We would have another full day on Saturday, some shopping in the morning for the BBQ we planned to have later at Jessica and Kris’ apartment and then an afternoon with them hitting a couple of places in Oakland. Doug, Evan and I made the supermarket run to a Safeway not far away, a visit that always draws into sharp contrast for me the difference in alcohol laws between states.
In California, you can purchase it just about anywhere at remarkably low prices, seven days a week except for a few hours each day. At home in North Carolina, one must go to a state operated store with more limited hours (no Sunday sales) with prices roughly a quarter to a third higher than California. Ostensibly, those higher prices are due to taxes which support health related programs so in some respects, I’m OK with the tradeoff.
Supplies in hand, we returned to the Courtyard to await the arrival of Jessica and Kris, who showed up a little after noon as we all set out walking west down Broadway to 3rd Street and Beer Revolution, one of our favorite places in Oakland. They usually have 50 taps going but today one of the coolers was out of commission limiting our choices, but not so much that anyone was disappointed.
We managed to secure a table outside and spent the next hour enjoying our beers while we waited for the new hot dog joint next door, Diamond Dogs, to open. At the appointed hour, we walked over and ordered a dog or so apiece, for Joanna and I the chili version. The burger spot that used to occupy this space was exceptional; unfortunately, we would not be able to say the same for Diamond Dogs. First, it was expensive, nearly nine dollars for a lousy hot dog. And it was just that, a pedestrian dog, small in size enveloped in a large bun covered with a non-descript chili.
We doused our disappointment with another round of high quality craft beers and then set off to appease the oenophiles in the group with a multi block walk down third street to Brooklyn West Winery. Started in 2013 they source grapes from around California and make their product in Oakland. One of the co-owners, Jeff sat us at a large table and spent the next hour or more with us talking about his craft, the wine they produce, and the characteristics of each one he poured for us.
It was good wine but at a price point that put it in a class where one could find similar products at the market for less, so we passed on buying any but certainly had a very entertaining time as the conversation flowed between sips of wine. From there we walked back to the Courtyard for a brief respite before heading over the Jessica and Kris’ apartment for the planned BBQ.
On the menu that evening would be Tri-Tip ala Kris, his specialty, and a couple of very large marinated chicken breasts. In addition to some good west coast sour dough bread we had a selection of deli salads (Cole slaw and two kinds of potato salad) along with a healthy array of cheeses that Sheila had picked up at the market next door to the apartment.
Beer and wine flowed throughout the evening as the guys gathered on the rooftop for the cooking process. I don’t think of us as a particularly stereotypical gender role group but in the end, let’s face it, we’re humans and that’s the way these occasions tend to fall out. And that would be as witnessed through the ages, men cooking the meat around an open fire and the woman keeping an eye taking care of business and keeping an eye on the men to guarantee that it will all turn out.
As a gift from the kids for my role in the wedding, I received a bottle of Remy Martin 1738 (along with a few gifts that night as we celebrated my birthday with them), which commemorates a milestone in the house’s history. In 1738, only 14 years after they started producing cognacs, King Louis XV of France impressed by the quality of Remy’s cognac, granted them exclusive permission to plant new vineyards through an accord royal, a royal permission. In 1997, Cellar Master Georges Clot decided to create a new cognac honoring the early craftsmanship spirit of the house and to name it after this royal gesture as a tribute.
It was as fine an evening as it gets, sharing good food, drink, and conversation with folks that are family, and as close to family as it get. At the end of the evening Joanna and I sent the other Cisco’s off with Uber to spare them from more walking and used that refreshing time, the cool of the evening, a brisk stroll, to clear out heads in order to prepare for the day ahead, breakfast with the kids and the drive to Kamp Angst.
Sheila and JB had a 9am flight out of Oakland International, with Doug following an hour behind so the three of them took off around 7am for the airport. An hour or so later we walked with Evan to the BART station and sent him on his way to San Francisco International. We then walked to the apartment, met Jessica and Kris and hopped in their car for a ride up to Berkeley and one of our favorite breakfast spots, Sconehenge.
One of the things we like best about the East Bay compared to San Francisco is the ease, when you want it, of using a car. In this case it’s a quick drive and free parking is easy to find. It was crowded when we arrived but luckily snagged a table for four just as a group was leaving. With the long drive ahead Joanna and I ordered substantial fare, for her the Egg Burrito (Two eggs scrambled with roasted Anaheim chilies and jack cheese in a flour tortilla) and I the June’s Omelet (jack cheese, spinach, chicken apple sausage, and mushrooms).
Suitably stuffed, we finished breakfast and drove to the Courtyard, Jessica and Kris leaving us there for an appointment they had that morning and us parking long enough to retrieve our bags from the room, check out, and then hit the road for Oregon. It would be an uneventful drive with one exception, about two hours in the air conditioning systems effectiveness diminished until the point where we reached Redding when it finally quit.
It was well above 90 degrees and modern-day cars are not designed for driving at high speed with the windows open. So, for the rest of the trip we alternated between baking or being buffeted by wind noise with the windows open. A brief stop at a large liquor store just across the border of California and Oregon to pick up a case of scotch for Tom (Oregon has state run liquor stores) brought partial relief, but we were soon back in the heat. It got so warm in the car that by the time we reached Ashland the GPS heated enough so that it stopped functioning.
We’d see about the car in the next couple of days and were quite happy to pull into the driveway at Kamp Angst, marveling at how nice the gravel road, usually full of pot holes and washboard, was this time around. Who knows what adventures the next couple of days would bring? Tom and Kathy’s dog Olaf, one of the many they have owned over the years came out to greet us. We’d made it to Angst.
Beer Revolution: http://beer-revolution.com/index.html
Diamond Dogs: https://www.yelp.com/biz/diamond-dogs-oakland
Brooklyn West: http://www.brooklynwestwinery.com/
Remy Martin 1738: https://www.remymartin.com/gr/collection/1738-accord-royal/