Current Fixations — November 2014

A (hopefully not limited-edition) ice cream flavor, a new personal interior design assistant, a brilliant successor to the ubiquitous food festival — check out a few of my favorite things from this month. Happy Fall! 

Bi-Rite Creamery's Crème Brûlée ice cream. I have never been more obsessed with an ice cream flavor. Ever. Do you like salted caramel ice cream? And more importantly, do you get a little thrill every time you break the burnt sugar topping off a ramekin of crème brûlée? If so, you should try it. I did...four times in one week. This new flavor was borne out of an ice cream competition (it wasn't just a winner, it was THE winner), and though it's supposed to be limited edition, one unnamed Bi-Rite employee told me it was so popular that  "they'd be crazy to get rid of it."  [Photo: Instagram / heelsmealsdeals]

Decorist. If you're challenged in the home décor department like I am, you've probably fantasized about hiring an interior designer to weigh in with personal home design advice. Now you can, for less than $200. Enter Decorist, a new service that assigns you to an interior design professional who reviews your likes and dislikes, budget, and Pinterest board, and within 10 days offers you three proposed room layouts with mockups and shopping lists — all for $199. I had a chance to try out the service for free, and would recommend this service to anyone looking to overhaul a room with a specific vision in mind. 






Bon Appétit's Grub Crawl. The power players at Bon Appétit magazine, sick of the national food festival circuit, decided to mix things up a few years ago with the creation of the "grub crawl." Genius! I had a chance this year to check out the inaugural San Francisco event, which included stops to some of the city's best spots, including Craftsman & WolvesSt. Vincent, and Four Barrel Coffee. The highlight? Listening to the Sabrosito Jazz Ensemble play "When the Saints Go Marching In" while munching on malted barley and coffee Tartine bread and drinking a bourbon-spiked Four Barrel Coffee. 

Congee. During cooler fall months, I tend to feel healthiest when I eat foods that are warm and nourishing, yet not too rich, and congee, Chinese rice porridge, is a prime example of this. I simmer a pot of brown rice with water for hours until it becomes a cohesive porridge, then garnish it with a variety of accoutrements. This particular bowl was topped with salted fresh mustard greens, furikake, marinated bean curd, and salt-preserved duck eggs, but I play around with toppings (I love yuba, soft tofu with tamari, chili oil, and bamboo shoots, too. Humble yet utterly delicious!