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Jamie & Andy Come to California for a Visit!

7/20/11 - Oakland, CA

We welcome our first visitors since our return to the Bay Area

Last weekend, we welcomed friends Andy and Jamie from Albuquerque as our first guests here in Oakland!  If you're wondering how they managed to get out here so fast, we had actually arranged the visit prior to our departure from New Mexico.  Back in May, Andy already had plans to be in southern CA for work in mid-July and thought it would be fun to tack on a visit to us and then drive down the coast before his work meetings began later in the week.  And luckily, Jamie was able to make the trip as well.  Considering Scott's hectic work schedule and it being the last full weekend of us living in our sublet before moving into our new apartment, the timing turned out to be a bit crazy and so we didn't quite manage to roll out our usual red carpet for our guests as we would have liked.  But despite the circumstances, everyone seemed to enjoy the visit, guests and hosts alike.

Saturday began with a delicious breakfast at home of coffee, gourmet pastries, baguette, salami and cheese, followed by a walk through the neighborhood for a tour of our partially moved-into new apartment.   Just before lunch, we set off on the BART train for San Francisco, having planned a day of low-key sight-seeing followed by dinner at Bix, an old favorite restaurant of ours sandwiched between North Beach and the financial district on a quiet alleyway.  For more than a week before Jamie and Andy's arrival, Caroline obsessively followed the weather forecast, watching it get colder by the day.  The Saturday forecast for San Francisco was in the high 50s, not atypical as July is known to be quite chilly in the Bay Area, especially near the water.  Heeding the forecast, Caroline dressed in layer upon layer, preparing for the worst.  The weather in Oakland seemed quite mild and everyone else (wisely ignoring Caroline's paranoid warnings) put on more summery clothing prior to leaving to catch the train.  But Caroline wouldn't be fooled...and then proceeded to spend the day sweating like a pig (explaining why she might look a bit damp in the photos...), and carrying most of her clothes around in her bag!  Lesson learned?  Probably not!  Thanks for nothing, Mr. Weatherman!

Fortunately (for everyone, even sweaty Caroline), it turned out to be a lovely, summer day in the City.  We passed the afternoon leisurely strolling about, starting with a brief tour through the gourmet delights at the Ferry Building and lunch on the waterfront deck at Red's Java House.  After some shopping and an afternoon coffee in Union Square, we hopped a very slow-moving cable car (the cable broke down twice while still in view of the turnaround in Union Square!).  Despite the delays, we still made it in time for pre-dinner drinks at the bar before our meal at Bix.  The food at Bix was perhaps a bit lackluster this time, but the service was superb, the live music fun (if a bit loud) and the overall ambience enjoyable.  After dinner and a lot of drinks, good conversation and laughter, we took the long way back, on a round-about moonlit stroll through North Beach and by touristy (although quiet in the dark of night) Coit Tower, back to Oakland and home to our beds after a fun but exhausting day.

We took it a bit slower on Sunday, having breakfast and a light lunch at home, followed by (messy and rather bland) gourmet ice cream cones in Elmwood and a walk through the neighborhood.  After a short driving tour through the Oakland Hills led by Scott, we enjoyed happy hour on our deck, consisting of fresh fruit, cured meats, cheese, baguette and lots of wine, which Andy had fun shopping for earlier in the day.  We capped off the visit with a casual, but spicy dinner at House of Curries before saying goodnight and goodbye prior to our guests' morning departure.  We just wish we were able to accompany them for more fun on the remainder of their journey, ending in San Diego!  Have fun, you guys!

Jamie & Andy, as they exit the Apple Store in Union Square


Caroline & Jamie in Union Square


Jamie & Scott wait patiently in the cable car line (while Andy pops in the Oakley Store just around the corner)


Laughing at Scott's typical dry wit?


Catalog-posing with the view of San Francisco from the Oakland Hills


Jamie, Andy and Caroline pose with the view of the Bay from the Oakland Hills


On the platform, waiting for the BART train to San Francisco with Andy & Jamie


Jamie enjoys the rare SF sunshine on the deck at Red's Java House


Jamie & Andy stop for a quintessential Bay Bridge pose


Andy & Scott take a beak in Union Square


Jamie relaxes in Union Square


The tour guides


Riding the cable car: "it's moving, it's finally moving!"


Jamie enjoys the view...and the solitude