Sunday, May 16, 2004

Catching Up:

I'm finally able to write about the rest of my stay in San Francisco. It should be obvious by now that I thoroughly enjoyed my 8 days there so it should not be a surprise to anyone when I say that San Francisco is now my favorite big city anywhere.

Thursday night I got to hang out with me friend Trina again. That really made me happy. Trina is one of those people who is so smart and interesting that she almost makes you jealous. She recently got to spend a month traveling to Australia and New Zealand and is hoping to spend a good portion of the summer doing the same.

We were supposed to get together again on Wednesday night but I was still on a ferry between Marin County and the Embarcadero at 8:30 PM so we scratched for Thursday. As luck would have it, one of the areas I still hadn't eaten my way through also happens to house one of Trina's favorite spots, Tommaso's. North Beach, the Italian enclave of San Francisco that also houses the famous City Lights bookstore is an awesome part of town filled with excellent restaurants surrounded by raunchy sex shops that seem to have some sort of free pass to get away with many things otherwise illegal.

Tommaso's sits next to the self-proclaimed "nastiest video store in San Francisco", and across the street from Larry Flynt's Hustler Club. The restaurant is small, crowded and loud. The decore is simple. The food is OUTSTANDING. Tommaso's has been consistently rated as one of the best restaurants in the city and one of the best pizza houses in the country...that's right, the country. Trina suggested it and our very imformed concierge at the Hotel Triton (she was never off in her suggestions) agreed.

So Trina joined me and my two cohorts in crime, Karl and Rick for some dinner, wine and conversation. It was so much fun. She's been super busy with work and her mind is heavy with the loss of her Dad but she mesmerized Karl and Rick to the point that they didn't want dinner to end. We split two bottles of wine, one being the house wine (superb); a house pizza (outstanding); and then we also had the house manicotti with meatballs that was so yummy I ate way past the point of being full. For dessert Trina and I split the Tiramisu and Karl and Rick split the raspberry cheesecake.

A couple of observations about Tomaso's. Despite the incredible amount of people trying to get in and despite the noise level of those of us all competing for ear space, the wait staff was calm and non-hurried. The plain white decore and unattractive lattice work on the walls belies the elegance of the food, which was both wonderful in presentation and in flavor. Our waiter also turned out to be one of the owners. We noticed this only after dinner as we were leaving and saw the review, with his picture on the wall.

So we headed back to the hotel and packed up. We got up early Friday to catch our 7:15 AM shuttle to the airport. As silly as this sounds, I hated to checkout. The hotel was fabulous and we couldn't have stayed there without the help of my wonderful friend Jody and her brother's company, Kerry Hotels (Kerry and Jody have a funky company that represents boutique hotels in major cities in the USA, brazil, France, the Netherlands, Spain, Portugal, Belize and the UK. If you're traveling and what to splurge on something fun and funky, contact Kerry Hotels first). We arrived at the airport only to find our flight had been cancelled. The folks at Delta were quite nice and got us on the next flight out at 11:15 AM. When we arrived in Salt Lake City and boarded our next flight, we had to de-board while they fixed a computer problem. Normally this sort of thing would really bug me, but I sat next to a family going to Missoula for their son's/nephew's/grandson's graduation and they were very nice so the delay was spent in conversation.

My trip to San Francisco was fruitful for work and enriching for my life experience. i can't wait to get back.
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