A few weeks back, while strolling Manhattan’s Upper East Side in the late afternoon, I happened to come upon The Beach Cafe on the corner of 2nd Avenue and 70th Street, ironically named considering there’s no beach in sight. The place looked interesting and inviting, so I went inside and took a seat at the bar. Within minutes as I sipped my negroni, I caught sight of a posted notice overhead that struck me with delight, one with which I agree wholeheartedly. It prompted a conversation with the pleasant lady sitting a few stools down, and we quickly agreed this policy is one to encourage everywhere. In other words, men, take off your hats when sitting at a bar, and especially at a table! Thank you for the connection, Yvonne!
Tags: hat policy, no hats at the bar, no hats at the table, remove your hat indoors, The Beach Cafe NYC
“It’s no longer The City. It’s not the fog-lined streets Herb Caen described as a woman putting on her slip and sneaking out in the pre-dawn shadows of Sunday morning. It’s not the foghorn quieting conversation over cocktail hour. It’s not finding comfort in all the similarly octagon-tiled bathroom floors of Pacific Heights.” (Pridgen/DPBSports)
Having lived in “The City” for three years after spending significant time there throughout two decades preceding, the idea of moving back occasionally crosses my mind. Then when I read articles such as this quoted above, I’m reminded that my occasional idea is not exactly a good one, sadly enough. While there seem to be more ways that ever to say “it’s not,” perhaps the hardest one of all, personally speaking, is to say: “It’s not for me (in more ways than it is).”
But then, change comes to everyone and everything, as fortunately and unfortunately very little remains the same forever. On that note, check with me in five years for an update to my thoughts on living in San Francisco. That change might come sooner than we think.
Tags: leaving SF, present-day SF, San Francisco, San Francisco change
They’re back, kind of. I traveled to Las Vegas on the long-anticipated yet largely unplanned occasion of my 40th birthday, searching amidst the unruly masses for any remaining shreds of a bygone era. Clearly such appealing elements weren’t to be found in a typical tourist’s wardrobe, as sadly enough no one dresses anymore. In fact it’s perplexing and question-inducing when someone like yours truly actually does! But this is beside the point. (And not unique to Vegas, I know.)
“Back” to what I was saying: I found them. In case you’re looking for them too, they’re at Rio. Boldly, stylishly and in true rambunctious form, as sure as you’ll cash out too late, The Rat Pack Is Back! I imagined a Dean Martin Las Vegas dinner roast for my 40th, and thankfully I got as close as I could get. Suffice to say, this “classic” performance did not disappoint.
Friday, March 28, 2014
Tags: 40th birthday in Vegas, Dean Martin Las Vegas, dressing in Vegas, My 40th birthday, Rio Las Vegas, The Rat Pack, The Rat Pack Is Back
Large cooked scallops tend to cool quickly. Mindful of this culinary reality, you won’t want to devour such a decadent creation right away; rather, the robust combination of flavors and textures deserves to be steadily enjoyed throughout its inevitable temperature descent. As creamed spinach, butter croutons and “citrus foam” team up with succulent sea meat on a spacious plate, in the company of thick crispy blocks of bacon, subtle oven-dried tomatoes and delightful dabs of salmon caviar, how could you possibly go wrong?
I myself am about to go wrong if I say more, because the reciting of these stunningly compatible ingredients seems to be compromising my writing concentration, leaving me yearning for another go at this exceptional entree. As such I shan’t go on but to recommend your own selection of this curiously named “Scallop BLT” upon your visit. The title proves deceiving, as what arrives before you is anything but a sandwich!
First you need a starter course, of course. Dare I suggest the above presentation of house-cured salmon adorned with olives, hearts of palm, breaded goat cheese and sea urchin vinaigrette– creatively unveiled on a “slab” fit for any fashionable kitchen– or is this just too much for you to contemplate from such a distance? Skip to dessert shall I, to the lavender creme brulee, fireside even? You’ll certainly want to top it off with some of the strongest and most satisfying coffee I’ve tasted in recent memory.
Anyone who says fine dining is dead has not experienced Maravilla at the Ojai Valley Inn & Spa. To dine here is to experience an evening of sincere yet simple elegance. The retelling of my pre-Christmas dinner reaches no quick end, as my numerous positive impressions abound– from selection, to service, to overall atmosphere, not to mention the welcoming bar to start off! Altogether, Maravilla leaves me with a glow on my face, a growl in my stomach and a tighter button on my pants. But why take my word for it? Savor it all for yourself.
Tags: fine dining, Maravilla, Maravilla at Ojai Valley Inn, Maravilla restaurant, Ojai bars, Ojai restaurants, Ojai Valley Inn & Spa, salmon appetizers, scallop entrees
Since when has there been any issue with the term elegant? While the apt descriptor thrives in varying degrees, never have I sensed a negative connotation with its use. Alas, I was momentarily taken aback.
