Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Does this city make my ass look big?

So, yeah.
We were in San Francisco/Sonoma from Friday until yesterday, and it was eleventy hundred kinds of fun. Laid back, no real itinerary, eat like a queen with a tapeworm, drink wine like your life depended on it sort of fun. Sell all your possessions, buy a van, move there and get a job selling homemade vodka at a roadside stand sort of fun.

We rolled into Sebastopol to meet up with my sister & her husband, as they both work in town and she took half the day off to entertain us. After lunch at a local place that had the best hummus I've ever had the pleasure to shovel into my mouth, we headed off to Lynmar Winery since it was on the way to their house and even though all I heard was "Blah, blah, blah, WINERY", I guess that they also boast a great patio with lovely views:

(Yeah, I know we look alike- trust me, people tell us that ALL THE TIME.)

We drank wine, we discussed the commune we're starting when we win the lottery, we took in the views, and I bought a lovely bottle of Chardonnay. It was 70-something degrees, we were surrounded by some of the best scenery on the planet, and we were with people we actually like to be around- not a bad way to spend a Friday afternoon at all.

When we got back to her place, she bestowed upon me an article of clothing she had found and "had my name written all over it":
A kelly green terrycloth jumpsuit.
Yeah, I guess she "gets" me after 38 years of having to put up with me. I kept mentioning all evening how much I loved the ease of one-piece dressing, and threatened to work more jumpsuits into the regular rotation.

As the night progressed and the costume box was raided, this is what I desintegrated into:
Mavis the 74 year-old gambling addict.

Dinner was made: Scallop pasta with lots o'garlic & red pepper flakes, chickpea salad with bitter greens, balsamic & sundried tomatoes, good bread and lots and lots of good wine to wash it all down with. After dinner, we played Uno until our 5:00 AM wakeup that day finally caught up with us.

Did I mention how in love I am with Sis & Mr. Sis's pets?

Deep, deep, get-arrested-for-stealing-them love.

This is Jasper the border collie, who I dubbed "crazy face." He's not real smart, but he sure is cute & cuddly.

This is Bubs' new girlfriend, assuming that I can smuggle him to CA in my carry-on next time. Siouxie likes sweaters, wiggling her butt, rubbing her hiney on the carpet, and long walks on the beach. Turn ons: kibble and running after stuff. Turn offs: Cranky old lady cats and cold feet.

Speaking of cranky old lady cats, here's her butt that I drunkenly insisted on taking a picture of. I'm pretty sure that I justified it by saying I was going to e-mail it to Gwen. Sort of "kitty grandma porn" for her furry boys.

She's much cuter from this angle, dont'cha think? Well, at least this angle smells better...

When we were driving around Sebastopol the next day, we were near a street that my sister said we would probably like. I guess this dude makes all sorts of crazy sculptures out of junk, and a ton of people in the town have them in their front yards. This particular street had one in nearly every single yard, so we parked the car and meandered (as opposed to sauntered) about:

I love this one- the harried waitress. I'm guessing her name is Vera:


Which is real, and which is made of junk?
(Nope, I can't tell the difference either.)

That night, we went to dinner at a local place, Barley n'Hops. I had the sausage plate (insert any of 1,000 jokes here), and about 43 glasses of wine.

Here I am on the patio, basking in my blurry, drunky drunkyness:

The next day, we said goodbye and drove into San Francisco. We stayed in North Beach (sort of "little Italy") at the Hotel Boheme. This is Gwennie's hotel of choice when in SF as well, and I can see why, though Allen Ginsberg didn't haunt me while we were there like he did her, so I feel a wee bit cheated. Small (15 rooms), but right on Columbus Avenue in the heart of things with a fabulous little bakery next door, tons of great food within blocks, and cozy & chock full o'charm rooms:

This area of town was big with the Beat writers/poets in the 50's, and there are photographs all over the hotel documenting the history. This one was in our bathroom:

Holy balls, did we eat some food. Fabulous food. Piles of food. Mostly Italian, all delicious.
I didn't take pictures of our best meals, unfortunately, as I am shy about whipping out the camera and photographing my plate when strangers are sitting about 12 inches from me.
One of the stunners was lunch at a little cafe called Cafe Divine- the food was simple, but we both ordered pizzas that were fan-fucking tastic. Mine was piled high with caramelized onions, about 100 cloves of roasted garlic (yes, I still managed to get laid this trip, despite the odor), shaved grana padano and fried sage on a ultra-thin crust.

The best meal by far, however, was dinner that night at a place called Ristorante Ideale on a little side street near our hotel. It was warm, inviting, run by actual Italian people, and bustling on a Sunday night- which speaks volumes to me. We shared a half bottle of prosecco and two apps: Fresh mozzarella with tomatoes and arugula, and prosciutto-wrapped pears with fresh mascarpone. Sweet Jebus, I'm still thinking about that mozzarella app, though. Semi-firm on the outside, but creamy in a way that I've never experienced before on the inside. I think we both had our own little "come into the light" moments when we took the first bite. The pears w/prosciutto weren't exactly crap either: perfectly ripe bosc pears smeared with fresh, homemade mascarpone, and wrapped with some of the best prosciutto I've ever had in my life.

