Miramar

The ol’ Commander sang that he knew where paradise lies (1), but I don’t know if he ever made the 44 mile hour and a half trip south from his Stinson Beach home to Miramar Beach to eat and drink at the Miramar Beach Restaurant.  For Kathy and me, that’s where paradise lies, especially after a long trip west come to visit the fam in nearby Pescadaro.  Smack on the Pacific with the waves crashing in onto big rocks, California sun shining down, there’s no place we’d rather plunk ourselves as we wait for our seaside rooms to be ready at the generically named “Oceanfront Hotel” (once “Landis Inn”) next door.  It’s a ritual we’ve been following for at least 2 decades: beers and a plate of oysters plus a view of the sea.  It was the first place I seriously cheated during my enforced pee-tested abstinence in ’11, sipping that forbidden beer knowing they couldn’t chase me into the hills of Silicon Valley.

Miramar is a place name of Spanish and Portuguese origin. It means “sea-view” or “sea sight” from mirar (“to look at, to watch”) and mar (“sea”).  Many luxurious places around the world bear this name.

The Miramar Beach Restaurant is steeped in sin.  It was designed and built as a prohibition roadhouse.  Half Moon Bay was an ideal site for boats laden with Canadian booze to unload, transferring their cargo to cars bound for nearby San Francisco.  Then there was that prostitution thing.  Let me paste in the story from the restaurant’s website and let that tell the story.  From 1918 to 1955 a redheaded madam named Maymie Cowley, aka “Boss”, ruled the Miramar.  During her reign, the roadhouse was raided numerous times for illegal liquor, gambling and prostitution during Prohibition. During this time the Miramar was a notorious drop off point for illegal liquor. Smugglers bought their booze in Canada and shipped it down the coast to Half Moon Bay. Under the cover of darkness, small vessels, known as “rum runners”, met the large ships off the coast and transferred the illegal cargo to shore. Rum Runners, because of their speed, were ideal vessels to make the transfer from ship to shore. Due to their agility and speed they were often able to out run Coast Guard patrol boats. Half Moon Bay was the ideal location for the transfer of this illegal cargo, as it was a small isolated yet still close enough to San Francisco for transport by car.

The Miramar Beach Restaurant (known as the Ocean Beach Hotel during this time) was originally designed and built as a Prohibition roadhouse. This meant that in order to keep the contraband hidden during raids, secret compartments and revolving kitchen doors were built into the building. The upstairs of the Miramar served as the Bordello. Ten small rooms each equipped with a sink, a light, hat rack and bell system to the kitchen below allowed the restaurant to serve their customers upstairs.

Since the Golden Era of the Half Moon Bay Coastside, nearly all the speakeasies of that time have disappeared. Miramar Beach Restaurant is one of only a handful of buildings from that time period still standing.

So as I sit in their outdoor deck taking my pleasure in my beer and the view, I wonder how my pleasures pale compared to prior denizens of this place.

But those pleasures are nevertheless ample, so let us review

Here’s the restaurant as a Rum Runner might see it (although I think they sailed at night).

You can only see the deck a little bit to the right, but since it’s a major feature now, see it all, inside and out

and what do you see from that perspective?

That’s Pillar Point off to the right.  There’s been a military base there since 1940.  Currently, that tower with the little ball is used by the United States Space Force for tracking polar-orbiting space satellites and operational intercontinental ballistic missiles launched from Vandenberg AFB,

But you can’t live by the view alone.  The Restaurant offers an ample array of tasty victuals, mostly from the sea, of course.

Beverages are important, and you might figure a place born in Prohibition would appreciate booze.   As indeed they do.  I’ll bet the beer they serve now, even from their meager 8 taps, is tastier than anything those boats once deposited.

I can vouch that their 2 IPAs – Big Daddy and Animal – are outstanding.

The management has taken things a little modern here and there.  They’ve even got a slick logo.

But thankfully, I don’t think the place has changed much since times when the action on the shore involved more than the crashing waves.  Of course, now, I don’t think “Boss” can help you out with your desires upstairs.  So far as I know.

And so to bed.   Fortunately, right next door, the Oceanfront Hotel.  Don’t try to book it online.  Call 650-483-2228.  All rooms face the ocean and who couldn’t sleep to the music and rhythm of those Pacific waves crashing against the rocks.