Times, styles and terms change, fortunately and unfortunately. Today, fondly recalling my satisfying visits to the debatably elegant “palace of kitsch” circa 2000, my curious anticipation of its pending reopening goes without saying. For the final selection of bowls, plates, glasses and flatware with which we are ultimately presented, coupled with the long-in-coming new logo, among all else, I’m counting on a respectable degree of that apparently frowned-upon “elegance” here– at least as much as today’s seemingly not-so-old-fashioned, dress-code-adverse New Yorkers will allow. Must “hip” come at the expense of “elegant,” after all?
In any event, the “new” Tavern on the Green will soon open its doors– hopefully in the right direction. I’m looking forward to the experience on my next NYC visit, loss of “kitsch” noted. My fingers are crossed.
Tags: Central Park, Elegant dining, Elegant vs. Hip, Kitsch, New York City, palace of kitsch, Tavern on the Green, The new Tavern on the Green
When heading far enough north on I-55 out of New Orleans, you’ll inevitably encounter one historical– and perhaps more importantly, tasty– site that’s a must-stop. I speak of course of Middendorf’s, home of not just what’s been called “possibly the best fried fish in the world,” but also of what yours truly calls unique, delicious and downright worth the experience– the famous turtle soup! While this month marked my first visit to the spirited yet understated establishment, along with my first taste of such a well-known delicacy, at least now I can say it’s definitely not my last, of either. I have a feeling you’ll be saying the same.
Click for more photos.
Tags: best fried fish, I-55 stops, Middendorf's, Middendorf's turtle soup, New Orleans eating, turtle soup
On the same day as the Kentucky Derby triggers the finest in large and colorful headwear while filling drinking establishments throughout the country, a second race in another country gets out the gate– one that lasts a little longer than two minutes. It’s May once again, meaning the Giro d’Italia is off and running! And with a Cavendish win to kick off stage one, it looks like the gears are well in place for a good show over the next three weeks. So begins the latest round of exciting competition in professional cycling!
Tags: Cavendish Stage One Giro d'Italia win, Giro d'Italia 2013, Kentucky Derby 2013, Mark Cavendish
A unique, unexpected and tasty surprise it is. Quietly tucked away along Marin County’s Sir Francis Drake Boulevard, just a few miles northwest of Point Reyes in the little town of Inverness, lies a family-run dining establishment that’s been around for quite some time. Suffice to say, it immediately called to me. Once the menu was before my eyes on the front door, I knew this would be the site of my evening’s meal. In the end, disappointment was nowhere to be found. The garlic rabbit proved as delicious as it sounded. As such, I highly recommend the Vladimir’s experience, whenever you might wander into the area. Just be sure you have cash or a checkbook, as credit cards are an unknown concept. Fortunately, friendly service is not!
Tags: Inverness CA restaurants, Marin County restaurants, unique dining Marin, Vladimir's Czech restaurant
Along the many paths between San Francisco and Los Angeles come stops, the best of which involve food of course. From the signature calf’s liver at Westlake’s Grill on the Alley, to Monterey’s fine presentation of jumbo sea scallops at Passionfish, let’s just say the routes are deliciously covered. Luckily for my waistline, my birthday week comes but once a year. Where– and what– will you be eating during yours?
Tags: jumbo sea scallop entree, Liver & Onions, Passionfish, The Grill On The Alley, where to get a calf's liver entree
The portions are large and the temperature hot! While unfortunately this cannot always be said for many popular dining establishments, thankfully one of my San Francisco favorites knows what’s important. My previous glowing review stands, even if liver is no longer a daily option. From the rich and hearty beef bourguignonne to one sizable and flavorful marsala pork chop, my menu exploration will most certainly continue. I highly recommend your own visit the next time you find yourself on the Marina-Presidio border. It’s refreshingly clear that now after 40 years of practice, Liverpool Lil’s leads the way in doing it right.
Tags: entrees that are hot, large dinner portions, Liverpool Lil's, Liverpool Lil's San Francisco
Burning nearly a thousand calories before 8am is certainly a fine way to start the day. It’s even finer when pedaling across the Golden Gate and up Hawk Hill to the top of the Marin Headlands, all before sunrise.
Looking East Across The Bay, Just After 7am.
Tags: cycling Hawk Hill, cycling to burn calories, Marin Headlands climb, morning cycling in SF
The 49ers are heading to the Super Bowl, three months of course after the Giants took the World Series. This could be one big winning sports year yet for San Francisco. One more to go guys!
Well done Kaepernick & team!
Tags: 49ers beat Falcons, 49ers to Super Bowl, San Francisco sports, SF 49ers, SF winning teams
The repair ended up taking only about ten minutes. This allowed enough time afterward to tack on an additional 12 miles to the initial 15, in order to piece together some semblance of a workout. In the end, the ride cut short was not a total waste. If this annoying detour should ever fall upon you, simply remember it’s a rather quick fix– especially if you time it around 9:30am just before the bicycle shops open!
