September 16, 2002
Manka's Inverness Lodge

We just got back from a night at Manka's Inverness Lodge, located, strangely enough, in Inverness -- a little village on the Pt. Reyes Seashore.

Think Chez Panisse Of The North. Boreal California, hidden, quiet, arts-and-crafts-style hunting lodge, oversized fireplaces, mica-a-plenty, Green&Green's mountain retreat. And one huge dog that seems to own the place.

And the food. Heh. Fantastic. Our meal was on par with what we've had at Chez Panisse.

We stayed in #7. Hidden outdoor redwood hot tub, field-stone fireplace, lots of details, dozens of nooks and little windows, and a great bathroom. Coulda done without the bearskin rug though. We reverently put Mr. Oso under the bed, where he could peer at us through the bed frame. Poor guy.

Summary: Indulgence. Highly recommended.

Posted by jk at 01:47 PM
September 10, 2002
Ghirardelli Square Choc-Fest

We hit the Girardelli Square Chocolate Festival this past weekend.

Mmm. Chocolate.

Go early-- many items ran out by 4pm. 2 tickets for every 3 people is probably enough. The quality of the items varied substantially: some tasty treats, some mediocre, nothing stunning. It's all for charity, so really, you can't go wrong.

Posted by jk at 10:45 AM
Chinatown Night Market

Ugh. The Chinatown Night Market wasn't for me.

My low expectations were not met. 90% of the stuff being sold is crap, just like in the tourist-traps along Grant. If you are into Chinese language media, you might pick up something interesting. I quite enjoyed some of the bootleg packaging. There were a few herb and food booths that were interesting, and the general hubbub was a treat, if not an assault on the senses.

Park in the garage beneath Portsmouth Square if you insist on driving.

Posted by jk at 10:40 AM
WarCraft III

I just keep getting killed on Battle.Net, but I keep going back for more.

WarCraft III. Another time sink.

Left-click on your various character types repeatedly, but don't give them a command. Heh.

I'm playing the Single-Player mode on 'hard'. I've only had to drop the difficulty on "The Culling" which is nearly impossible to beat, but trivial on 'Medium'. Go figure.

Posted by jk at 10:33 AM

How long have you been in the Bay Area? And you still haven't been to Filoli?

For shame. Well, perhaps not shame. Perhaps just a minor tsk-tsk. I've been here for 6 years and just got there this past week when my folks came into town.

A plant and garden lover's paradise. The house is pretty nice too. I really dug the kitchen, butler's pantry and some of the gardening equipment.

The volunteers can be a trip. Some of them are so into the place. Engage the right one in conversation, and you may have to pry yourself away. Still, it's nice to see people who have passion about something.

Posted by jk at 10:28 AM
Dipsea Trail

The Dipsea Trail is a classic Bay Area hike.

Progress through the major ecosystems of the Bay Area: Clubbish and Tree-house-y Mill Valley. Golden-brown grassland. Eucalyptus forest. Muir Woods (tourist eco-system). Redwood rain forest. Salmon spawning grounds. Sandy Stinson Beach.

Drive to Stinson and drop off one car. Pile into a second and drive over to Mill Valley. Grab a sandwitch at the Mill Valley Market and start your hike up the stairs. Bewarned: The stairs are a bit hidden behind the park, and you'll follow a few unmarked city streets here and there until you get to the top of the hill.

Posted by jk at 10:23 AM
Greek Food

Kokkari downtown San Francisco and Evvia in Palo Alto.

Recently I had the opportunity to eat in both restaurants in the same week. Ahh, a veritable lamb feast! Worth going just for the atmosphere.

Highly recommended.

Posted by jk at 10:15 AM
Sailboat Charter on SF Bay

If you want to take sailing lessons or charter a sailboat on San Francisco Bay, I'd recommend Modern Sailing Academy. Yes, the name's awkward. Some of the boats are older, but it's mostly good stock. The staff is friendly and helpful.

Don't get sucked in by all those new Hunters over at Club Nautique. They look nice, but sail like crap. We walk the Nautique boats all the time, and the staff is rude and boorish.

Chartering from Sausalito is great. You have a few minutes of motoring to get the boat set up and settle the crew. You can unfurl with plenty of sea room just past the Spinnaker restaurant (white gravel roof on the point), and reach up to the Golden Gate bridge quickly. And you'll know if you need a reef before you leave the dock!

Posted by jk at 10:12 AM

I saw Baraka at the Castro this weekend. Fantastic. Beautiful. Stunning.

Some of the best cinematography that I've ever seen. Many of the scenes would be fantastic even as stills, which is something very hard to say about most flicks.

I had to be patient with our audience. It takes a while for people to settle down, stop coughing, etc. After about 30 minutes, the theater was completely silent for minutes on end. Very cool.

A guilty-thrill - poking my wife whenever a place that we've visited came up. They mis-spelled Hagia Sophia as "Hala Sophia". There's a dozen names for the place, but this doesn't appear to be one of them.

Posted by jk at 07:55 AM