Tag Archive: drinking


During a recent renovation of the 230 year old Jameson Irish Whiskey Distillery in Dublin, a batch of whiskey was discovered in the foundations of the building.

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Day 5: Sunday, April 29, 2018

I slept in until 9:30 in the morning after being up so late the night before. I had a pint carton of Blue Bottle coffee from the fridge, and when Tim woke up we went to Gus’s. I got a fresh-squeezed orange juice, and it was like the best thing I’ve ever tasted.

Ahhh. Just what the doctor ordered.

BTW, Alex wasn’t able to join us for nearly anything because he was working every day from noon to 9:00 p.m. Missed you!

The plan was to go to a political fund-raiser with Tim, who hates to do these things alone, and it was good for his business to make an appearance. He assured me there’d be food and we wouldn’t have to stay long. It was for one of Tim’s clients, a candidate for Lieutenant Governor, Gayle McLaughlin, a former mayor and city council member of Richmond. There was food, but nothing I really wanted. Chips and salsa, carrots and onion dip, a side of salmon, a pot of homemade chili. White wine on the patio outside, but only three bottles for a crowd of 30+odd people, and it was nearly gone. I was lucky to get a bit.

I just grazed the chips and carrots.

Before Gayle spoke, though, this lady got up and sang a couple of never-ending folk songs.

Her voice was alright, and it must be SO hard to stand up in front of a bunch of people and sing a capella, but as a founding member of Julian Indivisible, I’ve gone to a LOT of political meetings, and there’s never been SINGING.

I couldn’t believe it. Tim coaxed me into the kitchen where he apologized profusely and I hissed at him under my breath, “Singing? Seriously? Singing?”

Gayle speaking. She did a great job. I really have nothing but admiration for people who run for office. It’s gotta be brutal. I voted for her.

Tim designed her campaign poster.

As soon as she was done and an endless question-and-answer period was over, we bailed. Here’s the amazing view from the host’s home:

If you craned your neck, you could just barely see the tops of the Golden Gate Bridge in the distance.

Got some good coffee on our way to the train station. Next stop: downtown to see the Palace Hotel. There’s a painting by one of my favorite artists, Maxfield Parrish, in their Pied Piper Bar & Grill. It was commissioned by the hotel when it re-opened in 1909. Originally established in 1875, the Palace is also famous for inventing Green Goddess salad dressing in 1923 in honor of William Archer’s hit play. I’ve never seen a Maxfield Parrish painting in person, so this was a destination.

Outside Ghirardelli’s next door to the hotel, we spotted the reincarnation of Emperor Norton I in his ridiculous get-up. The original Emperor Norton was a local celebrity and madman adopted by the city in the 19th century – he was the first to propose the Bay Bridge decades before it was built. This current version of Emperor Norton was expounding on some topic before a small crowd of onlookers.

The inside of the Palace was breathtaking.

Uh oh, the riff-raff have arrived!

Unfortunately, the Pied Piper didn’t open until 4:00 p.m. What is the deal with 4:00 p.m. in this town anyway? I just assumed they’d be open for lunch. My bad. It was only 1:30 at that time, but a helpful staffer suggested that if we ask the concierge nicely, they might let us in to see the painting. And that’s exactly what happened.

For about 10 minutes, we got to have the place to ourselves.

The painting was bigger than I’d imagined. Maxfield Parrish himself served as the model for the Pied Piper, his wife was the model for the lady in the red tunic and white cap, and his son was the model for the urchin in green. Absolutely stunning. Worth the trip.

The concierge was nice enough to take a picture of us both.

It was hard to photograph because it’s so long. Here’s a better photo off the net:

I’d really wanted to sit at the bar and gaze at the painting for a couple of drinks, but oh well.

We wandered into the main lounge. This is luxury on a scale like no other.

Beautiful. Classy. Elegant. I couldn’t afford to stay here in a million years.

Relaxing tunes tinkling on the grand piano.

Unfortunately, we were too late for brunch, so we just sat and chilled for a few minutes.

Sitting in one of two golden thrones in the lobby:

Headed home and went to this great old bar right around the corner called Zam Zam. According to Zagat, “The martini is still king at this slightly spendy, cash-only Upper Haight institution where the elegant curved bar, vintage cash register, and gorgeous mural remind you of how a bar should be; though many miss Bruno, the long-deceased bartender who gave a lot of people the boot for obscure infractions, most agree it has an improved vibe under his successors, who shake a multitude of classic cocktails while the jukebox churns out old jazz standards.”

I got a Lemon Drop and Tim got another Sidecar. He’d just brushed his teeth, so the citrus in the cocktail tasted weird until it washed out. My Lemon Drop could have been sweeter. Second round, we both got Sidecars. They’re just SO good. Got into a conversation with two young women next to us about George Glass, Jan’s made-up boyfriend on The Brady Bunch. They were big fans.

Tim had asked me to sign his copy of my first book, and now I had my inspiration for something clever: “To George Glass, the nicest boy in school. Love, Jan.”

Because the bar is curved, it’s possible for everyone to converse with each other.

Cool place. It’s easy to miss from the street.

By then we were both starved, having not eaten much of the food on offer at the fund-raiser. I kept offering to help, but Tim whipped up a Munchery meal of steak on a bed of greens with a garlic/ginger sauce. The steak was so tender it was like butter. We watched more episodes of Legion and American Gods before retiring. I packed and went to bed relatively early.

