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Thursday, April 30, 2015

SAN FRANCISCO, HERE I COME

I will soon board United to San Francisco, my second favorite city.  I have a full day tomorrow in the City, and normally would have had lunch at Tadich Grill.  However, I've long wanted to dine at  Chez Panisse, which is an easy BART ride into the Downtown Berkeley Station. I called, and they said they could squeeze me into their cafe at 1:30.

Hard to believe that restaurant has been around for 41 years.   Founder Alice Waters (below) is credited, with Wolfgang Puck, to have invented California Cuisine.  In 2001 Gourmet magazine named Chez Panisse the Best Restaurant in America. Actually, I'm to dine in their cafe, which serves their lunch.  It now looks different because there was a serious fire two years ago.


I first visited San Francisco in 1958, 57 years ago.  My brother drove me  34 miles south to the Stanford Campus in Palo Alto, and the first sign I saw indicated that this was Leland Stanford Junior University.  My first thought was that I must have applied to a junior college.  Mind you, I was coming from McKinley High School in Honolulu, which might not have ever sent a newly graduated senior to this institution, and I guess I was not a great example, for I don't know of anyone who followed me there.  Note the German motto:  Die Luft Der Freiheit Weht.  Why German and what does it mean?  The story is obscure, but that term means "The Winds of Freedom are Blowing."

Honolulu is bigger than San Francisco:  68 square miles to 47 square miles.  Actually, the City and County of Honolulu is the whole island of Oahu with an area of 2,127 square miles.  The Frisco population is slightly more than 850,00, while Oahu has slightly less than a million people.  However, more than 8.5 million live in the combined statistical Bay Area.

The Mercer Quality of Life 2015 Survey has San Francisco as the highest rated American city, at #27, with Honolulu the second, at #36.  Chicago is #43 while Seattle and New York City are #44.  #1 is Vienna

Honolulu was settled by Polynesians in the 11th century.  The first foreigner sailed into Honolulu Harbor in 1794.  King Kamehameha III made Honolulu the permanent capital of the Hawaiian Kingdom in 1845.

San Francisco, named after St. Francis of Assisi, was founded in 1776.  The Gold Rush of 1849 brought growth, but three fourths of the city was destroyed by the 1906 earthquake and fire.  Here, again is Jeanette MacDonald.  Towards the end of My Ultimate Global Adventure two years ago, I stayed in the home of David Kyle at Sea Ranch north of San Francisco, where the San Andreas Fault crosses into the Pacific Ocean, as shown in the photo to the left, which is his backyard.

I bring this topic up because at the end of May a film called San Andreas will premiere.  Rotten Tomatoes shows a 97% audience wanting to see this film rating.


Speaking of movies, Iris, a documentary, just opened nationwide, except Hawaii.  Rotten Tomatoes gives it two 100% ratings.  I don't remember any movie getting this combined perfection.  Who is Iris?  Let me just say this is all about the nine decades of Iris Apfel.

Tomorrow, return for my lunch at Chez Panisse, then, on to Napa for Kenji's Golf Safari.

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Tropical Cyclone Quang is at 120 MPH, but should weaken and strike mostly desolate northwest Australia.


The search continues for Malaysian Air 370 in this general area of the Indian Ocean:


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Wednesday, April 29, 2015

15 CRAIGSIDE FALL 2015 AROUND THE WORLD ADVENTURE

Well, today is the day of my presentation on plans for my final around the  world adventure, and I welcome you to join me:

  15 Craigside Place 
(up Nuuanu Avenue, one block past Judd Street,  turn right just before the cemetery and the security guard will tell you where to park)
     The Theater
     Wednesday, April 29 at 3:30PM

Here is the latest summary:

15 CRAIGSIDE FALL 2015 GLOBAL ADVENTURE

September      16        Depart             Honolulu                                 UA879
                        17        Arrive Tokyo (Narita)

Tokyo Westin will be the  home hotel, where you will keep your luggage as you travel around Japan.  Robuchon and Yebisu Garden Place (a large shopping complex) are located across the street, with the JR Ebesu Station on the other end.


