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April 20, 2009


Fantasic Grappa based bar at the Intercontinental (http://www.grappabar888.com/). I highly recommend the "interesting" cocktails.

Try Aqua for dinner. cleek liked it.

Thanks Nav. And Ugh. And, vicariously, cleek.

"Mostly in SF on business"

I call BS. One doesn't conduct "business" in SF, one partakes in "fair trade community wellness activity."

Forget Aqua. If you can score a reservation, go to Coi.

If you want really good Mexican (and I don't mean Tex-Mex, but authentic Mexican), check out Colibrí on Geary Street. It's about half a mile from your hotel:

Walking directions.

It's not inexpensive, but it's oh-so-good.

Coi is incredible, but the best restaurant in San Francisco (in my opinion) is a Japanese place called Koo on Irving Street in the sunset (www.sushikoo.com). Here's what you do: go to the sushi bar (don't ever sit at a table). Buy the chef, Kiyoshi-san, and his assistant a drink, and get one for yourself while you're at it. And then ask him to cook for you omakase (i.e. don't bother with the menu). He'll make you a mix of raw and cooked food, one little course at a time, until you say stop. Depends on how much you drink, but you should be able to escape for less than $100 and have one of the best meals of your life.

If you want really good Mexican

I live in NYC, so obviously I do!

(and I don't mean Tex-Mex, but authentic Mexican)

I like em both if done well.

Thanks for the tip.

And TS and Josh as well.

Who is "Eric Matin"?

Who is "Eric Matin"?

Eric in the early morning.

11:50am may very well be early morning in NYC.

Next time I'm in the bay area, I'll see what I can do to get to Koi. ('Though Sunset is a bit far for Eric on this trip, no? He's be in SoMa.)

(Intercontinental is close to Tony Piazza's offices. Heavy-duty mediation?)

Hi, Eric! "Shoot me an e-mail" -- to what address? [See you soon.]

it is when you're trying to tie up all loose ends in the office before your car arrives...wise guy ;)

I live in NYC, so obviously I do!

Maya on 2nd at Harrison has the best tamales I've ever had. It's more haute-cuisine-influenced Mexican than Colibri, and the sangria is awesome.

Also recommend highly is The Slanted Door in the Ferry Building. Best view in the city, plus fantastic Vietnamese cuisine. And lots of pretty people, if you like that sort of thing.

ral: ericred55 at hot mail

I've never been to SF, so I'm going with the open thread instead of recommendations.

Since Eric mentioned having a drink or two (and not getting blindingly drunk), I'd like to bring up an issue with drinking, in search of anyone with similar experience.

At some point in my thirties, I started to exhibit something more than the traditional hangover. And sometimes this occurs on its own without the other typical hangover symptoms. It seems to correlate more to the amount of time I spend consuming more than to how drunk I get at any point.

I'll wake up, unable to go back to sleep, with an elevated heart rate, feeling shaky, maybe a bit sweaty, and, worst of all, extremely anxious, feeling like something really bad is going to happen (the most immediate of which is that I'm going to have a heart attack).

This recently happened when I was on vacation for a destination wedding. The first two nights, we all went out drinking. I got pretty drunk, and I had normal hangover symptoms that were pretty much gone after eating breakfast.

On the third day, the day after the wedding, we ran into friends at the swim-up bar in the pool around 2 in the afternoon. I drank more or less continuously at a low/moderate rate, with some breaks while getting ready for dinner, a little of the old in/out/in/out, a short nap and such. After dinner we all go to the bar for a few more, ending a bit after midnight.

At no point during any of this do I attain anything more than a decent buzz. But I wake up at 5 AM feeling at least partially out of control of my mind and body. It requires constant conscious effort not to freak out. This lasts for several hours and begins to dissipate in the afternoon. By dinner I just feel tired from lack of sleep, but otherwise fine. WTF?

I could meet up with Eric and get, not blinding, but pretty damned drunk, so long as I do it within a couple of hours and stop, without any problem other than, maybe, a normal hangover. But if have drinks, maybe even the same number of drinks (I'm not sure), spread over the course of, say, six or more hours, I'm in for trouble.