Reference

1.         Two Triple Cheese Side Order of Fries – Commander Cody.  YouTube 5/2/13. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x1Cvg5VCpT4

Mink

Settling in at two of the precious 6 stools at the bar at Mink brought back the same feelings when we settled in to a special evening at that hidden downtown Detroit gem Albena over 2 years ago (1,2).  I felt compelled to communicate my find to my friend, now retired colleague, and fellow foodie Tim.

Hey, Tim.  I’ve found another little Detroit hole-in-the wall for you and your Kathy should you be feeling adventurous.  Our dear Julie Welch gave me the tip as I was bemoaning the demise of Republic and whining how hard it is to get to her niece-chef Sarah’s award-winning Marrow on the East side.  Julie didn’t just pick this one out of the air.  Sarah’s fiancé’s a mover for this new place.  They’ve been open less than 2 years and seem to have survived COVID.

It’s an easy shot from AA.  40 minute drive on M-14, 3 blocks down Trumbull off the Fisher Service Drive, tucked next to a boutique aside a parking lot you can’t use.  The place is only 360 square feet, but the waiter says they can hold 40 if they seat outside.  The choice seats are at the bar where you can see the 4 chefs in action.  You can book on line (3).  They feature seafood, but don’t expect a big slab of Chilean sea bass on your plate.  Oysters are always featured.  Their prix fixe tasting menu (see below) will give you a few, but you might want to order some extry on the side.  You can get your prix fixe with pairings, and those are adventurous.  Our oysters came out with little glasses of sparkling sake!  Didn’t even know there was such an item, but it went perfectly with the bivalves.  Not much of a wine list if you want to supplement, but choices are high quality.

Kathy and I found the whole experience satisfying and thoroughly entertaining.  The food was interesting and tasty, and nothing I could replicate in my home kitchen!  The antics of the chefs were entertaining – you should see their blow torch! – and the wait staff friendly and accommodating.   It was a pre-DSO dinner, and we left

thinking even if the performers at Fisher Music Center sucked, we’d have had ourselves a swell evening.  Indeed, we ended up leaving

Paradise Jazz Series Big Band at the break, mainly ‘cause we were exhausted and anticipated more of the same in the second half.  Not that it wasn’t a good show.  But back to my main point, should you and Kathy be up to a foray into Wayne County to eat, you couldn’t do much better than Mink.

References

1.         Ike B. the other Detroit restaurant, day after Christmas 2019. WordPress 1/13/20. https://theviewfromharbal.com/2020/01/13/the-other-detroit-restaurant-day-after-christmas-2019/

2.         Ike B. ‘squeat*!. WordPress 2/1/21. https://theviewfromharbal.com/2021/02/01/squeat/

3.         Welcome to Mink. https://www.minkdetroit.com/

more links

My Musing Through a Pandemic series is coming to a close with Volume V. On the Sidelines. Foodies!, a celebration of all that eating and drinking that sustained us.

As a service to those who might be reading the paperback, I’m offerring this link that will allow them to access any of the posts and the links therein. So here’s the TOC, each one “hot” and linked

Out

restaurants Jan 12, 2020

the other Detroit restaurant, day after Christmas 2019 Jan 13, 2020

from Ike to Mike: advice for a trip to Ann Arbor Jan 15, 2020

Cigar City Jan 24, 2020

ice at the US Grant Jan 29, 2020

dinner with the McCarthys Feb 1, 2020

empties Jun 6, 2020

‘squeat*! Feb 1, 2021

drink down Dunedin Mar 3, 2021

two triple cheese… Apr 17, 2021

eat Harold’s May 23, 2021

ARB-KAL Jun 29, 2021

mainly a beer run Jun 29, 2021

green new deal Nov 7, 2021

Blue LLama! Feb 14, 2022

land of enchantment Apr 11, 2022

drinking down the Spit Apr 12, 2022

Mink Apr 30, 2022

CLE

Kathy drove us 3 hours – and $7.50 in tolls – to Cleveland yesterday to see James McMurtry – western writer Larry’s son – perform at the Music Box Supper Club (1).  It was well worth it.  Music Box was a great venue, with long tables angled to the stage and beverages flowing freely throughout the show. Food too, if you needed something like that.  James held forth solo, with only his 12 string and sardonic baritone – well up to his lyrics – to carry him through. 

