Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Where Dirty Harry was boss

We're in Carmel now and C is sleeping off a bad...cold. And to be honest, he couldn't have chosen a better place to get a cold. There's not much to do here, as beautiful as it is. So we don't feel guilty about vegging out in front of the TV, catching up on episodes of Rock of Love and just whiling away the hours doing abba-solutely nothing.
I believe this is what they call "relaxing".
Doing nothing is a foreign concept to me, but I'm starting to get the hang of it. I was going through something like a stress withdrawal two days ago, but I'm over it. Although it probably wouldn't have been good for the purposes of vacation, I could have easily spent another two days in San Francisco.

'Cisco - my kind of town

A special mention must go to The Stinking Rose in North Beach. If you are visiting SF for the intents and purposes of a romantic vacation, then beware this restaurant that states "We season our garlic with food". But since C never saw a garlic bulb he didn't like, we went for it. Ohhhhh, we went for it!
I will say, it was a fabulous, deliciously stinky meal. One that I may never want to repeat again, as I'm convinced that for the next 24 hours we were emitting fumes of the unholy kind from every pore and orifice of our bodies. We weren't blinging, we were zinging! I'm quite sure that after checking out of our hotel, housekeeping reported the smell of a dead body coming from our room.
But It. Was. Worth. It.
The cool thing about California is that you're exposed to wildlife of all kinds in their natural habitat, which serves to relax you even more:

Sea lions sunning themselves on rocks in Pacific Grove...

...seagulls waiting for that next bit of food in Monterey... bunnies in The Castro
Hey, this is California we're talking about here!

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Popping the In 'N Out cherry

Our long awaited vacation has arrived - the mini road trip down Highway 1 in California is upon us and not just me, but the both of us couldn't be happier.

Just to fill you in, this summer has been crazy. Ker-razy! Between a previous trip to Montreal, Zoe Dawg having two surgeries, hanging out with friends, and life in general, we needed an escape from New York. Now we have it.

Starting your trip with this view of lovely Oakland, CA from your hotel room means it can only get better from here

I will say that if it wasn't for the fact that one of my closest, oldest friends moved out to LA last year, this trip would have been motivated by one thing and one thing only: the In 'N Out burger.

You see, In 'N Out is a burger franchise primarily located on the West Coast and the source of much breathless rhapsodizing and dilated pupils, as people recall their experiences at this fine fast-food establishment. The number of people talking about In 'N Out in person and online inspired a lot of jealousy in this Yankee. New York is supposed to have the good, meaty burgers, not grass-chewing, tofu-loving, veggie-capital-of-the-world California! So why was I being denied?

It was time to make things right.

After taking the BART from Oakland to San Francisco and checking in, C and I looked at each other in a bleary haze. We were hungry and far from the nearest In 'N Out, which was actually in the last place we wanted to be at the moment - Fisherman's Wharf. We don't do touristy.

C: "What do you want to do?"

M: "Do you mind?"

C (rolling eyes and handing me cashews): "Here, some nuts for the road."

And so we were off. The good thing about marathon travel - inadequate sleep after getting on a cross-country flight after a long day of work, during which you had a hangover from you boss' farewell do the night before - means that you can subsist on a stomach with just a few nuts in it and be totally okay with it. After all that, what's another two hours to figure out how to get across town for a double-double animal style? (That's a double cheeseburger with all the trimmings, special sauce and the fries with the special sauce to boot. Yeah, I already got the lingo down pat!)

Upon landing at Fisherman's Wharf, I won't lie. I zoomed in like a heat-seaking missile for that burger. Alcatraz? Nope, didn't care. San Francisco bay winking at us in the sunlight? With the sailboats lazily going by? Just begging us to take pictures in front of it for our Wall 'O Pictures? Another time. It was like M, get thee to that burger! And then:

Like a moth to flame, I wuz

I am ashamed to say I don't have any pictures of what it was like inside. The hordes of people waiting for their food. The employees in their cute, identical hats wearing their In 'N Out baseball hats that I contemplated buying for myself (I did not). And sadly, I did not get pictures of the food. Because upon walking in, I had entered a Zone.

You know what I mean - that Zone. Like "I cannot believe that my little human existence in the great universal scheme of things has traveled this far to be actually doing this one thing of huge significance." 'This' can pertain to the being at the Great Wall of China. 'This' could be visiting the pyramids of Egypt. 'This' may be hunkering down and living amongst the indigent people of the Amazon rain forest, as they live their daily lives unfettered by progress and The Man.

'This', for me, was entering the In 'N Out burger chain at Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco.

In the end, I will say I was satisfied. A little perplexed as to the mythical status of this burger, but willing to digress and say it was pretty damn good. I'll get slated for this by those In 'N Out lovin' fans, but: it was not the best I've ever had. It was Up There in the echelons of Burgerhood, but not The Best.

But then again, it could be an aberration. And with 9 more days to go as wind our way down the California Coast, with In 'N Outs dotting the way, there are plenty of more opportunities to find out!

Monday, August 20, 2007

August post

This is my August post. That's because I've realized I haven't posted once in August. This is no good. I really must work on that.

But for now, my August post. Voila!