Timeline: April 6-17
We slept in late the next morning and after breakfast and on-line errands set out in the late morning for REI to shop for a replacement pair of hiking boots for me. For many years I wore Merrell Moab’s as they fit me well and could handle all types of walking and terrain. When I went to replace my last pair a year or so ago I discovered that they had changed the configuration of the shoe and it no longer suited me.
The sales clerk at REI suggested I try the Oboz Bridger Low and I’ve been wearing them ever since. They have good support with a stiff foot bed, are waterproof and best of all, fit so well I only need to wear one pair of socks (in the past I’ve worn a wool sock on top of a silk or lightweight fabric liner) when hiking in rough terrain.
With our planned trip this fall to hike most of the Camino de Santiago (450 miles plus or minus) I wanted a new pair, although the old ones still work fine. We drove up to REI and as we were nearing the corner of Gilman and San Pablo noticed that the traffic light there was out. Driving through the parking lot, which was sparsely populated for that time of day, we saw a hand-written sign on the doors of the Rite Aid and Chipotle next door.
Pulling up in front of REI our suspicions were confirmed. The forceful storm the night before had knocked out power in the area and all the stores were closed. That plan dashed, we drove to a Safeway on the east side of Berkeley to provision for dinner and the rest of our stay. Finished with shopping, we started back to the apartment with the intent to find a taco or two for lunch.
Using the search function on our phones we drove back towards Oakland looking for suitable options. The first couple we passed were a bit fancier than we wanted, closer to dinner choices than a quick taco. As we were beginning to lose hope, resigned to returning to the apartment for a PB&J sandwich there, I spied a food truck aptly titled “The Burrito Truck” parked at a gas station on the corner of San Pablo and some forever unknown street in Emeryville and so parked on the street next to it.
We quickly glanced at the menu and ordered a taco apiece, shrimp for Joanna and a shredded beef for me and a diet Coke to split. Upon arrival, they were all we could have asked for as we stood next to the truck hungrily consuming these food items that remind us so much of living in California.
While eating we overheard (it honestly was hard not to) an animated cell phone conversation going on adjacent to us, a black man of indeterminate age arguing with, we would assume a current or ex-girlfriend, about whether he was going to pay some expense of hers, as we recall it being the rent. His exact language was of a nature such that I wouldn’t feel comfortable detailing it a family rated blog of this type, but it was one of those fly upon the wall situations that leave you wondering, wouldn’t you like to know the back story on that one?
Back at the apartment we closed out the day with dinner, a Blue Apron Spaghetti Bolognese to which we added that additional ingredients we’d purchased at Safeway and enjoyed a nice evening, watching the Manchester by the Sea Blu-Ray disc we’d brought with us. The next morning while Joanna and Jessica went to a yoga class, I made my way back to REI to check out the boots, it being the last weekend of their spring sale and It’s attendant 20% discount on one item. The place was mobbed due to the end of the sale and likely because they had been closed the day before. When I went to the shoe section I discovered that they were no longer stocking the Bridger Low (they had been doing so when we last visited at Christmas time). I confirmed this with the sales clerk and after returning to the apartment, ordered a pair on line to be delivered to the REI in Charlotte.
Later in the afternoon the four of us took BART over to San Francisco (the City) to take care of a couple of pre-wedding (did I mention in the blog that Jessica and Kris are to be married this August?) errands. Kris and I finished ours early, giving us a moment or two to stop in at Emporio Rulli, a venue reeking of Europe and Italy, in Union Square to enjoy a beverage while we waited for the girls to join us.
From there we rode with Lyft to south of Market district to Room and Board, a furniture store Jessica and Kris are considering for the replacement of some critical pieces in their apartment, one of which we have a keen interest in, the sofa bed, our home away from home when we stay with them. Although not inexpensive, their products appear to be well made and equally well thought out and designed, furniture that might last a lifetime.
Finished we took Lyft again to our dinner spot for the night, Schroeder’s, which bills itself as the west coasts oldest German restaurant. It is one of the three places being considered for the rehearsal dinner and so we could combine a meal with field trip of sorts. It is a stylish place, reminiscent of German beer halls, but with a modern touch. Which also describes the food, an updated take on the classics.
We ordered a round of beers and the Pretzel Knots with house smoked butter and mustard to start, little bundles of pretzel dough similar to a garlic knot you’d find in an Italian restaurant. For entrees Jessica had the Sauerbraten (braised beef, red cabbage, bacon, grapes, and potato dumplings), Kris the Wurst plate with a Nurnberger and Frankfurter, while Joanna and I split the Wiener Schnitzel (veal cutlet, warmed potato salad, charred lemon and golden raisin verjus) and house made Spätzle (with asparagus, peas, fava beans, lemon, and ricotta) with an added order of Kartoffel Tots, quite possibly some of the best tater tots ever tasted.
All the food was quite good, quality ingredients imaginatively prepared. If you were expecting a traditional treatment, this is not the place to go but for a change of pace, it was a good choice. I’d say the Spätzle and the Nurnberger Wurst were the highlights, that sausage reminding us of the ones we had in the city they are from, Nurnberg.
Still early, we made our way back to Oakland and stopped in at a new favorite hangout for Jessica and Kris, Drexl where we would spend a delightful time drinking excellent cocktails while hanging out with the bartender. What sets the place apart from other drinking establishments of this ilk is the knowledgeable drink mixers, experts at their craft who willingly share their knowledge, and complimentary tastes, of liquors from around the world.
We went for several the house specials (the Eli Cash and Agent Provocateur) but closed out the evening with a few “Dealer’s Choice”, whereby you describe a place, emotion, or situation and he makes a drink to match. I asked for something like a memorable drink I’d had at Corso in a prior visit, Bourbon, mojito mash, and ginger beer. They were out of mint for the mash but concocted a drink equally as good. Kris asked for ‘a birthday party at the beach’ and was rewarded with a rum based delight (including a couple of exotic rums, each of which we tasted separately) and topped with a umbrella.
The whole experience was memorable, the thoroughly enjoyable drinks, the banter bar side with the bartender, and just getting spend quality time with Jessica and Kris. We walked back to the apartment, the beauty of this well situated urban environment, and settled in for a quiet evening, watching the second movie we’d brought along, the Academy Award Winning Moonlight. Sleep came easy that night as we looked forward to a full day on Sunday, a wildflower hike and dinner with Lydia and Walter on the docket.
Emporio Rulli : http://www.rulli.com/home
Room and Board: http://www.roomandboard.com/