Friday, April 17, 2009

San Francisco, CA - Day 3

In April I travelled to San Francisco, CA for a research conference. I had two presentations to give and in my free time I got to see the city. Here is a narrative of my explorations, and a video montage of my photos is already posted.

Day 3:
I sit on a committee that reviews grant applications for graduate student research- its a small committee- 4 people. They had a meeting set for this morning at 9AM Eastern. That's 6AM Western. I felt bad not being able to discuss the applications so I emailed them and said I could call in for the meeting. But I didn't send that email until I was at the Butterfly, which was after close of business. So, being the nice guy I am, I woke up in time for the meeting assuming they'd email me a number to call in to, and sure enough they did. Finished the meeting, and got ready for the last day of the conference. I headed over to the convention center and listened to a couple talks, and then checking out more exhibits. I really liked their NanoArt exhibit- much more impressive than CNSE's NanoArt exhibit, but they had a LOT more people to draw from. I also talked to some educational outreach guy since we've been looking for new ideas for activities and demonstrations for when we have middle and high school students visit. Then I hit up Starbuck's for breakfast, and went back to the convention center for more talks, and then breaked for lunch. I went across the street to a little mall and settled upon Jillian's. Again, I sat at the bar and had a drink. It was a really good panini. It was the first panini that was grilled PERFECTLY- the bread was nice and consistently brown- amazing. I also opted for some scotch after my meal and (after consulting the price list) settled on a double of Johnnie Walker Gold. Sooooo good, and much cheaper than the Macallan I had the other day. I had a couple of more talks to hear, and then my second presentation. This was my actual research and went really well. The questions I had were much more constructive and curious so I was really happy. After that I headed back to my hotel to change.

At this point it was 4PM on a BEAUTIFUL Friday afternoon in downtown San Francisco. I had noticed a person I was following on Twitter (the "internet famous" @JuliaAllison and @MeghanAsha) was in San Francisco, and in the Union Square area. So I tried to find them with them, with no luck. But, there were tons of local artists out in Union Square and I found a couple that I liked. I picked up some art from a street artist in Barcelona and hung it in my bedroom and LOVE it. I decided to make it a habit to buy art when I travel so I can decorate my place and have stories to tell. So I bought some from people in SF with a wine focus. The funny thing was that they weren't allowed to sell art in the Square. They could SHOW art, but not sell it. We had to walk to the sidewalk for the transaction. I felt like I was buying drugs, not art. Awesome. Dropped the art at the room and got ready for dinner.

I had a list of nightlife spots I wanted to hit up. "Sway" was a whiskey bar, "Press Club" was a wine bar, and there was a dance club that I can't remember the name for. I decided that since I'm in California, and I don't have time to visit the wine country, I would hit up the Press Club. The problem was the place appeared to be very upscale. So, I dressed up a little bit and headed over to the Press Club. The Press Club is a wine bar that rents out bays to wineries- 6 of them- who do tastings and retail of their products. There is also a common bar that also serves food, and plenty of lounge seating. When you walk in you are set up with a hotel key card (more or less) and whenever you want to taste a wine, or order anything you hand over that card and it is added to your tab. So I go in, and sit at the common bar and order a "flight" which is three wines paired with three types of cheese. AMAZING. But not very filling, so I follow this up by ordering a dessert flight of three mini cupcakes paired with three more wines. Also amazing. The best one, hands down, was this pear walnut cake with a light brie frosting. I'm still drooling over it. After I finished this one (second of three) this lady next to me started asking about them, and talked about how much fun they looked. She was with her husband and seemed harmless. Our conversation ended when their food came. I finished and headed over to the bays. I first stopped by the Chateau Montelena bay. This is the winery that won the famous 1976 "Paris Tasting" featured in the movie "Bottle Shock" that put California on the wine map. I had tasted their wine (twice) during my meal so I ordered a bottle of their wine, and headed over to the Miner Family Vineyard- it was featured in the looped infomercial in my hotel room so I figured it must be good! I blindly ordered a bottle of their wine as well and got ready to head out. Before I could, the lady who was next to me at the bar stopped me and started with "This is going to sound really weird..." Um, yup! But go on. Basically, she had a sister/niece/friend she wanted to hook me up with since I look "cute, fashionable, and intelligent" and wanted to know if I was "single, straight, and local" - in that order. I of course had to decline but was flattered. It was really nice, and I checked out, picked up my bottles of wine and headed back to my room. The food wasn't all that filling so I ended up hitting up Burger King before hitting the hay.

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