2007 got off to a great start. Mr. MP let me tag along with him on a business trip to my favorite city in the world. A car picked us up from the airport and we checked into The Muse hotel. We had a wild night out with a college friend and her significant other, who happens to be an English lord, in their neighborhood: Williamsburg, Brooklyn. I experienced a hangover at Tiffany's. We saw four Broadway shows in three days: Little Dog Laughed, a hilarious play, The Apple Tree starring Kristin Chenoweth, Spring Awakening before it became a huge sensation and Tony winner and Grey Gardens, based on the documentary that MP loves and adores. Just when it was time for MP to head home, CF flew out to join me. We moved hotels, and were joined by his brother and sister-in-law who were visiting from Boston for his birthday. We found out that people with long legs shouldn't see opera at The Met, but we had a fabulous dinner out at Otto. I also caught one more Broadway show, a fantastic revival of Company. D&M headed home and we were joined by yet another travel buddy, Mr.PdP! We had Brazilian fusion at Sushi Samba and CF had a light night slice from Joe's while we were in the right neighborhood. We missed the West Village on this trip! We hopped on the subway back to our hotels, our stop being a couple before P's we waved goodbye to him and the train winded away. I thought to myself what an amazing life I have that I can meet up with a friend in NYC and part ways on the subway! The next morning we enjoyed brunch at SaraBeth's West and discovered Jacques Torres while waiting for a delayed flight home. What an adventure!
I designed Oscar party invites for a friend, ended up attending and winning the trivia competition! I'll have to check out the calendar this year and try to host a party. I flew to San Diego to help host a baby shower for my sister. Thanks to Yelp.com I found a fantastic place to host a ladies' tea party in her honor. It really was nice.
We spent our anniversary in March at the Ventana Inn in Big Sur. We had discovered it on our honeymoon (while on a drive out of Carmel) and had an amazing lunch on their restaurant's huge back patio. The view of the ocean was incredible. We had always wanted to return so we finally did. The hotel wasn't quite what we might have expected and it rained so much we couldn't go for the hosted nature walk like I had been hoping, but it was a nice and relaxing weekend. On our way home we stopped in Carmel for a meal at Casanova. They have great food but the shining star was their sun-dried tomato and olive tapenade served with the bread. The waitress said they knew it would be a hit if they could bottle and sell it but it doesn't keep well enough. So if you ever need a nice meal in Carmel, do yourself a favor and go try it!
Right before our anniversary I drove to SF to turn in a resume for my current job. I was expecting to have drive the 45 minutes just to turn around and come back after handing it over, but the person I happened to hand it to asked if I'd like to talk to the area manager, and she asked me if I'd like to interview right then and there. Another 45 minutes later she asked, "So if I were to offer you a full time position, do you think you would probably accept?" And I said, "Yeah, I'd need a little time, but probably." This was followed with her saying, "Okay, well I'm offering you a full time job." Instant job offer! Knowing what I do now I can see how this was an easy decision for her, but it seemed pretty crazy at the time! So this was the beginning of my crazy retail career. I met the team of people who had been rounded up, a few of these people are still with me at the store. I instantly liked KM, though I had no idea we'd practically end up being sisters, or maybe even twins. So we did our training, and helped with the actual set up of the store. We opened at the beginning of May, just before my birthday.
Speaking of birthdays, this year was the big 3-0. I had a great time going out with friends in Half Moon Bay. Honestly I am liking myself more than ever lately so I don't mind the getting older. Sure, sure, my back is always getting out of alignment, my knees have very recently been giving me a scare, there are a few lines on my face and some gray hairs that can no longer be ignored. But really, I was excited to start a new decade, it felt like a clean slate. My birthday present from CF was one of my most prized possessions, my digital SLR, a Canon Rebel. I've taken it many places and taken many photos with it. I try to experience life and the people and places I am near, but damn it, I love getting a great shot too!
CF celebrated his birthday with a trip to the city. We took the ferry to Larkspur and had lunch at the Marin Brewing Company. We splurged on a nice room at Hotel Vitale back in San Francisco, it was one of the few upgraded rooms I've ever thought was worth the money. We had amazing views of the Bay Bridge and Ferry Building.
My niece was actually born near the end of April, but I didn't have the opportunity to go visit her until her baptism at the end of June. She is adorable and it was great to have the whole family together in San Diego.
