I lived in San Francisco during the dotcom boom years; ’97 through 2001. I visited for a job interview in 2002 but hadn’t been back in about 10 years. I flew out a couple of weeks ago for an orientation session with the educational non-profit I’ve been working for since March, whose headquarters are right around the corner from TechTV’s old corporate office on Townsend. The city has more high-rise lofts and new spiffy restaurants along the Embarcadero, along with housing rental rates that may now be higher than NYC’s.
For my first two days I stayed in an AirB&B flat on Brannan, a short walk from the company office. The private room and bath were spotless and great for a change from a pricey hotel. And considering that most of the hotels close to downtown were booked months in advance, there wasn’t much choice.
The newly designed DeYoung museum was in the last stretch of a Richard Diebenkorn retrospective; The Berkeley Years. Too bad they didn’t allow photographs. The show was magnificent and the museum’s grounds were dotted with sculptures. Visit the website to see various video clips of Diebenkorn talking about painting, his daughter on his life and art, and others. How often do you get to hear Dave Brubeck and Paul Desmond on a museum site? Never. If you go, sit outside at the café for a warming cappuccino and small bites.
For all you foodies, friends treated me to dinner at the fabulous RN74, a new place on Mission, part of Michael Mina’s empire. Another friend and I ended up at Osha, across from the Embarcadero. We tried to land at Slanted Door, an excellent Vietnamese restaurant that had opened back in the day on Valencia. A group of us went back then for a special lunch that chef Charles (or his mom) created, he was a friend of one of our colleagues. Tourists and locals now pack the place.
In Mill Valley, Greg and I lunched at Joe’s Taco Lounge, a local haunt that offers vegetarian tacos and extras.
Images below include the show, gardens where I used to spend hours sketching in Golden Gate Park, my retreat in Mill Valley and an early morning trek out to Point Reyes and its lighthouse. First, a stop at the Bovine Bakery for provisions, coffee and pain d’amande. There’s a gray whale skull on display at the lighthouse visitor’s center that I’d forgotten about. After a fantastic lunch at the Farmhouse restaurant in Olema, down Rt 1 in my little Fiat that could, back through Stinson Beach and stops along the way at Muir Beach overlook.
I dropped into Claudia Chapline’s gallery at Stinson and finally had a chat with her after having been there a few other times since the late 1980s. I now own one of her small abstracts and her signed memoir, Falling Up the Stairs.
Berkeley No. 13
Diebenkorn in Berkeley
Figure on Porch