Tags: broken shifter cable, cycling in SF, Roaring Mouse cycles, shifter cable repairs
At 108 miles in the first week of this year, the odometer sits ever so slightly ahead of last year’s 103 at this time. If only I could not just maintain this rate in the coming weeks and months, but better yet exceed it, my 2013 cycling mileage will far surpass that of 2012. Then again, while a new year always seems to start strong, demands on my time– such as making a living of course– won’t always keep the miles rolling in. If only I were getting paid to ride, the numbers would be off the charts. In any case, it’s always good to have goals– and dreams– along with a nice view on a crisp and cloudy morning. Strava can keep track of the rest!
From the top of the Marin Headlands on a post-rain January morning.
Tags: cycling in SF, cycling mileage, Marin Headlands cycling, Strava activity feed, weekly cycling distances
After a night of rain, the crisp and relatively dry morning made for an excellent ride, however solitary.
Tags: cycling on the Golden Gate Bridge, SF cycling morning
Los Angeles this week celebrated the first scheduled international service of the all-new and long-awaited Boeing 787 Dreamliner, as the LAN Airlines jet took off on Wednesday, January 2 en route to Santiago, Chile. This first 787 flight out of LAX certainly proved itself a newsworthy and memorable event.
Tags: Boeing 787, first 787 flight out of LAX, LAN Airlines 787
As for my Thursday La Grange club ride this morning, the details are right here on Strava.
Tags: 2013 videos, Happy New Year 2013, start of 2013
From domestic changes, professional challenges and unplanned adjustments, to exciting meals, picturesque cocktails and memorable dress-up events, this past year earns its chapter in my personal history as one of, shall we say, unique growth– literally and otherwise! Suffice to say, no two 365-day increments are exactly alike, thankfully enough. While a grand total of 4708 miles in the bicycle saddle call out to be surpassed in the coming months, various opportunities, strategies and decisions– those unmistakable elements that constitute overall life satisfaction– will only get better. “The best is yet to come,” after all. Altogether, taking the good with the not-so, may we all toast with a smile to our better moments of 2012. Happy New Year & Cheers!
Tags: 2012 in photos, 2012 year-in-review, a new year, moments of 2012
It doesn’t get better than this. Well actually it does, if you go for the big meaty frog legs in the extensive hot section. Either way, how can you possibly beat plate, after plate, after plate of all-you-can-eat sashimi, among all else no less, at Hokkaido Seafood Buffet in San Mateo? Go ahead and try, but anywhere else you’ll surely spend far more than the going dinner rate of $20! That’s right. Stuff yourself silly with succulent raw fish, for less than the cost of gas to get there. One delicious deal it is, hands down! Good thing I don’t live next door.
Tags: all-you-can-eat sashimi, frog legs for dinner, Hokkaido Seafood Buffet, Japanese buffet
Seeing as the world did not end yesterday– whether to your dismay or delight– we carry on with our view of the planet largely unscathed. With this remains the chance to enjoy a lovely cocktail– or any number of your choosing– before an equally lovely 39th floor view, all at San Francisco’s appropriately named View Lounge. The fish tacos look pretty good as well, by the way. Here’s to the world intact. Cheers!
Tags: cocktails at the View, San Francisco View Lounge, SF Marriott Marquis View Lounge, The View SF
A red-and-green illuminated San Francisco City Hall is always a lovely December sight to behold. Merry Christmas to all!
Tags: Christmas in SF, red and green lights on SF City Hall, SF City Hall
It’s true once more. As I’ve noted time and again, old school never fails. A visit to the above-pictured historical establishment is highly recommended anytime you happen to find yourself hungry and thirsty– healthy yet not necessarily obese wallet in tow– in the Union Square vicinity of San Francisco. Anytime, this is to say, except perhaps a Saturday night in December when getting the lone bartender’s attention may present a challenge during the extended table wait. Nevertheless, if you’re already guessing the “old school” menu feature that for me of course is a must, then along with a heaping side of history you might enjoy it as well!
Tags: historical SF restaurants, John's Grill, John's Grill SF, San Francisco historical bars
Sail trumps pedal in this regard. “The other Tour” takes place at the same time, this one at sea!
Tags: Tour de France 2013, Tour de France a la Voile, Tour de France sailing
No surprise that my two favorite attractions at San Francisco’s auto show this year carry the same emblem. While the flawless 1971 280SE 3.5 Cabriolet steers nostalgia, the striking 2013 SLS dictates an exciting future. From yesterday to tomorrow, the remarkable timelessness of Mercedes-Benz automobiles deserves a nod once more. At the same time, Sammy Davis Jr.’s 1963 Rolls Royce Silver Cloud III isn’t too shabby either, another “star” to grace the Moscone Center this time around. Altogether, here’s to another good show!
Tags: 1971 280 SE 3.5 Cabriolet, 2012 SF Auto Show, Mercedes-Benz SLS, Sammy Davis Jr. Rolls Royce