Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Global Trekking in the City

Much thanks to everyone for giving me the real update on the current situation (or as Norn Irons would say sit-chee-AY-shun) in Norn Iron. I was thisclose to cancelling my return flight home. LOL!

Now that I've gotten over the water contamination scare, let's get back to our regularly scheduled programming...PART 2 OF CRAIG'S BIRTHDAY WEEKEND! YAY! I know you all have been dying to know and losing sleep at night. Hehe.

We started off last Saturday with a big American breakfast at Lori's Diner. Craig loves this place because they serve bottomless coffee and the waiter is chatty and super nice.

Craig's impersonation of Bono

We then headed off to Japantown for the Cherry Blossom Festival...

We learned all about Japanese culture...

Ikebana - the art of floral arrangement

Observed a Japanese tea ceremony

Craig was drooling over the Samurai weaponry exhibit

Our jaws dropped at the amazing Taiko drumming!

We sampled many Japanese-American delicacies like Spam Musubi!

Later that night we had dinner at El Mansour for a Moroccan 5 course feast...

When you step inside, it feels as if you've been transported into a Bedouin tent in the middle of the Sahara

It was a really unique dining experience. Before the meal started, we washed our hands in warm water. We ate our 5 course meal entirely with our hands while we watched the beautiful bellydancer shake her hips from table to table.

Ooooh! The scary bellydance monster! I laughed at Craig the whole time the bellydancer came out. He was afraid of her. I could tell he wanted to run to the bathroom and hide! Belfast boys are so shy! It was like pulling teeth trying to get him to tuck a dollar in her brassiere. He was so frightened, he made me do it! Haha!

At the end of the meal, our waiter came out again with the warm water to wash our hands but this time he sprinkled delicious smelling jasmine oil on our palms and fingers. Afterwards, we were served sweet, frothy Moroccan tea from up high much like this...

We came out satisfied, relaxed and pampered. Craig was very impressed with El Mansour and wouldn't mind coming back again despite the scary belldancer! He said it was an all-encompassing sensory experience of sight, smell, taste, touch, and sound!

Craig was craving for a pint so we hopped on a bus just outside the restaurant to go to the most authentic Irish pub in San Francisco, the Plough and Stars. Craig and I really liked this place. Like with other pubs in America, it didn't look like Ireland threw up all over the place. It was just a simple pub with long tables and benches and chairs where everyone just hangs out, have friendly conversation, and enjoy a pint. We also liked the fact that we didn't have to shout down the house at each other over blaring music. Even though there was a live band, the volume was just right that you can comfortably talk to each other without losing your voice in the morning.

And guess what? Craig finally found a pub in San Francisco that pours a decent pint of Guinness! In his 3 years experience visiting various "Irish" pubs in San Fran, he concluded that nobody in America can perfect the art of pouring a decent pint. Much like that of the Japanese tea ceremony, it takes a great deal of skill and years to master. He was never satisfied and was downright apalled at how some bartenders poured Guinness straight from the tap without having it settle. Or they didn't tilt the glass at exactly 45 degrees. Or he would be served a pint and the head would either be too small or too big! Oh the sacrilege! He wanted to jump behind the bar and pour it himself!

But at the Plough and Stars his pint was the epitome of perfection, he is now a happy bunny! He can finally have a true taste of home away from home!

Happy Guinness!

To be continued...


Anonymous said...

san francisco seems like an amazing place to live! why did you leave it for belfast of all places?

Flippin' Yank said...

Love makes you do the craziest things. :)