Probably kept the ticket price down.  Maybe it was absence of a backup group that kept him away from my favorite song of his, one that captures growing up, and growing older, in a little ’burg like the one I grew up in (2).  A little halfway through his set, he performed “a medley of his hit”, about an Oklahoma outing where they “had us a time” (3).  No loyal fan from the Music Box has yet posted his setlist, but his from a couple days back at the Birchmeier pretty well approximates what he did in Cleveland (4).  Remember, the beauty of Setlist.fm is you can click on any song in the list and hear it performed.  Great way to dive deep into any artist.

It helped to be plunked into pleasant surroundings.  We were headed to stay in a condo in the Grand Arcade building on West St. Clair in the warehouse district. 

Built in 1890 as an office building, converted to residences a couple decades ago, some of the “improvements” seem quite recent and show they’re still trying.

On the way there, we passed by Progressive Field, home of the Cleveland, um, baseball team.  The season has started, and family friend Jeff has already been to a game

I asked Jeff if he saw Chief Wahoo anywhere.  Jeff responded that for sure he was on the garments of all the fans.

If you want to read about Louis Francis Sockalexis, the first Native American player to play in the major leagues and the individual for whom the Cleveland Spiders became the Cleveland Indians in tribute, you can read here (5).

But whatever silly name they sport, the Clevelands will still make mincemeat of my slightly improved Tigers, as they always do.

Foot on the ground out of the Grand Arcade got us marching downhill to the banks of the Cuyahoga (no longer burning (6)) and the Flats.  With riverside patios still closed to the cold, we were confined to interiors.  Collison Brewing offered high ceilings and many selections which included a couple pretty good IPAs, one of which benefited ALS research (7).

Always ready to drink to a good cause.  Good conversation with the barkeeps.

A couple steps in got us to our sumptuous Italian dinner at Lagos East Bank (8).  When we got to Music Box via Uber later, we saw they had food, too, but no sautéed calamari, duck, lobster gnocchi or $100 bottle of Renato Ratti Barolo ’17 to wash it down. We did o.k.

So after a concert like that, for folks of our age, it’s back to the shack for a snooze then wake up to hit the road for home in the morning.  AirBnBs tend not to offer waffle makers and hard boiled eggs, so it’s off exploring again for breakfast.  What did we do before Yelp?  Fashionable 27 Club Coffee was 0.1 mi away (9). Woulda made a nice walk if it wasn’t raining.  With a skull logo and a support t-shirt for their “potheads”, we knew we weren’t in Starbucks.  We chose to sit and partake of their breakfast items and were well satisfied. They even gave us some quarters to feed the meters outside.  Like the Wise Men, we left Cleve-berg by a different route.  All roads lead to I-80, so we got home eventually, and fast!  Old Cleve-berg isn’t that far away after all.  We’ve attended some Cleveland Events before: CSN, the R&R Hall fame, and Todd/Daryl just recently.  We’ve always approached these trips with trepidation because the destination seemed so damned far.  But maybe Cleveland isn’t so far.  Surely a nice place to visit.  But…

References

1.         Music Box.  https://musicboxcle.com/

2.         “Just us kids”-James McMurtry.  YouTube 12/7/10.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OH5hTwWgHp0

3.         Choctaw Bingo by James McMurtry.  YouTube 3/16/20. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nggqe-L9ZQ8

4.         James McMurtry Set list at The Birchmere, Alexandria, VA, USA 4/16/22.  Setlist.fm.  https://www.setlist.fm/setlist/james-mcmurtry/2022/the-birchmere-alexandria-va-3b6313b.html

5.         Fleits D.  Louis Sockalexis.  SABR Society for American Baseball Research.  https://sabr.org/bioproj/person/louis-sockalexis/#:~:text=Louis%20Sockalexis%2C%20a%20member%20of,perform%20in%20the%20National%20League.

6.         Randy Newman Burn On, 1972 mp4.  YouTube 2/21/21.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jDVIFVy1MXQ
 
7.         The Flats.  Cleveland Ohio.  Collision Bend Brewing Company.  https://www.collisionbendbrewery.com/
 
8.         Lago.  https://www.lagoeastbank.com/
 
9.         https://27clubcoffee.com/

 

please not masks again!

That’s what they’re saying in Philadelphia. No doubt the same cry will go up some other. Still required on planes and trains, I don’t mind the face diaper so much since my wife found the UnMask (1), which lets me breathe and doesn’t fog up my glasses.

