Wednesday, September 15, 2004

SF Bay trip, part I

My old friend Jimbo reminded me last month that he'd be on the left coast for the T-Mobile International Grand Prix, a professional bike race with the likes of Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong and company. Jim mentored me as a mechanic on the pro race circuit many years ago, so the vacation was built on the premise of visiting with folks I knew from a prior lifetime. We did the touristy stuff too, like riding on cable cars singing the Rice-a-Roni jingle (not really, I'd be the guy egging on other tourists to do that). Of course, food factored largely in a town known for outstanding eats.

Day 1: Los Angeles to Oakland
Slow is better. Rather than fly, Katy and I began our twelve hour train ride in Union Station, the beautiful Art Deco depot in downtown LA. Phillipe's the Original, the oldest restaurant in the city, lays claim to inventing the French dip sandwich and has done so since 1908 in the same location two blocks away from Union Station. We stopped by at 9 am for breakfast to go, packing a lamb sandwich with blue cheese and a beef with jack cheese (single dip, sinus-searing mustard on the side) for the morning meal. Maybe you think a french dip sandwich makes a terrible breakfast. You'd be wrong.

Amtrak's Coast Starlight train wends along the central California coastline through beautiful stretches of still-undeveloped land. When I say along the coast, sometimes the tracks run atop the dunes just above the beach. Katy spotted several pods of dolphin playing in the froth of the distant surfline. Or perhaps they were killing their lunch. Inside the train car, we lunched on a picnic we packed of Dutch hard goat cheese, Irish "Blarney" cheese (whatever the hell that is), Cambozola blue veined brie, and sesame crackers washed down with a spicy, pleasantly complex zinfandel from D Cubed.

North of Santa Barbara

Dinner provided aboard the train proved unnoteworthy if not for the really nice couple we shared our table with. Kym manages a fashionable eyewear shop in the Beverly Center. Josh is a house DJ and they were travelling to a gig in San Francisco. Becoming a parent kills one's nightlife, and the magnitude of my squareness became painfully clear when talking music with this very with it, beautiful couple.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great t-shirt. I saw a great bumpersticker. Hogs smell better when they are bbq'ed.

9/28/2004 11:03:00 AM  

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