Watching the national news, it would seem that winter’s in full swing. Washington is getting drowned and the northeast is getting buried in snow.
Meanwhile, the bay area is seeing unseasonably warm temperatures. I got out for a few rides this weekend.
Mt Hamilton Rd to the Junction and back
Friday, I joined Tony, Jesse, and a couple of Jesse’s friends in a quickie after-work ride over Mt Hamilton to the Junction and back. Jesse’s only been riding for 6+ months or so, but he’s really pretty good.
His friends had me wondering. Both showed up in jeans, but I can accept that not everyone is as serious about gear as I am. One, who volunteered to lead the group, was certainly fast, but not much of a leader. He disappeared pretty much right away and we only saw him at the regroup points. It was up to Tony (following him) to keep the group together. The other guy had been riding only a few months, and I watched aghast as he crossed the double yellow at almost every hairpin and then tailgated Jesse on those occaisions when he actually managed to catch up to him. I was sweeping as is my preference on most rides. I just backed off from him and enjoyed my own ride, not quite feeling safe to be close.
We never really got off the bikes until we reached the Junction, about 40 miles into the ride. At that point Tony and I spoke up a little (we’d been discussing the newbie over the gmrs radios) asking him how long he’d been riding and gently suggesting that he take it a little more slowly and try to stay between the lines. At this the *leader* spoke up, “Oh, I cross double yellows all the time.”
That shut the two of us up. It almost didn’t need to be said, but we both agreed over the radios on the way home: “so that’s why he was so fast”. I still find it astounding that another rider would tell a newbie that it was ok or even cool to use the other lane. Anyway…
Santa Cruz Mountains Loop:
It was a great ride, with people who are fast but very safety concious. I had a great time, and the scenery was absolutely beautiful. We had lunch in Davenport at the Whale City Cafe. This is a popular lunch spot for “loop” riders and I recognized many people there including Gary J (author of Sportbiking: the Real World) and Sean (Spurber) who I’ve sport-toured with. Something about the way he always calls me “BunnyRocket” always makes me smile. I didn’t recognize him until we were queueing up to leave the restuarant. My exuberant wave put me a bit behind the rest of my group. I easily caught up at the next turn-off. Awesome day all around.
With such a great start, I didn’t think the weekend could get any more interesting. I spent most of Sunday watching the Opening Ceremonies for the Olympics (DVR’d) and reading various motorcycling forums. On a whim, I checked the url for a restaurant that I’d helped do interior design work for and was surprised to see that they had finally updated their website. Excitedly, I convinced Tony to tear himself away from his new computer game to take me out for dinner.
Review: Firehouse Grill & Brewery
I usually don’t see the finished results of my architecture work. Most clients don’t invite the architect (much less a lowly designer) into their home when the construction is all done and the house is decorated, so it was exciting to be able to walk into the restaurant.
The Firehouse Grill on Murphy Street in Sunnyvale is a collaboration between a couple of our residential design clients. The interior feels very upscale and the prices on the menu ($10-$20 entrees) seem to reflect this feel.
There were a few architectural details inside that disappointed me. They didn’t build the interior quite how we had designed it, adding some pretty silly looking (to an architect) details, but that always seems to happen when non-design professionals *think* they know what they want. Oh well.
As for the actual execution of the restaurant, Tony and I agreed that they were lacking a few details. The menu was surprisingly sparse, but at least interesting. It had a variety of tapas appeteizers, salads, carnivore delights, pastas, and wood fired pizzas.
The cold focaccia served with foil wrapped butter (I would have expected oil) and soda fountain lemonade seemed to miss something. Tony got the rotisserie chicken, which he said was nicely cooked, but too salty for his tastes. I enjoyed my smoked mushroom carbonara with linguini, but I expected a little more presentation with both dishes. The waitress was pretty slow for such an empty dining area. (the bar was busier).
I might go back, but mainly to check out their beverages. Firehouse is a brewery and make their own beers on tap. I’m not much for beer, but they also claim to brew some pretty mean in-house root beer and ciders. It might be a nice place to relax with friends on an evening out.