I swore I wasn’t going to blog any more about Mr. Corona. I consider myself done with him. His effete mutant progeny will always be with us, but catching one should make no more than a bad cold, just like it was before the boys and girls at the Wuhan lab started tinkering. The next volume, #V, in my Musing Through a Pandemic series, about food and drink, will be my last.

But a couple days ago, I came across two articles on masks so excellent and so right on I felt compelled to share them.

Dr.Jeffrey Barke writes about the psychological effects of masking, particularly what they do to kids (2)

Steve Kirsch reviews a recent controlled study on whether masks protect, then discusses those results in the context of the only two earlier controlled studies of that sort from the COVID era (3). His treatise is quite extensive and concludes with a funny video.

I may never blog about Mr. Corona and masks again, but I may not be finished writing about the topic. One of my Barnes buddies Dave, a one-time academic endocrinologist now in a boutique internal medicine practice in Marin County, has observed two types of acid-base disturbances developing in chronic mask wearers. Each is an acidosis, i.e. more circulating acid than the system is supposed to have. The first is a respiratory acidosis, seen mainly in older patients, where the patient does not get rid of sufficient amounts of carbon dioxide, which turns to acid. Underbreathing, basically. The second is a metabolic acidosis, developing when tissues cannot get sufficient oxygen and switch the way they use energy to a pathway that generates more acid. Neither is very good for the patient. Unlike me in my day, Dave does not practice with an eye on what could be the next paper. I’m looking over some of the data he sent me to see if we have enough for, say, a letter to the editor.

References

  1. theUnMask. breathe with us. https://getunmask.com/
  2. Jeffrey I.Barke. Behind the masks. American Thinker April 16, 2022. https://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2022/04/behind_the_masks.html
  3. Stever Kirsch. Masks fail their latest test. Steve Kirsch’s Newsletter April 14, 2022. https://stevekirsch.substack.com/p/masks-fail-their-latest-test?s=r

welcome, spike

Looks like the vaxxed have a permanent new friend.

Better like your spike. He sure don’t like you!

Don’t miss Dr. McCulloch’s short video (1).

Anyone who knew the least little bit about molecular biology had to know this was going to happen. Those who watched the first Jurassic Park would be concerned, too.

Didn’t we already know? (2).

References

  1. Wauck M. Stunning: McCullough On Reverse Transcription. Meaning in History. 4/12/22. https://meaninginhistory.substack.com/p/stunning-mccullough-on-reverse-transcription?s=r

2. It’s not nice to fool Mother Nature! YouTube 9/9/15. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j12J3PCai5A

drinking down the Spit

Seven weeks ago Friday found me solemnly executing my marital obligations by boarding the plane that would take Kathy (and me) to Florida for her last-ever Spring Break trip.  We ended up in Madeira Beach, smack in the middle of the Pinellas Spit.  The Spit is a slender strip of sand coursing 20 miles from Clearwater Beach Island to the north to Cabbage Key, which sits where Tampa Bay empties into the Gulf at the south tip.

7 bridges bring over folks from the mainland. There are 10 named beaches, but the sandy shore on the Gulf is pretty much continuous.  Sea and sand are the main attractions, but there are bars aplenty to serve those who need a break.  “Madeira Beach” names both the beach and the little town (pop’n 3985) that surrounds it.  Madeira has the same glorious fine sand, going on forever, on the same Gulf as the highly rated Clearwater Beach to the north, but way less people both on the beach and trying to get to it.  Beach denizens are a refreshing bunch of ordinary normal people with bodies to match.  Let’s just say the swimsuit competition is a low-pressure event.

Of course, we wanted to spend as much time as possible on that beach.  That boring 750 and sunny all the time just calls you to it.  Life is loose and easy by the Gulf, and we were happy to join in.  But a man needs goals in this life and getting to the beach every day seemed way too low a bar.  Fortunately, a little pamphlet I picked up at the airport gave me the structure I needed. 

Even without the pamphlet, I’d have had no trouble executing another goal of this trip, which was to hit as many beer bars in the area as possible.  Mr. Yelp told us we had plenty of nearby targets.

That’s just the first layer.  Yelp said there were 240 spots within 5 miles of my place.

But we like to go local.  Less than half a mile from our AirBnB were the Salt Water Hippie, Lucky Lizard Tap House, The Reef Bar and Grill, Dockside Dave’s, Caddy’s, the Ember Rooftop Lounge, Pete’s Sushi and Poke (yes, they serve beer), Sweet Brewnette (mainly a great coffee shop – our go to spot – but they do serve wine and beer!), Gulf Bistro, Madeira Beach Snack Shack, and Daiquiri Shak Raw Bar & Grille.

