Yes, I am behind. To my credit, I did in fact say that I would have trouble posting over the last couple of weeks. I don’t have a good excuse for this past week, but the two prior were a bit of a challenge as Karin and I were in Australia for two weeks. I promise a posting and pictures on our adventures down under in the near future, but for right now I’m going to focus on doing a posting for this past week just to get back in the saddle.
Because there’s no rest for the weary, my flight schedule has been rather insane lately. I flew straight from New York to Australia without a stop at home, with Karin meeting me at the airport in LA. Upon our return stateside, Karin went home and I went straight up to San Jose. Despite the long flight from Australia to LA, I was able to still figure out the way to San Jose.
My week in San Jose was rather simple. It consisted of my rather typical sleeping, running, and working. However, I did treat myself to a trip up to San Francisco with the express purpose of trying Manhattans. In my favorite posting, The Perfect Manhattan, I referenced a San Francisco Gate article that talked about the history of the Manhattan and how best to craft one. In it the author listed a few bars in San Francisco that offer unique versions of the Manhattan, and I’d been wanting to take a trip up to San Francisco to do some sampling. This week afforded me just that opportunity. It was also just nice to be able to explore San Francisco, a city that I do love.
The highlight for Karin, however, came when I arrived home on Friday night. Mind you, the highlight wasn’t me getting home. Instead, it was our trip to Cucina Urbana. Having not been there for over a month I was craving a fix. We decided to stop by a cocktail bar I’d be wanting to check out for quite a while first and do dinner afterwards. Because we were running just a little late for our reservation, when we walked into Cucina Urbana I made a beeline for the hostess stand to check us in. When I turned around, Karin was engaged in a very pleasant conversation with Jerry of Jeff and Jer.
For those you not from San Diego, Jeff and Jer were longtime hosts of a morning radio show and Karin’s favorite. In fact, her devotion to the show was the specific reason she bought a shower radio. Unfortunately because terrestrial radio is going through a bit of turmoil, Jeff and Jer are no longer on the air in San Diego.
In any event, upon walking in Karin noticed Jerry in the lobby area and just simply walked up and said “Hi, Jerry”. The two of them started a very pleasant conversation, and eventually Karin and I wound up meeting both his wife and mother-in-law. I’m not normally the type to ask a celebrity for a picture, but since Jerry was so happy to be talking to Karin it didn’t seem inappropriate to ask for a picture.
The Travel Note
A few notes that I’ve collected over the last few weeks.
- Five weeks was the longest stretch I’ve been away from home for. By the end of it I was very ready for my own bed.
- To answer someone’s question, yes I did remember the way home from the airport. Although I think the car could navigate that drive on its own.
- Australia allows liquids as carryon, which worked to our advantage simply because it made transporting all our wine that much easier.
- I set a new personal record by clearing security 4 times in a single 24 hour period. I had to clear security when leaving Sydney, when I transferred to my flight to LA in Auckland, when I went to board the flight in Auckland, and finally in LA to catch my flight to San Jose. There is a special extra screening area you need to go through after clearing normal security if you’re flying internationally to the US, which is why I had to clear security the extra time in Auckland.
The first place I stopped on my exploration of Manhattans in San Francisco was a restaurant named Pebacco. Pebacco is in the middle of the Financial District, with a rather small facade that belies the size of the restaurant inside. I of course situated myself at the bar and, after introducing myself to the bartender, mentioned that I heard they do a great Manhattan. With pride he replied, “We absolutely do”, and he put one together for me. The Manhattan was very good; it was well assembled, but it didn’t have quite the level of bite I was looking for. The best way to describe their Manhattan is it’s one with training wheels; if you’re new to classic cocktails and are just looking for somewhere to start, this would be the Manhattan for you. It was mellow, approachable, but still tasty.
For dinner I decided to start off with the pesce crudo. Frankly, I had no idea what it would be, but the ingredients included hamachi, basil, ginger and a little jalapeño, which all sounded good and I took a chance and went for it. I’m glad I did. The flavors all came together perfectly, and the jalapeños were sliced thin enough that they brought just a little heat to the party but didn’t overwhelm the dish. I went with the scallops for my main, which was served with corn and pearl onions. Scallops, like shrimp, are very simple to do well, but also very easy to overcook. I’d say that a good 80% of the time when I order either one in a restaurant it’s rubbery and overcooked. These, however, were cooked to perfection. The wine the bartender recommended (a sauvignon blanc) matched nicely. With great food, service and cocktails Perbacco is the perfect place to start off any evening.
Recently I’ve been asked the same questions by multiple people so I want to do another FAQ Five section. Those of you who know me well probably already know the answers to these questions, but just in case here you go.
- Do you enjoy the travel?
I don’t know if the word “enjoy” is the correct word. I think more than anything I have accepted the travel. Certainly there are great weeks like trips to Seattle or New York, but then there are others where I’m stuck in San Jose or Killeen, TX. I think the hardest part of the travel is simply trying to maintain friendships; being on the road so often doesn’t afford me the opportunity to visit with friends as often as I would like.
- How do you and Karin deal with you being gone all the time?
For lack of a better way to put it, we just do. We have spent quite a bit of time over the course of our marriage apart for one reason or another, either because of my travel or working different shifts. We make sure to spend quality time together when we get the chance, and just accept the fact that we’re apart a lot of the time.
- Wow, that sounds so glamorous!
I can assure you it sounds much more glamorous than it actually is. When you’re stuck overnight in a fleabag hotel room near the Houston Intercontinental Airport, I can assure you it’s the farthest thing from glamour.
- When are you going to cut back on the travel?
It’s a long story, but for right now things will pretty much be the same for the foreseeable future. The issue is I love training, and right now doing what I love to do requires I be on the road fulltime. There may be a situation where I can start working more in San Diego in 2011, but that’s still tentative. As of right now it’s still pretty much all travel all the time.
- Have you visited all 50 states?
I have not. My rule for counting a state as being visited is that I have left the airport. Driving through the state counts. I have yet to visit Alabama, Alaska, Hawaii, Mississippi, South Carolina, and West Virginia. I’m not sure about Maine; I think I visited there as a child, but unfortunately I don’t remember. Of the states listed, Hawaii is the one I want to visit most.
 I went a long way for that one, Brenda. Hope you appreciate it.
 Not San Fran or Frisco.
 Not International.