I wake at 8. AM. Waking up is always a good start to the day.
I’ve only one thing on my mind: brekkie. The fried things on a plate with bacon kind. I need fuel for what threatens to be a long day.
I don’t fancy eating in the hotel, but have spotted a diner on the map. Not too far away. And not up any hills. It’s even on the same street as my hotel. The sun is shining and my appetite rising as I trundle down the hill.
Damn. They’re shut. Don’t open until 11:00. Pardon me? What’s the point of a diner that doesn’t open at breakfast time?
Time for some random hopeful wandering. What about the kitsch palace that’s Tommy’s Joynt? Maybe they do a fry up. It’s not far. And not uphill, another important consideration.
It looks open. Staff are scurrying around inside.
“Are you open?”
“Yes, but just for drinks. We don’t serve food until eleven.”
I could hang around for a bit, a drink assuaging my hunger.
“Do you do breakfast?”
I’m tempted to say “Well do the trouser press, baby.” But just turn and leave instead. Bum, bum, bum. Where to go now? There must be a breakfast somewhere nearby. Mustn’t there?
Hang on. What’s that over the road? Mel's Drive-in. Sounds like it could acquaint the spot with a damn good thrashing.
It certainly looks the part inside. Classic diner décor, even down to the staff’s uniforms.
You’d think after ordering as many breakfasts in the US as I have that I’d be confident of the fried egg terminology. But there’s always a nagging doubt before I order: what’s the order of the words “easy” and “over”? I could wimp out and ask for sunny side up, but that’s not how I want my eggs. I go with “over easy” and get no weird look. Did I get it right or is tip anxiety at play?
Breakfast is decent. Though a slice of black pudding would have cheered it up. And me. You need iron.
I’ve a bit of a thirst thing going on. Because of the drought, you don’t automatically get a glass of iced water any more. The orange juice was dead good, mind.
“Can I get another orange juice and the check?”
I go all American when I’m in the US. At least in a few terms. Nothing conscious. It just sort of happens.
The bill is a shock. $25. WTF? The food wasn’t more than $10. Taking a closer look, I’ve paid $11 for two orange juices. That’ll teach me to order without looking at the price on the menu. It was a nice breakfast which would have only been marginally less nice without the orange juice.
Lesson learned, older but wiser and several other clichés heavier, I climb the hill to my hotel. For a bit of a lie down, if I’m honest.
The sort of lying down watching crap TV that fills my time in hotel rooms. Occasionally spiced up with a dram of Laphroaig. Medicinal whisky – does anyone still prescribe that? I’d take them as my GP like a shot. And hopefully I’d have plenty of shots after I’d picked up my prescription.
Discovering doctors had continued to prescribe whiskey during Prohibition was – how can I put this? – mildly surprising.
At three I’m doing a California Mild tasting at The Hog's Apothecary. In Oakland. It seems a waste to waste all the time until then. But there aren’t that many beer places close by. My taxi bill is already demanding its own apartment. Don’t want it growing any more. Once it sprouts facial hair, I’m done.
Time constraints rule out anything further than 20 minutes on foot. Unless I return to Amsterdam, that leaves one possibility. One that leaves me as equivocal as the backing singers on Equi’s first album.
No time to grow facial hair. A temporary tattoo is the only solution.
1202 Sutter St,
Tel: +1 415-885-3288
1101 Geary Blvd,
San Francisco, CA 94109.
1050 Van Ness Ave,
San Francisco, CA 94109.
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