It's Good To Hear Spanish Again
Trip Start Mar 08, 2011
84Trip End Jun 11, 2011
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I'm the lucky one that got to welcome Dave and Amy back into the states from their 3 month adventure. They arrived at SFO from AKL via LAX after a long, long journey. I collected them in my bright blue jeep, aka Blue Steel, and brought them to my apartment in San Francisco. On the way home, we stopped at Alamo Square Park to see the "Painted Ladies," which some of you may remember as the home of Uncle Jessie, Uncle Joey, Danny Tanner, and his kids DJ, Stephanie, and Michelle from the sitcom "Full House."
After freshening up and visiting for a short while, Dave and Amy decided that for their first meal in the states they wanted...dumplings. Luckily I was able to convince them to get the all-American meal of tacos instead. We headed towards my favorite trendy taco spot in the Marina: Tacolicious. We enjoyed a variety of carnitas and chicken tacos, and washed it all down with a couple of 32oz Sol beers. Not quite a Darwin stubby, but amongst the largest beer that the Mexicans offer. After dinner, we started an impromptu bar crawl through the Marina, including stops at the Horseshoe and Monaghans.
At about 10:00pm Pacific Time on Saturday (5:00pm New Zealand time on Sunday), Amy started to fade so we decided to return home. I guess she wasn't prepared to stay up for 43 straight hours. Much to our chagrin, my roommate was having a little party at our apartment, so Dave and I ended up enjoying a few more cold ones and a midnight BBQ before falling asleep.
We slept in on Sunday and headed across the Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito for a delicious seafood brunch on the water. No matter how foggy the weather in San Francisco may be, its always sunnier and warmer in Sausalito. We enjoyed views of the Bay Bridge, Angel Island, and the numerous sailboats out on a sunny Sunday afternoon in the San Pablo Bay. After brunch, we popped into a few of the numerous cute boutique shops, and Amy bought the necklace of her dreams.
Upon our return to San Francisco, we decided to relax at home for a bit before heading towards AT&T Park to see an "American Baseball" game. Baseball is a weird sport that the Americans seem to love. It involves grown men wearing tight pants and running around a square that they call a "diamond" to score points. It's pretty similar to cricket, except that its 4.5 days shorter in length and there are no wickets. Before the game, we were reunited with Joe and Kirby, 2 of Dave's IU classmates who have recently relocated to San Francisco. We met at the 21st Amendment pub, which is a favorite pre-game spot for this guest blogger.
I have to admit - the American Baseball game was pretty neat. The San Francisco Giants defeated the Cincinnati Reds by a score of 4-2. After the game, we went to Pete's Tavern / Pedro's Cantina for a postgame beverage, but called it an early night as Saturday took a lot out of us.
Dave and Amy relaxed and caught up on errands while I worked on Monday morning. We all then made the scenic drive to St. Helena in the Napa Valley for a little wine tasting. I dropped of the lucky couple at a vineyard and went about my day as a pharmaceutical sales rep, visiting Napa Valley's finest hospitals, pediatricians, and obstetricians. We reunited around 5:00pm to ensure that we would make it to Ad Hoc by 5:30. Ad Hoc is an experimental Thomas Keller restaurant that offers a 4 course family style meal that changes daily. Once per month on a Monday night, the restaurant serves its upscale buttermilk fried chicken. Yes, you read that oxymoron correctly. Upscale fried chicken. But we'll get to that later. We started with a bottle of Napa Valley's local bubbly and enjoyed a beet and endives salad as our first course. The succulent fried chicken was served next, accompanied by a corn succotash and baby redskin potatoes. For our third course, we were served a Wisconsin sharp cheddar cheese, along with honey and celery. It sounds like a weird combination, but it definitely worked together. For dessert, we had monkey bread and cinnamon ice cream. It was all delicious, but very filling.
Tuesday morning brought a highlight of the trip - a quaint tour of the Anchor Steam brewery in San Francisco. Anchor Steam is one of San Francisco's oldest beers, being brewed officially here since 1896 (and unofficially brewed here during prohibition from 1920-1933, although there are no written records during that period). Our tour guide, former Cal-Berkeley and current Central Valley Coyotes star quarterback Joe Ayoob showed us Anchor's traditional copper brew kettles and fermentors, as well as their high speed filling and bottling lines. After the tour, we were able to taste 6 of Anchor's beers on tap. Dave even convinced our celebrity tour guide to allow us to "revisit" the Old Foghorn Barleywine Style Ale.
After a few morning beers, we made our way to the Ferry Building to have lunch at Boccalone, a restaurant that specializes in "tasty salted pig parts". At Boccalone, they serve various types of salumi in a "meat cone." Think of a snow cone full of thinly sliced cured meats. We all tasted some salumi along with a panini. After our trip to the Ferry Building, we grabbed an afternoon beer at Schroeder’s German beer hall before making our way back home to pack and relax. As Dave and Amy had an early flight to MDT on Wednesday morning, they wanted to be all packed up before taking the BART to Oakland (not to be confused with Auckland) for another American baseball game. This time, we went to the Overstock.com Coliseum, aka the "O.Co," to see the Kansas City Royals defeat the Oakland Athletics. We were lucky enough to sit in "Matsuiland," which is a section overrun with fans of the Japanese slugger Hidecki Matsui.
Wednesday morning officially brought the end of Dave and Amy's 3 month tour around Asia, Australia, and northern California! Or did it? (It did)