All those choices call for some winnowing, and that’s what the little brochure provided.  Put together by the St. Pete/Clearwater Tourist Bureau, the GulpCoast Craft Brewery Trail features 41 brewpubs and breweries scattered around the area, grouped into 5 regions.  Training your phone on the QR on back of the brochure gets you your “Gulp Coast Craft Brewery Passport”, a list of places that link to a spot giving directions and descriptions.  But it’s more than a high-tech guidebook.  Many of the listed places have special deals for GulpCoast visitors, like 2 for one pints.  And that trip on the trail has more benefits than just gallons of good beer.  At each place you visit, you ask for a 4-digit code and enter it on a passport to get credit for the visit.  15 visits give you a GulpCoast custom T-shirt to commemorate the journey along the trail.  A fatter GulpCoast brochure I picked up later in Dunedin said 10 breweries were sufficient, also offering a ”Silipint” to go with the shirt after 20 and a mysterious “Gulp Coast Prize Pack” for completing all 41.

With a goal to divide and conquer, I organized the breweries by location into the regions near us we were likely to visit: the Spit, Clearwater, St. Pete, and Dunedin. At the time, I was not aware of the fatter brochure, but 15 visits seemed doable.  Smallest journey begin with single step too, so we stumbled on to the strip.  First evening was an 0.08 mile ramble to The Reef Bar and Grill.  No trip is without its disappointments, and here we’d meet our first.  Their taps were totally out!  Nothing but canned beer.  Fortunately, they offered other beverages, including my “Shark Attack”.  Whether it was to serve as enticement or defense was never made clear.

No shark came near me the rest of the trip. That about wrapped it up our first day.

Next day we took care of the low hanging fruit.  Dockside Dave’s had an amazing grouper sandwich, good for lunch.

Lucky Lizards 0.2 miles away, featured a bar that let you sit outside

With a pretty good beer selection

Green Bench IPA, made over in Clearwater, is excellent.

Gotta love a place called “Saltwater Hippie”, another 0.2 miles away.  But it would have to wait till tomorrow.

Then it was time to get in the Jeep and drive down the Spit.  Had to stick to the GulpCoast guide and bypass all those other enticing bars along the way.  First stop was Sea Dog Brewing, which is based in New Hampshire with 10 locations through NH, Maine, and Florida.   

This section of the Spit is called “Treasure Island”.   Didn’t see any pirates, but it was a tough yo-ho-ho left turn off the Gulf Boulevard to grab their parking lot and sorta sneak in by the back door.

Once inside, it was clear headquarters had them well equipped.

They produced a good IPA as well as Kathy’s new favorite sweatshirt.

Next stop was Mastry’s, showing what great use to which an old gas station can be put.

Their ample beer offerings were dispensed with gleaming precision.

We had a snack from their kitchen, conveniently parked out front.

After that we left the Spit over the big Treasure Island Causeway to venture to Anna Maria Island, where my mom hung out in her teens.  That’s her mom with her’s.

The next day we’d finish the job by going a little north.  Seeking an amusing Anecdote, we headed 7 miles up Gulf Boulevard to Indian Rocks Beach.

 Choices were well spelled out

We met a couple from Peoria, there driving their 4-door convertible Jeep, just like we’ve been considering.  But we shared way more than car talk.

Our trip back to Madeira Beach took up right by Saltwater Hippie, which we’d missed the day before.  Coulda been the most fun bar of the whole trip.

They won an award in 2021 as best beach bar in Florida.  It ain’t because of the extensive beer selection.

Our GulpCoast tour took us inland, of course, but this piece is about the Spit.  So here we’ll stop with the beer places.  Not that the mainland is without its delights: Old St. Pete, Clearwater with its great Capitol Theater (1), dandy Dunedin (2), and of course the stop on the way to the airport at the cottage Tom Brady rents from Derek Jeter on Tampa Bay (58 Bahama Circle, Tampa 33606).  He wasn’t home when we stopped by, as I’m sure he would have welcomed in a couple of Wolverine fans who love him.  We probably spent more time on the beach than in bars, but isn’t that what Florida is all about?  Of course, we brought along a cooler.