For entrees, the Mr. had seafood risotto, and I had the pappardelle with lamb ragu. A glass of verdicchio for him, a wine called cometa (a lot like a full-bodied chardonnay) for me. Dining really doesn't get any better than this: simple but amazingly high quality ingredients, great service, great dining room, and lingering over the meal with no one rushing you out the door.
I think our waiter took a shining to me, as when I said I was too full for dessert, he brought us out some fantastic hazelnut/chocolate gelato anyways, on the house. And when I ordered some Sambuca as an apertif, he gave me what he called a "double shot" (which was actually more like a triple), again- on the house.

I do that to men sometimes.

Here is one of the less-exciting but still delicious meals, eaten at sidewalk cafe on Columbus Avenue while we just watched this amazing city move all around us. I had a margherita pizza (again with a terrific crust- why are so many places in MN unable to do crusts this good? Why??) with some vino, the Mr. had a linguisa (spicy) sausage sandwich and a bowl of roasted eggplant soup with berry lemonade:

For dinner that night, we decided to stray from Italian, and since it was a two-hour wait for the fancypants Asian-fusion place, we decided on the quiet Thai restaurant a half-block away.
I look cranky here, but I think I was just thinking how grumpy I was that I've never had Thai this good at home. I've had good, but not like this. Tofu spring rolls, curried fish cakes, Rad Na noodles that were as fluffy as I've ever had with the perfect sweet/spicy balance. The Mr's pumpkin curry was spectacular. It's hard to describe how it was just...better, but try this: Compare how you feel when you get to go pee after riding an hour in a bumpy car, holding it. THEN think of how you feel when you finally get to pee after a four-hour plane trip, three bloody marys, one bottle of water, and turbulence, holding it because both air pottys were clogged.

Yup, kind of like that.

The mutilated remains of our meal, after I stopped mushing my face into my plate of noodles mumbling something about "making sweet sweet face love" to it:

Our after-dinner bar of choice both nights was Vesuvio, just a block or two away.
I loved this bar- I felt right at home among the clutter, weird arty types, eclectic art on the walls, no-nonsence service and no-bullshit attitude.
Here I am in a blurry pic, trying to kiss the bum on the neon sign in the window, such was my adoration for this place:

My last pic, which pretty much sums up all that I love about San Francisco: a light installation comprised of book-shaped lights that flickered randomly like birds fluttering about, against a building-sized mural depicting some of the history of North Beach:

I love you, San Francisco. I miss you already.



SkylersDad said...

Jasper might just be the cutest dog I have seen!

You rock the green jumpsuit.

That was more fine food than I have eaten in about 5 years.

Those 3 things are my big takeaways from that whole post, I probably have some form of ADHD.

beatgrl said...

Sounds like an idyllic trip - I love when that happens. That light installation with the book pages is mega cool.
(My safeword below is ingoo)

Anonymous said...

I hope you brought some of that sun home with you, 'cause you're going to miss it here; failing that, at least we have your sun-shiny personality! LUCKY YOU in all that perfect 70 degree weather!


P.S. What a neat-o trip!!

Anonymous said...

Hey Funny

San Francisco is wonderful. There is more to it than just North Beach. That's for the tourist. BUT, I guess you were a tourist. But you are welcome anytime. Was the Slanted Door the Asian Fusion place you mentioned? If you don't make good food in SF, you don't last long.


Princess Margaret

Cash Register Jockey said...

What I wouldn't give for a green terrycloth jumpsuit. I could seriously irritate the girlfriend by stomping around pretending to be a dinosaur.

I'm 26.

WendyB said...

I want to meet some seductive noodles too!

Son of a Thomas said...


Gwen said...


I'm glad to you had sososo much fun! I love that city. I always threaten to change my name to Maria Angela and move to Northbeach when I'm there. I'll get a job selling salty meats at one of those great Italian places with meat in the windows.

Love ya!

Whiskeymarie said...

Skydad- if it weren't for ADHD, I wouldn't get anything done. Ever.

Beatgirl- It was a fab trip- I highly recommend it.

Renata- it was actually a little TOO warm for me- I was kind of tired of sweating 24/7. So, I'm kind of loving the rain today.

