San Francisco Ferry Bldg, 1 Vallejo – San Francisco Ferry Building #6, San Francisco, CA 94111, USA
TRIP TIME 00:25:30
FARE BREAKDOWN Trip fare $10.68
Driver – Mohamed
It’s almost 4pm by the time Uber Mohamed picks us up to drive us to 21st Amendment Brewery. Though it is far from our lunch spot, we are operating at less than full capacity after a morning on our feet. Uber has a minimum charge which in Australia is a paltry six dollars. I’m not sure what the minimum charge in the States is but I’ll pay what I need to get out of walking uphill in the sun. Our slightly more than one mile trip takes 25 minutes due to unforeseen traffic. It turns out the San Francisco Giants have a baseball game this evening a few blocks away. When it is obvious the traffic situation isn’t improving, we give up and let Uber Mohamed find his own way out of the jam. Walking the one block left to the brewery, I guess we shouldn’t have been surprised that the place was packed.
Steve has managed to snag a perch in the corner by the time I return with a Hell or High Watermelon for me and a Brew Free! Or Die IPA for him. My wheat beer comes served with a wedge of watermelon as one would expect. I was sent to the bar for drinks as he thinks my years working in hospitality have given me a better set of skills for getting service at a bar. What I lack in height is easily made up for by my assertiveness and voice projection. I’m disappointed that our drinks come in plastic cups and this won’t be the last time I think this. More and more young men in jeans and SF Giants tops and caps arrive and the place soon becomes too noisy to talk. We step out the side door and into their makeshift courtyard area. A laneway has been cordoned off and a temporary bar set up dispensing their canned brews.
In the shade thanks to the tall buildings in this technology and Web based section of the city, I button my denim jacket up feeling the chill of the afternoon. We park ourselves up against one of the collapsible bar tables that line the exterior wall. From here, we watch as more people pour into the area on foot. Cars are bumper to bumper and don’t appear to be moving. This round it’s a Blah Blah Blah double IPA and Toaster Pastry India style Red Ale alas with no toaster pastry (or Pop Tart to use the brand name) accompaniment.
‘What time do you reckon the game starts?’
‘I don’t know. Maybe 7?’I shrug my shoulders with no concept of what the time is currently anyway.
‘It’s 5.30 now. What do you want to do?’ The man with the spreadsheet asks me.
‘I don’t know but I don’t want to stay here. It’s getting too cold and I’m sick of being on my feet.’
‘If we walk away from the ball park, we can probably get away from this traffic and get an Uber.’
‘Sounds like a plan.’ I down the last of my beer and we turn tail determined to put some space between us and what seems like the rest of the San Francisco populace.
Only five minutes walk along 2nd street and under the freeway overpass leading to the Bay Bridge, the footpaths are wider and quieter. Already it seems like we are in a different part of town. I point at a sandwich board at the edge of a plaza. ‘Happy Hour. Cocktails $8. Oysters $1.’
‘How many oysters are too many oysters?’ I ask.
‘There’s no such thing,’ is the answer I knew I’d receive in response and I did.
Between a 24 hour fitness place and a Fed-Ex office, we find Red Dog restaurant and bar. Greeted within moments of opening the door, I have a good feeling about this place. Though we are not overly hungry having eaten only a few hours ago, I’m eager to get out of the cool breeze and sit down. I figure a cocktail and some more oysters will hit the spot until we order an Uber for home.
Passing through the busy bar section, we are seated in a quiet section by a window. Soft understated carpets, modern booth seating and thick white linen napery immediately signal a restaurant of a certain quality. A tall, slim man in a suit is soon at our table to take a drinks order. Steve chooses a Westfalia amber ale by SF local Fort Point Beer Company. I’m feeling beered out so look at the wine list for inspiration but nothing makes any connections in brain.
Looking up I put down the list and say, ‘I would like a glass of wine but I don’t know much about American wine.’
‘Ok, what kind of wine do you like?’ he smiles and asks.
‘I like quite dry but full flavoured white wines. Something with some minerality, citrusy even. I want something American. I work in a wine region in Australia and I know Australian wines but I don’t know anything about American wines.’
Within minutes, three glasses are placed in front of me with samples for me to try. They range from dark yellow in colour through to lighter, almost clear. The same gentleman returns for my verdict.
‘How did you go?’Again those friendly eyes say that he has nothing more important to do right now.
‘They are all lovely but this one was my favourite.’ I say empty glass in hand.
He returns with the bottle and pours a generous refill.
‘If you guys are in town for a while, we should check out my other place – Local Kitchen and Bar. They’ve got a great local wine list. I can set you up to do tasting beforehand with the sommelier.’
‘Absolutely,’ Steve chips in. ‘That’d be fantastic.’
‘I’ll send someone over to take your food order.’
Over the next two hours we manage to devour devilled ham scotch egg with spicy aioli, a large plate of arugula, frisée, sliced peach, goats cheese and walnut salad and a bowl of summer squash tortellini with cherry tomatoes and toasted pine nuts. The cocktails and oysters advertised outside didn’t get a look in. Holidays sometimes seem like walking from one meal to the next. Today is one of those days. El jefe hands us his business card as we leave and informs us that he’s made our reservation for the following evening for dinner and wine tasting.
‘It really is the people that you meet that make a place,’ I say rather obviously to Steve as we await our Uber home.