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15 June 2008 @ 06:03 pm
San Francisco Visit - Friday  
Just wanted to gush a little bit about my fabulous trip down to San Francisco to visit my dear friends from Michigan days, Tricia and Renee.

Despite the usual evening fog and brisk wind, the days have been sunny and 70's. Definitely an improvement over Seattle's craptacular June weather.

Had a delicious lunch with my pals downtown at a street cafe. Hard to believe I broke down and ordered the meat loaf, but what the heart and stomach want...

Went with Renee to a member's only preview at SFMOMA afterwards for an exhibit of Frida Kahlo that opened this weekend. Absolutely amazing! Had the chills and goosebumps upon turning a corner and seeing "The Two Fridas" in the flesh. It was vaguley disturbing the amount of commericalization and commodification of Frida in the gift shop: t-shirts, notebooks, stationary, bags, posters, dolls, puzzles, etc. The only similar analogy I could think of was the amount of Che Guevara swag I saw down in Mexico a few years ago. Ironic what capitalism had done to these artists and revolutionaries who were fighting for the complete opposite of worshipping the almighty dollar. (end rant)

Met for very fancy (and very expensive) cocktails at a place called Bourbon and Branch, a literal speakeasy in the heart of the Tenderloin. You ring the doorbell, give the doorperson your previously emailed password and you are ushered in to a very dark, windowless bar. Very fancy Prohibition era decor though, once your eyes adjust to the gloom. The drink menus was a wonder to behold and a bit overwhelming. Being a lush of a particular stripe, I opted for a flight of bourbon: 3 one ounce samples of some VERY fine bourbons that I'd never heard of and have now forgotten. Topped that off with one of their specialty drinks called a Revolver. Bourbon (rye?), orange bitters and a little something else. Somehow the five of us escaped with a bar bill (just) under $200. Thank god one can rationalize such expenditures as part and parcel of vacation with dear friends.

Went around the corner to one of the numerous Indian restaurants in the neighborhood (Renee joking refers to her part of the Tenderloin as the Tandoori-loin.) Most of the Indian restaurants I've been too here tend to have the ambience of many of the tacquerias. Loud appropriately ethnic music, half hearted themed decor on the walls,  too bright light, lots of people (some of whom as equally tipsy as we were), but more than made up for by the sheer delicious and tasty platters of food brought quickly to our table and ravenously passed around and devoured. Indian is definitely made for 'family style': order 5 different entrees and sides, a huge plate of nan, and the explosion of curried goodness piled on a bed of rice, mish mashed together like some kind of crazed Asian thanksgiving feast. Damn, it's hard to believe I never ate Indian until I visited London in 1996. Then again, growing up in small town Michigan doesn't offer the most multicultural culinary options...

We finsihed off the night going up the street for "just one more" to a place called Whiskey Thieves. The sign hanging outside is a work of art: hammered tin with the design of two crossed six-shooters, emblazoned WHISKEY THIEVES in appropriate Deadwood wanted sign font. One would think the place would be something straight out of a Nick Cave song, but the bar itself was, well, a bar. Except for a HUGE selection of whiskeys and bourbons from around the world lining the stock shelves, it looked like your typical hipster dive bar in any large city. Oh, the other thing of note was that this was a SMOKING bar, a rarity indeed in the state of California (and Seattle, and New York, ...) The loophole in this law is that the ban was passed as an osha/worker protection need, so bars that want to allow smoking bascially make all the workers part owners of the establishment. Very clever, but smokers (and entrepeneurs) are sure to find a way. I'm not sure exactly how the employee ownership structure works, but the idea of worker owned cooperative bars really tickles the alcoholic anarchist in me! However, after years of visiting SF and the couple years of smoke-free Seattle, it is still a very odd, almost unnatural, experience to actually be allowed to smoke with a drink in hand INSIDE. No huddling under the awnings in the freezing cold outside here!

After that, we drunkenly stumbled to the BART station (god bless a mass transit system that actually works), came home to the Mission and promptly passed out. Easy to believe considering the inordinate amount of bourbon I had consumed in the course of the evening. I was feeling a bit distilled and fermented myself by morning...

Saturday shenanigans to come tomorrow (hopefully)
 
 
Current Location: San Francisco (duh)
Current Mood: contentcontent
 
 
 
miss andromedamsandromeda on June 16th, 2008 03:49 am (UTC)
great post! i'm glad you're having a boozy and wonderful time.