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I didn’t really have plans for Halloween weekend, but somehow ended up watching a free screening of The Shining at Park Chalet on Friday night.  Red Rum! Red Rum!  Definitely will check back to see what other movies they’ll be showing on Fridays, especially since they offer happy hour priced drinks/food from 9 PM.  $3 beer?  $3 garlic fries?

Saturday night, my friend persuaded me to join the annual Journey to the End of the Night street game.  Basically, it’s a public zombie game where “humans” must travel by foot or public transit to five checkpoints in the city and make it to the finish line without being tagged by the “zombies/chasers.”  The turnout was amazing.  When we went to register, the line almost stretched from Cupid’s Span to the Ferry Building.  Numbers were definitely in the hundreds, which meant that there was a mad rush/stampede out of the starting point.

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The checkpoints we had to reach before the finish line were spread out across the city: Pagoda Pl (near Chinatown), Fisherman’s Wharf, Fort Mason, Levi’s Plaza (on Embarcadero), Broadway Tunnel West Mini Park, and finally end at Crissy Field in the Presidio.  Fortunately, each checkpoint is located in a safezone which includes several streets.  Bus shelters and train stations were also considered safe.

I don’t think I’ve ever ridden the bus so much since I’ve been here.  I’m terrible at directions, so I was really glad that my group was very smart-phone and direction savvy.  Our strategy was to use public transit to get as close to the checkpoints as possible and sprint when necessary.  Of course, there were definitely runner enthusiasts who just sprinted the whole way.  We were not that ambitious.

The purpose of the game was to also help acquaint you with the city.  And even if you are familiar with all the places, it’s still a thrill to run through these neighborhoods at night.  I especially loved the fantastic view from Crissy Field Beach where you can see the Golden Gate Bridge shine across the waters and hints of a light fog hovering near the coastline.

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To be honest, I didn’t think we would last very long in the game.  But when we finished our fourth checkpoint, I knew we had to push on to the end!  It’s actually kind of scary walking down the streets and not knowing if there were zombies that would pop out from a corner.  We were lucky that most of the chasers that we spotted didn’t notice us back, but we did have to sprint at one point to make it to our fourth stop.  We also had a lot of help from our zombie friends.

After a good four hours, we finally made it to the finish at midnight!  Whoo!  We didn’t win anything, but I left feeling very accomplished and somewhat confident that I may just survive a zombie apocalypse.

Panna Cotta Tart with the chocolate almond graham cracker crust that I used from the last post.  I paired these with roasted grapes that I roasted with balsamic and honey.  I would use a regular tart crust instead of a crumb crust if you don’t want crumbs to float to the surface, but mine tasted just fine.

It is official.  I will be attending the Neuroscience PhD program at the University of California, San Francisco this fall.

Now that I know my days are numbered in Boston, everything here—even the frigid cold—has taken on a rosy, sentimental feel.  Suddenly, three months doesn’t seem like enough time to do everything that I want to do.

Originally, I had considered working through the whole of summer before the start of school.  But I realized that if I were to slave away for the next six years, then I’m going to need at least two months to “veg out” and seize every opportunity for idleness.  I’d love to travel somewhere, but will most likely be spending one glorious month enjoying Boston and the surrounding areas.  How can I possibly leave without enjoying summer strolls at the Arboretum, kayaking on the Charles, tasting the soft-shelled crab in Maine, sampling wine at a Newport vineyard, picking berries at a local New England farm?

As excited as I am about San Francisco and warmer winters, I know I am going to miss Boston.  This was the first place I ever lived where I truly had to rely on myself.  I remember arriving at Logan airport with two suitcases, walking into a very dirty apartment, and sleeping on a bare mattress that first night because I forgot to bring bed covers.  I felt more homesick than I ever thought I could, knowing that everybody that I ever knew was on the other coast.  But two years later, Boston has become my second home.

This bread was the first thing that I’ve baked for a long while.  I needed something easy to help me get back into the groove of baking regularly.  I loved how the cornmeal in the recipe gives it a nice yellow-brown hue, which is beautifully offset by cheerful purple spots of juicy grapes.  I had this bread for breakfast, but I think it’s actually too cake-like to have during the first meal of the day.  Definitely, if you make this, eat it fresh from the oven so that the grapes don’t have a chance to shrivel.  It seems like most embedded fruits tend to lose their form in pastries, leaving moist holes where they used to be.

Red Grape and Olive Oil Bread from Christina Marsigliese