Apr 29, 2004

Weekend Catch-up
Figured I'd better catch up with last weekend before I head into this weekend.

Hung out down at Santana Row with a couple people from church last Friday. It's an overly flashy development, but it's got a lot of patios, and the evening weather was perfect last week.

Three of us had dinner at Pizza Antica, which has good thin crust gourmet pizzas. Food there is simply done, reminiscent of the Italy. Fairly crowded and noisy though. A little pricey, as with everything else in Santana Row, but this is probably one of the more reasonably priced joints in the neighbourhood. 3.5/5.

Sometimes I wonder what makes people 'click'. Is it just a matter of time? Sometimes my time here is reminiscent of the days in Loo. I'd gotten along with CCF people fine, but I guess I just didn't quite click with them as well as my high school friends. I did get to know people a lot better starting in 3B. Scary thought is, it's the middle of my third year down here in Silicon Valley. Time has flown.

We moved over to Left Bank for dessert. A bit of a change of scenery. The place is a french bistro style chain restaurant. We got brisk service from a flustered waitress, but the food quality here is relatively bland, nothing to rave about. 3/5.

Conversation over dinner had spun haphazardly around work and life in general. Conversation over dessert was geared more towards the hospitality ministry at YAF. One thing we've realized is that we've gotten rather lazy at welcoming new people over the past few months. The catch is, of course, being welcoming isn't simply a task, a matter of throwing a switch and pretending to be nice and cheery. People notice if they're greeted with open arms when they step in the door, but promptly ignored the next week because they're no longer the-new-person-you-have-to-be-nice-to. One of the things you learn in college fellowship that can be applied pretty much anywhere.

Came home, went to Safeway, bought 4 lbs of baby back ribs, an onion, a bottle of bbq sauce, two 6-packs of Molson Canadian, and one of those disposable aluminum lasagna trays. They're in the import section here. That's weird. Went back home, cut up the two slabs of ribs into a few more manageable pieces and sliced the onion. Rubbed them down with salt and pepper. Mixed the bbq sauce with a bottle of beer, washed the tray, popped the ribs in the tray and onions and beer-sauce on the ribs. Wrapped it up in foil and stuck it in the fridge.

On Saturday, five of us from the usual suspects finally went hiking at Pinnacles National Monument. It took about two hours to drive down. When got there around 11am in the morning, and the day was warming up. However, there was either breeze or shade through the majority of the trail, it was a comfortable hike.

The first half was mostly flat, with small lizards occasionally scurrying across the path before us. It included a short spelunking expedition down through some caves, which was kinda neat. We covered it pretty quickly, being driven by the picnic area on the east side of the park. However, when we arrived, we discovered that the picnic area had been converted to the residence area for park rangers. A stern looking ranger informed us promptly that we were not to eat on their picnic tables. Obviously not happy campers.

We ended up having lunch under the shade of a tree on the side of the trail. The return trip was a bit longer than the first part of the trail, and much more difficult since it actually had an elevation gain to the top of the hills where the lava rock formations jutted out into the sky. The natural scenery was much more striking than the first half. I was rather tired by the end, and it didn't help that I had left one of my two water bottles in the car. We made it back down to the car by 4:30pm, rested for a little and started the two hour drive back home.

Rested up a bit, headed out for dinner at Straits Cafe in Palo Alto. It's an upscale Singaporean/fusion style restaurant. Arislan has a high school friend doing his PhD in Berkeley, this guy had come to to visit his girlfriend at Stanford, which was why we headed out to Straits. Most of us were too wasted from hiking to chat about anything significant. Food was on par for Straits, which generally pretty good. Their more "normal" dishes with chicken or beef tend to be a bit boring, but since Arislan's friend and his girlfriend were vegetarian, we were limited to vegetable and seafood dishes. Straits seafood dishes are generally pretty well done. From past experience, both their crab dishes are very good, but we passed since those are the most expensive dishes on the menu. The standout dish was the seafood green curry, which definitely had a kick compared to some of their other toned down curries. Waitress was very, very cute. Unfortunately, she was way too pushy, which got annoying fast. Would you like some drinks? Thai Iced Tea, that's great. How about a martini? No? You sure? We have a special martini today blah blah blah... The same for appetizers, main course, and dessert. Would you guys like to any desserts? No? Too full? How about I leave the dessert menu for you to look at, just in case you see something you'd like? The worst was when she came back with the bill, after we had given her 15% tip, because we had a party of 7, and she forgot to put on the 18% gratuity for parties of 6 or more. Pity. 3.5/5 but it could have been a 4 if the waitress wasn't so damn annoying.

Sunday morning, woke up, showered. Grabbed the tray of ribs from the fridge and stuck it in the oven. Put the oven to 225 degrees, and headed off to church. Stayed for lunch at YAF and hospitality team meeting. Got home at 2pm looked at ribs. Still a lot of fluid in the tray, and the ribs were a pale colour, not dark. Hm, I was afraid it would burn since I was gone for 4 hours, so I had set the heat low. Apparently that was too low. Set the oven up to 350 degrees, gave it another hour before I turned it off.

Headed over to FunnyGuy aka shaven_yak_with_down_syndrome's bachelor pad around 5:30pm for the first bbq of the year in California (already had a pseudo bbq in Toronto, where it was really too cold for a real bbq). Unfortunately, spilled some bbq sauce in the car, so my car smells now. Yuck. Totally sucks. Luckily most of it was on the removable floormat. Got there, the grill wasn't even constructed yet, but the place was clean. We had flank steak, tri-tip, ribs, a variety of hot dogs, sausages, homemade guacamole, and a chocolate strawbery cake to finish it off. Also watched Hero afterwards. Very laid back, good times. 4/5.

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