In August I got to take my mom back to NYC, yes folks, that was the second time I was there in 2007! But this trip was planned further in advance. A month before we went I had a frantic morning of dial-and-redial which scored us a reservation at Babbo, the crown jewel of Mario Batali's NY restaurants! We left early Monday morning and took the AirTrain and subway into the city. I had reserved the Greenwich Village guest studio that CF and I had stayed at two birthdays ago. Our hostess was actually away from home right then but because she knew me she let us stay anyway! Her friend let us in, and it was great having our own place all week. We went for a walk and that night we had our magical dining experience at Babbo. It was absolutely amazing. I know we kept notes about the food there, I should do a write up. The next day we took the subway to Brooklyn and found the Jaques Torres storefront there. The woman behind the counter asked where we were from and when my mom answered, "Davis, California." I gave her a bad time, expecting the woman to only recognize Sacramento or San Francisco. But silly me, it turns out this woman had visited Davis with Jaques himself... he spoke at UC Davis, which totally makes sense considering the emphasis on food science! We loaded up on "Wicked iced hot chocolate" a version of their spiced hot chocolate blended with ice for the warmer months, and then we walked back to Manhattan across the Brooklyn Bridge. We took a brief rest and then walked through Little Italy, continued through SoHo, and then to grab a sandwich at a place I had read about on newyorkdailyphoto.blogspot.com. It took a couple hours but we had walked all the way home from Brooklyn! We rested a while and then went up to Tiffany's, Rockefeller Center (and the Top of the Rock) and then went to try our luck at the Wicked lottery. $25 tickets for the front row weren't in the cards for us, so we got seats for The Drowsy Chaparone at the TKTS booth. We had another amazing meal, this one made up of four appetizers we split at Little Owl near home before going and enjoying the wonderful show. And then we had my required NYC food experience, tempura green beans at The Red Cat in Chelsea. My poor mother got in bed and started to read her book, but promptly passed out. What a day! The next day we went to check out the Union Square green market where a lot of the restaurants in the city get their fresh ingredients. Then we got matinee tickets to Curtains, a cheesy show that won me over with David Hyde Pierce's huge fantasy dance number. We got to experience Burger Joint, the hidden hole-in-the-wall inside Le Parker Meridian hotel for lunch before the show. We considered seeing a second show that day but when we still didn't win the Wicked lottery we decided just to take it easy and had slices from Joe's for dinner at home and got to catch up on a little sleep. Thursday we trekked up to brunch at SaraBeth's on the UWS, and mom had a soap star eating right behind her. We checked out Zabar's grocery store, imagine sight seeing in a food wonderland while little old ladies try to do their shopping! Then we got back on the subway and trekked all the way up to the Cloisters, an amazing satellite of the Met, with a beautiful garden. My friend from high school who moved to NY in '01 had always recommended the Cloisters from my very first visit in '04 on... and I finally made it up there. It was wonderful, totally worth the journey. We rode almost all the way home but stopped to check out Chelsea Markets, and wander back through Greenwich Village until we got home. That evening we had dinner with some friends of mine from college who happened to be visiting as well. I finally got to try Bar Pitti, a cheap but popular Italian joint near home. I think my fellow travelers enjoyed it all right, but they were really sold once I pointed out Kirsten Dunst (and Simon Pegg as it turned out) eating in the outside dining area! We all hopped on the subway and my friends went off to enjoy Avenue Q while I made a return visit to Spring Awakening. My special NY connection had booked us the best house seats I had ever scored. 5th row and dead center. It was so cool to see a show from such great seats! The next day we packed up and said goodbye to our special little home away from home. We got lunch from Murray's Cheese and enjoyed a little picnic in a little fenced off park. It was a nice way to wind down. We grabbed one last round of cookies from Rocco's Bakery and jumped on the subway to Brooklyn. We visited a friend of mine there who had just had a baby. We got some dinner and then trekked out to JFK, where we were horribly delayed thanks to a little bit of rain. But we made it home eventually, tired but happy.
Two short weeks later I was jetting off to a different city, we visited Chicago with our friend the DP's. I got to visit my store's headquarters and distribution before they joined us. We had a weekend of dining, drinking and lots and lots of fun. The first night we had martinis at Martini Park, before crossing the street for dinner at Fogo de Chão (never have a seen a restaurant so full of drunk people!), and then we even managed to have a round of beers at the Clark Street Ale House. It was crazy! The next night we had a huge Italian meal and visited Howl at the Moon, a dueling piano bar with overly caffeinated musicians playing their hearts out. Good fun! I came back tired and ready to take a break from traveling, but the truth was the biggest trip of the year was yet to come!
The weekend after Chicago we attended the wedding of one of my oldest friends. It was such a trip to see people who I met when I was 12 and hadn't seen in something like 10 years. The ceremony was performed by a comedian and he opened by giving the impression that the entire thing was going to be delivered like the priest in The Princess Bride! The groom's brother (another theater buddy of mine) sang, and it was so nice to see a couple have so much fun with their wedding. At the reception I sat at "the kids table" which meant I was sitting with my old theater friends and we danced and drank the night away. I barely made it to work in one piece the next day.
Later that month we were back in San Francisco where we had yet another magical dining experience by visiting Restaurant Gary Danko. The whirlwind continued the next weekend with FallFest, a fantastic event in the city full of wine and food. CF had too much sake though and the evening was cut a bit short. The DP's were with us and were great sports about it. I think they'll even go back with us next year... maybe.
It wasn't too much longer after then that we took off for Europe... and well, you know what happens next!
Currently I am hanging out in Davis with the whole big family. The niece is entertaining us just by being her cute little self. Tomorrow is New Year's Eve, CF and I are rounding up the troops to trek out to Roseville for a party we were instrumental in scheduling. Hee hee. I'll try to write some more later about my thoughts about a new year. But just writing everything that happened this year out makes me realize what a great year this was. I know I always say this, but I can't wait to see what happens next!!!