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That was overly dramatic. I left a piece of my heart.

And it is good and normal and we even tried to make it fun.

The day/night before we left we had a houseful of Max's friends. They all spent the night so they could see us off in the morning. It was a pretty cool send off.

Once we got up there, I was relieved that the $47 a night 2 star motel that I reserved off of hotwire turned out to be pretty decent. I couldn't spend five nights in a hovel.

After we checked in, we just relaxed for a while waiting for Matt to make it up North. I don't know if I mentioned it here before, but Matt, Max's cousin also decided to go to Cogswell. They are roommates. Once he arrived, everyone looked to me for plans. I tried to evaluate everyone's mood. Were they up for another 30 mile drive just for dinner? I knew Max and Matt were. They both love the city. Kevin will go where ever I go. Sam won't like it no matter what but he's been really good at "dealing" lately. Jeff was the unknown factor. I interviewed him and he seemed up for it so we took off for North Beach.

I love North Beach. I've even written about it before. In fact, that post is a lot like it always is although this time instead of eating at Pinocchio's we ate at North Beach Pizza. It's becoming a tradition. Third time in a row! I got to walk around a bit. I hit City Lights Book Store and I even got my Z. Cioccolato in and the good news is that Sam was on board! He actually bought a ton of taffy and seemed to enjoy it very much. Times change.

The next morning we tied up lose financial aid ends at the school and then had some lunch before we started moving.

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Their place is nicer than mine. It's a three bedroom. Justin and Cameron have the other two bedrooms. They pay more to have their own room. Did you notice the laundry room off the kitchen?!?! I should be so lucky.

Once their stuff was in the apartment we went to IKEA, Target, Costco and the grocery store to get them all stocked up. In the middle we had dinner at Outback. It was kinda fun because everyone was in good spirits. We were exhausted but we got it all done. The bathroom looks weird though. For some reason they have a bright green rug, a red towel, a blue towel and a black, tan and white shower curtain which they purchased brand new that day. Strange tastes.

Wednesday night Max spent his first night in his new apartment and even woke himself up to make it to placement testing Thursday morning. Kevin, Sam, Jeff and I had a nice breakfast at some country style diner before heading back to Cogswell for orientation. It didn't last long so we drove around looking at comic book stores. That evening Cogswell paid for everyone to play laser tag. I ditched all the men and went to get tickets for the Inglorious Basterds midnight show. Everyone including the new roommates Justin and Cameron went that night. That was a fun but once again exhausting night.

Friday, the students had to be at school but everyone else did not. Once I figured out I would have an unexpectedly free day Max asked if I could cook him breakfast burritos to freeze so Friday I hit the grocery store and then went to Max's apartment. He likes suicide burritos so I cooked ham, bacon, sausage, potatoes and eggs and then put them all together and into the freezer.

That night Cogswell was hosting Game Night. Kevin decided not to attend. Melissa just arrived with Ryder that morning so Jeff had dinner with them. That left Kevin and I to do something I've always wanted to do: Have dinner at Chez Panisse in Berkeley. It was worth it to me.

Alice Waters, chef and co-owner of Chez Panisse advocates eating locally produced foods that are in season. She's believed this since 1964 when she took a trip to France and experienced it there. That way of thinking is all the rage now, but she's a pioneer.

I was worried about Kevin. She changes the menu daily and he is quite the picky eater. We started with a bowl of celery soup and a mixed green salad with baked goat cheese. Kevin tried the soup carefully avoiding the creme fraiche swirl and any cracked pepper and declared that it tasted like celery. He moved on to the greens avoiding the frisee and leaving me the goat cheese. We were both very satisfied (I loved the soup!). Next up was sliced pork for Kevin which was perfectly cooked and incredibly moist. Without eating it I could tell just by looking at it across the table. It was served with okra (which he avoided) and a fried green tomato encrusted with polenta. I haven't ever eated a fried green tomato that I liked. This one was awesome. It was sweet and not at all bitter. Even Kevin didn't hate it. I had roasted halibut served with really good green beans and a braised pepper medley. I don't normally like a lot of peppers but these red, yellow and orange ones were so sweet and delicious. For dessert Kevin had peaches with peach sorbet and a scoop of what he thought was vanilla. I tasted it and it tasted of almonds but I wanted him to keep eating it. Eventually we asked and it was made from the inside of a peach pit, that little white thing that smells like almonds. I did some research and it's also made from an apricot pit and in fact I found Chez Panisse's recipe that uses an apricot pit! It's called Noyau which I believe is a French word for "kernel". Anyhow, both Kevin and I loved it.

