20080630

Clean clothes

Years in the planning, months in the organising... I finally ate a meal with my dear friends Tanya and Dan at Thomas Keller's French Laundry.


This place has an intimidating reputation. A very good reputation. Many of their ingredients are grown on site:


Staff can bee seen scurrying from the kitchen, secuteurs in hand to harvest from the surrounding gardens. Slight Faux pas... I didn't bring a jacket. So they lent me one. lol.

Insisted on it. How cute.

OK. After that I wasn't going to make a fool of myself snapping away at every plate served up to our table during the 4 hours it took to have lunch. So I will summarise; we had around about 9 courses along with several rounds of amuse bouches, two bottles of wine and finished up with ports and other sweet stickys.

It was wonderfully good. So good in fact that I lost track of what I ate... But I know I have never eaten better.

To be completely honest, I have eaten almost as good elsewhere, at a much more affordable rate. However, as I was pondering this very weighty matter sometime after the 7th course, it occurred to me that that's hardly the point and certainly not worth considering whilst in situ. Then dessert won me over. It's not that it was really good, which it really was. It's that it never seemed to end. Wave after wave of smaller and more instense servings turned an epic and ultimately indefensibly indulgent meal into something more.

It was symphonic.






Supper Club

After our gastrogasm at the Laundry, we all needed to rest...

Soon enough though, the food fairies were bewitching us and we followed their call to Bouchon for dinner. Unfortunately they were fully booked. Fortunately the hostess invited us to wait and sample some liquor libations from the well stocked bar...


We had Manhattans, Martinis, Juleps, Aviations and more, I'm sure.


Oh yeah, eventually had dinner too. A dozen mussels with vodka and some girly sandwich.

Hearty Breakfast

It all finished off with Breakfast at Ad Hoc. Today's brunch service was Roasted figs with goats cheese, toasted walnuts and a light salad with an aged balsamic reduction. That was course one..

Then came the eggs baked with cheese and marinated capsicum, finger potatoes and pork belly:


And honestly, what breakfast is complete without a dessert of apple fritters, vanilla ice-cream and a pomegranate and champagne cocktail?

So hungry, So thirsty

San Francisco has some real dining and drinking highlights. I have with Tanya and Dan's help, dined and drunk my way around a selection of venues, some outstanding, some not and some just plain fun.

The City Beer Store is one of the fun ones. It's a bottle shop selling only beer. Yeah, only several hundred different kinds... Oh and you can linger instore and drink your amber investments right there and then!


Sugar Cafe is a swanky Internet cafe/bar... Worst. Cappuccino. Ever.

Revolution Cafe is a live music venue. Filled with hipsters, it's very cool. Cheap but satisfying sangria.

Berettas is also aimed squarely at the way too cool. We arrived for supper and were immediately seated in the uncool section, out of sight of patrons, passers-by and the attractive staff. Luckily, I am cool about not being identified as cool. And they served very good food!

Bourbon and Branch is a recreation of a speakeasy. It's so cool that it does not publish or advertise its location. The sign out the front is for a completely different business and you need to know a password to get in. Cocktails are plentiful, delicious and reasonably priced! I don't remember how I got home that evening..


Brainwash is a combination laundromat and cafe. Go figure. No surprise all the fixies parked out front.

The cafe inside Google's San Francisco office is filled with the geek. The food is pretty good; the apple juice, the best ever.

Boulettes Larder
has a table fancy table right in the kitchen, and a dog so hairy that you just cannot tell which end is which and outstanding carrot soup.

Bear Country

I have been told on more than one occasion this week, that I look like a cub.

20080629

Cycle of death

There are a lot of bicycles in SF. The people who ride them are even called "bikers"

Some of their rigs are quite pretty. There's a hip style called a "fixie"

Look closely..

In its ultimate incarnation, a fixie has no gears, no free-wheeling and no brakes.

Alcatraz!


I have never visited anywhere before that demonstrated so starkly, the brutality of confinement. Some pictures of a truly beautiful island.

20080626

The Streets of San Franciso


When I hit a town that I am not very familiar with, I walk the streets to see what's going on and smell the sights.

