I’m consolidating hosts and websites in order to make all this easier to manage and to have a little more control over themes and plugins and stuff. So the blog has been moved to www.madbaker.com
See you there!
Ahhh… one day this will be me. One day soon…
Saturday was a day off from Baking School so a group of us toured around San Francisco for the day. It was a brilliant day, warm and sunny, with a gentle breeze coming off the bay. Lots of opportunity for sunburns!
We spent several hours touring around the Ferry Station Market. It’s a huge weekly farmers market with more bread, cheese, oil, fruits and other artisan products than I have ever seen gathered in one place. We sampled our way among the stalls and bought enough fresh goat cheese and fruit to accommodate another week’s worth of bread baking.
After the market we walked to the more touristy areas of the city — Fisherman’s Wharf, Ghiardelli Chocolates, China Town, North Beach (twice) and Union Square. I think we walked over 20km in all but when you are in as diverse and exciting a city as San Francisco we wanted to take in as much as we could.
The first day was fantastic! I’ll post more detail as the week goes on but suffice to say that this is a really special place. We’re learning a ton of theory, our hands on work is being scrutinized in great detail, and the equipment is top notch. I’ve already met some incredibly interesting people, from a hotel chef from Maui to a culinary instructor from Melbourne to an artisan baker from Victoria who’s bakery I know a bit about through our travels.
My first baguettes passed the chef’s close inspection fairly well today. There is lots for me to improve on in the shaping and scoring department but I was glad that there was sufficient goodness in there too.
Oh and in case you still don’t want to be down here too — we get to take all the bread we make home with us! So I passed out four baguettes in the lobby of the hotel when I got back and ate one for supper. It was without a doubt the best baguette I’ve ever had.
I’ve got a few photos from Day 1 on Flickr if you’re interested…
I just figured out how to blog about a photo that I uploaded to Flickr. So now you all get to see Cindy and me from this summer on Vancouver Island. Not sure which of the kids took it but it turned out OK.
As the kids get taller the angle on the pictures look better too!
Another cool morning, so we decided to check out the Englishman River Falls hike, which starts right near our campsite. It was a beautiful stroll through a stand of huge fir and hemlock trees. They were massive, straight and covered in moss. The trail was empty but for the four of us, we were able to take in the deep silence of the forest, with the sound of water rushing far in the distance. Some trees had fallen over winter and huge sections were sawed out to clear the trail. But that still left at least 50 feet of straight timber on either side of the trail. We really felt like we were walking through the tree.
The Park Ranger told us to take the left fork for an easier hike (steep descent vs steep climb) so when we found a side trailwe took a close look then went for it. After a while we started to get concerned. The trail dropped very steeply and there were more and more fallen trees blocking the path. In other words, it looked less and less like a trail the further we went. Finally we were faced with a scramble down a really steep bank. Cindy decided to check things out ahead – she made it to the river, but there was no bridge in site. So we clambered back to the main trail.
As usually happens with us, we found the real fork less than 50m further ahead, complete with concrete steps and handrails. The path took us to the lower falls, which were very nice, but the coolest part was the deep blue pool carved out of sandstone directly below the falls. It would make a great swimming hole on a hot day. Unfortunately for Robyn it was cool and drizzly but she still got in up to her ankles.
The upper falls were much more spectacular – a wide, shallow river turns sharply left, narrows and drops 50m into a tight gorge. A bridge takes you right over the drop so you can see some of the massive trunks which are jammed in the gorge. Quite specactular.
I’m a winter bus rider and one of the things that bugs me is how tough it is to get transit information. Yes, our city transit authority has a web site but it’s touch to navigate, with a user interface that was poor in 2002, let alone today.
But today I read that Google Maps has expanded to offer transit information as part of their mapping service. If your transit organization submits the data, bus stops and stop times will be displayed on the map.
I’ll notify the appropriate authorities and am just jiggly with anticipation…
UPDATE: Well, it was harder than I thought to leave a comment on the Regina Transit site but it’s done. If you’ve got some time on your hands, check out the ‘contact us’ process here which sends you here, here and finally here (three screens of info to fill in including manditory country and home phone number fields!)
I stumbled across some really interesting posts by Tim Ferris about how blackberry addiction and, by extension, email addiction is wasting far more time than it’s saving.
Tim’s idea is to declare Father’s Day “Email Detox Day” where we’ll all go for 24 hours without checking email even one time. I’m in.
Spread the word!