Tuesday, April 11, 2006

here and there

Great dinner last night at Fior d'Italia in North Beach. Excellent company of good friends made better by good food and wine. We started out with a special antipasti plate featuring prawns sauteed with lemon and garlic, dungeness crab, tomato with basil and mozzarella and melon wrapped in prosciutto. Among the dishes ordered were a cioppino, gnocchi, a rack of lamb...our waiter was a total pro who didn't mind the slightly ribald talk towards the end, even participated (with a good joke) and gave us each a small serving of a delicious after-dinner wine. High recommendation for an SF landmark. Actually ended up walking back from North Beach to my car parked at a lot on Mission at 5th. But the clear, cool evening made for great walking.

Also good on the eating meter was Sunday night's post-receptioning taco expedition to the Mission (Taqueria Jose, 24th & Mission). High marks for the place from a very diverse group of folks, some very wise in the ways of tacos, some virtual neophytes. I had the ceviche tostada and a chorizo taco, both very good.

I always get nervous recommending restaurants and movies to friends, and I'm always relieved (and validated?) when the recs turn up to be good.

An odd thing about having the conference in my home town -- I felt oddly disconnected from the immediacy and totality of the experience. Since I could mix work and conference, I did, splitting a few days between office and conference, so I wasn't around the whole time for it, and I didn't have a hotel room in the immediate vicinty (I commuted back and forth each day). So I was there but not there. The no close-by room also meant that the usual crash time you can have between sessions and the evening activities wasn't really there. Hard to keep going for 12-14 hours a day without any real quiet and sequestered downtime. Still a productive time, getting great ideas for projects and feeling reconnected to my work in a more global sense, stepping away from the minutia of the daily grind.

Did spend a bit of downtime yesterday reading and people-watching in Union Square and more importantly searching the racks at Rasputin. Among the haul was older stuff from Calexico and the Concretes and the latest from Matt Pond PA. Tonight of course is the Calexico in-store at Amoeba. So musically and foodly, a good couple of days.

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