Saturday, June 21, 2008

Clement St. On a Friday Night

The spousal unit is floating somewhere along the American River, which is how I found myself completely forlorn and dateless last night. Childhood friend K took pity on me, and we arranged to meet for dinner at Q. The sublime, yet eerie lack of traffic on 19th Ave and along Park Presidio was a sign of good things to come. Not only that, there were so few souls on the normally packed Clement St. that we walked right into the restaurant at 7:00 and sat down, no wait, no elbowing for access to the seating guru, no nothing.

At "Q," they have macaroni and cheese with a tater tot topping.

They have fried catfish, too.

And fried chicken. With gravy.

Sadly, it was too balmy to partake in such delights. Instead, we ordered roasted vegetables, goat cheese with roasted garlic and peppers (accompanied by focaccia for slathering!), and some CRAZY crunchy potato croquettes that were all silky-good inside.

After dinner and pleasant conversation, I checked my phone and saw that I had ignored six phone calls from the kids. They have just memorized my number and delight in calling me every ten minutes for no reason whatsoever. I foresee a "the boy who cried wolf" moment sometime in the future. I called back and Lea picked up. She said, "Mama! Hello! I want to hug you, but you are not here, so I will give you a hug right now [hugging sound]!" And then she hung up. I didn't say a single word. I sat back down with K just as my phone rang again. Pop quiz: did I answer it?

Next, we crossed the street and took a quick stroll through Park Life, which is a combo shop/gallery. I took a few minutes to check out the gallery exhibit, which currently showcases work by Matthew Palladino. I was lured in by the sweet, sort of folk-art look, but as I moved closer I saw the pieces were actually, um, menacing (particularly the one titled, "Stay Out of the Rose Garden: Body Pile"). The contrast is sticking with me, I have to say.

Total aside: another thing that is sticking with me is the film Little Children (adapted from the novel by Tom Perrotta, which I haven't read). Holey hummus, have you seen this? If not, put it in your queue right now.

Let's see. We all know about my decades long love affair with Green Apple Books, do we not? K used to live in the Richmond, too, and though my passion is perhaps greater, she too shares fond Friday night memories of the place. It's normally wall-to-wall book lovers, but in keeping with the general lack of humanity on the street last night, it was nice and empty. We happily browsed, and then exited with new books in hand.

We had time for one more stop at an old haunt, the perenially funky Blue Danube Coffee House (so funky they have no website to link to!). On our way, we ran into a long-haired, chain-smoking Pinoy drummer/photographer high school classmate of K's (the two of them were a year behind me). Brief, funny conversation ensued in which the following topics were covered:

* bubble drinks (K likened the tapioca to eating a single, gigantic Gummi Bear)
* cheeseburgers
* whether or not I am Pinay (sigh)
* types of geeks: food geeks, book geeks, photography geeks, etc.

Onward to Blue Danube, where we ordered Italian sodas (lemon for me, red currant for K) and sat facing out the wide open picture window, people watching and

And this, my friends, is what a perfect girl's night out is made of.


Shuboy said...

why would anyone question wether or not you're Pinay? Weird.
When the rest of the family abandoned me in SF for Hawaii, I wandered down Clement St. feeling alone and lonely... I decided I would write a letter to Mom and Dad. I stopped at the Blue Danube and took a seat by the window. I ordered a "half carafe" of wine not knowing what a "half carafe" really was (I wasn't much of a wine drinker - I'm still not).
I started writing my letter, kinda' lost in my lonliness... and before I knew it, I was smashed. I have no idea what happened to that letter... I also have no idea how I managed to make my way home.
I miss Clement St....

ver said...

Hahahahahahaha! "Half a carafe of wine," sounds so circa 1974. Maybe your lost letter is posted on one of those spooky web sites that posts, um, lost letters.

Karen's friend wasn't so much questioning my Pinay-ness as much as he was wondering if I were Filipino in the first place. "You could be anything," he said. From his lips to God's ears, say I...