Not all the brews we quaffed were malt beverages.  We were happy to have discovered just a few blocks south of us Sweet Brewnette’s, a fine little coffee house with fresh breakfast items and an outside patio on which to eat them.   An order at the counter got a tall metal flag bearing some movie star’s name that sat on your table till one of the girls brought the food out to you.  The place was clearly owned and run (well) by women, as you could see in their sign.

Any doubts about that fact go away seeing what hangs behind the cash register

But estrogen adds no taste to any cup of coffee, so I was spared.

So, Kathy and I think we’ve stumbled onto a pretty cool part of Florida.  She got to know Orlando and the Cape pretty well in her NASA years.  My brother in Clearwater enticed us to the Gulf Coast, and we’ve enjoyed our stays in Clearwater Beach.  It was a day with time to kill before the flight home a couple years ago that introduced us to the rest of the Spit.  We drove it south to north, falling on a magical restaurant with a thatched roof right on the beach.  We searched all over for the place this time, worried that such establishments had been bulldozed to make way for high rises.  Thanks to Yelp and Dr. Google, we’ve found that such places still exist, right in St. Pete Beach, lower end of the Spit.  We must have driven right past ‘em on our way to Anna Maria Island.  Here are the two we found that might have been the place.

Undertow Beach Bar (3850 Gulf Boulevard)

I couldn’t find a thatched roof, and from their Facebook page it looks like they cater mainly to pretty young babes in bikinis (3).

Flippers Beach Bar (4900 Gulf Boulevard)

Not very thatched.  The “beach bar” finder I found looking for Flipper’s (4) lists 15 beach bars in St. Pete’s Beach.  Guess we have some exploring to do upon our return.

But regardless of what we find in St. Pete’s Beach, we’re very fond of Madeira Beach.  Less crowded and less expensive than its more famous beaches to the north, the beach itself is wonderful, amenities ample and convenient, and people friendly.  There’s even a great church (5).  Kathy snagged a place right on the beach for us to occupy in October.  5 more GulpCoast trail stops to get that t-shirt!

References

1.         The Ruth Eckerd Hall Experience.  Billheimer Captial Theater. https://www.rutheckerdhall.com/bilheimer-capitol-theatre

2.         Ike B.  drink down Dunedin.  WordPress 3/3/21.  https://theviewfromharbal.com/2021/03/03/drink-down-dunedin/

3.         Undertow Beach Bar.  Facebook.  https://www.facebook.com/undertowbeachbar

4.         Flipper’s Beach Bar.  https://www.floridabeachbar.com/flippers-beach-bar

5.         Church by the Sea. https://www.churchbythesea.com/

 

land of enchantment

I wrote this end of March last year, but somehow never posted it.  As it has a recipe and 2 babe pics, I thought I should share it even now, over a year later.

It was to be the last roundup.  My brother-in-law Bob, our excuse to visit Santa Fe for over a decade, was moving to Athens, GA, to move in with old flame Wendy, whom he’d lived with in Boston in the 90s.  Now Athens is a cool college town – I Ioved the B52s – but it’s not Santa Fe.  Our direct United flight left 650 Detroit to land in snow flurries.  Finding our AirBnB in the dark in a residential neighborhood was an adventure, as the #417 seemed not to land us .  As we were driving around SF, our landlord landed us by phone back at the same place on the corner of Buena Vista and Don Diego, peering at the gate at the easternmost unit of the stucco two story triplex where the gate bore a subtle 417 and the key entry let us in with the 5 digit code.  What seemed like a boonie neighborhood location in the middle of nowhere turned out to be close to everything, a few minutes up an alley to “Modern Hardware and Coffee Shop” where we not only got coffee but enough breakfast to last our stay.  Whole Foods wasn’t much farther, which turned into the source for wood for our kivi fireplace (organic, free range, no doubt, and of course, expensive).  The railroad yards and farmers market were less than a half mile away and the Square itself less than a mile.   We were sitting in the catbird seat.

