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Monday, May 16, 2016

SAN FRANCISCO: Tribulations and Joys


We drove back to the San Francisco Airport and checked into La Quinta Inn and Suites North.  I cannot recommend staying here.  First, they couldn't find my second night, and they wouldn't give me a break because they were to be sold out the next few days.  Finally, I asked them to look under Sumida, and they found my reservation.

Then, here came the tribulation part.  We were placed into the back building, which meant you had to cross two railroad tracks.  It was around 49 F, with up to 40 MPH winds.  It was getting dark.  I had to wheel my suitcase and golf bag while holding a sport coat (I had completed golf and didn't want to sully it), handbag and plastic bag.  The walk was at least 100 yards and maybe two.  Then when you got to the next building, your key had to be used open the door.  Try doing that under these conditions. I took these photos today when there was little wind and the sky was blue.


We walked across the parking lot to a place I hadn't tried for at least two decades.  The spaghetti and meatballs were actually not too bad, with garlic bread and a bottle of beer.  I hesitate to mention where we went, but here is a photo (bottom right you can see Denny's).

What further irritated me about this place is that there are no safety bars in the bath/shower.  No refrigerator nor microwave oven.  The shuttle to the airport only comes to the back area from 4AM to 7AM.  Don't stay at the La Quinta North.

Not bad, as tribulations go.  There are wonderful aspects of San Francisco.  We all know there is that magnificent Golden Gate Bridge.  However, I traveled across the SFO-Oakland Bay Bridge, the newest section which opened in 2013, for a cost of $6.5 billion.  That section is today the world's widest bridge.



I should indicate that Lefty Yamamoto won the Kenji Golf Tournament, with David Block the most improved.  I came in last.  Dave left earlier for Orlando, and I saw Lefty and Kenji off at the airport, where Lefty took my golf bag home to Honolulu, for tomorrow, I fly to Seoul.  I then caught BART to Pittsburg...California, not Pennsylvania.  That's the end of the Yellow Line from the airport.  The ride took an hour and a half for distance of 54 miles.  By the way, if you're 65 or older you can get at the airport  information desk (not at the station) a $24 BART card for $9 (62.5% off).

Montgomery Station was the SFO stop  for a five minute walk to Michael Mina, a one Michelin star restaurant.  It is located close to Tadich Grill (red sign in background) on California Street.

I started with a mushroom soup and grilled cheese/curry sandwich.


The sandwich was good, but the soup was a wasted opportunity.  No character.  I might add that I also ordered a Kir Royale and Green something, which included a large leaf of chiso.  For my main dish I had a fabulous crispy pork belly with foie gras:


Mina's has quite a bar.  As my only option close-by was Denny's, I thought I'd walk to the Ferry Building and stroll around their various stands:


This was the nicest assortment of high-end steaks I've ever seen in the USA:


The most expensive is a $68/pound Mishima American Kobe lifter (shoulder) actually grown in the USA.


However, in the same display case was dog food:


I was tempted to purchase half an ounce of black truffles from Italy:


I sniffed it, and, surely enough, it had that special bouquet.  At $18.75/ounce, that's a bargain.  But I had by then established my take back to the room meal, and truffles just did not fit, as you'll see.

I then walked back to the Embarcadero Station and kept seeing black pigeons:


I so liked the butter at Michael Mina, and they were going to throw it away, so I asked for that small container, and ended up also giving me some bread in a large bag.  For my in-room dining I added from my Ferry Building shopping:  Caesar Salad, croissant, potato chips of Sweet Maui Onion and Spicy Dill Pickles, truffle almonds, Merlot, beer and a Spicy Italian Subway:


My next post will be a first class flight from San Francisco to Seoul.

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