Flying home tomorrow!

**Last post: Day 6 – Cancelled flight, Mimosas & Fried Rice, Reunion with Cisco, Souvenirs

Day 3: Friday, April 27, 2018 (Continued)

Erik told me about this amazing bar at the top of the Marriott nearby and that I should check it out if I felt like a cocktail (uh, have we met?) later. I got there and asked an impressively-attired liveried doorman in a top hat about it, but he said it wasn’t open until 4:00. I checked my watch – only 2:30. I didn’t feel like sticking around for an hour and a half just for that, so I headed home on the train. But it’s called the View Lounge, and it looks absolutely incredible:

Maybe next time.

On the train platform, a foreign traveler approached me. She wasn’t sure which train to take. I started to explain that I didn’t live there, and she made to walk away, so I stopped her, “But I still might be able to help!” She showed me the text message from her friend, who’d said she could take any one of 4 trains to get to Church street, just four stops away. One of the trains was sitting right there, but she and her companion were reluctant to jump on just yet. Finally she understood, we confirmed she was on the right side of the platform, and all she had to do was wait for one of those 4 trains, the L, K, M, or T to come along. Then my N train arrived and I had to leave. Nice to be able to help someone who’s even more of a newbie than me!

Back home, I popped into Hobson’s Choice rum punch bar around the corner for a cocktail. Their punches are pretty tame, so I added an extra shot for only another buck. It’s a great neighborhood bar. On their website: “During the eighteenth century, Rum became England’s most popular spirit. As Rum was brought back from the new colonies, the British realized its inherent appeal and ability to be mixed into fantastic concoctions known as punch. By the end of the century, in almost every living room, inn, or pub, a punch bowl appeared. Thus blossomed ‘Punch Houses.’ They were relaxing environments, plentiful of couches, colors, and Victorian flair.”

Arrr, grog!

Before dinner, I filled out my postcards. I’d brought 5 postcard stamps along, but had to go to the post office to get postage for Australia. (Did it arrive yet, Inga?)

Tim & I took an Uber to the Castro District. First we stopped in at the famous, historic Twin Peaks Tavern. It was one of the first gay bars anywhere where people displaying affection to one another did so in full view behind their enormous plate-glass windows, as opposed to hiding in some dank basement bar or windowless dive.

Tim placing our order.

They have a cool little loft, too.

I ordered a Negroni, just because I’ve never tried one before. Tim got a Sidecar, saying, “I just read about this drink in a great book…” The Negroni was okay, I didn’t hate it, but I’ll probably not get them again.

Second round, I got a Sidecar (they ARE so good). The bartender filled it so full I had to take a sip before I could pick it up:

New profile pic!

Great people-watching there:

Red Rubber Rex finds the Castro fascinating!

Great painting of the tavern:

Tim went out and got a pic of me and the bartender from outside. Pretty cool double image, eh?

From there, we headed over to Super Duper Burgers for dinner. They’re said to be even better than In-N-Out Burgers. I got a Mini Burger with cheese and bacon and a side of garlic fries. SO good.

Great people-watching from here, too.

I need to find someone who makes sugar-free ice cream!

In the evening, we watched the 2nd episode of Legion, followed by the 4th episode of American Gods, while eating the most amazing macarons from Munchery.

**Next Post: Day 4 (Part 1) – Ferry Building, Hillstone Restaurant

The Tale of Michael Malloy

Sam O’Nella Academy tells the story of the most resilient drunk to ever grace a bar.

Worlds Apart

Heineken presents ‘Worlds Apart’ An Experiment. Can two strangers with opposing views prove that there’s more that unites than divides us? #OpenYourWorld

The brilliant comic Larry Miller performing his famous stand-up routine.

Docking Like a BOSS

This video was made for AV-OG-TIL, a Norwegian NGO working to reduce the harmful effects of alcohol. Their aim is to raise awareness about the dangers of intoxication while operating a boat.

Are Wine Snobs Faking It?

I dunno, watch SOMM and tell me. But in this episode of Adam Ruins Everything in which host Adam Conover breaks down the myth of fancy wines and encourages people to just drink what they like. The clip features actor John Michael Higgins as a snooty sommelier who finds himself subjected to a series of “wine pranks” to test his “abilities.”

Bring A Highlander To Work With You

The Dude, and a Compost Cake

Gorgeous chalkboard art at The Rabbit Hole. My good friend Throop is the general manager there. Their take on a White Russian, named “The Dude” after The Big Lebowski, is delicious!

rabbit hole blackboard

Attended a surprise retirement party for our good friend and neighbor, Gary. Another neighbor made this jaw-dropping cake with a custom Bakelite topper. Gary’s a biology teacher, and every element in this creation incorporated some part of his life, from the monkey flower at his feet, to the books titled Darwin, Abbey, Berry, and the PCT (his son has made the attempt twice), to a “Robyn” (his wife’s name) with a beetle in its beak (Robyn studies insects). The compost pile includes apple cores, a (now) unneeded alarm clock, and graded test papers. The binoculars are for bird watching, but the birds are more watching him. He’s also learning to play the guitar. Love the little details like the treasure map, boomerang, the hole in the jeans, and the “dirt shirt.” The little apples, corn, and carrots around the outside edges were made of fondant and totally edible.

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