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SYD via SFO

It seems that whenever I have A LOT of stuff to talk about I shut down and find it all too overwhelming, choosing to indulge in the latest financial crisis or Palin ridicule. But that is the easy way out, especially with the latter. Jesus, do people really believe in her? I find that scary, but I see people cheering for her – even when she says she just wants to talk about the real issues. I could have sworn I just watched a whole debate where she did her best to NOT talk about any issues, but whatever.

Enough about ignorant, beauty pageant hockey moms. Let’s talk about OZ!

A few weeks ago,  I headed down to Australia with a co-worker to do some biz-ness, yo. (That’s how the kids say it – I’m keeping you hip). Because this is an ungodly long flight from NY, literally traveling to the opposite side of the world. I decided to plan in an 8 hour layover in SF so that I would 1. Not board the 6pm flight out of NY already sweaty and exhausted knowing that I’d be stuck in at least an hour’s delay (NY afternoons at the airport are always delayed) and 2. Would not have almost 21 hours of uninterrupted travel.

Instead, I boarded a United p.s. flight out of JFK just before lunch.. Because I flew over 100k miles on United last year, I have a few of these System-wide Upgrades that I used for my flights (and my co-workers), saving the company something like $12-16k. Of course, they still complain when I drink an extra glass of wine here or there, but I I digress…

Anyway, the p.s. flights are really nice because they are configured for International Business Class, which is far better than regular, domestic first class. And with the upgrades, they don’t cost any more than regular coach.

Arriving in SFO, I sat in the lounge and worked until about 6pm local time. A full day’s work already in and still with 6 hours to kill before the midnight flight, I hopped on the BART and rode to the Embarcadero Station. Outside the station sits the famous (?) Ferry Building. On weekends they have a farmer’s market here, but during the week the Ferry Building is home to just a few good restaurants and some very California food purveyors (oh and some ferries). Everything sold here is local…and expensive. The building is beautiful, but I have a hard time believing many locals pay this much….even in SF. Maybe it is mostly for tourists?

Ferry Building

Ferry Building

Still it is worth visiting to either pick up some local gifts for home or to have oysters at The Hog Island Oyster Company, where I settled in for 6 Kumamoto oysters. They were the best oysters I’ve ever had and I could’ve eaten many more, had it not been for the price ($17!). Oh well, small, local oyster farmers are few and far between and these little diamonds of the sea were just the right touch of briney-tenderness that you want to savor in your mouth, versus quickly swallowing in a pool of Tabasco. Maybe it is best not to overdo it. If you are ever in San Fran, DO stop here. Really. The people are really friendly too.

Kumamotos

Kumamotos

After I wore out my welcome, I stopped by the next door Slanted Door for a beer. The beer list is extensive, rivaling some of the better joints in NY with 10-15 Belgium, German and Austrian selections. Friendly enough, but not really my scene. After a conversation with a visiting Baltimorian about the Orioles, I headed to the Mission District for some tapas at Ramblas. There I had just a couple things with the standout being the fish stew, a slightly-Spanishified version of San Fran cippino that reminds you that you’re next to the Pacific.

I hate to say this being that I love the Northwest as much as I do, but CA really has the local, organic, quality thing down much better than we do in Seattle. True, there are many choices in the NW for this stuff, but the quality of what is coming out of CA really shows that they’ve been at it longer. In my humble opinion, the wines far surpass  what we get out of the Columbia Valley and even Willamette (though I do LOVE a good Willamette Pinot Noir), with the flavors being more honest of the grapes and the regions and as my good friend Dawniel would say, “not inflicted with so much intellectual baggage”. The beers are the same way. They are letting the ingredients speak for themselves versus always trying to “improve” them. The flavors are subtle and not overwhelming.

To keep this all in context, CA and the Bay Area in particular sucks in so many other ways (I find Silicon Valley to be the very hell on earth) that I’ll gladly stay in the NW. The nice thing about being in the NW now is that we get to watch and taste the way our region will progress and become so much better over the next few decades.

After my little jaunt to the city, I met my co-worker as we settled into our flight to Sydney on the upper deck of the 747. Wow. I didn’t realize how many bad movies came out a couple months ago but the plane was loaded with them. About 6 hours in, I took a pill and slept almost until landing just after 6am in Sydney.

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One Response

  1. I’m not certain I’m so well spoken Tim

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