Day 5 — Wednesday, April 29, 2015 — Last Full Day (Part 3)

We took a Lyft back home from Chinatown. Next on the agenda: Wine night at the local dog park.

First though, right across the street from the dog park, Tim pointed me down an unmarked private residential breezeway and told me to just follow my nose, that they’d meet me at the park. Curious, I made my way through and quickly saw an enchanting courtyard garden with stone benches, tinkling chimes, and a bubbling fountain:

An open door at the back invited me in:

And I immediately saw why Tim had sent me back here. It was a tiny, charming little Wicca shop called Sword & Rose, dimly lit by a single stained-glass skylight:

Some folks inside were discussing an upcoming channeling workshop. I wandered around the tiny space and looked at the overpriced crystals, chimes, incense, beads, candles, books, herbs, oils, and other similar magickal items.

Left with a “Blessed Be” to the proprietress and made my way back over to Tim & Alex at the dog park.

Wine night, every Wednesday at dusk, is a social time for dog owners to chill and get to know each other better.

Moby & Gio's dog

Moby with Gio’s dog, Snarles Darwin, a Great Dane mix.

tim throwing ball

Dogs dogs dogs

Dogs dogs dogs

I got to pet this sweet little black Chihuahua love-muffin for a while, which was really nice. I miss Cisco! Baroo!

A couple of the folks there, Gio and Will, would also be joining us for dinner on my last night there.

Last of the architecture:





Gio (short for Giovanna) brought three dozen fresh oysters from the farmer’s market and set about shucking them for us. I helped Tim whip up a spiky red sauce for them, with lemon juice, ginger, and Sriracha. OMG OMG OMG. I’ve had raw oysters only once before, at the Fish Market on San Diego’s embarcadero. I thought they were okay, but they didn’t change my life.

These oysters changed my life.

And that was just the appetizer. Will and I got to chatting over glasses of an amazing Sangiovese and mostly stayed out of the way. Alex made an outstanding garlic bread, and Tim did sous vide salmon fillets on beds of pureed fresh peas topped with sauteed shitake mushrooms (the ones I brought home from the Ferry Building), plus asparagus spears with breadcrumbs and a dreamy dill sauce. Here’s a video of the technique Tim used. The salmon came out incredibly moist and tender.



As if that wasn’t enough, then we had a four-berry pie with hot tea for dessert. The conversation was fun and stimulating. I had a blast. Didn’t get to bed until 12:30 am, which is terribly late for me, plus I had to be rolling for the airport by 7:30 am the next morning.


Day 6 — Thursday, April 30, 2015 — Travel Home

Tim was a trooper. He got far less sleep than I did, but he still drove me to a downtown BART station and dropped me off. Such a sweetheart. Love you!

Tried to sleep on the train to SFO. TSA security at SFO is much tougher than at San Diego. Unlike SAN, I had to remove my tablet, my baggie full of 3-oz. toiletries, my shoes, the contents of my pockets, and my coat. All I had to remove at SAN was my meteorite bracelet, and that was only because it set off the metal detector.

Then they sent me towards the big backscatter X-ray full-body scanner, and I stopped and said no thank you. I don’t mind plain old metal detectors, but the amount of radiation you get from those underwear scanners is ridiculous. Not to mention the radiation you’re going to be getting just from being in the plane itself. They had to get a female TSA agent to give me a pat-down, which actually only took a couple of extra minutes, which I had plenty of.

Got an orange juice and a banana ($6.11 – holy cow!) to put on top of the Dramamine, and took another nap in the airport lounge. When it was time to take my pill, I went over to the Buena Vista Cafe in the SFO terminal (yay, they have a location here in the airport!) and got one of those lovely Irish coffees to help settle my almost-borderline hangover. Sat by the huge window overlooking the luggage-cart staging area. Ate the banana and the Dramamine and made some phone calls. Felt so much better, I got another Irish coffee. I know, it was technically still morning, but there were plenty of other folks at the bar, so at least I wasn’t alone. It’s happy hour somewhere, right? Besides, in an international hub airport, people are on all sorts of time zones. 🙂

Anyhoo, remember how at the Buena Vista on Hyde, two Irish coffees plus a Shirley Temple came to $19.75 before tip? Well, imagine my shock when I got the bill for just two Irish coffees, and it was $26.70! Good fookin’ lord, they got me good. Airport prices. Captive market.

Regardless, I was sufficiently sedated for this flight that I didn’t feel even a glimmer of airsickness. Whew. Rich picked me up, and we stopped in Alpine for lunch at Al Panchos on the way home.

As fun as the trip was, it was SO nice to get back home. Here’s the joyous reunion with poor Cisco:

Check out next year’s San Francisco 2016 Travelogue!