Our AirBnB was spectacular.  AirBnB’s can be a crapshoot, but we hit a home run with this one.  Inside the stucco edifice that looked like very other place in SF was: kivi fireplace, Joey’s “Mid century modern” masterpiece, wood floors, two stories, comfy beds, even mint green matched appliances that would have looked right at home in our folks’ kitchens, except they didn’t have microwaves then or teakettles programable to 6 temperatures.  Morning found us fetching coffee and food, then seeking to lay in the essential firewood and stock up the wine cellar, the latter venture accounting for our only COVID crisis, as a forgotten mask led us to a nearby drugstore to get new one’s before we could enter Kuane’s grocery.  I annoyed Kathy by pecking at my laptop for a couple hours before we pulled up to walk the mile and a half to Bob’s.  Afternoon found it time to hook up with Bob, who had nostalgic photos spread over his dining room table to review.  We then connected with his relatively new friends.  Ana was the attorney who helped Bob with some difficulties as he was trying to shed his Los Companos house with a minimum of pain.  Ana’s an ambulance-chasing shark who’s turned her considerable talents to other causes, notably those crushed by COVID regulations, but that’s a whole ‘nother story.  Oh, and she’s beautiful.

She ended up dating Bob for a while (he’s a handsome, charming guy) but ended up with Guy, who ended up being Bob’s landlord on his new place, and occasional roommate.  To say we all hit it off is a huge understatement.  Between bar hopping around the Square that afternoon and evening and dinner at their place the next evening I don’t think we ever stopped laughing.  There were some serious interjections (Bob has early dementia and they are assisting in his cross-country trip to GA, and Ana was intrigued by my virology background and interest in her cause).  Guy, an excellent Italian cook, taught me a few things as we swapped kitchen tales and, oh, scrutinized his wine cellar with my Vivino app.

Additional players in this trip were to have come from Albuquerque.  Carol, my Grandpa Ike’s oldest niece, my oldest cousin, settled there with husband John after stretches in American Samoa and Texas.  In my attempts to reopen our relationship, I misinterpreted that a Grand Rapids girl brought up in the Christian Reformed Church and living much of her adult life in Texas would turn out to be a sympatico conservative like me.  Ah, no.  She’s busy examining her “white privilege”.  And on COVID it was even worse.  She could not fathom how someone – regardless of my virology, immunology, and medicine background – could be so at odds with what the “experts” were saying, all obviously working tirelessly for our greater benefit.  Her daughter, a “journalist”, was aghast at my neanderthal opinions from the get go, wondering if I was so smart, why wasn’t I working for Fauci?  Tenure at a top notch international medical center wasn’t enough.  It got to be too much for Carole.  When she took to heaping insults, I said “enough” and she seemed relieved.  I’m sure she has some great pictures of Grandpa Ike.  Maybe I’ll see them someday.  I hope it’s not after her funeral.

My other ABQ woman is a far different story.  We’re not related, although we tiptoed once to be so by marriage.  I love my old girlfriends.  Nancy was the one responsible to show how such relationships are not only possible but sustaining.   Martin Mull sang it “I’ve slept with 1000s of girls.  I remember all their names and don’t make fun of them.  Please be one of them” (1). I’m of a few orders of magnitude from Martin, but I do have warm memories of all my old girlfriends.  Nancy (ABQ) was more than just that.  When I met her she was a tall knockout drug rep with a pharmacy degree.  When we broke up some months later – after some wonderful times together – she was off to MSU DO school – maybe after seeing how her idiot clients could navigate this stuff, she could too.  She’s carved a career as a family practitioner, now doing telemedicine and getting over her father’s death with COVID.  Hers another family with relationships riven from differences over how to approach the virus.  I was interested to hear of those problems from her over lunch at Tomasitas, as I got to again hear her lovely voice and gaze at her ever-pleasant face, however age has changed it.  Message: she’s still a looker:

I even picked up the bill.  I expected no favors in return.  But a second date was in the offing.

 She’d booked tickets for me, Kathy and her at “MeowWolf”, an outfit I couldn’t get my head around until I actually experienced it (2).  It’s the project of some crazy artists which is actually a dizzying extended funhose of very weird stuff.  It might be even better on drugs.  I’m sorry I left my edibles at home.  Some of the very cramped passageways involved provide satisfaction to the elderly boomer still able to negotiate it.  We negotiated all the contortions before it was time to pick up Bob for the basketball game, allowing some time in the Railyard.  Vivác wasn’t offering tastings, but I bought 2 bottles for dinner (3).   The Bosque Brewery nearby was sufficient for a short sit and a beer (4).  Nancy, alas, had to settle for a cider, as she does not like beer (am I discovering belatedly a source of our rift?).

