Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Hungry Dog's day off

Yesterday I took the day off. Did I have an interview? A doctor's appointment? Was I waiting for the cable guy?

No. Just took it off. So I could be footloose and fancy free in the middle of the week. Decadent, right?

The weather was gorgeous, warm, sunny, and still. In the morning, I lingered over coffee and the paper, such a treat during the week. Then, I went for a leisurely swim. After that, I ate some lunch and pottered around the house for awhile, Frances a sweet little shadow next to me.

In the afternoon, I decided to go up to Tank Hill, which is half a block from our house. Unless you live around here, you probably wouldn't know about Tank Hill. It's a small, unruly patch of earth, too little to be kept up by the parks department but just the right size for tromping around with your dog, or stopping to take in the view. I love Tank Hill and go up there almost every day with Frances. Yesterday I decided to bring my camera along so I could share it with you.

If I knew how to take panoramic pictures you'd get a better sense of the view. But since I don't, you'll have to see it in two parts. Although the day was ever so slightly hazy, I hope you can make out the star of Part 1: the peaks of the Golden Gate Bridge.

To the left of the bridge is Part 2: the Pacific ocean and the Marin headlands:

In the spring, wildflowers cover Tank Hill. I spied some bright yellow ones...

and tons of California poppies.

Poppies happen to be my favorite color: orange!

Later in the year, wild blackberries grow on the side of the hill, ideal for urban foraging. I noticed them too late last year but this year I'll be ready to pluck a few for breakfast one day.

While I admired the view, Frances stayed close to the ground, sniffing for other dogs, as well as raccoons, possums, skunks, and coyotes, all of which have been spotted at Tank Hill.

Anyone who says dogs don't smile has never met Frances.

When we got home from our outing, I set about making some Irish soda bread. I didn't forget what day it was! The recipe was a cinch and in no time at all Frances and I were both salivating over this lovely loaf.

I had to cut myself a piece. You don't bake things just to look at them.

The bread was delicious. I've only had a few soda breads in my life and have never made one, so I don't have a lot to compare it to. But I thought it was a winner. My only change was that I used currants instead of raisins, because that's what I prefer.

Such a pleasant afternoon snack!

And what about you? What do you do on your day off?


  1. That looks like a wonderful place!

    I had every intention of making Irish soda bread yesterday! Unfortunately I just didn't get to it. Yours looks really moist and good.

  2. Sounds like a great day! I like to go outside on my days off, too. Maybe meet a friend for lunch or drinks. Get to a different part of the city than I normally do. Pretend to work on blog stuff, but get caught up reading Wikipedia or playing silly internet games. Then wonder where the day went. :)

  3. Why not? Tank Hill looks like a great place to take a day off!
    And your Irish soda bread looks a lot better than mind did!
    Yes, Francis is definitely smiling. We had a dog that did that too!

  4. what a wonderful day off and great idea! you have inspired me to do some baking....

  5. Midweek days off are the bomb, great way to spend it! I love smiley dogs, I have a buddy whose dog does that. Good times.

  6. We call that a mental health day. ; ) Sounds like a lovely way to spend the day!

  7. Domestic Adventurer: It is indeed! And, I think soda bread is delicious enough to make ANY time of year!

    Year on the Grill: Totally.

    Camille: A little of this and a little of that is the perfect way to spend a free day.

    Barbara: smiling dogs are the best.

    Simran Stacie: I hope you do bake something and I look forward to reading about it on your blog :)

    Bob: Mmm...sweet smiley dogs.

    oneordinaryday: yes, that's exactly what yesterday was!

  8. What a wonderful spot to retreat to. The views are lovely. I've reached the point in life where everyday is Sunday, but when I was working I'd call a day like the one you had a "sick and tired day." I generally spent them doing small silly things. Your soda bread looks fantastic. I'm sure all who had it, enjoyed it.

  9. What a great day off, we call them "mental health days", important to preserve sanity :) I love reading a little bit about your "outside of food" life and those views look amazing. The poppies are so beautiful, have tried to grow poppies a few times but always end up killing them :(. My days off are usually spent at the beach or in the garden, or a bit of both. Lovely looking bread too by the way.

  10. You've wrapped yourself up in Nature, Nurturing, and Nutrition! Lovely SF panoramas and wildflowers and when Frannie-Girl smiles, we all do! Must try the soda bread someday. It looks delicious. Tank Hill is your Walden Pond. Right? MOM

  11. Mary: Lucky you! Well I'm sure you had your share of work days! Days off are the best.

    shaz: thanks! I never know if people want to read about non-food things but I like to write about them...I figure folks can skip what doesn't interest them. Personally, I like glimpses of the people behind the blogs. And aren't the poppies gorgeous!

    Mom: Thanks! Yes, isn't Frannie's smile infectious? Maybe I'll make the soda bread for you for Easter brunch...

  12. Those are lovely photos, and your day off sounds absolutely perfect! I saw some daffodils on my lunch break walk today and thought of your post. Of course, I had to snap some pictures of them!

  13. Good for you! I love the idea of taking the day off with no specific plans at all, especially the middle of the week! (However, my biggie is taking the day off on the middle of the week for a Giants game! Yay!) Frances looks like she enjoyed the day too, and topping it off with that soda cake looks amazing! Next time you play hookey you have to let me know so I can join you! :)

  14. I am so jealous of all the colors in your world...South Dakota has long grey winters and you saw the picture of my one colorful winter joys on my blog. I am so ready for spring seeing all those beautiful poppies! I will have to try your Irish soda bread recipe...looks awesome!

  15. you have flowers! ah, i can't wait for the blooms to come. your bread looks lovely--quite fluffy and pillow-like. :)
    i'll close with some words of warning: be careful frances doesn't actually find a skunk and get sprayed. it's next to impossible to get that stench out of dog fur. :)

  16. Tiny Urban Kitchen: I love daffodils, aren't they the happiest flower?

    Ben: you're on! Next time we can call in sick and go eat a great blog-worthy lunch together!

    a la graham: I enjoyed the soda bread--let me know what you think if you try it.

    grace: :fluffy and pillow like"--thanks! I'd be so sad if Frannie got skunked...I've heard it can take weeks/months to get rid of the smell.

    cookiecrumb: Yeah. Dogs are the best, right?

  17. What a great place to relax! I'm sure your dog loves the walk too! And looks really busy know, doing his thing! hehe.... And the soda bread looks great! Have a nice weekend!
    Cheers, Kristy

  18. My Little Space: Yes, she really loves it up there. :) Hope you are having a great weekend too!

  19. Tank Hill is what sealed the deal for us to move to the Bay Area. Our friend R took us there when we were considering moving and we were hooked. Best view of the city.

  20. This post = me, smiling. The happy smile of a dog is unrivaled in this mad, crazy world. I'm so glad you took a day for yourself and the loveable Frances. You reminded me that I should use my day off and spend it with fuzzy Miss Indy, especially since spring seems to finally have sprung in the Pac NW!

  21. DC Food Blog: How cool that you know about TH. It is a great way to the city.

    denise: totally. You should ALWAYS spend your day off with Indy!

  22. That dog has a beautiful face and most definitely smiles! I've only been to San Fran once, but I loved it. Beautiful shots :)

  23. tamilyn: oh, thank you! You are very sweet. :)

  24. Those are the best kinds of days to have off -- the unexpected ones. When I am lucky enough to have a day off midweek like that, I like to pamper myself with a pedicure and lunch with a good friend. You feel so indulgent doing that when the rest of the world is still hard at work.

  25. Carolyn: ooh, your day off sounds good too! I'm going to do that next time :)