|This was taken at the (insert SF neighborhood) place where we ate the truffle pasta|
Most of the places we go are Nikki's idea. If I made the decisions we would only see the inside of the local Irish pub. Sometimes on my birthday we spend the whole time going from one Irish pub to another, and it's great. For me. Nikki has broader ambitions than to smell farts and eat dirt encrusted peanuts in various locales (coupled with a Guinness!). I don't get it, but I indulge her suggestions.
Typically when she suggests a place, I roll my eyes and ask, "Really?" "Are you sure?" There's never a reason for this other than to post the opening protest like a flag in the ground. The negotiation now has a starting point. This way, when I later concede, I will be perceived as the compromiser. I don't think she reads these things, so she'll never know.
She's a little more sophisticated in her choices than I am. She like wineries and fine food with a touch of class. She does a lot of research and thinking about where we should go. It's never last moment. It's nice because the choices are 90% good (a 10%er is the Rock Wall Winery in Alameda where the wine tasted like wet dish sponge). The bad part is that her choices involve intricate ties to past events which means I get asked about them in the course of trying to decide where to go this weekend. Example:
Nikki: I was thinking about going to Rock Wall this weekend.
Me: Really? Are you sure? (see above).
Nikki: Yes, don't you remember the time when we ate at that pizza place in Half Moon Bay and they served us the Rock Wall, it was the last bottle they had and we loved it?
Me: (mind furiously racing, trying to recall something, anything, resembling what she just described. Nothing!) Of course, that was great time. We should definitely go to Rock Wall.
I'm sure I got the details above wrong.
We've rarely had a downright terrible experience, though. The closest we've come to "bad" is having over-saturated truffle pasta while sitting next to a table full of spoiled kids, the kind who demand their parents do something, and the parents acquiesce. Of course, I can't remember the name of the place, but I know it was in some small sub-section of a San Francisco neighborhood.
* It seems there are at least 1,500 different neighborhoods in the SF area. Asking me if I remember the time we ate the delicious meal in Noe Valley is not effective. Ask me about a cheeseburger, though, and it's highly likely I can tell you the street name.
Sometimes we bicker in the car, but it's never serious. It's usually some variation of me planting the flag and asking "Are You Sure, there's an Irish Pub right down the street?"
The fact of the matter is that she makes excellent choices. We always have fun, and I always get to shoot a few photos. Despite all of my complaints there's nobody else I would rather have these experiences with. She's my travel partner.
|Etude Winery in Napa. I made her take a break from wine tasting to go to this back area for a quick photo.|
|Dragon Rouge in Alameda. Excellent Vietnamese food.|
|Beef wrapped mango at the Dragon Rouge. Really, truly awesome.|
|Spring Rolls at Dragon Rouge|
|Rocker at Squaw Valley. Can you tell who's choice this was?|
|Achadinha cheese company in Petaluma. This is the Donna Pacheco (no relation). Here I confirmed my last name is pronounced PAW-SHAY-KO. The name of the company is pronounced AW-SHUH-DEEN-YA|
|Achadinha cheese maker. There are 600 head of goats right there on the farm. We got to sample cheese with an aroma of goat shit lingering in the air.|