That said we might have loved my ice cream more. It was served alongside a berry crisp and tasted like cardamom to me and pfefferneuse cookies to Kevin (which strangely is his favorite cookie). Turns out it was "ras el hanout" a Moroccan spice blend which literally means "Top of the shelf". It contains Cumin, rose petals, long pepper, paprika, myrrh crystal, myrtle leaves, bay leaves, cinnamon, turmeric, ginger and anise. I'm glad we made it there. I learned a lot and enjoyed every bite.

Saturday we (Jeff, Melissa, Ryder, Max, Sam, Kevin and I) jumped in the Tahoe and toured San Francisco. Jeff and Melissa haven't really been there so I showed them around. We started the day at the Ferry Building and Farmer's Market. That was my pick. I love that place and have written about it before as well. What I've never seen is the Farmer's Market. sweet_pickles was so right about the peaches. I was walking by their outdoor stand and they had fruit samples that they were putting in people's faces. I had forgotten about her comment regarding the peaches so I'm very grateful one ended up in my mouth. It was the best peach I've ever tasted. The flavor was incredible.


Earlier in the week Jeff mentioned that Melissa wanted to see Golden Gate park. I asked him which part of the park since it's so huge. I tried to explain but in the end, because I knew Jeff would like Haight/Ashbury and because Ryder would like the Children's play area, I just parked at the end of Haight and we walked into the park. We rode the carousel and played for a bit and then we walked and walked. Finally we saw a map and that explained in pictures what I couldn't in words. Everyone was pretty much done walking so we headed back.

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We walked past the Conservatory of Flowers on our way back. I felt compelled to go in since I've never been and since my dad is very interested in flower photography. I sent everyone off to Haight (which I've seen fifty billion times) and paid my $5 to get in. There was a lot of green plants and some orchids. There were also weird alien looking plants and a cute little guy that looked like a pirate with a big hat. You can see all the pics from the inside of the Conservatory here. If you want to see what I mean by aliens and pirates you might want to click "show info" if you're seeing the slideshow and "detail" if you are looking at the pics outside the slideshow.

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As I headed back to catch up with everyone I saw a sign pointing to a Dahlia Garden. It just so happens that my dad special orders Dahlia's to grow in his backyard garden every year. They are gorgeous and they are very photogenic. I had to follow the sign and I'm glad I did. You can see all the dahlia pics here.

Finally I caught up with the rest of the group. Everyone except Jeff and Melissa had a light lunch at The People's Cafe while Jeff and Melissa continued walking Haight. Afterward we got in the car and I gave them a driving tour because everyone was so tired.



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It's funny looking at these pics. You see similarities among people. Max and Ryder sleeping and listening to music. Jeff and Sam sticking their tongue out when they eat. Fun.

We drove around with Kevin's cousin Rachel for a bit. She goes to school up there. We drove over the Golden Gate Bridge and into Sausalito and back. After we dropped Rachel off we parked near Fisherman's wharf. We ate dinner at The Franciscan. It's hard for me to eat on the wharf. I always feel like I'm getting cheated like a tourist. It's one thing to pay a small ransom for a one-time Bellini at Harry's Bar in Venice, Italy. It's another to eat mediocre meals in a place you seem to frequent at least once a year. However, I am happy to report that we did not experience that side of Fisherman's Wharf this time. You couldn't beat the view of Alcatraz or the extensive menu. The food wasn't all perfect (the shrimp cocktail was overcooked and tasteless) but most of it was excellent. Kevin and Sam loved Kevin's braised short ribs. Everyone else had seafood of course and seemed to enjoy it. Afterward we walked to Ghirardelli and then we drove home.

Sunday we checked out, picked up the boys from their apartment and had one last breakfast at the Original Pancake House with Steve and Dee who drove up Saturday night. Saying goodbye after breakfast was hard but there were so many people there it wasn't very emotional at all. Max gave me a good long hug that made me happy. And we left.

Too see all the trip pics you can go here.


( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 27th, 2009 11:49 pm (UTC)
Hurray! Thank you for the post! I wanted to see pictures and read stories! BTW Max txt'd me for Math homework help on Tuesday night. LOL I didn't get the TXT until the next morning because I was asleep at 11:00pm when he sent me the TXT! Bad Aunty! going to bed on time like that.

I was flattered though *blush*
Aug. 28th, 2009 12:02 am (UTC)
Yeah, you're his first math choice!
Aug. 30th, 2009 04:31 am (UTC)
ooh i love your photos! Those kids sleeping are just precious. And your food porn aint bad either! :D
Aug. 31st, 2009 02:02 am (UTC)
I'm kinda partial to the kids too. :) Thanks!
Aug. 31st, 2009 05:09 am (UTC)
Oh man, I feel sorta sad too about Max being gone, even though I'm not there. It just sort of feels weird. I hope he loves it.

Great dahlia pictures and that peach tart thing looks amazing.

I didn't realize Jeff went, and that Dee met you guys there, that's cool, Max got a real send off.
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )



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