Monday, May 25, 2009

A Weekend in the Bay Area

The photograph above is of the waiter at the wonderful Consuelo Restaurant in Santana Row, San Jose, making fresh guacamole at our table. We had a wonderful meal here on Saturday evening.

Santana Row is a fantastic place, lots of tree lined avenues with hotels, restaurants and shops. Consuelo is one of several restaurants with a Mexican theme. It had loads of atmosphere and the food was delicious. We had to wait about an hour for a table, but we just wandered across the road to another restaurant with an outdoor bar and whiled away the time listening to music. I can understand why we had to wait for a table as once we were seated the food and service were fantastic. I think the guacamole was the highlight. The waiter brought over the tray full of the freshest ingredients you can imagine - bright red tomatoes, green chiles, lime halves and gorgeous green avocado. He made the dish to order, with the amount of spice we requested (first batch was medium, second batch was hot!). Served with fresh hot tortillas it was absolutely delicious.

Sunday we drove into San Francisco and did all the usual touristy things - riding on a tram up and down the incredible hills and eating clam chowder in sourdough bowls down by Fisherman’s Wharf. We also went to Union Square for some serious shopping at Macy’s. You see, it was very cold down by Fisherman’s Wharf on Sunday and my beige linen jacket was not enough to keep me warm. So, I purchased a very tasteful(!) red hoody with San Francisco written in big letters on the front of it and put it over my jacket. When I removed it, I discovered I was covered in red fluff. It was definitely a wardrobe emergency as we were booked into our favourite restaurant, Harris’ Steak House on Van Ness Avenue, that evening. I needed to buy something new to wear and fast. Guy and Alex took me to the Ralph Lauren department and found me a gorgeous sweater and black jacket which I changed into there and then. Problem solved! Then they found me another sweater and white jacket to mix and match with the other two. I was so pleased. We then headed off to the men’s department (in the Macy’s across the road) and spent a hour in the Ralph Lauren department there with a very helpful salesman finding things for Guy and Alex. We only just made it to the restaurant on time!

As usual the meal at Harris’ was wonderful. It’s a real taste of old San Francisco. Cars are valet parked for you, and walking through the door is like stepping back in time. Their speciality is steak, and they do it brilliantly. We did have a bit of a hiccup with the onion soup which my son and I had for an appetizer. He’s had it several times before but recommended it very highly so I decided to have it too. We were both a bit surprised to find it very over-peppered. When I questioned him about it, he said with a smile that “yes, it’s normally peppery, but it doesn’t normally make your eyes water”. That made me laugh as I did actually have tears in my eyes at that moment! Our steaks were wonderful though, and we had a super evening. All in all, a super start to our week in the Bay Area!

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