From A Cabin In The Woods: Day 2
Have you ever stayed in a setting so quiet it’s unsettling? I’m used to Los Angeles, where noise is a part of most living situations. When I moved here I was a block from a freeway entrance ramp. I’ve dated girls with noisy upstairs neighbors. I’ve lived in a house with seven roommates. I currently live on one of the most trafficked residential streets in the city. Noise — and noise cancellation — plays an important role in the health of my sleep cycle. This cabin is so quiet it’s terrifying. Every twig that snaps off a tree, every dead leaf that falls onto the skylight is booming. I slept well on my first night here, but the silence was a bit eerie. Not as eerie as the late-night cemetery stroll…but close.
The plan for Monday was to bounce around San Francisco and Berkeley. The forecast predicted rain so jackets and umbrellas were recommended. The drive from Santa Rosa took about an hour, maybe a hair longer, but by 10am the search for parking near Four Barrel Coffee (h/t Keith Law), which serves one of the better dark roasts I’ve had recently. From there I wanted to check out Stranded (currently housed in the old Aquarius Records space). Their high-end used section was a fun bin to explore (Gary Schneider! Half a dozen Jandek records!) but the rest of the store didn’t have much to offer beyond new releases, and nothing could ever replace the weirdness and charm of AQ.
Lunch was a toss up between an old favorite (El Farolito) and a newcomer that’s on most “Best Of SF” lists, WesBurger ‘n’ More. There was also chat (hope?) of maybe hitting up 21st Amendment Brewery to visit my old roommate who works there, but that didn’t work out…so…burgers. I don’t think WesBurger can compare to that of Nopa, but the all-brisket patty was really tasty, and the toppings weren’t overpowering. Good meat to bun ratio. The tots were fine, the beer (a local altbier) was serviceable.
The skies opened during lunch so instead of bouncing around between scenic views I drove up to Twin Peaks before deciding to hunker down at some local breweries while waiting for the rain to pass.
First visit was Fieldwork. They have a really comfortable, relaxed tasting room with high ceilings, plenty of seating, and some yummy empanadas to pair with your beer. They’re also dog friendly, as I chased a pup around for a bit before I started to feel like its owners were concerned I might snatch him an abscond. I wasn’t a huge fan of most of the beers I tried, unfortunately.
I do appreciate the little flip-book of descriptions and ingredients they provide so you can better curate your flight, but I wound up only really enjoying two of the six beers I sampled. I loved the Galaxy IPA, and I enjoyed — more as a fun little taste than a masterful execution of a particular style — the double brownie stout, which uses cocoa powder in the kettle and powder/nibs during fermentation. I hate using words like “fudge-y” to describe chocolate beers, but I couldn’t think of a more apt descriptor for that one.
Post-Fieldwork I had to return to The Rare Barrel to fill up my growler with some of that Mango sour to bring back to LA. I’ll feel dumb if it’s offered as a bottle next month included with my club membership, but for now I’m happy to have it.
After asking around for dinner suggestions in Santa Rosa the choices were narrowed down to a Vietnamese restaurant that was described as being “okay” and another brewpub that was described as “young and vibrant,” so there really wasn’t much of a choice to make. The hope was to enjoy a nice quiet meal, maybe a conversation with a server or bartender…you know, something lower-key than the whole Tinder-date-orphan experience at Russian River the night before. So, naturally, who sits down to my left last night at the bar just as I’m putting in an order but a woman who immediately struck up a conversation about her recent divorce. I figured bar seats weren’t conducive to conversation beyond the person standing in front of you, but oh how I was wrong. I got to see photos of all her children, hear stories about what each of them is doing with their lives, and even learn all about her divorce and its aftermath (“I finally feel single again at 43 for the first time since I was a teenager! And you’d better believe I’m making the most of it!”). I swear, I’m tempted to seek out a spot in the absolute middle of nowhere tomorrow for dinner, because at least in a five-square-block area in Santa Rosa…there are lots of strange new friends to be made.
Monday wound up being an earlier night than Sunday. Perhaps the weather was to blame, but home with the heater, some beers and warm blankets was more enticing than another bar. Day 3 is all wine tasting around Healdsburg and Geyserville. Should be fun…
Future – Hallucinating [MP3]
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