I had an awesome week. Bill arrived for his much-awaited visit on Monday. I didn't sleep very well on Sunday night because I was so excited. I picked him up from SFO and we went back to the apartment right away to relax and so that Snorty McDoggelsson could see him. Doggles barked one tentative, soft bark, but then I think he recognized Bill and started getting all excited. It was really great seeing the two of them together again, playing rough just like they always did, running around the room and rolling around on the giant dog bed. Good times.
Bill has this list of all the places where he wanted to eat while out here, and right after playing with the dog we started going down that list. We drove to South San Jose, to his favorite sushi place, and had a late lunch. He had his favorite "red dragon roll", which was a sushi roll with salmon, topped with a very spicy ahi tuna poki. We also had a philly roll, along with some hamachi, red tuna, and baked mussels. Everything was really good.
For dinner we went to The Loft Bar & Bistro, a nice little restaurant in downtown San Jose only three blocks from the apartment. We were originally going to eat at the Poor House Bistro, but we dilly-dallied so much at home that it was closed by the time we were ready for dinner. It turned out okay, though, because we always liked the food at the Loft. It's consistently good and reasonably priced. We ended up eating at Poor House the following evening.
On Tuesday, Bill spent the morning getting a haircut from his former regular "barberess", Helen, and visiting one of his former coworkers. I stayed home to do some homework and to walk to Kinkos to fax some stuff to my new employer. After he got back, we went to lunch at the Faultline Brewing Company in Sunnyvale. Both of us had pretty good meals, though not spectacular. Which is probably why I can't really remember what either of us had. lol.
After lunch we went to Redwood City so the Verizon store that my brother's friend manages so that I could get a new cell phone. We also went to K&L Wine Merchants and to the new REI store in Mountain View to look around. Dinner, as I said earlier, was at Poor House Bistro, where we both had their out-of-this-world-good cajun spicy barbecue shrimp. This was the dish that turned me from a shrimp hater to a shrimp lover.
Wednesday was San Francisco day. We dropped Devon off at the doggie hotel so we could spend the entire day in the city. First we went to see the Giants play the Diamondbacks (Giants lost, of course), then we wandered around the waterfront area. We stopped for a drink at a little dive bar-cum-burger joint and watched pigeons. While we were there we saw this boy walking around in a silly Spongebob Squarepants custome made entirely of balloons. Bill called him over to our outdoor table so he could take a picture. The kid, a budding young businessman (or ham-whore, depending on how you look at it), told us he would pose for a picture if we gave him five dollars. Bill obliged, probably because of the novelty and because he had four beers at the ballgame.
::: newsflash ::: As I type this, I am also watching and eavesdropping on four stupid people outside my window. Two men and two women wearing stupid cowboy and cowgirl outfits (complete with hats), obviously drunk as skunks, are arguing amongst themselves. The are obviously out-of-towners, probably conventioners judging by their giant nametags, and they are lost. Should I go outside and offer to help them find their way? Naaahh. They're too loud and obnoxious. Let them stay lost. ::: end newsflash :::
We still had quite a bit of time to kill before our dinner reservation, so we checked out all the shops at the Ferry Building Marketplace. Looked at cheeses, wines, knick-knacks, and all sorts of stuff. I went to a bookstore and got Al Gore's book "An Inconvenient Truth" while Bill spoke with his ex-coworker on the phone. Then he decided that we should try out some caviar at the Tsar Nicoulai Caviar Café. They specialize in farmed caviar, which is probably good for them now that the little eggs that come from Caspian Sea sturgeon have been banned here in the US. It was a great learning experience. We each had a "sample flight", which consisted of three different kinds of caviar with three different kinds of champagne. I liked the combination of the paddlefish caviar and the rosé champagne. (Apologies for the blurred picture. I couldn't hold my phone cam steady after drinking three glasses of bubbly!)
We had dinner at our favorite upscale restaurant, Bradley Ogden's One Market. It's a San Francisco Financial District institution. One of those typical expense account restaurants that's always busy, always noisy, and always really good. Bill had lamb chops and I had this amazing grilled duck breast rubbed with chocolate powder. It never ceases to amaze me how chocolate can be paired with the most unlikely partners. You couldn't actually taste the chocolate on the duck, but it imparted a very interesting flavor component that absolutely worked. To end the meal we shared a trio of mini desserts - crème brûlée, berry cobbler, and their knock-your-socks-off-yummy butterscotch pudding with chantilly cream.
Thursday was outdoorsy day. We had lunch at Olive Garden (hahahaha) and drove around San Jose from dealership to dealership looking at cars. Bill was shopping around for a new Jeep Wrangler, while I wanted to check out the new BMW 328xi sportswagon. Then we took Sheddy von Stinkelstein to the Sunol Regional Wilderness for a hike. That place is great. It's a short drive up a country road off of I-680. Dogs are allowed (obviously), and you get a number of different trails that range from nearly flat to incredibly steep. We went on a pretty tame trail that we had been on before. We were hoping to let the dog play in the creek, but because summer had just ended, the creekbed was pretty much dry, so Devon didn't get to play in water much. It was still a nice hike, though. We did a 5-mile roundtrip. The weather was really good for such a hike, although I did get a little bit hot so Bill wet a face towel with water and had me drape it over the back of my neck.
We had dinner at Original Joe's, another downtown San Jose institution. The place has been here forever. The decor is straight out of the 70s, and so are the waiters. The food there is always good and the portions are consistently HUMONGOUS. Bill had chicken parmigiana and I had a New York strip steak. We shared a bottle of the house burgundy, which was surprisingly good at only $32 for a bottle. Although it didn't taste like burgundy (i.e. pinot noir) at all.
Speaking of wine, over the four nights that Bill was here, we downed five bottles of pinot noir here at home: Domaine Drouhin Willamette Valley, Bandon Oregon, McHenry Santa Cruz Mountains, Gruet New Mexico, and Testarossa Palazzio. Yep. Four nights, five bottles. In addition to whatever we drank at restaurants. Yup. We're lushes.
On Friday we woke up early to walk the dog. Then we had breakfast at the neighborhood Irish coffee shop. Then I brought Bill to SFO for his flight home. After I dropped him off I stopped at another BMW dealership to look for the car I'm lusting after. BMW of Mountain View had one on display. I'm still undecided.
*sigh* I miss DuckMan already...