Friday, April 25
When I woke up this morning I felt like I ran my body into a brick wall last night. For one, it was a long day and we were out late. Thankfully, I pace myself when it comes to my wine consumption, otherwise I would have been far worse off! And, per my usual challenge in hotel rooms, I didn’t sleep super well. I dragged myself out of bed at 10:00 a.m. and checked emails.
I met my colleage at the H&M shop in Union Square. The irony is that I was waiting in the Post Street location and she was waiting in the Powell Street location (near Geary). We had no idea there were two H&M’s a couple of blocks apart. I guess they need all of that inventory in a shopping city like San Francisco. In any case, I bought a pair of cute bronze flip flops with a line of matching bronze sequins along the thong portion. Tres cute.
We walked up to the Cafe de la Presse for lunch. We downed a bottle of Vox sparkling water with lime slices. I had the mushroom soup and the Nicoise salad. The food was okay. But not as fresh as the salads and food you get in Portland. God, we’re spoiled up here. I know they say that San Francisco is the foodie town, perhaps was the foodie town, but it seemed like you only get that in the fine dining restaurants. Maybe I’m wrong. But in Portland you can get killer seasonal, fresh ingredients that taste like they were just plucked from the earth at most restaurants.
After lunch, we walked toward Chinatown. It was already in the seventies and the sky was a perfect clear blue. I wasn’t missing the Portland rain.
We continued into the North Beach section, one of my favorite neighborhoods. We wandered down Columbus Avenue and peeked into St. Francis Cathedral. I had only seen the outside. Since I mentioned it in my novel, I figured I should check out the real deal.
We stopped by a gelateria called NAIA – I had a split of pistachio and coconut gelato. Molto bene! We sat in the outside cafe seating and enjoyed the warmth from the beautiful sunshine dappling its happy light through clusters of green leaves above that dangled from the trees lining the main avenue. It was a good day.
Next, we went two storefronts down to get pedicures. I had my laptop with me and worked for about an hour. My toenails were a metallic bronze-green, very earthy, very Oregon.
We walked back to Union Square and met our two other colleagues. We enjoyed the remainder of the sunny afternoon at an outdoor sidewalk cafe in the square - Emporio Rulli Il Caffe. I had a sangria and people watched. A troup of actors/dancers performed mime-like modern dance in the middle of the square. It was interesting.
After, we quickly dressed for our evening out in cocktail wear. I met my colleagues at Farallon. They were sipping on bubbly while I was trying to figure out what to do with my missing slip situation. I couldn’t find the slip I packed for my dress that was clinging to me whenever I stepped outside in the wind. It wasn’t a gorgeous situation, but I’d have to deal. We took a cab to the California Culinary Institute for the Wine Literary Awards.
The cab drivers in San Fran are very funny and engaging. Every cab ride had been an adventure, thus far.
The evening was mostly a bonding one with my colleagues at the three other Oregon wineries and two members of the Oregon wine board who were there to join us, along with the wine writer we sponsored at our table. Otherwise, it was just another Napa reunion. I did see some Napa friends and said hello, which was nice.
But the highlight came when the award recipient, a sweet man and important historian to the Napa Valley, was giving his acceptance speech and this petite blonde middle aged cougar-esque woman came ping-ponging down the aisle, brushing past our table and charged the stage. She stood right up close to the award recipient holding up her glass of wine, shaking in her drunkenness, with her dress pants tucked awkwardly in the backs of her insanely high heels. You can’t pay for this kind of entertainment! It was a shame for the guest of honor, who handled the bizarre situation rather well. Three men came up from the sides of the banquet hall and escorted the drunk woman from the stage and out of the banquet hall. Later, we learned she was asking the award recipient where Elvis was, that she knew he was somewhere in the building. Priceless.
Apparently, this woman crashes all of the Napa parties and gets trashed. No one knows how she finds out about the events. She just appears like a wine drinking specter. I kept thinking I should write an opera about this Napa woman who was heartbroken long ago by a winemaker, and is left to crash one Napa event after the next in her drunken melancholy, searching desperately for her former love – Elvis, the King of Cabernet.
Anyway. We cabbed back to Union Square and returned to Farallon. I didn’t eat much because of my celiac disease and, though I mentioned it before I arrived in San Francisco, I didn’t trust much of the food to risk it. So, I grabbed a bite to eat at Farallon – we had some lovely oysters. My colleague ordered a bottle of bubbly.
Luckily, my hotel was across the street. It was an early night and I was thankful for that.