Monday, August 22, 2005

2-1/2 restaurant reviews and two movies.

This weekend, my family visited four restaurants and ate at two. Only we can spend hours stomping around the foodie capital of America and come up starving and empty-handed at 9 on a Sunday night.

Lunch was an easy, if terrifyingly expensive, choice in Rose Pistola. The food was delicious and the service fine, though the price is enough to drive away any thought of returning. My brother had the penne with beef bolognese--shocking--while my mom and sister and I shared several antipasti: a roast beet salad with chunks of cheese, a spreckled romaine and red grape salad with a wonderful vinaigrette, an absolutely divine caprese with melt-in-your-mouth buffalo mozzarella and gorgeous heirloom tomatoes, a trio of bruschetta, and, most interestingly, deep-fried chickpeas with capers and lemon zest.

As we were visiting the Haight, Margot suggested a place called Asquew for dinner, which is an informal, inexpensive, healthy, and most likely tasty kebab spot, but we ended up not eating there due to the lack of available seating. We poked around a few thrift stores before heading back towards my sister's place.

We got off the bus a little early and decided to eat at a Greek restaurant on Polk we'd been to a few years ago. A large party had been seated just ahead of us, so we agreed to wait 10 minutes for a table. We looked at the menu and decided what to order while we waited, but when we were actually seated, no one came to take our order, bring us water, or even say hello. For thirty fucking minutes. The waiter spent ten minutes chatting with a another table, a party who were seated *after* we were. They got their orders, even. We stormed out.

Eventually, we ate at a little Italian place on Post called Caffe Bella Valencia or something like that. The prices were not unreasonable and the food was decent. The pasta was overcooked, but the flavors were all right. The service was a little slow after the initial bringing of water and bread and taking of the orders, but the place seemed somewhat busy and it was the poor guy's first night. Or that's what they told everyone to compensate for mediocre service. It took for-freaking-ever to get the check, and at that point, I wanted nothing more than the hop on BART and go to bed. On the plus side, I have leftovers for lunch, including my brother's vegetable side and polenta, which he mistook for potatoes and did not much care for.

On Saturday, mom and my brother were staying with us in Milpitas, so we had to devise some way to spend the day. My brother really wanted to see The Aristocrats, which is unlikely to show in Olympia soon, plus mom should never see that movie. She would be horrified. Comedy is something my brother and I have always bonded over--it's my fault that he's the only kid I knew who was reading The Onion at 12. The theater at Santana Row was playing Broken Flowers at 2, the same time as The Aristocrats was playing at the Camera 7, so we dropped her off for the less offensive film and went to ours. It was really entertaining and, we thought, surprisingly tame. Or we're just horribly desensitized, or context is everything.

Later, mom told us she looked up the joke online. She gave us quite a look.

Late Saturday night, after we'd feasted on tilapia filets I smeared with a potent mixture of spices and a garlicky greek yogurt sauce, mom and I watched The Motorcycle Diaries. She lent me the DVD at the beginning of the summer and I never got around to watching it, so I needed to do that and give it back to her while she was here. It was a damn fine film, and not entirely too heavy-handed considering the subject matter. Might have been nicer on something larger than a laptop screen, though.

It was good to see the family, but it was a very long weekend, and I am really tired today. I am a little concerned that my allergies are flaring up again, after months of respite, or that I'm coming down with a cold. Either of these possibilities would suck, but I am hoping a good night's sleep will do the trick. Heh.

Otherwise, I fully anticipate being a snot-nosed medicine head at Wednesday's Ben Folds and Rufus Wainwright show.

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