It seems as though there is some fairly low BAC threshold that, if maintained beyond some fairly long threshold period of time, will cause me to have a reaction of anxiety and insomnia.

I know the most obvious recommendation is "don't do that," but I'm just curious if anyone else has experienced the same thing. And I know this post makes me sound like a raging drunk, but I'm talking about the times when I do drink. I don't drink all the time, and this anxiety thing is fairly rare, occurring when I go long enough without it happening that I let my guard down.

no, don't forget Aqua. go there and get the tuna sashimi appetizer.

I recommend the tequila funnel, HSH.

Oh, and see a doctor if you haven't already done so, would be my suggestion.

I used to live in Berkely when I was a wee lad.
I've heard of Berkeley, and of Berklee, but Berkely? From the context, I'm guessing it's in Scotland.

Next time I'm in the bay area, I'll see what I can do to get to Koi.

"Coi". It's not about fancy carp.

('Though Sunset is a bit far for Eric on this trip, no? He's be in SoMa.)

15 minutes by cab, if that. (There's a reason one of the SF-centric magazines is called 7x7.)

And yeah, HSH, go see a doctor. (From your description, it sounds like you may be having a blood-sugar crash. Diabetics have to watch their alcohol intake, because first it raises blood sugar and then it drops it substantially. But IANAD, and it's something you should have checked out by a professional.)

Brennan's in Berkeley, if it is still open, should not be missed.

...it sounds like you may be having a blood-sugar crash.

I've read some things that made me think that that may be what's going on. And thinking on it more, my vacation was in the Dominican Republic, and the nights other than the one resulting in the anxiety problem ended in one of the buffets, which all featured some kind of rice and beans, of which I copiously partook. Perhaps the soluble fiber saved me. And thanks, Josh and Slarti (and anyone else, in advance).

Speaking of restaurant reviews, I'm off to Santa Fe and Taos at the end of this week celebrating my 15th(!) wedding anniversary. Dining, sightseeing and anything else anyone wants to recommend are welcome.

HSH: Until you get to a doctor, keep something sugary around: Gatorade, soda, fruit juice, stuff like that. If it is in fact a blood-sugar crash, drinking that will fix it quickly.

Hairshirthedonist: You're problem sounds serious and complicated enough that seeing a doctor is your best option.

We lost a great one in Harry Kalas, Hairshirt. A prince of a man. As much as he will be missed, he lived such a good and long life that it was one that I chose to celebrate as much as mourn. In a world of so few of them these days, HK was a constant source of comfort.

I wanted to recommend the movie "Marley and Me" for the dog lovers here: If you've ever loved and lost a dog, the movie will pull at your heartstrings and you'll forgive the film's cornball tendencies. We saw it on DVD last weekend. My wife did not like Owen Wilson's one-note performance but I thought it worked. Watch for Kathleen Turner's brave and funny cameo as a domineering dog trainer.

(The Original) Francis,

Now that's where you get real mexican food. Even better mex joints south in Abq. Let me put it this way there is no bad mexican food in NM.

Try and get a session at 10 Thousand Waves. A rustic spa up in the S.F. hills.

We lost a great one in Harry Kalas, Hairshirt.

Yeah, it's kind of hard to comprehend not hearing that voice during the games. When the Phillies were bad and I wanted to take a nap on the weeked, I would put the game on just to fall asleep to Harry's voice. It really was that comforting.

Where's d'd'd'dave?

btfb: "Marley and Me"

I volunteer at the local drive-in on Saturdays (it's a community owned, non-profit drive-in, America's only).

The night we showed Marley and Me I had to go get something out of my car just before intermission, and the only sound you could hear was the muffled sniffs and sobs of five hundred people.

Don't forget to swing by Colma and pay your respects to the Emperor...

Speaking of restaurant reviews, I'm off to Santa Fe and Taos at the end of this week celebrating my 15th(!) wedding anniversary. Dining, sightseeing and anything else anyone wants to recommend are welcome.

as a new mexico native, allow me to offer you a couple of suggestions:

Santa Fe: Tomasitas, in the railyard, is still one of the best places to eat, drink and schmooze. Maria's Mexican Kitchen, and Jimmy's Tiny's are a couple more old stand-bys. There's a ton of places which peddle a sort of 'Snata Fe Cuisine," that's all fancy schmancy, but if they don't ask you "Red or Green," they don't know nothing!