After, it was time to head for the game.  Long ago, we eschewed any public viewing, much as we enjoy frolicking with liked minded in the appreciation of our Wolverines.  I’d learned that the only U of M Alumni gathering in all of New Mexico was in Albuquerque, and at an establishment now closed.  Our townhouse had a fine wide screen we’d never used to that point.  Machinations 15 minutes before game time found us frustrated, as there was no direct cable hookup, all channels coming through ROKU.  ROKU required a PIN nether our landlord – camping in Colorado – nor wife could provide.  So Kathy and Bob were off to his place to watch the game, missing about the first 10 minutes.  I stayed behind to hear the game streaming  on my phone through a Bluetooth speaker while fixing diner.  All in all, not a bad deal.  We creamed FSU and the Clark kids sat down to an excellent dinner, served on our patio in the bright sunshine, all washed down by some true Santa Fe wine (Vivác).  We lingered for a while inside by our kiva, listening by iTouch to our Sunday evening favorites, left with Fiona Ritchie with the time change.  Bob had to be taken back home while I cleaned up.  He happily took up all the leftovers.

As Kathy got home and we nestled into bed, Hearts of Space “Six String Spring” wafted over us as we contemplated what had been a pretty good day, and trip.  We’ll be back, likely to this same place.  While Bob will no longer be here, June – Sam’ s widow (5) – lived in nearby Los Alamos for years and loves SF.  She’s expressed her enthusiastic desire to drive down from Northrop CO sometime and join us.  We figure September.  Much to be covered: waterfalls, hot springs, etc.

Our day back was an early, early morning o.k., maybe not by EDT standards, allowing one last kivi fire as we ate real breakfasts, my oatmeal plus Kathy’ leftover from Modern Hardware and Coffee Shop up the alley, AeroPress coffee all around.  Guy and Ana had lent us their CRV, so getting to the little airport was easy peasy.  Their car awaits them, keys in console, a few minutes from their house.  The only glitch going through security was an inordinate number of Buckeyes, with whom we were obligated to spar.  Nonesuch in DEN or DTW and it was smooth to home.

So here’s the recipe.  It’s a double, so if you print it out, you’ll be stuck gluing one side to the back.  If you’re wondering about the name: the hangar steak, obtained in the SF farmers market, is taken from the cow’s diaphragm, hence an important actor in every belch.

Here’s page 1

And ’tis the backside

References

1.         “Thousands of Girls” by Martin Mull as mentioned in “Waiting for the Real World to Catch Up!”.  YouTube 5/13/13.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fSin_k-oHrs

2.         MeowWolf.  https://meowwolf.com/

3.         Vivác winery.  https://vivacwinery.com/

4.         Bosque Brewing Co.  Santa Fe Market Station: Public House.  https://www.bosquebrewing.com/santa-fe-market-st

5.         see Sam.  WordPress 1/14/20. https://theviewfromharbal.com/2020/01/14/see-sam/

California dreamin’

Pescadaro clan: Skyler. Jimmy, Janet, Aislnn, Orion

If you think Jimmy’s just a computer nerd grinding his kids to academic achievement, note that’s he’s a neo-hippie of the first order with a tie-died wardrobe to match and a deathless loyalty to Jerry Garcia that at least matches mine for the Commander. He’s even an ordained minister in a sect that I don’t recall except for the colorful vestments and has officiated at weddings of some of his neo-hippie friends.  And none of that has kept him from being a diehard Wolverine fan, just like his late dad and all his offspring.

With that title, I can’t leave without the song (3).

References

1.         Paul Kingsnorth.  Down the River.  The Abbey of Misrule. https://paulkingsnorth.substack.com/p/down-the-river?token=eyJ1c2VyX2lkIjo1NjI4OTg1MiwicG9zdF9pZCI6NTA5ODM1MDMsIl8iOiJ5Vm0wYSIsImlhdCI6MTY0OTExMzI4MywiZXhwIjoxNjQ5MTE2ODgzLCJpc3MiOiJwdWItMjUwODM2Iiwic3ViIjoicG9zdC1yZWFjdGlvbiJ9.jGrf0209oVwg9CGjFaifGnUrzdb

2.         Altman RD, Ike RW, Hamburger M, McLain DA, Daley MJ, Adamson III, TC.  Missing the Mark? American College of Rheumatology 2019 Guidelines for Intra-articular Hyaluronic Acid Injection and Osteoarthritis Knee Pain.  J Rheumatol (accepted 3/14/22)

3.         The Mamas & The Papas – California Dreamin’ (Official HD Video). YouTube 10/16.21.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KOok1WzZbOY
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