still took us some time to procure a table, but getting there early definitely was key. Father’s Office is known for two things, their hamburgers and their beer. Both were spot on. You cannot make any sort of alterations on the hamburger, but IMHO, it doesn’t need any. The onions were seasoned and formed in a fine sweet paste and the burger was cooked perfectly with the inside of the bun soaking up the juices but not breaking away the bread. While the fries were good, there weren’t special, but the sweet potato fries “ala carte” were exceptional. They also had a fine selection of beers and since I had been going to the Trappist in Old Oakland, I’ve been getting slowly familiar with the vast world of Belgian brews and to my surprise recognized some of them. All the beers were delicious.

Sweet Potato Fries "a la cart"

Blueberry cheesecake @ Urth

We tried to rally for a dinner, but we settled for coffee and dessert. At Urth Cafe we got a blueberry cheesecake which looked delicious (but I didn’t have any). We ended the night simply with a new list of places to revisit when back and new places to try.

Well we finally got our act together and went down to LA to visit our friend Margaret. Like me she loves food and was totally prepared to show us the new and old eats for that weekend. It was packed with great food, and even better food.

We arrived Friday night and went immediately to one of her favorite places to eat called Orris. We were in for a ride. Orris specializes in French/Japanese tapas. One after another, not only did we get tasty bite after tasty bite, we also got a wine pairing with every dish.

I can’t remember all the dishes but some things that stood out was the tuna lettuce cups, the orange roughy with a taragon tomato “pomodoro”, the roasted hearts of romaine lettuce, and the tasty beef cubes. The list goes on and on but unfortunately it came so fast and furious I couldn’t remember it all. Oh well, it only means that I may have to go back.

Cake Monkey

The other highlight of the night was that Margaret picked up some cupcakes from a brand new place called Cake Monkey. I’m not the hugest cake fan, but this place had one of the best cakes I’ve have eaten. They were mini cakes, slightly bigger than cupcakes. Some of them had little crunchy dots in them that burst when you bit into the moist cake meat.

Crumbs

The next day was ridiculous. We literally only walked probably the equivalent of about 5 blocks the whole day. In the morning we walked to the car in the garage, then headed over for some morning coffee and pastries. We walked 1 1/2 blocks to another new cupcake place called Crumbs. We ended up ordering a bunch to bring to our friends Matt, Pam, and their new baby, Mason.

Din Tai Fung food

Which brings us to lunch. We met up with Matt, Pam, and Mason at Din Tai Fung in Arcadia. They are best known for their soup dumplings or Xiao Long Bao or “XLB”. They are the magical type of dumplings that have a little tiny amount of soup trapped inside the dumplings so that when you bite into them, they burst with flavor in your mouth. Everything else there was delicious as well. There was curry noodles, a very mild, and subtle, flavorful fried rice, some pork chops, and other food.

We weren’t sure how we were going to fare for dinner.

Dinner

Oesteria Mozza exterior

We met up with a few of Margaret’s friends, Jan, Carson, and Joanne at the new Mario Batali restaurant, Osteria Mozza. Unfortunately most of my photos came out blurry.

Raviolo w/ egg.

We happened to be there on one of the 2 special nights of the week when they have a very special mozzarella flown in from Italy. It was a plain ball of cheese with a little olive oil. It was smooth, with a bubbly texture, and screamed out cheese when it hit my tongue. Everyone said to get the Raviolo, so we all tried it. It came with ricotta cheese and an egg yolk inside it. The raviolo was cooked super al dente, just enough to harden the egg yolk to a thickened but not solid sauce. Around the raviolo was a delicious brown butter sauce with sage. I ended up having a second course of pasta with a tagliatelle with oxtail ragout. Great execution on the ragout and pasta. Other people ordered the beef shank, which was fall off the bone, and a roasted half duck which was deliciously presented on your own cutting board.

half duck

Dessert was equally delicious with gelato reminiscent of my trip to Florence, and a cake with bourbon gelato.
cake w/ bourbon gelato

Needless to say we slept very soundly and looked forward to the next day of delicious dishes.

Cool little site to modify your photos to make it look like old Japanese photos from the Taisho era.

http://labs.wanokoto.jp/olds

original

Hoon and Boram

now from the early 1900s

Bo and Hoon from the past

corned beef

Another St. Patrick’s day comes around and another time to taste the delicious corned beef made by my wife. Courtney does cook much but the few times she does it is worth the wait. The corned beef is glazed with her special New England recipe. There is just something magical about stewing beef that makes it melt in your mouth tender. The glaze just adds the nice tanginess and sweetness to bring it over the top. It seemed like everyone else enjoyed it as well.

Guiness and Guiness pudding

In addition to the corned beef, our friend Lauren brought over the missing other half, Guinness. However not the regular kind, the kind with Guinness flavored cream with Guinness flavored pudding. Delicious.

Happy Holidays everyone! I’ll report back on the sand and the surf and the Christmas experience with the Aloha twist.

Mele Kalikimaka.

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