Our Lady of Tamale

My wonderful hosts took me to a wonderful birthday party. The Tamale Lady's.

The band, Rube Waddell was great. Best rendition of Beethoven's setting of An die Freude ever.

After wishing the Tamale Lady ¡feliz cumpleaƱos! we left to visit more and more bars*, rounding the evening off with some midnight Mexican.

*Nobody in this town had apple juice available for cocktails! :(

Ned Seagoon would be a better barrista

The last few mornings have begun with a coffee from the Blue Bottle Coffee Company Cafe. It's in a quiet corner behind the old Mint. They're very trendy but I kid you not, they have a policy against take-away espresso. Why? You can have a Grande Organic Single Source Latte With Extra Cinamon to go, but they will not give you an espresso to go anywhere, except instore.

I was first told that it's because the don't have the tiny annoying little paper espresso cups, (you know, just like you drbbleinto/drink from at the dentist) and so I said that I didn't mind a larger paper cup. "We don't do espressos to go" was the reply. I asked for a small cappuccino, ristretto and hold the milk.

No problem.

Yesterday, things came to a head when I asked for an espresso to go. "We have a policy..." So I repeated my request. "So you want to have it here in a demitasse?" was the nice man's response.
I told him NO and restated my very reasonable demand. "But we have a policy..."

So I agreed to have my coffee in. And asked for an empty paper cup on the side.

No problem.

The brother liked my hat


Took this streetcar down Market to Bagdad Cafe for Breakfast with Tanya. We got out on 16th and walked up to the lights and waited to cross the road. Seconds later, the same streetcar pulls up and the driver opens his front doors, leans over and asks "Where did you get your hat, Man?"

So I told him.

20080619

Eh?

I'm now in Vancouver, visiting my sister Gabi and brother in law Lance.

They're very cute.

I find Vancouver itself, rather creepy.

20080616

Another freakin' Cathedral

On this circumnavigation, I have visited several ancient European cathedrals. Washington DC has its own WASP, errr Episcopalian Cathedral.

It's big and pretty, especially on a nice spring day.

It's not ancient, completed only in 1990 after
about a century of construction.

Like gothic and neogothic structures, it has gargoyles.

Constitutional

The National Archives. It holds originals of the Delcaration of Independence, The Constitution, Bill of Rights and other amendments. These truly are the treasures of The United States of America.


My Favourite? This working draft of the constitution. If you look closely you can see sentences crossed out, notes in the side bars and annotations. Don't you just love committees?

Frankly shapely

On the way from the National Archives, we took a shortcut through the National Gallery Sculpture Garden. Anyone like Pop Art? I took some pictures.

20080614

Infinity and Beyond!

Last time I was in town, I went to the Air & Space Museum, and it was really, really cool. But wait, there's more!

I kinda went to town. I averaged a picture every 25 seconds for almost 3 hours.

Sometimes, you just can't argue against quantity over quality.

But having both is best!

Hires highlights here.

20080613

AC/DC


My first Day out in Washington DC. My host Sara and I visited the Library of Congress, had a tour of the Capitol Building and a trip to the top of the Washington Monument! Check the day out.


At last, a sightseeing buddy, who can handle a camera!

Helip


I liked my vertical descent into NY so much, I uploaded the whole gallery! including all the video, especially the boring bits like taxiing and flying through haze.

20080611

I made it there!

Hi Everybody, well I have just spent an intense 12 hours in NYC. Arrived after my flight from Germany tired, but excited. The Gershwin was an easy walk from the Midtown Heliport. I checked into the backpacker dorm and headed out for an exploratory drink. Dodged a thunderstorm by ducking into a bar and stumbled home some indeterminate time much later.


This morning it was exploration on foot again and then take a bus to Washington DC. I highly commend to everyone, Boltbus. Airconditioned (there's a heatwave at the moment), super friendly and funny drivers, have free Wifi and take you from NYC to DC in 4 hours for $20.

Goddammit, I'm bloggin and googletalking (you know who you are) from the bus right now! Love teh tech!

Here is a gallery of my arrival and explorations.

Chopper One


For a bit of an indulgence, I decided to take a helicopter transfer to Manhattan from JFK airport.



I am never taking the bus again!