A while ago, kimuchi invited me to spend the weekend of Folsom with her in San Francisco. I'd never been to SF, and I figured it was a cool, spontaneous thing to do, so I accepted.
Bolted out of work early on Friday to catch my flight. Missed the bus to the airport due to my own stupidity, so I took a cab to Seatac. No major problems on the United flight down; had a window seat since all the aisle seats were taken by the time I booked (not a surprise). It was only a 2 hour flight, so no big deal. The BART from the airport was as easy as advertised, and I got to downtown SF around 10:45pm.
Now, Kim only lives a few blocks from the BART station. It shouldn't take much time to walk to her place, but I screwed it up big-time. My excellent sense of direction was overridden by my poor memory, so I walked several blocks in the direction I intended, but away from Kim's place, since I had misremembered the address. Oops. Got her actual address from my VM, walked all the way back, missed her street, called for directions, except she misunderstood where I was, got more directions, and finally found her around 11:30. Yay!
I wasn't up for anything else that night, so we just talked for a bit, getting to know each other. Kim is awesome, in case you don't know. Just sayin'.
The next day we headed down to San Jose to see etler and gulfie for breakfast (eggs, toast, and "cowboy bacon"). Got to The Bean (their place) around 10, saw The Bar of Awe and sampled many of its wares. First was the "breakfast liquor": Amber, which is a sweetened blend of Macallan scotch and maple and pecan flavorings. Quite different, but as good as it sounds. I tried lots of rums and other things. The most memorable one was a bourbon made from wheat; I forget which it was, but I'm sure the ever-knowledgeable etler will inform me...
Left there to buy some booze, realizing in the store that thanks to the fucking TSA I wouldn't be able to carry it on the plane. Fuckers. Deciding to not trust checked luggage and have it shipped home, I went ahead and purchased a bottle of Amber, Plantation Barbados rum, and Gosling's Old Rum.
On the way back to SF, I was peckish again, so we stopped in San Mateo for lunch at a wonderful Italian place named Spiedo. We split some decent bruschetta, and I had a sausage panini. Mmmm. After that, we walked across the street to Draeger's, a huge gourmet supermarket; shades of my beloved Wegman's, that one. I bought a Wonka halloween donut (w/"bloodberry filling"). It was not what I was hoping for, merely mediocre chocolate with sprinkles and surprisingly good deep red filling. I wanted a cookie inside, or something cakey. Like, you know, a donut. Another treat were some cookies like cream-puffs. The pastry cream filling was disappointingly lemon flavored, rather than vanilla, but they were still pretty good, even if I did end up leaving them at Kim's place.
Next, I finally got to see the Golden Gate Bridge, all close-up. It was cool! The fog had even thoughtfully rolled in to give it that genuine San Francisco feel! Walking across the bridge, we saw some kite surfers in the Bay below; that looks *really* cool, and way beyond my skill level.
Drove over to the Haight-Ashbury district, did some browsing, walked through Golden Gate Park, got lots of offers to buy drugs, accepted none of them, and wound our way back to Hobson's Choice, a *stellar* rum bar. I went with the "premium flight" sampler, and the (cute) bartender suggested replacing the Cadenhead with another. After suggesting several rums which I'd already tasted, he volunteered a recent acquisition from Australia, which the owner carried back specially since it isn't exported. How could I say no? Here are all my tasting notes:
Bundaberg Dark (Australia) - Very good, complex caramel and vanilla, with a sharp finish.
Neisson Reserve Especial (Martinique) - Good, but starts off bitter, and my palate is quickly overwhelmed. Lighter color and taste.
Flor de Cana 12 yr (Nicaragua) - Very good, slightly sharp throughout. Smooth and slightly smoky.
St. James Hors d'age (Martinique) - Excellent. Peppery, rich, and smooth.
Negrita (West Indies, I think) - Top notch! Slightly sweet, woody and vanilla, with minor caramel flavors. Sharp in the middle, but not the beginning or end. Good, strong, smooth finish.
Saturday evening, as we were exploring the Castro (yay! gayness home base!) we met up with Jason, a friend of Kim's. Did a bit of leather browsing (I can never find a hat that fits me), and ate at the Bagdad Cafe, an adorable little diner. I had the chicken-fried steak, which was excellent. Wandered around some more, did not have a chocolate malted, and went back to Kim's for a quick break.
The story continues...