BERKELEY — Working on my resume tapes at Haas. The lab is closed for the weekend. We saw people walking to graduation ceremonies. I thought they didn’t have those on Sunday, but they do.
Yesterday – we ate a lot. Each time we spent time with friends – it was either for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
In any event – the Bay Area is a great place for eating.
I’m picking up my running habit when we get back to LA. Before we left – I ran/walked/panted about three times a week. It’s flat in Covina and that made it easier to get from point A to point B.
It’s still sunny and beautiful up here. We picked a fab weekend to visit Berkeley, Oakland and SF.
And yesterday – we also did coffee on College Ave. Sunny days include people wearing tank tops. Girls wearing tank tops. Girls who don’t shave and wear tank tops. I think you get the picture. Sure, I know it’s their choice and lord knows, I should be used to it after living in the Bay Area for 7 years. But I’m not.
For breakfast – we met my NY buddy Dan in Berkeley. We got a table at this French cafe, La Note. It’s on Shattuck. The hostess made us promise to not fall down from the risers, if she sat us next to the window. We promised.
Dan is cool. We worked at the Unit 3 Computing Center, back in the day. He’s now with Time Warner – doing financial stuff for HBO. He just bought an apartment in the city. He talked about the long-drawn out process of pleasing the co-op group. He’s not allowed to have pets. Sheesh.
When he had an internship with Morgan Stanley – he invited me to the company’s Christmas party.
“I know you’re dating Wes,” he told me. “I just need another girl, ’cause my buddy’s bringing his gf.”
I had a black suit – that could work in a corporate party setting – so I went. Plenty of food bites and booze. The bartender wouldn’t server me booze. Smart man. Dan was a goofy dancer.
After graduating from Berkeley – he took off for Europe. He sent me postcards.
La Note is always a yummy choice for breafast. The service is typically on and off. Since it’s graduation time, it looks like the servers went into super-charming mode in order to charm some nice tips from the graduates’ parents. I had the cote nord: “two eggs scrambled with cream cheese over levain toast, homefries & tomatoes”. I sub-ed out the cream cheese with goat cheese. The eggs melted in my mouth and the bread was still crunchy after being soaked with cheese. I also had a bite of Mark’s sausages from his cote sud: “two eggs sunny-side-up, spicy merguez sausage, homefries & toast”. The sausage reminded me of the ones my parents like in a Filipino breakfast.
We all saw Episode 3 – so we dished on the pros and cons of the last Stars Wars film to be made.
Next, we met up with Linda and Rosa. Linda’s my KALX buddy – both department managers – she did the Women’s programming and I had Public Affairs. She’s been in her phD program – forever….at least for as long as I’ve known her. And I think Rosa’s one of her first long-time relationships. So, go Linda! We had lunch at Raleigh’s on Telegraph.
We told Linda about our Vegas day. She wants to go with Mark on his Bachelor party. I thought that was a lovely idea.
Linda had these cool parties at a cute house on North Side. She had plenty of food and booze at her shindigs. My favorite dish by Linda is her cheese quesdillas with oyster sauce. It works – it just does.
During my KALX days, Linda and I used to go down to the Ruby Room in Oakland. Other KALX DJ’s would spin goth, 80’s, glam and electronica music, down there. It’s a seedy joint and people are comfortable lighting up despite the new Cali law banning smoking indoors. Everytime we went, some guy is trying to pick up Linda. She’s hot and she can’t help it.
“I’ll buy your drink,” one stranger told her. Linda shook her head. Then he looked at me and said to Linda, ” It’s OK – I’ll get her one too.”
Gee. Thanks. Asshole.
Thus – the Ruby Room was not a pick-up destination. We just liked dancing and we liked the music. Plus, we knew the DJ’s. That made us cool.
At Raleigh’s – we sat out in the garden. They built a new bar seating area. Inside the garden – you can’t see Telegraph. It’s like chilling in your own backyard. The server was a bit flaky – but kinda understandable – since the place was swamped with graduates and their families. Mark and I were still full from breakfast. We ordered Cajun Sliders: two mini-burgers. It came with a side order of fries. Sliders are suppose to be mini – but they gave us a mutant version – almost 1/3 larger than other sliders I’ve encountered. The fries had a little bit of skin on them and I liked them. The sliders made us full, again. We also had ciders – apple and pear.