                        18
                        19        Japan Rail Pass


                                    Tokyo to Kanazawa (new Shinkansen), Nagano,
                                     Matsumoto (Pearl's Gold Koi) and Shinjuku
  


                        20        Tokyo Station to Sapporo


                JR Tower Hotel Nikko Sapporo is one of the very best at any train station.

                        21        Fall colors?
                        22        Sapporo to Tokyo
                        23        Tokyo to Kyoto



                        24               Stay at the first Starwood ryokan


                        25        Kyoto to Yokohama
                        26        Yokohama to Tokyo
                       (I posted:  Could the Tokyo Ritz-Carlton Club Lounge be Heaven.)


My breakfast, with a view of Mount Fuji when I last stayed here.

                        27        Return to Tokyo Westin to pick up suitcase
                        28        Narita to Seoul Incheon                      OZ101


                        29               Stay at next generation hotel


                        30       
October             1        Seoul Incheon to Singapore
                          2           50th Anniversary


                          3        Singapore to Bangkok


                          4
                          5        Bangkok to Dubai
                          6            Tallest building in the world


                          7       
                          8        Dubai to Instanbul

The Grand Bazaar is overwhelming:


                          9       
                        10        Istanbul to London

London Eye:


                        11
                        12
                        13        London to Paris, Gare du Nord          Eurostar (train)


                        14       
                        15
                        16        Paris, Gare de Lyon to                        TGV (train)
                                    Milan 


                        17             World Expo


                        18
                        19        Milan to Venice                                  Trenitalia (train)


                        20       
                        21       
                        22        Venice to Frankfurt                           LH327

The Sheraton is at the airport:


                        23        
                        24        Frankfurt to Budapest


                                      Tauck River Cruise


                        25        Budapest
                        26        Vienna
                        27        Vienna
                        28        Danube River
                        29        Passau
                        30        Regensburg
                        31        Nurnberg
November         1        Bamberg
                          2        Wurzburg/Rothenburg
                          3        Main River
                          4        Rudesheim
                          5        Cologne
                          6        Amsterdam
                          7        Amsterdam
                          8        Amsterdam

Schiphol Airport has everything, including a Sheraton:


                          9        Amsterdam to Newark Liberty (NYC) UA224

                        10
                        11
                        12        Newark Liberty to O’Hare (Chicago)    UA224

                        13       
                        14        Chicago to Las Vegas                             UA519


                        15
                        16
                        17        Las Vegas to San Francisco


                        18
                        19
                        20        San Francisco to Honolulu                     UA300


Of course, the best part of the trip will be coming  home.

FINANCIAL DETAILS
            # of days                    =          65
            cost
                        airfare              =          $10,610           (business class)
                        trains               =          $     939
                        river cruise      =          $  6,856           (Tauck)
                        hotel/food        =          $17,000
                        TOTAL          =          $35,655
            Coach class                
              No river cruise
              Home from Venice   
  37 days                     =          $12,900


TRAVEL AGENCY
            Outrigger Travel
                        Hans Allgeier
                                    Hans@OutriggerTravel.com
                                    808 923 2377
                        Stan Saito

                                    Stan@OutriggerTravel.com

Adjustments will no doubt occur, for the trip is still four and a half months away.  However, Outrigger Travel will keep track of any changes to the itinerary.

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Tuesday, April 28, 2015

CUISINE: WHITE HOUSE VERSUS 15 CRAIGSIDE

Am I crazy, comparing the food and service at 15 Craigside with the White House?  Well, yes, but I'll do it anyway.  Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is in DC to meet with President Barack Obama.  It was a year ago when Abe treated Obama to lunch at Jiro's, the only three star Michelin sushi restaurant in the world.  Jiro is 90 this year and gained mythical status through a documentary, Jiro Dreams of Sushi.  Read about my experience with Jiro on 24 April 2012.

