How was it that I missed the Zuni Cafe the last two times I was in San Francisco? Oh my goodness. Oysters. Pappardelle with duck sauce. Goat cheese with fennel. Oh yeah.
I consciously split the oysters across species lines this time— Pacific oysters, kumamotos, and Virginicas. You know, the Virginicas? Really really good. In fact, they tasted a little like home. I seriously had one of those Proustian moments; tears came to my eyes. There was something about the taste that brought back the Atlantic to me (if not the Chesapeake). Had really nice discussions with the waitress about fennel, about appropriate wines to go with pappardelle with duck sauce…
In addition to a good conference week, it has been a great food week here. Monday night I went to the Thirsty Bear, which had moderately interesting beer (the ESB and Maibock were quite good, but the Märzen was weak) and good tapas (marinated anchovies and small portions of hangar steak).
I took a quiet night on Tuesday, but last night George took me to a neighborhood sushi restaurant that was to die for. The proprietor served us three rounds of sushi, each more special than the last—flying fish, butterfish, yellowtail, and “pencil fish” sashimi, followed by a round of unusual nigiri (the Japanese suzuki particularly was excellent), wrapped up with a round of phenomenal inventions. The two outstanding options here were the Alaskan King Crab Remix, a bundle of crab in a thin wrapper topped with salmon (I think), and nigiri-style Kobe beef that was seared under a blowtorch and that simply melted in the mouth. George, if you can remind me of the name of the place I’ll be eternally indebted.
Afterwards we tried a few glasses of wine at the California Wine Merchant, including a surprising Rhone blend from one of the Sonoma wineries and a Zin/cab sauv/merlot/cab franc blend called Paraduxx that was just outstanding. We ran into an old friend, Chris McCall, there and had a relaxed, civilized time. (In fact, it’s been Old Home Week here, what with my Microsoft friends and Wahoo Kurt Daniel, who now works for SWSoft on their virtualization product, on the expo floor.)
Tonight: I’ll try the Zuni Cafe, a food institution I’ve meant to visit for a long time, then head to the airport for my red-eye, which should be a rude awakening. Maybe I can con United into upgrading me for free again.
I spent the day today bouncing back and forth between sessions that were a little closer to our product’s core functionality (service desk, asset management) and actually doing product demo. I had a demo via Webex that ended just twenty minutes before I had to check out of my hotel room.
An aside to the Gartner folks: please try not to stack the ITXpo on the same week as JavaOne again. There weren’t any non-smoking rooms available in any hotels, and my congestion is killing me after three nights (and one two-hour demo) in the sour stale smoke in my room at the Renaissance.