Hasn’t it been a wonderful year?

Maybe I’m just biased about 2009 being wonderful. After all, I got married in 2009. I came back to San Francisco in 2009, full of new appreciation for the City, even for MUNI. I got to go back to Italy — better yet, I got to go to Rome.  Humphry Slocombe, Nopalito and Il Cane Rosso opened in 2009, three places I can’t believe I ever lived without. Not to mention that there’s an f-ing Democrat in the White House with a stylish wife who promotes fresh, local food.

2009 in Food

2009 was a big year in food with Michelle Obama’s White House garden, the powerful documentary Food, Inc. and even some real reporting, care of the New York Times, on the (many) problems with our meat. (The recalls continue, even over the holidays. Here’s hoping you had a grass-fed holiday and an e.Coli-free New Year.)

Food was a major highlight of my year. Shopping at our local farmers market continued to be a weekly treat for me, but this year, I also learned to break down half a hog at the Fatted Calf, saw a totally different kind of market in Palermo, Sicily, and came back to the Bay Area in time to do what we could to help save Soul Food Farm.

For the most part, restaurants took a backseat this year to other food experiences (eating pizza in Naples is one exception, of course). Many of my memorable meals in 2009 weren’t at full service restaurants. I ate Namu’s kim chee fried rice and 4505’s cheeseburger at the new Thursday street food market outside the Ferry Building. Inside the Ferry Building, Il Cane Rosso has become a weekly stop for me (their bollito sandwich is crazy delicious). And, of course, our weekly breakfasts at Primavera.

Through 18 Reasons, I had dinner with favorite winemakers, like the (totally hilarious) Mick Unti, and responsible ranchers like Mark Pasternak from Devil’s Gulch.

2009 On the Road

Our big trip was once again Italy. But with two moves and a wedding, there wasn’t much time for going anywhere else. Thankfully, there’s so much to explore in our own backyard: our wedding weekend took us to the Marin Headlands, we had a mini-honeymoon in Point Reyes, spent part of the summer with my family in Tahoe, and celebrated my birthday on Mt. Tam and Stinson Beach.

2009 Soundtrack

I’ve basically given up on music and just listen to whatever Mr. WholeHog wants to play. But every so often, something jumps out at me, and this year, I couldn’t get enough of the Walkmen’s ‘In the New Year‘ and Neko Case’s ‘Prison Girls’ (or her cover of Harry Nilssen’s “Dont’ Forget Me)”. 2009 was the year of Neko Case. I saw her interviewed at Herbst Theater in January and then camped out at Hardly Strictly Bluegrass in October to see her end the weekend.

2009 Bookmobile

I finally got back to reading this year, thanks in large part to late summer vacations. Olive Kitteridge, A Star Called Henry, Zeitoun, My Life in France (yet another example of the book being SO much better than the movie), Three Cups of Tea, City of Thieves, Oscar Wao, the new Nick Hornby novel.

And thanks to Nick Hornby, I don’t feel guilty about  reading writers just because they’re critically acclaimed. I’m talking to you Philip Roth, Don Delillo, et al.

Looking Ahead

I’m not one for New Years’ resolutions. It seems to me that if you want to change something in your life, you should change it — regardless of what time of year it happens to be.  But our wedding ate up so much of 2009 so I’m looking forward to having some mild California winter weekends to spend hiking this year.

I won’t need to stockpile vacation days for a Europe trip this year and that opens new travel possibilities: Mexico? New York City? A second Tahoe trip this year?

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