The Porch is where we ended up for a post-CIM brunch. DD and I were able to leave our car at the Hyatt since we had already paid the $17 day-fee - our day lasted until 4pm. Carlos had kindly researched places on Yelp when I mentioned that I was in the mood for Fried Chicken after my marathon.
So we walked a couple of blocks. I felt fine, the legs a little achy, my body a little sore. Finally we saw the rectangular, low-slung building, gleaming white in the sun, with a true-to-its name porch for al fresco dining.
Yes, that photo above is a Punchbowl, full of Bloody Mary goodness, served ever-so-quaintly in little glass cups, so you can sip your drink genteely as you ponder whether to order the shrimp-and-grits or chicken and waffles. Tart and a bit spicy, the Bloody Marys hit the spot. I think the mix was, on the whole, a tad lighter on the alcohol, which was just fine by me.
Running through the park and down along the Great Highway brings us to the end of the N Judah line by design. We're usually too lazy to run back uphill through Golden Gate Park and would rather take MUNI back home. What's great about this area is that in the recent few years a number of quaint little cafes and restaurants have sprung up - Outerlands most distinctively, Trouble Coffee, and, from the owners of the venerable Java Beach Cafe - Beachside Coffe Bar & Kitchen.
My long run one beautiful January Sunday was for 13 miles. Usual course through the park, down Great Highway, but this time with the addition of a loop around Lake Merced and back up the Highway. I remember not feeling good that day. It might have been psychological. I managed to run part of a DSE 10k course and kept getting passed up by too many folks bent on their speedy 10k pace... DD was also not with me, having run his first really intense trail - Steep Ravine - with Owen on Saturday. Though miles 5-7 is when I usually hit my stride and begin to feel comfortable, I was tired and felt sluggish. At around mile 9 (I was looping Lake Merced by then), I needed to stop completely. I took a GU and drank some water and pretty soon got going again. Eventually I made it to 13.01m and headed home on MUNI.
Jeanine, DD and I have been talking for sometime about planning the big birthday trip - for Jeanine’s 40th and DD’s 30th - coming up in April next year. So we got together last Sunday to talk and plan. Jeanine’s family is from Grenada, and have 2 beautiful properties on the islands. We sent out emails, we searched for other accommodations, we looked for tips on what to see and what to do. All the internet surfing was hard work, so we needed some sustenance.
My cousin's wedding was a whirlwind. We didn't have much time to visit - only about 3 days all told, and it was a veritable nonstop stream of family activities and Chinese Banquets from the time we arrived on a Friday afternoon. On Sunday morning we were able to sneak away to Vancouver, short SkyTrain ride away from the Richmond Landsdowne station. A neighbour of ours had recommended Twisted Fork, describing it as a "feast of a brunch," and other online reviews indicated that we might have a nice, tasty time. We exited the Yaletown station, and walked a couple of short blocks to Granville. We anticipated a wait, having reached the restaurant around 11:30 or so.
If ever there was a space that could inspire dreaming, it would be the inside of Outerlands.
It’s gorgeous, with walls, chairs and countertops made out of reclaimed wood. A slanting driftwood mosaic covers part of the kitchen counter. Proprietors David Muller and Lana Porcello initially started by feeding friends out of their ocean beach abode; soon the initiative blossomed into a full-fledged restaurant. And indeed, they seemed to have captured the feel of Ocean Beach perfectly. It’s moody, but warm, the grey light from typically overcast Outer Sunset filtering in via only 3 windows. There’s a sense of escaping to the end of the earth, and its distance from the rest of the city out on Judah and 45th may be both curse for some and a boon for those of us who live relatively close by.
Bar Agricole is on 11th street, in a somewhat seedy area largely known for its nightlife and late-night post-drunk binging from the mobile crepe truck rather than farm-to-table dining and craft cocktails. But it’s there, hidden cleverly behind a blocky slate wall, blue lettering on black hiding its identity in a smart understated industrial camouflage. If you didn’t know where to look, you’d easily miss it, and one might think Bar Agricole actually doesn’t want to be known or found. But once you step inside, you’re confronted with a lovely oasis (a bit incongruous for this area) of exposed wood, high ceilings, and striking light fixtures which hang down like cascades of frozen water. It’s a restauarant that doesn’t quite match the immediate neighbourhood.