Weeks before my cousin TT’s visit from Taiwan, my slightly concerned 4th aunt had already emailed me asking me to take a little bit of time out to meet up with her daughter (it is such an Asian parent move!). Little did I know at the time how independent TT was (of course, over the span of the next week, I also realized how little I knew about her) – by the time I spoke with her on Thursday after her mid-week arrival, she had already completed a bike ride across the Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito and back (which AK and I had discussed as a possible trip for her but thought it might be too sporty), and had more plans for the next week or so (including even walks with the Sierra Club). I knew it was time to start researching to show her a good time. There is pressure to perform when someone visits your hometown – it’s like when people see your husband/boyfriend/significant other/child for the first time, you want everything to be perfect.
As it turned out, TT’s hubby WW did not have to report to work until around noon on Saturday (clearly, the guy works too hard, although since he is traveling on his company’s dime and they are in litigation, it is understandable), so I thought we could spend the morning at the Ferry Building, an embodiment of sustainable farming with small, local growers and lots of European-style artisan shops, and catch the weekly farmers market. Since I got up early, I immediately set out to obtain a few cups of the highly addictive and aromatic Blue Bottle Coffee, where every cup of coffee is actually individually dripped and prepared (the only downside is that Treasa’s moist and delicious scones are not sold here – they are only available in the Hayes Valley location and online at Hello, Bon Bon – check out her recent coverage in the trendsetting and style-defining Daily Candy newsletter), and TT+WW waited in line for the breakfast plates at the Hayes Street Grill stand. WW had the drip coffee, TT ordered a cappuccino and I had my usual latte – each cup was excellent and worth the 20-minute wait! Times like this I definitely wonder how Starbucks manages to say in business. The breakfast plates from Hayes Street Grill (I think we had sausage and eggs and split a grilled salmon sandwich), on the other hand, were decent but nothing spectacular.
We then sauntered around before making the obligatory stop at Cowgirl Creamery (WW was nice enough to take them back to his swanky hotel, the Omni, for refrigeration) where I tried and bought a French cheese called Abbaye de Belloc (made from sheep’s milk by Benedictine monks of the abbey at Notre Dame de Belloc – Dang! Even French monks know a thing or two about fine living) and a chunk of the very strong Red Hawk, which is also a triple creme but aged with “washed rind” (euphemism for extra stinky). TT took some photos with her SLR camera, which needless to say was hanging from her neck advertising her tourist status the entire time. We finally ended the leisurely morning with a scoop of gelato at Ciao Bella (one of us had two scoops, but I’m not saying who). I highly recommend the hazelnut and pistachio, although TT really loved the tartness of the lemon flavor (too sour for me).
By the time we bid adieu to WW, it was close to 1pm, and we hurried to get on the road for the 2-hour drive to Monterey. Although we had initially agreed to visit Napa Valley and do some wine-tasting, TT changed her mind after reading about kayaking in Monterey on a friend’s blog. I had not kayaked since my 20s (during law school, one of my summer associate firms had an outing in Monterey), and TT had never done it either – it was a case of the blind leading the blind. Details will be posted soon.
(P.S. Since I forgot to take my camera along, I don’t have any photos from TT’s trip. Waiting for her to send me the photos…)