I’m relieved to report that many items were checked off the list this holiday weekend. Bill and I both flew in Friday night and had Taqueria Los Gallos for a late dinner. We’ve been eating at Los Gallos, off and on, for over ten years. The food is consistantly good and their homemade chips and salsa are delicious. Unfortunately their prices have been steadily climbing over the last few years. Climbing out of the “cheap but good taqueria” realm.
Saturday morning I met up with Jackie and Sara to do some shopping at Valley Fair Mall in San Jose. Jackie needed a black dress for the wedding and had Sara and me along for moral support. We had a good time and found a really nice dress for Jackie that will work perfectly for the wedding. And she’ll be able to wear it again!
Later that afternoon we had my birthday dinner at Jan and Mark’s house. The menu was smoked tri-tip, pasta salad, and corn-on-the-cob. Bill and I discussed how we would smoke the tri-tip and came to the conclusion that Mark should have an off-set smoker like ours. Bill went to Home Depot and picked one up and assembled it in their backyard. It’s Mark’s early birthday present… really early. I guess he and Bill were inspired by the smoker, so Mark went out to the store to buy a side of salmon. It was incredible. The tri-tip was delicious as was everything else. Patrick made a fabulous chocolate cake for dessert. He made a new kind of frosting that is essentially a chocolate ganache buttercream. I could eat the frosting by itself. Sadly, I forgot my camera. So, no pictures. Sorry.
On Sunday, Bill, Michael and I met up with Alvin, Carlos and his wife and two sons to check out the ceremony and banquet sites. Alvin and Carlos will be our DJ and they needed to see the sites to get an idea on what equipment to bring. More importantly, they needed to know where the outlets are. We were joined by Mom and Dad and our friend Cecile, who was in town for the weekend from Minneapolis. For those who don’t know Cecile, we first met her when she stayed with our family back in 1997 as a French exchange student. She grew up in a small town south of St. Etienne and Lyon in the Rhône Valley in France. In 1998, Patrick and I stayed with her and her family for a two-week trip visiting their home along with Paris and Marseille. A couple of years later, she moved to the U.S. to get her bachelor’s degree from Penn. Afterwards she moved to Minneapolis to get her Master’s Degree. It was a little scary for a while after graduation when she couldn’t find a job that could sponsor her and her student visa was about to expire. Thankfully she got a good job and is doing well. And to top it off, she fell in love with a guy who isn’t American! Her boyfriend, Francis, is from Uganda and is really awesome. We’ve been lucky enough to meet him a couple of times. They were both in the Bay Area for a Ugandan Convention of some sort and Francis was running for office within the organization. So, Cecile only had a little bit of time to see us. We were very happy to get lunch with her.
All eleven of us squeezed around a table for dim sum at Tin’s Tea House. Carlos, his family, and Cecile had never experienced dim sum before. It was funny to see Carlos’ sons afraid to try the food at first. But, then they realized how good it was and I think they had a good time. After a while Patrick joined us and we fit twelve around a table meant for eight. Mom, Dad, Bill and I bowed out for a little while to talk to the manager, Alice. We had some final plans that needed to be nailed down. We decided on wine and beer choices and colors for the linens. I had a list prepared with questions for her. We got all of them answered and I’m feeling much better.
After lunch, Mom, Dad and Michael took Cecile to BART so she could get back to San Francisco. Bill, Patrick and I roamed around downtown Walnut Creek looking for a restaurant for our rehearsal dinner. I had a list prepared a little while ago, but you can only learn so much about a restaurant from their webpage. We walked around Scott’s Seafood but didn’t go in because a wedding reception was in progress. It looks like they only do events and catering at this location and being a Sunday, there was no one in the office. Just down the street we wandered into the Pyramid Alehouse. It was on my list and it looks like it’s become the number one choice. They have a private room and a good-looking and affordable menu. Patrick wants us to have it there solely for the beer. We stopped in and watched the end of an Oakland A’s game at the bar. They won. Patrick had an amber ale and Bill and I had their Black Cherry soda. It was almost 100 degrees on Sunday, so it was nice to get out of the sun. We’ll call them this week and see if they’re available.
Next we drove to Fremont to visit places that sell beds and mattresses. I had never shopped for a mattress before and I’ve learned its a lot of fun. We had a hilarious time bouncing on mattresses that were obviously too soft for our taste or fitting all three of us on one mattress and turing at the same time. Bill and I joked that it must be hilarious to watch surveillance footage of a mattress store. We learned to understand just what the retailers mean when “they’ll beat any advertized price or your mattress is free.” You never see the same mattress twice. Every retailer has a different name for all of the name brand mattresses. You may see a Sealy or Simmons mattress you like, but you won’t see that same exact mattress anywhere else. Lame.
On Monday, Bill and I made final decisions on mattresses at the Levitz store in Hayward. It was interesting negotiating the prices and small items like bed frame and delivery. One funny bit, the mattresses come with a free bathrobe that has the Serta numbered sheep embroidered on the front. Bill and I got a little silly while we were waiting for the paperwork. I’m sure if our parents were with us, they would have told us to stop acting like children.
Can you please pass the salt?
Bill said he’d like to own one of these curvy-styled desks one day.
Bill’s expression is because this recliner is all electric. The footrest comes up slowly at the push of a button.
“I think I’ll just stay here today…”
Last night we flew home on the last flight to LGB. We arrived to temps still in the high 80s and the same temperature in our house. Poor Doug did his best to cool the house down. When he got home from work around 3pm, it was 95 inside the house. Ug. At times like this we give serious thought to buying an air conditioning. But this summer has been very mild until the last couple of weeks. We have a few strategically placed fans and a large box of Otter Pops in the freezer. We’ll survive.