Princess- I've been in SF three times before, so I knew North Beach was a tad touristy, but I'm picky about staying at boutiquey hotels. Aaaannnd...since I booked late my choices were limited. That being said, I really liked it (NB) overall, and I really liked our hotel.
We just try ignore the regular "tourists" (even though we know technically are), we stay the hell out of Fisherman's Wharf (and Union Square, for the most part), try to not eat at any of the obvious tourist trap places, try to not behave like tourists, and the only bus tours we take involve our riding the city bus into sometimes sketchy neighborhoods in search of elusive/off the beaten path restaurants/shopping/museums. I try to do your city right and not be one of the assholes. Well, in the "tourist" sense, anyways.
You're very lucky to live there- I'm insanely jealous! Next time I go, I'll put out a call for the locals to give me some guidance on where you all like to go/shop/eat/whatever. We've done pretty well meandering around ourselves, but we're getting to the point where we've covered a lot of ground there on our own & wouldn't mind an insider's opinion.
Oh- and the restaurant that had the 2-hour wait was called "The House". Bad name, but the food looked good. I'm sure we'll be going again in the next year or so, so maybe next time...
(Whew, that was a long one- I just love when I get to talk to locals from wherever it is I'm going/have gone).

CRJockey- If it makes you feel better, I'm 38 and still found the jumpsuit to be all sorts of awesome.

WendyB- Not if they don't call you in the morning, like mine did...(sobbing)

SoT- Yup- it sure was. I love vacation time...

Whiskeymarie said...

Maria Angela- I'm making it my goal in life to find you a matching jumpsuit before I see you again. Oh, and can I get a pound of parma ham, please?

Kate said...

Oh, man. I am just dying over the onion/garlic/sage pizza. I share your sentiments on the crust.

Seriously - your trip sounds like it was eighteen kinds of AWESOME. I must go and see the art! I love Vera and I love the light installations.

F*ck. Why do I live in Ham Lake? Argh.

Gwen said...

My Sweet Baby Darling: Send me a grocery list and I'll hit The Hill before I leave town. I promised Steve-O that I'd bring him some of those olives so I was making a trip anyway. Amaretto candy? Check. Parma ham? Check. Your wish is my command.

T.J. said...

Sounds like you had a blast.

I'm pretty jealous right now.

CDP said...

I dream about pizza with really good crust. It's very elusive around here.

John said...

This post, like you Whiskey, is just so centered. OLLLLMMMMMMM...

All COOL, way COOL, Cali COOL, foodie COOL, alch-y COOL, AWESOME COOL!

No stamped out cigarette in the mutilated remains of your meal?

And if you ever start a commune, I'm there. : )

Jon said...

Man, I should totally move to that Sebastopol place. I'm always getting in trouble for displaying my junk out in public.

Christen said...

Longtme lurker, first time commenter...I am an SF antive living away from home and it warmed my heart to see you enjoyed Ideale! One of my favorites in SF and I sort of love that it is a semi-well kept secret.

Love your writing!

wafelenbak said...

Oh lord. I love the green jumpsuit more than words can ever express.

kirby said...

Man o man, I love Vesuvio.

Suze said...

Only you can totally rock the green jumpsuit!

gorillabuns said...

you don't think they make large marge green jumpsuits, do they? because if so, I'm so buying one.

Utah Savage said...

Wow, do I love your life. I used to live in San Francisco when I was young and pretty like you. It's a world class city. And it's a joy to see you again, living it up.

Siana said...

Siouxie is a rat terrier like Caesar! She should be Caesar's girlfriend instead of Bub's. Sorry, I heart Bub's and all (and I love his name since The Wire is the greatest show ever), but I think her and Caesar would be a better fit.

Glad you had a good time in San Fran. I have always wanted to visit that city and I'm really surprised that- at this point of my life- I haven't been there. After all, I am the most popular hag on this planet. Besides Cher. Dorothy. Dolly Parton. Ok, so I'm like the 17th most popular hag on the planet.

Chelsea Talks Smack said...

well....this all sounds lke HEAVEN

Organic Meatbag said...

I would have enjoyed that green jump suit myself...nifty...

Kim said...

Sounds like an amazing vacay!
The only time I was ever in San Francisco, I was ten years old and like an asshole, thought all the food was weird. What is this sour dough bread and red clam chowder? Yeah, I'm a moron. If I ever get the chance to go back, I plan on doing nothing but eating.

Freida Bee, MD said...

I think this qualifies on a majority vote on 'yes' to the green terrycloth jumpsuit and blonde bob wig as our Official Whiskeymarie Fanclub Army™ Uniform. We can do merit badges for impetuous, drunken and overindulgent acts, so that we can justify sashes, of course.

Gloriana Beausoleil said...

Speaking of asses and the way they look, flip out with me here:

It's something for pets on

Glori B.

Anonymous said...

Re: " I love you San Francisco ..." Move here, you would be perfect.

Princess Magret

Anonymous said...

Oops, I meant Margaret. Who is that Magret? It sounds like a character from "Treasure Island" . I do know you love your pirates. Somali much?

Princess Magret

WM said...

How did I not comment on this yet. Odd. I was convinced that I did. My fave thing about SF...those seals that just hang out on the pier. Sure I've been to the zoo and all but something about those big old mammoth creatures just chillin within touching range is awesome in a scarily , thrilling kind of way. I wonder if I could play ball with them next time.