If you have a day, or can otherwise arrange it, I strongly advise taking the RailRunner from ABQ to Santa Fe. You can get an all-day, all-stops pass for $8.

On the way to Taos, you'll pass a bunch of casinos. The motel/hotel restaurant at the Pojoaque pueblo casino, where the roads to Taos and to Los Alamos diverge, has (used ot have) the best indian chile (it's different from the hispano flavor, even though it's the same stuff) around. Not the casino, but the restaurant in the hotel...

I think El Paragua in Espanola is still open, and their food has always been excellent.

Do you know/have you heard of Rancho de Chimayo? There's a nifty old B&B, plus the restaurant there is one of the best in the state. If you stop there, have a Chimayo cocktail (which I invented, more than 30 years ago...): Think Tequila Sunrise, but using apple cider instead of OJ, and Creme de Cassis instead of galiano...rimmed with cinnamon sugar, not salt...Going to Taos through Chimayo, and then going the back way through truchas, trampas, picuris pueblo etc, is the WAY to go...Go to Chimayo for lunch then departon the back road to Taos.

I can't say much about restaurants in Taos, cuz they change management pretty often...

If you get to Abq, and are looking for company, e-mail me at my blog, and lemme know where and when you're gonna be here...

//Where's d'd'd'dave?//

Ha. Close. What are the chances ral and eric would want to meet me. Negative I suspect.

Aqua is $$$. (but good. If it's expensed, go for it!)
There's plenty that's cheaper and good. Ps, it's been hot recently here - 88, so bring shorts. No AC in the office.


Ha. Close. What are the chances ral and eric would want to meet me. Negative I suspect.

Those mean ole librul commentators who go out of their way to ignore an honest interlocuter! No wonder liberalism is an hollow creed!!

Ha. Close. What are the chances ral and eric would want to meet me. Negative I suspect.
I'm nowhere near the bay area (nor as I recall is LJ) but I'd expect that Ral, Eric, and any others might well be delighted to put a face to a contrarian voice, as it's harder to disregard an interlocutor when you can put a face and some mannerisms to their handle, and more human sympathy as we vent our disagreements can only improve the quality of our efforts to convince each other and to find separate areas of limited agreement when we cannot convince each other.

Cool story, Nell. "The local drive-in" -- not many people can use that phrase. The last movie I saw at one before the two or three drive-ins in our area closed was the raunchy classic "Blazing Saddles."

"Marley" made me not feel as crazy for falling in love with the "problem" dogs I have had. It wasn't the drive-in but our living room was dead silent at the end, save for the sniffles. I was especially touched how the three children, especially the oldest, reacted. The whole thing was very genuine. Priceless shot for me was mom and wife Jennifer Aniston dancing with big Marley, the two of them in their own happy world, shot through the kitchen window.

d'd'd'dave, I can speak only for myself but I'd be happy to meet you.

Beware of negative probabiities. Also imaginaries.

"But if have drinks, maybe even the same number of drinks (I'm not sure), spread over the course of, say, six or more hours, I'm in for trouble."

IANAD, but I'm inclined to think this is cumulative alcohol poisoning, and you may be grossly over-estimating your tolerance for alcohol, based on long-term acclimation. I would indeed strongly suggest consulting your doctor, or seeing one, and although I realize this is not likely to be what you want to hear, but it's almost certainly a good idea to drastically cut back on your drinking, both in terms of how much you do per week, and how much you do on a per-day basis when you're drinking.

Basically, what you describe is binge drinking, which isn't defined by drinking to the point of passing out, but by drinking in continuous bursts, no matter that you may have long periods of sobriety in between binges, or that you don't drink to a point of losing control.

The longer and more you've been drinking over the years, the more tolerance you develop for the subjective effects of alcohol -- feeling "drunk" -- but the actual poisonous effect on your body's systems only increases, or at best certainly doesn't increase in toleration.