We dished about movies, documentaries and the democratic party. Why is Bush in power? What is wrong with the democratic party? Rosa’s working ona documentary about Asian-American Jews. She said they number in the thousands in the US. Wow.
OK….then we jammed to Best Buy so I could get VHS tapes and DVD’s for my morning at Haas. Susan called up and invited us out to SF for dinner.
First we had vodka cocktails and beer at their house. Their dog, Napoleon, was thrilled to see us again. I told Tom we could buy his newly published book on LDAP and hand them out as favors to our reception guests. Before he got it published – he told us, “I want you to buy this book like you would with cases of beer.”
Then we caught a cab and headed to the Blue Plate for dinner.
Grr….it’s taking forever to render this DVD. Grr…..
I was in the mood for tapas, so Susan suggested we order appetizers and call them tapas. Worked for me. Susan enjoyed our dining experience – a friendly server and the noise level didn’t interfere with our conversation.
Mark and Tom stuck with beer. Susan and I asked for a wine recomendation and got the Pouilly Fume Patrick Coulbois “Les Cocques” 2003 from Loire, France. I liked the buttery after-taste. Susan liked the dry body….but didn’t like th buttery after-taste.
Here’s what we got. Our server was quite patient with our haphazard ordering style.
“marinated white beans and white anchovies celery heart salsa and charred Fresno peppers”
I don’t like anchovies. When a caesar salad tastes like it had anchovies – I generally don’t like it. Even though I know an authentic caesar dressing is made with anchovies. So, I prepared myself to be grossed out by this dish. Instead, it’s light and sophistcated flavor surprised me. It also complimented our wine. Wow. The fish was marinated in something that made it fresh and not so fishy.
“fennel roasted pork belly crushed fava beans, mint and Easter egg radish”
This one reminded me of lichon. Yum. I know it’s terribly un-healthy – but it’s chewy and meaty – my favorite combination of flavors. The fava beans and mint worked well with this dish.
“halibut cheek and fennel confit marcona almonds, oranges and fennel pollen”
My taste buds were in heaven with the halibut cheek. This was a table pleaser. Another light dish…almost like biting into sushi.
“roasted chicken liver and spring onion guanciale and balsamic-truffle vinaigrette”
OK – I also don’t like liver. Thankfully, I didn’t get grossed out by this dish. I tried one bite and did one of those inner-gags. Then I tried another one, thinking I would get used to it. I didn’t, so I gave up.
I added a side order of “macaroni and drunken Spanish goat cheese” to our tapas feast.
After Mark and I got a few bites of this side order, Tom polished it off. Also a crowd favorite, except for Susan – since she didn’t get to taste it.
Tom was also in the mood for meatloaf. So he broke away from the tapas-style dining and ordered “the Blue Plate meatloaf mashed potatoes and gold wax beans”….I followed suit and got the “asparagus risotto morel mushrooms, roasted shallots and pecorino.”
Full again….and now with a nice buzz. Susan kept saying Mark and I ate at so many restaurants in Sf and that it’s nice to go somewhere new with us. Honestly, I think we’ve barely scratched the service on all the food places. Still, a nice compliment.
Susan and Tom covered my dinner as a birthday gift. They are awesome and I’m grateful to have them in my life. I’ve had some depressing days – with my brother leaving and my job-less situation. Susan and Tom brought back some sparkle into my life. It’s uplifting to be around them.
We hobbled out of the Blue Plate and walked down a few more blocks to Savanna Jazz. They introduced us to Rachel, the bartender. Mark and Tom kept doing beer. Rachel made mango vodka cocktails and they were dangerous. Sweet and you can’t taste the alcohol. The house band sounded good. Mark and I danced to “I Wish You Love”. I heard it on the “Kissing Jessica Stein” soundtrack.
We also met a bartender who claimed to have trained Rachel. She was cool too.
Susan and Tom said we could stay over and hang out on Sunday. I wanted to – but I had to make resume tapes on Sunday. They’re so cool.
I miss living in the Bay Area.