Category Archives: social commentary

Meals 102: Sightglass Coffee + Nicholas Kristof

I went to Sightglass Coffee for breakfast and ran into Daniel, the barista who put Bitter+Sweet on the map with his red velvet latte. It was serendipitous because I was in the middle of telling Anita and Karen that Sightglass Coffee is served at Bitter+Sweet, which prompted Daniel to exclaim, “THAT’s why you look so familiar!” Now that I’m no longer living in SF, Bitter+Sweet (in Cupertino) is where I get my Humphry Slocombe ice cream fix, and I guess I’m there often enough that the staff can recognize me, even outside their shop.

In the evening, I went to a talk at Stanford by Nicholas Kristof, columnist for the New York Times, two-time Pulitzer Prize winner, and author of Half the Sky. His work is centered around human rights abuses, and for this event, he focused on oppression against women. His speech was moving and empowering: Kristof broke down the looming problem of gender oppression into tangible issues that ordinary citizens like me can relate to and help resolve. An act as simple as providing menstrual pads for girls and women in developing countries has the potential to help them stay in school – currently, many of them opt to stay at home during periods because of inadequate sanitary protection, and they fall behind in classes as a result. At the same time, the act of giving someone a pad may sound simple, but building a sustainable supply chain of pads in a developing country is no small task – there are innumerable logistical and political hurdles. Admirably, organizations like Sustainable Health Enterprises are working hard to solve this very problem. More comfortable periods = more girls with consistent class attendance. And education – not condoms or pills – is the best long-term birth control solution, according to Kristof. I’ve never thought about girls’ education this way, but it totally makes sense. Like other women in developed countries, I’m too quick to take something like menstrual pads for granted.

I felt silly and frivolous eating colorful chewy macarons after such a moral imperative-inspiring event. But I can’t deny that they were delicious.

Ginger scone and Colombian coffee from Sightglass Coffee

Breakfast from Sightglass Coffee: Ginger scone and Colombian coffee

Chicken salad from Shana Thai

Linner from Shana Thai: Chicken satay salad

Pistachio, rose, chocolate cherry, green tea, and cassis macarons

Dessert: Pistachio, rose, chocolate cherry, green tea, and cassis macarons

Meals 94: Chick-fil-A + Tahoe

Took Friday off for half a day of skiing and snowboarding in Lake Tahoe. We stopped at Chick-fil-A in Roseville on the way up. DAYUMMM. That was some good fried chicken. Slightly spicy, with crunchy batter that clung to the meat rather than slipping off in a greasy layer like it does at KFC (which I also still love). My inner Neely was giddy.

Not only is the food awesome, but the establishment runs like well-oiled machine. Open at 6:30 AM, spotless interior, design-forward packaging, quirky advertising campaign (anthropomorphic cows saying “EAT MORE CHIKIN”), waiter service, and an impressive array of sauces (Buffalo wings-style, Polynesian, honey mustard, ketchup, honey, and spicy honey mustard, among others).

Entrance to Chick-Fil-A

Later, I was disappointed to learn of Chick-fil-A’s dubious past:

“Chick-fil-A’s connection to Christianity has been brought before the courts when Aziz Latif, a Houston-based Muslim employee for six years, sued the company in 2002 for firing him, alleging that he was fired for his religious beliefs when he had refused to take part in an employee prayer. The suit was settled on undisclosed terms.


Through WinShape, Chick-fil-A has given $3 million to anti-gay social conservative groups since 2003, with a total of $2 million in 2009 alone.”

I wasn’t aware of Chick-fil-A’s history when I ate there, so I was able to enjoy the chicken with zero guilt. I’m grateful for that experience, but it likely won’t happen again.

Behold – ski trip food!

Chick Fil A Spicy Chicken Sandwich

Brunch: Deluxe spicy chicken sandwich with cheese

Chick Fil A Chicken tenders

Brunch: Fried chicken tenders

Shin Ramyeon

Dinner: Shin Ramyeon