Wednesday, May 26, 2010

This, My Friends, is the Kind of Thing that Happens in San Francisco…

On our way to breakfast on Day 2 we walked past this very cool yellow bus parked at the side of the road. It was all closed up but I could see racks and boxes inside it. After breakfast (yes, that’s right, fruit, yogurt and granola!) we passed by the bus to find it had transformed conveniently into a vintage clothing store complete with two shop girls, one of whom was sweeping the sidewalk while the other brought out rack after rack of clothes which we tried on right there on the street. I do love it when my shopping comes to me. So convenient. Mel found the perfect coat. When she asked how much it was, the girl replied “Oh I don’t know…$20 bucks? Is that too much?” Needless to say she bought it. This, my friends, is the sort of thing that happens in San Francisco.


And so we found ourselves in the mood for shopping, which was a good thing as that was what we had planned to do all day. I won’t bore you with the details suffice to say it was a good day. Highlights included spending too much time and money at Anthropologie, but not caring as it was all worthwhile, wondering around downtown saying things like “What, you’ve never heard of Campers?” or “We should be walking four abreast” or “I’m just going to whip in to this store I’ll be super quick…”


I did find some excellent items including this soap:



Say no more.DSC05879

We literally shopped until we practically dropped at which point it was clearly time to head over to Berkeley and our dinner date at Chez Panisse.

If you’ve never heard of it, whatever, I hadn’t either until I came last year for lunch. It’s the home base of one Alice Waters of whom you may also have never heard, but you’ve probably heard of the slow food movement. This does not refer to eating sloths or snails but rather the practice of eating healthy food that was organically grown near to where you live, and then prepared and served with ‘generosity and attention to detail’. What more could you want really. The restaurant can be found in a classic Arts and Crafts style house on one of the main streets in Berkeley. If you didn’t know it was there, you might miss it as it hardly makes its presence known. But just try and get a reservation. Mel had to call exactly one month to the day before the day we wanted to eat there and she still couldn’t get a reservation in the Restaurant. So we were forced (sigh) to eat in the cafe upstairs. The entire meal was divine from start to finish. I began with a roasted beet and arugula salad with some kind of lemony loveliness drizzled over it. It was so good I could hardly stand it. We all felt the same about the rest of our dinners and spent most of the time insisting that we try each other’s dinners and salads and desserts. I am pretty sure that I actually had the BEST dinner (slow cooked short ribs) but I will graciously allow everyone else to feel the same way. I am sure, however, that I had the best dessert - rose geranium-scented crème anglaise (think melted vanilla ice cream) with fresh strawberries. Unbelievable.

I enjoyed all this delicious food with two glasses of Gewürztraminer juice from a local winery which made me feel exactly like I was drinking wine, but I wasn’t and so therefore did not have to endure the unpleasant side effects that I am prone to (turning into a slight idiot, acquiring a clown-face, this sort of thing). I would drink this stuff for breakfast lunch and dinner if I could. If any of you own a vineyard, would you please get on with producing this nectar here in BC. I will be your best customer.

It is also a benefit for the girlfriends that I cannot drink as I am always the designated driver. This is typically a good thing although Sandy may beg to differ as she would, I think, have preferred to drive in order to alleviate her motion sickness. Many a time I looked in the rear-view mirror to see her eyes squeezed shut, jaw clenched, and a look of absolute illness on her face:

Me (while driving up a particularly nasty hill): Hey Sandy are you feeling OK back there?

Sandy: Mwerm

Me (bumping up to the top of the hill) : Do you need me to pull over?

Sandy (through clenched jaws): nerrjstgethere

Me (cresting the top of the hill ): Sorry it’s just really hilly but I can stop if you want

Sandy (louder, through her clenched jaws): Nothatsokjust  hurrup…

Me: What did she say? Did she say she’s going to throw up? Hey should I pull over?"

Sandy (As nicely as possible under the circumstances): DON’T STOP. HURRY UP AND GET US THERE.

I think she would also have said “AND STOP FUCKING TALKING ABOUT IT” but she’s too nice for that:)

And you are probably wondering why she was sitting in the back and not in the front and not in fact driving and this is because a) I was bossy at the airport and decided an extra $17/day was too much for a second driver b) Mel also gets car sick and it was her turn to sit in the front.Sorry girls – next time I’ll take the back seat :)

Anyway – we drove back to Cole Valley via Haight street DSC05890which is conveniently close, and where I spotted this lovely bit of Yarn Bombing (click to find out what exactly yarn bombing is, apart from being AWESOME)



Doesn’t that bike rack look much better?

As I said before, this, my friends, is the sort of thing that happens in San Francisco.

We spent the rest of the evening sitting around the apartment (after I had spent the first part of the evening trying to park on the 100 degree angle street that we happened to be staying on. Incidentally, across the street from our house is a statue – click here to read more about the Cole Valley neighbourhood and this statue - called the Angel of Hope that was commissioned by a philanthropist who used to live there. All very nice I’m sure and meant to be a symbol of something magnificent but I’m pretty sure it is actually meant to be the Angel of I Hope I Can Parallel Park my Car on this 100degree Angled Street Without Taking out All the Other Cars Between Here and the Deep Blue Sea. I actually wondered if I would be able to get out of the car after I had successfully parked or would I have to sit there with my foot on the brake pedal all night, afraid what would happen if I took it off:

The Girls, observing my parking job: “Ok. You’re good. Let’s go in.”

Me (with my foot on the brake Pedal): “You go on in I’ve got to get my stuff together…”

The Girls: “Ok but we’ve got the key and the door will lock on its own…”

Me (Still with my foot on the pedal): “No problem, I’ll find a way in…”

The Girls: “Jane, WTF. Come Inside”

Me: “Yep. Just coming…”

The Girls: “Hey Why is the brake light still on? Jane? What are you doing?

The Girls to each other: “She's worrying about the car taking off again and won’t take her foot off the pedal. Jane take your foot off the Brake Pedal and come inside. Come on now, Jane…

Me: “Ummm…Alright alright…”

The car did not go shooting off down the street as I had neurotically suspected and was still there the next morning.

Stay tuned for day 3.

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