Obama is hosting a State Dinner for Abe tonight at the White House.  The chef will be Masaharu Morimoto, who also has a restaurant in Honolulu, and six others, including a one Michelin star in Tokyo called Morimoto XEX.  He was born in Hiroshima and served as Chief Chef at Nobu's.  Morimoto is best known in his Iron Chef battles on TV.  I most like his Loco Moco, where he replaces the hamburger with foie gras.

Okay, here is the White House menu:
  • The meal began with a sake from Yamaguchi Prefecture, while a Sonoma Chardonnay will be served with the meal.
  • Toro tartare (raw squashed fatty tuna--stuff on the spoon) with Caesar sashimi salad (where the diners will be wondering if the acetate skin and ribbon can be consumed):


  • Consomm√© with bok choy, hearts of palm and bamboo shoots (from Hawaii), garnished with pineapple tempura with a sliver of cured Virginia ham.
  • Roasted American Wagyu Beef Tenderloin with carrots, cauliflower, etc.
  • The dessert had something to do with cheesecake, petit fours based on Japanese tea cookies and a teapot made from blown sugar:

  • President Obama read a Haiku Poem, the first by any American President:
"Spring, green and friendship."
"United States and Japan."
"Nagoyaka ni." (Obama said that means "harmonious feeling.")
  • The after dinner live entertainment was provided by the  Jersey Boys.
The comparison between the White House and 15 Craigside, as presented here, is really not fair, for President Obama honored the Prime Minister of Japan in a State Dinner.  Here we do have our incredible Mother's Day and assorted holiday meals which are, really, quite spectacular.  But in the following, I merely recount our typical Monday Night Table gathering.  Last night, for example (click on Mai Tai, one of our previous adventures, but we have in the past featured Bloody Mary concoctions and Four Colors of Johnny Walker...enjoyed an appetizer of $79/pound real Japanese wagyu beef, shown to the right...and have our outings, such as at Hy's Steakhouse,  53 By the Sea and Royal Garden...soon, maybe, fine dining in our Solarium), we  kind of had a Japanese assortment, too, and focused on sake and shochu: 


Here you see from the right, sakes from Kochi and Hokkaido, and an Awamori from Kumejima, an Okinawan island I had a minor hand in helping establish a second ocean thermal energy conversion facility.  Hawaii has the other one.  Our first course featured inarizushi (cone) sushi, chow fun and konbu maki (burdock or gobo and pork covered with dried seaweed, tied with with gourd strips--thus, like the white house salad, everything is edible).  

However, Cookie, our Program Manager, dropped by to donate a bottle of Hawaiian Shochu, made in Haleiwa of purple sweet potato and rice, and, according to this article, $39/bottle if you can get it at all:


Above, Cookie and Sam.  Below, Sam and Bob, Dexter and Emily, and Polly and Mino: 



To my left, Sam shared with us his harrowing survival as a German POW in World War II, and to my right, Mino, enlightening us on what he had to go through as a 442 veteran.  Tonight we had roast port, minestrone and salad (and note the number of glasses I had to use):


The dessert was a delicious strawberry and cream dish made by Sam's daughter, which some on the table augmented with blueberry pie and chocolate mint ice cream.  

Our Monday night table is beginning to gain a following here at 15 Craigside, for this was the third bottle gift just this month.  I should add that Charlotte and Alfred , seated next to us, provided the CD that serenaded the dining room with nostalgic Japanese music, featuring Hibari (left) and her friends.  The chef at 15 Craigside is Kyle Yonashiro, who was executive chef at Ruth's Chris Steak House and Nick's Fishmarket, and is a culinary product of the University of Hawaii Kapiolani campus.

Sure, the White House State Dinner for 200 guests was more extravagant, but week after week, our Monday night table has more variety and a greater quantity of ethanol.  Next week I'm in Napa golfing, so two weeks for now, a belated Cinco de Mayo celebration, with margarita and, perhaps, even mariachi.  

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