Tuesday, March 21, 2006

You Can't Go Home Again....Well, not completely...

Yesterday I went to San Francisco with my friend Neva for the day. We both took the day off of work, and went in to play hooky. What fun! First stop was Macy's, because I wanted to bask in the glory of the Union Square Macy's, which has at least 10 times the offerings of my local suburban Macy's. Breathed it in. Loved it. It reminded me of being a teenager and coming in to the City to shop there, and also how I used to go there on my lunch break when I worked at a nearby hotel. We had an early-ish lunch at The Cheesecake Factory, which was tasty but expensive. Should have gotten the clam chowder in a bread bowl we could have gotten downstairs. After Macy's, we walked around the square so she could look at necklaces at Tiffany, and I saw one I liked as well, though not enough to pay $400 for it. Then we were going to drive over to Green Apple Books, but at the last possible minute, while looking for parking, I decided to show her the Legion of Honor instead. See, Neva has never spent much time in the City. She doesn't know its many wonders and gems. I don't know most of them, either, since I only lived there for 7 years, and it's been 16 years since I left, and even then I was a full-time student (undergrad and grad) and a full-time hotel employee and planned our wedding and had friends and so on, so there was a lot that I missed. Anyway, I had to show her the Legion of Honor. It's closed on Mondays, which is too bad because they currently have an exhibit that she would have really liked. It's pictures of the City right after the earthquake of 1906, and those same landscapes now, so you can see the change.

She was so impressed by the view that I decided we should blow off Green Apple and go to the Cliff House for another history lesson (Sutro Baths and the many incarnations of the restaurant, and a bit about Musee Mechanique, though since it's currently housed at Fisherman's Wharf, it's not much of a lesson). So we went there and got a glass of wine and watched the ships go through the gate. Very relaxing.

Then over to Haight Street. She had never been to Haight street. Dang it, I forgot to pick up the $30 Leather coat at Aardvark's Odd Ark, the used clothing place at the corner. It was a nice coat, and mine is falling apart. Oh well. We stopped in at Ambiance, which is always fabulous, and I got 2 tops, which at Ambiance can break the bank. Here's the cheap one (They don't have much online...much more in the store, so the other shirt isn't online. Oh well again.). Then we walked around a bit, but it was getting cold again, so we hopped back in the '86 Volvo, and went to dinner at Elite Cafe. Here's where my story gets sad. The Elite is under new ownership. They have some of the same things on the menu, but no Etouffee. Sigh. And you have to pay for bread. And the wine by the glass is served in mighty skimpy portions (Would have gotten a bottle, but we had already had a glass at the Cliff House). The waitress and the hostess both mentioned that the new chef/owner came over from The Meetinghouse, like that was supposed to inspire awe. Nope, never been (though we used to go to a restaurant in that same location, before it was the Meetinghouse, with Matt and Casey every year...planned a few elopements before we got married, too. Ah, good times.), and I wanted my etouffee. I tried to get over it and enjoy my pulled pork. The pork was mighty tasty, and Neva's ribs were literally fall-off-the-bone tender. Very nice. Just not what I remember. Elite was one of my favorite places for so long...that's where we were going to go to dinner the night of the earthquake in '89. That's a place where I've gone for champagne on my birthday. Dined on oysters at the oyster bar (gone now). Sigh. You can't go home again, at least not if you expect everything to always be exactly the same. But it was a LOVELY day, nonetheless.


Piece of Work said...

The Legion of Honor is so beautiful. Lance and I actually considered getting married there--but they don't let you do it in a pretty space, and they charge about a gazillion dollars, so . . .
that sucks about the Elite Cafe. I hate it when things change!

Mom101 said...

Oh I'm so jealous. There is no bad day that involves cheesecake--or even just the smell of cheesecake wafting from the adjacent tables. Thanks for the nice comment mama, and for the link. Hell, you work fast!

Uncivil said...

Hi J.

Got this in an email today, and thought you your husband would get a laugh out of it.

Rules for Dating my Daughter

Rule One: I am aware that it is considered fashionable for boys of your age to wear their trousers so loosely that they appear to be falling off your hips. Please don't take this as an insult, but you and all of your friends are idiots. Still, I want to be fair. You may come to the door with your underwear showing and your pants 10 sizes to big, and I will not object. However, to ensure that your pants do not, in fact, come off during the course of your date with my daughter I will take my electric nail gun and fasten your trousers securely in place at your waist.

Rule Two: I'm sure that you have been told that in today's world sex without a barrier can be deadly. Let me elaborate: When it comes to sex, I am the barrier and I will kill you.

Rule Three: I have no doubt that you are a popular fellow, with many opportunities to date other girls. This is fine with me as long as it is okay with my daughter. Otherwise, once you have gone out with my daughter, you will continue to date no one but her until she is through with you. If you make her cry, I will make you cry.

Rule Four: As you stand in my front hallway, waiting for my daughter to appear, and more than an hour goes by, do not fidget and complain. If you want to be on time for the movie, you should not be dating. My daughter is putting on her makeup -- a process that can take longer than painting the Golden Gate Bridge. Instead of just standing there why don't you do something useful, like change the oil in my car?

Rule Five: The following places are not appropriate for a date with my daughter: Places where there are sofas, beds or anything softer than a wooden stool or folding chair; places where there are no parents, policemen, or nuns within eyesight; places where there is darkness; places where the ambient temperature would induce my daughter to wear shorts, tank tops, midriff T-shirts or anything other than overalls, a sweater and a goose down parka, zipped up to her chin. Movies with a strong romantic or sexual theme are to be avoided; movies which feature chain saws are okay. Hockey games are okay. Old folks homes are better.

Rule 6: Do not lie to me. I may appear to be a potbellied, middle-aged, dimwitted has-been, but on issues relating to my daughter, I am the all-knowing, merciless God of your universe. If I ask you where you are going and with whom, you have one chance to tell me the truth. I have a shotgun, a shovel and five acres behind the house. Do not trifle with me.

Rule 7: Be careful, be very careful. It takes very little for me to mistake the sound of your car in the driveway for a chopper coming in over a rice paddy near Hanoi. When the flashbacks start, the voices in my head frequently tell me to clean my guns as I sit at home waiting for you to bring my daughter home. As soon as you pull into the driveway, you should exit your car, with both hands in plain sight. Speak the perimeter password, announce in a clear voice that you have brought my daughter home safely and early, then return to your car. There is no need for you to come inside. The camouflaged face in the window is mine.

J said...

Very cute, Uncivil. Thanks. :)

Mom101, we didn't have any cheesecake...but it did look good! The portions there are way too huge for any dessert.

POW, I know...very pretty. We had our reception on Treasure Island...Such a nice view of the skyline, though the building itself couldn't compare to the Legion of Honor. Do you live down SoCal now?

Lotus Reads said...

You got to play hooky! What fun! San Fransisco has been on my list of cities to visit - hope I can go there soon. I love "The Cheesecake Factory", but the only one I have ever been to is the one on Michigan Avenue in Chicago. I always make sure to carry back to Toronto some of their Toblerone Swiss Almond cheesecake for hubby and the kids to taste. Yum!

Gina said...

Ah such memories! I enjoyed immensely the shopping. As I lived in Sonoma County, I didn't get a whole lot of SF time, but what I did manage to get, I loved.

I think I win for the longest run-on sentence with that one.