The day began inauspiciously: running late, corrupted spreadsheet files that needed to be restored, and endless meetings. Kellie had secured seats for us on an earlier flight to San Francisco so I called Wendy and told her to move our reservations to an earlier time. Surprisingly, Kellie and I managed to leave the office early enough for the airport. Unfortunately, my stomach overruled my head and I suggested stopping by Alon's to pick up sandwiches for lunch so we could bypass the joke that steps in for food on Delta. End result: we missed check in time for our flight by 5 minutes. Theoretically we could still have made our flight but Kellie's not into rushing or running, especially during vacation. So we booked ourselves on the later flight and I called Wendy again to tell her to change the reservations for the third time.
Seated in the airport concourse with other stranded and waiting travelers, we ate our sandwiches.
Kellie: "This is a great sandwich."
Me: (still feeling guilty and glum that I made us miss our flight): "Enough to miss our flight?"
Kellie: "Heck, yeah."
You always want to travel with gastronomically minded people. Always.
Karma rewarded Kellie for her easy-going attitude when we got on our later flight. Given a middle seat in the exit row, she was settling in when a gentleman came to the aisle and asked her, "Would you like to switch seats with me?" He handed her his boarding pass for seat 4A. Apparently the man wanted to give up his first class seat to sit next to the woman in the aisle on Kellie's row. We're still not convinced they were married (to each other) despite the wedding rings.
Kellie: "Well I'm not stupid! Thanks!" She grabbed the boarding card and threw a quick look of pity at me, in the middle seat of the exit row across from her. "Sorry hon!"
Then she disappeared behind the Magic Curtain where Delta makes an effort at customer service.
At SFO, we found our luggage quickly and take the shuttle to pick up our rental car. I suppose Karma wanted to give me something too, because we ended up with a Ford Mustang. For $11 a day. Then the hotel upgraded us to a suite overlooking the city.
The sandwiches that made us late? Definitely worth this...
We meet up with Wendy and Mark at Oola. Wendy has been telling me about their chicken and foie gras ravioli. Kumamotos are available and we can't resist ordering a dozen oysters; our waiter recommends the 2001 Ici\La Bas pinot noir. Two bottles eventually find their way into our glasses as we work our way through appetizers -- the torchon of foie gras encased in port gastric for me; seared ahi draped over sliced hearts of palm for Kellie; and butter lettuce salads for Mark and Wendy. Kellie and I follow Wendy's lead in ordering the famed chicken and foie gras ravioli for our entrees. Imagine a bowl of foie filled wonton ravioli swimming in a chicken and truffle stock. Delectable? Yep. I would have preferred a smidge more savoriness, but for one not normally able to have access to such food, there can be no complaining. Mark orders the baby back ribs: drenched in soy, ginger and cilantro, the meat is falling off the bone in succulent chunks. Kellie tells me later that had she known him better, she would have asked to trade. Dessert is a slice of the flourless dark chocolate cake that we all share. As we are leaving, our waiter Philippe, tells us that a group of New Zealand purveyors is hosting a party downstairs to showcase their wines and foods, including lamb, mussels and fish. He invites us to join the party.
So we start eating and drinking again. By the time we are finished eating, it is 2:00 am and Wendy's car keys have gone missing. The cab ride back to the hotel is less than five minutes. Kellie's knackered and out the minute her head hits the pillow; but I'm wide awake, sitting at the window overlooking Union Square.
Being in San Francisco again makes me weepy. I've missed living and working here in ways I can't describe; it's Thursday night and the city is vibrant in ways incomprehensible to the miniscule Southern town where I now reside. Sometimes I think I've forgotten to how to breathe.