This weekend involved jellyfish, Uber and so much walking that I am limping as I type this. (Yes, while sitting down). It was a success by every metric: we saw all our people, had bizarre adventures, and took eleventy thousand pictures. Well, maybe we didn’t win by every standard: if you grade a weekend on how many things you actually accomplished, we might fall pretty far behind. I set out with the intention of knocking everything off the lists you guys gave me, but we spent so much time waiting in line at Blue Bottle and arguing about macarons with a pseudo-French guy on Union Street that we ended up falling a little behind. I don’t mind one iota. Failure to make every awesome SF thing happen this time just means I have to go again. Is there such a thing as a fail-win? There is now.
Still Have Flowers in My Hair
Baller was kind enough to host us, and she also picked the BEST place for us to kick off the weekend: the Cigar Bar in the financial district. Do you live in San Francisco? If it’s after 5pm, I really hope you’re reading this post from a barstool, because you should not spend any more time not being there. M makes a pretty mean cocktail, but this place blew my high standards out of the water. We spent our time there talking around one of their giant tables, but the bar also has a live music/salsa room, pool tables and an open-air cigar patio. You could say it was fairly wonderful. We were persuaded to leave only by Anant’s offer of his apartment as afterparty zone, which I felt great about . . . until he made a beeline from the bar exit to the open door of a giant black car waiting on the street. I was fairly certain he was just drunk enough to go along with being kidnapped, but apparently he’d ordered the car from inside the bar with an app called Uber. You link your credit card information to your phone, and then people just show up to take you wherever you’d like to go . . . obsessed.
Going over to Anant’s was like coming home from a date with an architect in a rom com; you know, how he opens the door to a giant loft with a view, and the only indication that a real person lives there is the few sweaters adorably mussing the couch. Only, in this case, there sweaters were swapped out for a bar cart laden with about 15 types of whisky and bourbon. (And, hilariously, tiny bottles of Tanqueray and Grey Goose huddled together in embarrassment on the second level, apparently only seeing the light of day when someone with more delicate taste makes an appearance). It was the kind of apartment where, instead of a fish tank, you have this . . .
Yes, jellyfish. It was also the type of apartment where you play Cards against Humanity. It’s like Apples to Apples, but for particularly depraved individuals. So, of course, we played it both nights, for hours. I don’t think there’s a better feeling than trying to drink bourbon while snort laughing.
One emotion that might compete is checking off pork buns and dumplings on a dim sum menu and poking the tiny porcelain cup to see if it’s cooled off enough to let you pick up your tea. I can’t pass through SF without a trip to Chinatown, so we did that for brunch the next day. I don’t know why I always do this to myself, but I am apparently physically incapable of not eating ALL of the dim sum. I need to be tied to the mast à la Odysseus; shrimp dumplings as sirens might be a strange image, but you know it’s apt.
We couldn’t do anything after that except ambulate slowly in the general direction of Union Street. Well, amble and take album cover pictures. We’re calling this one, “Ana and the J.D.s” (seriously, though . . . I understand why all of my law school friends are lawyers, but why did everybody from college go this way too? Did they put something in our cafeteria food?)
Pro ambling tip: Do not go in to City Lights bookstore in a food coma. I just wanted to stay in there forever, but everyone else wanted to “interact.” We wanted one of the employees to read to us in the back room while we dozed off our dim sum fever (something light, like Go the F*ck to Sleep) but it didn’t happen. Something about there being “no such thing as adult storytime,” which . . . I don’t want to live in that world.
The world I do want to live in? Wherever the crazy macaron guy at Chez Berlue is from. He said France, but he was so intense about his shop that Baller rightly surmised that he was probably Crazy Ricky from Brooklyn. There was an extremely involved explanation of how Ladurée (“You do know who Ladurée is, don’t you? Oh, thank God, some people come in here not knowing who Ladurée is”) had only 16 disciples, and one of them was Mr. X, but he’s . . . not so good with the public, and so I sell his macarons, but have you seen this truffle salt we have over here, and Oh! Someone came in the door, Hello! BONJOUR! Swanson was dying of pretentiousness. And then I may have contributed to the awkwardness of the situation with a French laugh-y “Ohn-hohn-hohn!” when he disappeared for the millionth time to show us another French wine. Sometimes you go through a lot to get macarons, man. Including girls who totter into the shop seeking quarters for parking (“Ohmigawwwwwd, I’m not like poor, I just need ka-warterzzz”) and incite debates about how much you should play the “female card” to get what you want in life. Swanson was their savior . . .
. . . and though he left us to hang out with other friends we managed to find fun during that exploring-a-city witching hour: when you’ve eaten too recently to be hungry, but you’ve walked so many miles that you need to sit down. Answer: drinks at Bottlecap. Crazy artwork, great cocktails, multi-colored fairy lights. Duh. We eventually rallied enough to agree to walk back to Anant’s apartment (“it’s only a mile!”). Turns out it was a mile at mostly 45-degrees uphill. I love to cover a city with my own feet, but without a sherpa, this was just mean. Worth it to get these views, though.
Man, I love this place.
My real metric of a trip’s success is whether M spends the plane ride home from a city discussing which neighborhood we should live in. If this man loves something, he wants to dive in headfirst. The verdict? Potrero Hill, but maybe SOMA, and what about Nob Hill?