Apologies for any prescriptive aspects to this comment, but you did ask.

But I repeat: talk to an actual doctor, and give all the details without minimzing them, and see what said doctor has to say.

It's also always a good idea to drink lots of water when and after drinking alcohol, and to have some food, as well; you doubtless know this, but I figured it couldn't hurt to reiterate.

If you can score a reservation, go to Coi.

I didn't know http://www.fafarazzi.com/tv-cast/Hells-Kitchen-Coi/707>she had moved to SF!

When I was younger, we used to head to "Restuarant Row" between Park Presidio Blvd and 25th (about 2 "real" blocks). It was several blocks of "hole-in-the-wall" restaurants of various types. Cheap and good!

If you haven't been and you have time, The Palace of The Legion of Honor is a fabulous museum, with one of the largest collections of original Rodin's in the US. Well worth seeing.

SF is a great walking city. I once walked up Geary from the Ferry Building to about 30th or so. Past the Japanese Cultural Center, a mosque and a synogogue. Fun times.

Apologies for any prescriptive aspects to this comment, but you did ask.

No apologies necessary, Gary. Instead, "thanks." Sometimes I think I ask these questions to spur myself to action that I already know I need to take, but that I need a bit of a push to do something about. It seems that age has changed my body chemistry, but old habits die hard.

I'll have to give Maya a try next time I'm in SF. But Colibrí won my heart with three different kinds of mole on the menu (poblano, pipian, and tamarindo I believe), all of them excellent. A properly-made mole is the food of the gods.

Also, I'm not sure why my walking directions link puked.

What Warren said at 6:52 p.m. yesterday. Nicely put.


I announced the great news, I think, in the last open thread we had here regarding my wife and son finally receiving their green cards. Woohoo!

Now this: My wife's mother, who has spent the last three summers through Thanksgiving with us, was denied a visa for her annual visit, and banned from entering the country for three years.

Danny's grandmother was guilty overstaying last year by three days. Her fault. But an honest, dumb mistake.

Last year was the first time Olga's mom purchased her own ticket. I had bought the first two and was always very careful to count out the 180 days of her six-month visa, whereas it seems "Mom" took the six months literally.

Our lawyer directed me to the Immigration site for the proper forms to request a waiver -- and pay a new $545 fee -- and showed the same disgust we did, but the fact is, my mother-in-law was guilty.

Still . . .

You might try the Marketbar in the Ferry Bldg at the Embarcadero. It is like a hybrid of California cuisine and a traditional bar/cafe. There is outdoor seating for warm weather.

I ate there recently and the food was simple but very fresh and well prepared. It struck me as a much more tranquil approach than the fussy craftwork of many good SF restaurants.

In response to Woody on April 20, 2009 at 2:23pm:
Brennan's in Berkeley is indeed still open. After 50 years, we have just moved next door to the Southern Pacific Railway Depot building at 700 University Avenue. My brother and I are running the restaurant (we are the 3rd generation of the Brennan family) and hope you come and see for yourself the next time you are in the Bay Area.

TypePad is [redacted, posting rules], please investigate non-worthless hosting software.

Since this is an open thread,

Venezuela Annexes U.S., Opens Training and Education Camps, from Michael Bérubé.

P.S., Eric, I sent you mail -- where are you? (r a l -at- m s b i t . c o m)

Obwi keeps eating this comment, but: awfully sorry to hear about your family's suck problems, btfb!

Update Ral and dddave:

My wireless device melted down and I had close to zero access to the intertubes, so I wasn't able to access emails and the like. Ral, that being said, I didn't even find yours today via my office computer.

Either way, I missed everyone. And it sucked.

And for the record, dddave, I would have gladly met up. What, you think you're the only non-lib I know of? That I don't have close friends that suffer from conservatism too ;)?

Come on. People are people.

For the record, although it's a long way off, I'll be in SF next April so maybe I should put out word a little in advance and we can all get together at a pre-planned locale.


Did you find any good places to eat?

Eric, sorry we didn't connect -- if you're not getting mail from me something is wrong -- please try sending me mail (see above).

As a qualified professional, let me assure you, computers are the spawn of Satan.

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