The weekend in the city (San Francisco) is always a pleasure and another chance for life to slap you in the face. That is a good thing by the way. My daughter was flying in from London via LA for dinner on Saturday, and she who must not be mentioned her and I have our 37th anniversary next week so it seemed a perfect time to spend a few days in the city. So with the dog at doggy daycare, and the cat wherever the hell she wants to be (plenty of food and water, plus she can slip into the garage through her “cat door”), we were off Friday morning.
Driving to the city the weekend before Labor
Day is a smart because there is not any traffic to speak of as I guess everyone is saving up for the next weekend, either come into the city or leaving it. I would prefer to take the train and just forget about driver strain, but having the car in the city is a useful to store stuff. We usually just park the car in the Embarcadero Center and then anything we buy we can drop off until we leave. Besides, as evidenced by my Xootr above, I do have to bring my toys. The one thing about the drive that does always amaze me is that people just hate it if you leave a reasonable following distance between you and the car in front of you. So eventually they pass you on the right and then they are the guy/gal you are trying to leave a reasonable following distance behind, and they don’t deserve it.
Okay, into the city and we usually eat lunch at either the Slanted Door or Hog Island in the Ferry Building. It is like coming home. We wanted light so we went to the Slanted Door for their Crispy Rolls and white wine. Then we checked into our hotel and went our different ways, one shopping and one Xootr, you can guess who did which. Now here is where it gets interesting. First, as you can see, my Xootr is a scooter for adults.
I have really bad knees and this thing can get you around the city in amazing good time. The other thing was a lot more people are catching on because I saw a lot of people on scooters, some motorized (wimps).
So I went down along the Embarcadero dodging people, which I am getting really good at. It is amazing how many people walk with their head stuck in their phones. I think it is part of the great plan to weed out people who do not watch where they are going. I mean really. You pass some young couple and they are both totally focused on their phones and this beautiful city just passes them by. I did see one lady walk into a parking meter. Anyway, the great unknown path is along the Embarcadero going toward Fisherman’s Wharf. It goes around a bunch of the piers and has few people so it is clear sailing. So after I had turned around and come back to the Ferry Building, I decided to stop and get some cash from a Bank of America ATM in the Ferry Building. It ATE MY CARD!
So I called the number on the machine and they said, “Oh we are so sorry, the machine will shred it, not to worry, have a good day, oh and call your bank (Credit Union in this case). So I called them to report the card missing and they asked me for my verbal key phase. Huh? I am Steve Lightner, ask me anything but I don’t know anything about a “key phrase”. Oh I would have had to set that up in one of their branches in person, but I haven’t been in a branch in 15 years. No, really. Sorry, we can’t help you. Well, does the key phrase have a hint? Nope, no hint. So what do I do for cash? Well, there is a Credit Union up on Market, past the Civic Center (thanks Google) where if I show them my ID, I can get up to $500. Oh, and to get a new card I either have to come in, or write a letter. They will verify my signature. Holly Shit. Have gone that batshit crazy? Answer Yes.
So I BARTed up to the Civic Center, Xootred to the Credit Union (not mine of course, and the nice folks helped me out. All this at a dead run (well what a guy with very bad knees would call a run) to beat 5 pm when they closed. It was invigorating and I did get lots of exercise. I just wonder what kind of a world we are building.
Okay, nice fish dinner at Ferry Plaza Seafood that used to be at the Ferry Plaza, but when Hog Island expanded, moved up to Washington Square. It was really a nice clean open space, service was excellent, and the fish (I hate to admit it but I had fried oysters and Crab Louie) was superb. But there weren’t many people in there. I guess in North Beach they are looking for Italian.
Saturday, of course was a trip down to the Ferry Building for breakfast and the market. I don’t care what anybody says, the market on Saturday at the Ferry Building is probably one of the best in the country with fresh produce from all over the state, cheeses, meats, oysters and fish, fresh rotisserie foods, you name it. Oh and every kind of bread and pastry you can name. Plenty of places just set up to cook you an amazing breakfast, always with a Blue Bottle Coffee to really wake you up. Then it was on to my niece’s son’s birthday in a playground near Washington Square.
It was nice because the whole family was there, and the theme was Starwars since Charlie is a big fan. And sure enough Darth Vader showed up to thrill the kids. So I am watching all this and the next character enters the park wearing his hair in a bun, short Ninja pants, all in black, and I figured a character from one of the movies I haven’t seen. Nope, just local color. If you ever think people might think you are a nut job as an old guy riding a Xootr around the city with a helmet, trust me, you don’t even scratch the surface of different in this city. Kind of nice in a way.
So we stayed away from the ice cream cake and pizza and snuck away after awhile and headed for The Wayfare Tavern down on Sacramento Street. We were going to have a very light lunch of their famous deviled eggs and wine. But The Wayfare Tavern is also famous for their fried chicken so what the heck. It was wonderful. Just a great way to spend lunch with my most favorite person in the world.
Okay, I went for another Xootr ride to work off lunch. I wanted to go down to a little park next to Embarcadero Center Four where there is a whole colony of parrots. Yes I said parrots. They were either escapes or released birds and it turns
out they can survive in certain areas in San Francisco. They are noisy little critters, but very beautiful and not something you would expect to see in San Francisco.
Now comes the whole reason for the trip, to meet my daughter for dinner at Coqueta. This is a new hot spanish place that specializes in small plates and I knew Serena would love it. We met her at La Mar for drinks and then to Coqueta for dinner. I won’t bore you with all the plates we ordered but it was very, very good. But the best part of the night, besides being with she who must not be mentioned here and my daughter who I am so very proud of, was people watching in Coqueta. As I said it is the new hot place so all the “right” people are going to be coming in for dinner. Let me just say we had a range of obnoxious self-important, to hot babe with her sugar daddy. It was just a great night.
So another trip to SF and a visit with my favorite daughter and it is already over. Well we are trying to plan something in San Diego for Thanksgiving. Have Xootr will travel.
Oh, and for old guys with bad knees, a Xootr or some other inferior scooter adds years to your walking/skate boarding/scooting years. Remember that song by Roger Miller, You Can’t Roller Skate in a Buffalo Herd, well you can Xootr because buffalo have nothing on the crowds along the Embarcadero.