Timeline: December 25, 2016 – January 5, 2017
After a New Year’s Day filled with football playoffs and cooking at the apartment, the four of us went into San Francisco on Monday to the gym, Mission Cliffs, where Jessica and Kris regularly rock climb. We spent an interesting couple of hours there as I watched them climb along with the many others, some practiced and graceful, and others not so much so.
We finished up and walked a few blocks over to Southern Pacific Brewing, where quite the crowd had gathered which caused us to seek seating in the second-floor loft. We enjoyed a couple of rounds of beers and consumed a couple of nice dishes, the Chicken Quesadilla (spicy shredded chicken, pepper jack cheese and pico de gallo) and Fish and Chips (House Pale Ale battered cod and house cut fries served with malt vinegar dill mayo). All were tasty and just the right amount of food to get us through the rest of the afternoon and back to a light dinner at the apartment.
The next day, Tuesday, Joanna and I drove up to Novato for a rendezvous with Mary and Norm at Moylan’s Brewery. We arrived a little early and parked in the small historic downtown area to walk around and kill time. Unfortunately, our good weather karma had run out as it was a rainy windy day, not that pleasant for spending lots of time out of doors. A few blocks down from the car I noticed a rare sight, a CD and Records store, Watts Records, just the answer for getting out of the wet conditions.
The place was two storefronts wide, with new and used CD’s on one side and lots of vinyl on the other. As I perused the CD racks I ran across a new copy of a disc I’d been trying to locate for ages, Buckingham Nicks, the record that got those two discovered and led to their inclusion in Fleetwood Mac, the rest being a history many of you are familiar with. It was priced at $17 and a quick check on my Amazon App confirmed this to be a good price, with similar items going for more than $30 on line.
CD safely stored in my daypack we returned to the car and drove over to Moylan’s. It’s common for us to meet Mary and Norm at some Northern California watering hole if we are not staying with them at their house at Lower Lake; in the past, we’ve met them at Lagunitas, Russian River Brewing, Calistoga Inn Restaurant and Brewing, etc.).
Moylan’s turned out to be a sound choice, with a good selection of well-known beers and reasonably priced pub grub. We’d enjoy a couple of rounds, a seasonal Flaneur, (Belgian Pale Ale) for me to start with and finishing with their famous Kilt Lifter (an 8% Scotch Ale) that I also purchased in a 22-oz. bottle to take with m) while Joanna and I split a Reuben, not the best I’ve ever had but all that one could want, nicely toasted bread, decent amount of tender corned beef plenty of melted Swiss cheese and just the right amount of thousand island dressing.
We bade farewell to Mary and Norm, wishing for more time but realizing we can’t always get what we wish for and returned to Oakland and a quiet day or so before our return flight home, as I wasn’t feeling all that well having come down with a nasty head cold. On Thursday, though we would normally take BART to the airport, with rainy conditions, along day ahead of us and my lingering cold, we opted to use Lyft to make the commute, running us around $43 but worth it this time around.
We knew it would be many hours before we’d eat in Charlotte, so opted to get food at the airport; often we’ll grab a sandwich from one of the options in the terminal. The choices on the American Airlines side of the house are not all that compelling though so this time we decided to sit down for a meal, choosing the Perry’s location a few gates down from the one we would fly out of. We settled in at a table, our waitress greeting us soon thereafter and providing us with attentive service throughout the meal. Joanna ordered clam chowder in a sourdough bread bowl and I opted for the Linguini Bolognese.
Prior to stopping in at Perry’s we’d purchased a large round of Boudin’s Sourdough from the news vendor/market at the entrance to our terminal. One thing we miss about living on the west coast is the quality of the sourdough bread one finds there; except for the occasional loaf of La Brea purchased at the supermarket in Charlotte it’s nearly impossible to find the type we consumed regularly and grew up with living in Los Angeles. And the standard bearer for that style of sourdough was from the Pioneer Bakery, a long-time Venice staple.
One of my most enduring memories is while returning from a long bike ride with my former bike club, MDRCC, sometimes the route would bring me off Pacific Coast Highway and down through Santa Monica to Rose Avenue. I’d stop at the retail counter of Pioneer there and get a 1.5-pound sour round, sliced; often it would still be warm and I’d tuck it up under my cycling jersey, looking like I was pregnant, and ride home as quickly as I could so that I could pull a slice out and eat it. The simplest of pleasures sometimes can’t be replaced.
We plowed through what was pretty good food, the Bolognese full of rich meat flavor, the linguini al dente, Joanna’s chowder with just the right amount of bacon added to it, complimented by a sourdough bread bowl that she demolished. We paid $34.25 in total, airport pricing (like theme park prices) but reasonable given the quality and circumstances. We may hit Perry’s again our next time out as we invariably fly on American, given how they dominate our airport and the number of non-stop flights they have from Charlotte to the Bay area for roughly the same price as other airlines who all have a stop in between.
The flight home went quickly (flights to the east go faster given the usual tailwinds) as the new entertainment options, Wi-Fi enabled and delivered, allow one to pick current movies. Once on the ground, good luck followed us as our bags came out at baggage claim amongst the first five. Our Lyft ride home was just as quick costing us $21, half of what a Yellow Cab would run. I’m not sure how the traditional cab business model will be able to compete going forward with Uber and Lyft, and whether market forces will eventually force those two companies to raise their prices, but for now we’re going to use them whenever we need a ride.
Mission Cliffs: https://touchstoneclimbing.com/mission-cliffs/
Southern Pacific Brewing: http://www.southernpacificbrewing.com/
Moylan’s Brewery: http://www.moylans.com/site/pages/home/index.php
Buckingham Nicks: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buckingham_Nicks
Pioneer Bakery: http://www.lamag.com/longform/the-sons-also-rise/
American Airlines: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/news/business/article51963560.html