San Francisco Conflicts

Peet’s Coffee and Tea on the corner of Van Neys and Bush in San Francisco. Got here really early to avoid the traffic from South San Francisco where I stayed. The hotel prices in The City are exorbitant, I paid $79 at a Comfort Inn, instead of almost $200 at a hotel in The City.

This city by the Bay confuses me. Everything in me wants to like even love The City. One of my favorite musicians is Rod Mckuen, he is from and sings about San Francisco. The City has a romance about it, or at least is promoted in that way, it is home to Fisherman’s Wharf, Alcatraz, and a myriad of other cultural icons.

Yet I find that when I am here I can not wait to get away. The city is not as clean as Portland or Seattle, which are the two cities that remind me most of San Francisco. The people are not near as friendly, casual conversations are harder to start with strangers. There are some great people here, I have met them, but it seems harder to fined them, and everyone is in a hurry.

So as Rod would say, “So long San Francisco.” I do want to like it here, and maybe if I had the time to get to know the city I would, but quick trips and short encounters give a skewed perspective. So I will hold off completely discounting the city and give its people the benefit of the doubt.

Wine way Inn, Calistoga

This is the Wine Way Inn in Calistoga the center picture is actually the room we are in, St. Helena room.
We sat last night on the deck, it was a cool break from the heat of the day. Breakfast is at 8.30, looks really good, can hardly wait.

The innkeeper is from Bristol in England, and the hopitality has been warm and comfortable. We would stay here again. It is on a main road, but at night it was as quiet as could be so not a problem at all. We walked into the center of Calistoga, just a block away.

First day in Napa/Sonoma

This is the most famous wine area out side of France, yet after one day of tasting wine we are convinced that the Washington and Oregon wines are better.

We ate lunch at one of our favorite places in the world, Brix. It has been many years since we have been there and we were not disappointed. Michelle was our server and the level of service was wonderful.

We started with a rabbit pate which we loved. Tricia had the butter lettuce salad with egg and scallion. I had the tuna nicosie.

Dinner was at Jole in Calestoga.

I had the trio of uni with Salmon roe, cuttlefish custard, poached lobster.
Tricia had the potato basil gnocchi
This little place is one of the best we have ever been to, may even go back tomorrow as the sweetbreads are calling my name.

Downtown Oakland

Staying at Clarion in Oakland, really small rooms, no wifi, but used points so it was free and the location was good. Ate with Tricia last night at Scotts at Jack London Square. Buttonwood Sauvagion Blanc for only $4 and great appetizers. Nice place, in the old style, vested waiters, piano, a real class place, wonderful time.

Wine and cheese with Mary, Dick, and Hawkeye in Concord, CA

Another Best Western, on Clayton Rd. in Concord. Best Western Hotels are the largest hotel name in the world, they are for the most part decent places to stay, some as with any large chain are better than others. They work well for the budget traveler, unless you are really cutting costs. At those times, we end up at Econo Lodge or Travelodge, both of which are a definate step down, but I have stayed in them comfortabley many times and will again.

This Best Western is newly remodled I would guess, the carpets are not worn, the furniture looks new, and the king room is a bit bigger than most.

Stayed in last night as I often do on a long trip, though I love eating out it gets hectic and expensive. So I hit Safeway, a bottle of Firefly Ridge Pinot Gris, some pre-sliced cheese and crakers. All set.

The plan was to watch some rugby, but alas the wifi was too slow, a common situation. So I watched Dick VanDyke, Mary Tyler Moore, and Mash. Thank you all for the company.

Elevation 486, Twin Falls, ID

Elevations 486, (the 486 referes to the height in feet above the canyon) has to be one of the best places in a long time. Went there a couple of weeks ago, and with the happy hour menu had 2 IPA’s, a plate of wonderful shrimp, and a baked brie appatizer all for under $20. The view alone was worth at least that.

Good Morning Sacramento

Day two of a two day trip, tonight it is on to Concord, CA. Had a great time with my good friend Jim last night at BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse, a chain place that does have pretty good fare both in the food department and in the beer they brew. Best thing is they have a decent happy hour! For those of us that travel on a budget, happy hour places are a blessing. BJ’s has another of my requisites for travel places and that is sports on TV. Not that I am a sport addict, apart from cricket and rugby, when you eat alone having something to watch is good.
I am staying at the Best Western Expo, this one is about average for BW, but the rooms are a bit bigger. Got back last night around 7.00pm, wanted to watch some rugby but the Hi-speed internet was more mid speed, not too good for streaming, so went to bed and read.