Dining at Its Finest
Place, Claude Lane, Bush Street." Just saying that makes we
want to grab my hat and go eat. Along Belden Place, which is
nothing but an alley between Pine and Bush, and along Claude
Lane, which is nothing but an alley between Bush and Sutter,
and along Bush Street itself, which connects those two alleys
to each other, some of the finest food in San Francisco can
be found. But it ain't just the food. It's what's sometimes
called "atmosphere" but maybe better called character. You
don't instantly create that. It develops with time, it ripens
with age. It is like parmigiano reggiano or ...
|Cocktails & Immigration, Don't
can't stay in on a Friday night. In fact can't stay in Friday
afternoon. Usually head out three or four. Start with Chelsea
Place on Bush street to check in with the Fong Lady, aka Fawn,
who is gentle, thoughtful, likeable but, in her own words "lazy." But,
she always adds, "I get the job done." She does. I don't think
of her so much as lazy as liking to avoid trouble. She likes
the good life but doesn't want to fight anyone over it. Sound
reasonable? How sweet life would be if others had this attitude.
She fixes me a Wild Turkey Manhattan with bitters I bring from
home. Most of Chelsea's customers drink Whiskey or beer or
both; it's a limited bar. For fancy drinks I go to Enrico's.
Still I like visiting the Fong Lady....
certain crystalline days, perhaps two or three a winter,
rare atmospheric conditions create what German-speaking peoples
call a foehn, a wind which obliterates distances.
The far-off Alps appear to be shrugging their snowy shoulders
just beyond the flatlander’s pond. It seems a village
madcap could reach out to the mountains from his table in
front of the tavern, scoop a handful of white powder and
knock the mayor’s hat off with a snowball. I’m
ambling down Market Street on just such a day....
Death & Limited Liability
four of us sat there for nearly eight hours watching her breath.
Her breathing was strong but came in gasps. Occasionally there
was a worrisome hesitation before a breath. I found myself
holding my breath until she took her next. But then her breathing
slowed and more and more she missed a breath. At last the breaths
grew weaker. Finally she was making little sucking sounds and
her lips were moving like the mouth of a fish kissing. Then
her breathing stopped. A few moments later there was no motion
in her chest or neck. She was completely still. It was 3:53
AM, February 3, 2005....
From The City
Francisco is mostly a wonderful place but now and then you
have to get away. I used to take off and go anywhere—Mexico,
India, Nepal, Pakistan ... But now that I have a daughter who
lives in Spain, I drop in on her. "Hola, hija, what's
for dinner?" Before my latest trip, however, I got a little
advice on places to visit from folks in the restaurant and
bar business in San Francisco. When I asked Marco Dionysus
of Enrico's and Harry Denton's Starlight Room fame about bars
in Barcelona, he grabbed my notebook, drew a street map to
a place named Boadas ...