Friday, February 27, 2009

The de Young Museum

The de Young Museum is a fine arts museum in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park and has been in existence since 1895. It features American art from the 17th through the 20th centuries, and art of the native Americas, Africa, and the Pacific. It re-opened in 2005 in a new, state-of -the-art facility after construction was completed on the completely new facility designed to fit into its park setting.

The deYoung frequently features special exhibits from collections around the world. Currently, the de Young is hosting a retrospective of Yves St. Laurent through April 5. The de Young is the only museum in the U.S. hosting this exhibit. Coming this summer, the de Young will be host to "Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs" through March of next year. The de Young was the last museum in the U.S. to host "The Treasures of Tutankhamun" exhibit in the late 70's.

On my 2007 visit to the de Young I saw the special exhibit "Vivienne Westwood: 36 Years in Fashion." The museum was the only U.S. stop for the exhibit which featured more than 150 items from the British designer's personal archive and the Victoria & Albert Museum in London. I'm a total fashion junkie and costume collections are one of my favorite museum exhibits. I've seen the outstanding costume collection at the V&A and was very impressed by the Vivienne Westwood exhibit.

To date, I've only visited the museum once and I only saw the Vivienne Westwood exhibit. I definitely plan to go back. I was hoping I would be able to see the Yves St. Laurent exhibit, but it opened the last day of my most recent visit to San Francisco and I don't think I'm going to make it before the closing date on April 5. If I'm lucky, I will get to see the Tutankhamun exhibit.

Your admission ticket for the de Young will gain you free admission to the Legion of Honor on the same if you plan ahead, you should be able to take advantage of this (or vice versa, visit the Legion of Honor first and use that ticket for free admission to the de Young.) If not, the first Tuesday of each month is free at the de Young, except for admission to special exhibits. The de Young is located across from the California Academy of Sciences and near the Japanese Tea Garden. There is an underground parking garage adjacent to the museums.

Monday, February 23, 2009

The Legion of Honor

The Legion of Honor is a fine arts museum in San Francisco's Lincoln Park. The neoclassic building was built to honor the California soldiers who died in World War I. It features a breathtaking view of the Golden Gate. The California Palace of the Legion of Honor was completed in 1924 and houses a fantastic collection of ancient and European art, including an impressive array of Rodin sculptures. The Thinker, arguably Rodin's most famous work, is featured in the Legion's outdoor Court of Honor. The sculpture was acquired from the sculptor my the museum's original patron.

Auguste Rodin's The Thinker.

The Legion of Honor is a relatively small museum, so it won't take a very long time to see the collection on display; however, I would allow a couple of hours. You will certainly want to allow some time to take in the view from outside, as well. You might want to plan your day so that you can take advantage of the dual admission with the de Young Museum. Your ticket for the Legion of Honor will gain you free admission to the de Young on the same if you plan ahead, you should be able to take advantage of this (or vice versa, visit the de Young first and use that ticket for free admission to the Legion of Honor). If not, the first Tuesday of each month is free at the Legion, except for admission to special exhibits.

Georgian era portraiture from the Legion of Honor's collection.

View from the Legion of Honor.

Sunday, February 22, 2009


(Credit: California Artichoke Advisory Board)

Okay, so artichokes are a food and not really related to travel, but they are related to travel, since the first time I actually ate an artichoke (and not just an artichoke heart) was on my first trip to Monterey. The artichoke is the official vegetable of Monterey and Monterey is one of my favorite California destinations, so it makes perfect sense that I write about artichokes. Not only that, but tonight I am preparing my first artichokes, so in honor of that, I thought I'd post about this great "vegetable." Technically, an artichoke is a flower bud, but whatever you call it, the artichoke is wonderful.

Artichokes are low in calories and high in nutrients, so they are a great food. They may seem intimidating to eat, but once you get the hang of it they're quite fun...since you eat them with your hands. You can find tips for preparing, recipes for using, and general information about the artichoke by visiting the California Artichoke Advisory Board; since virtually all of the artichokes grown in the United States are grown in California, these are the artichoke experts. You can also find out all about artichokes at the Ocean Mist Farms website; they are the largest U.S. grower of artichokes.

If you've never tried an artichoke, I definitely recommend that you do. There is nothing quite like them. If you are in the Monterey area, then you will have no problems finding them on many local menus. Also, Castroville is home to the Artichoke Festival each May. This year the Artichoke Festival celebrates 50 years.

So, whether you prepare artichokes at home, or eat them in a restaurant, they are an experience not to be missed!

UPDATE: I fixed two artichokes and they turned out great. The same can't be said for the herb dipping butter I made...maybe next time I will try some aioli.