by Jim Nintzel
Where were we, before all the dive bars sucked up my blogging time?
Oh, yeah, San Francisco. Joined our ol' pal Elinor Mills for dinner in the Mission on Monday night. I met Elinor when she was working for The Associated Press in Phoenix--oh, it wasn't really that long ago. Since then, she's been around the world reporting for Reuters and reported on the tech rise and fall from San Francisco. These days, she's working for that CNET outfit. She stirred the pot a couple years back when she was writing about privacy and Google. She looked up Google's CEO, Eric Schmidt, and reported on what she could find in a half-hour: His estimated net worth, the amount of money he made selling shares of Google, his home address, his adventures at Burning Man.
Schmidt was so pissed that he said nobody in the company would speak to CNET for one year.
Nobody shows off the city quite like Elinor does. I owe her enormous thanks for recommending, over the years, all the places I tried to hit in my last 36 hours in San Francisco, starting with walk through Chinatown into North Beach. I got to browse at City Lights Books, read The New York Times at Vesuvio's and the San Francisco Brewing Company, and chow down a lunch of mind-blowing--not to mention diet-blowing--sesame chicken.at House of Nanking. Unfortunately, I didn't have time to duck into Spec's for a drink.
For Tuesday's lunch, we got to the new Vietnamese sensation down in the Ferry Building, the Slanted Door. (We would have had to wait months, evidently, for a dinner reservation.) We had an awesome Vietnamese crepe, spring rolls, grilled five-spice chicken and rice noodle stir fry. Not to knock our local joints, but this is why people rave about Vietnamese food. And the sophisticated space, with a view of the Bay, was spectacular.
Before we left, we also squeezed in an afternoon excursion to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Particularly impressive: Martin Munkacsi: Think While You Shoot!, an exhibit of photographs that ranged from shots of Nazis in Germany to William Randolph Hearst in Northern California. Stunning B&W stuff, especially given the time the photos were shot.
Finally, dinner at the Fly Trap before heading back to the Powell Hotel one last time. As twilight set in, we picked up our bags and walked across the street to catch the bus that would take us across the bridge to Emoryville and the start of the awesome train ride to Portland.
Next: All aboard the Coast Starlight!