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Labor Day Weekend in SF

Labor Day weekend was a busy one for us this year, as the last weekend MJ and I will be properly spending together for several weeks. Tomorrow he flies off to India for work. He’ll get home mid-day the following Friday, and Saturday morning I’ll be off to Germany. When I get home he’ll be in New York, directly from there we’ll meet at the end of September in Philadelphia for a couple events we have planned with family and friends. October will only be marginally better. But I already have three trips planned and he has at least one.

Saturday morning we went to services and then lunch in Japantown. We had a bit of a medical adventure in the afternoon (all is well) before going off to dinner. MJ started a new job in the beginning of August while I was in Mumbai and we hadn’t had time to properly schedule time to celebrate. After doing some searching as to a nice place to go where getting reservations wasn’t too much of a hassle, we ended up at Luce. They have a Michelin star, reservations were easy to get, they offer a tasting menu Tuesday through Saturday and they’re located just a few blocks from home.

I really enjoyed the ambiance of the restaurant, in spite of it being just off the lobby for the InterContinental. It was spacious and cool, and not very busy for a Saturday night, so we had privacy to talk and didn’t feel crowded. The food was good, with the portions being just right for a tasting menu. There were a lot of fish dishes (menu here), which suited me just fine, both the salmon and the halibut were amazing. I skipped the foie gras, but I did have the duck course, which I’m not usually that keen on, but it was not as tender and rare as is usually served so I was OK with it. The desserts were light, cold and fruity, making for a really nice ending to the meal that wasn’t at all heavy. I also opted for the wine pairing, which MJ dipped into throughout the meal. There was only one red among the selection, with the rest being a series of dry and sweet whites.

Selections from the tasting menu at Luce

Sunday we had a long lunch over at Waterbar on the Embarcadero. We’d been to the restaurant next door, EPIC Steak, many times but this was our first time snagging reservations over at Waterbar. They have an amazing oyster list and the views of the Bay Bridge there are stunning, especially on a day as beautiful as Sunday was.

After lunch we went to the Exploratorium. We’d been there a few times before, so this visit was specifically to see their exhibit Strandbeest: The Dream Machines of Theo Jansen.

I knew about the Strandbeests after seeing a video about them online. These mechanical animals are created by a Dutch artist artist and propel themselves along beaches. He makes them out of a type of plastic piping and has come up with a whole evolution through the various animals he’s made since beginning this work in 1990. They all have names, and the exhibit went through various iterations, some of which they had examples of on exhibit. It talked about the “nerves” and “muscles” that the Strandbeests have, how some are propelled by wind but many also have some mechanisms for limited self-propulsion. We also sat through a 32 minute video they had showing about them.

What was most striking about the exhibit was how strange it all was. This artist devoted a nice chunk of his life to this work and it’s kind of an unusual thing, but the Strandbeest are amazing. They are mechanical but appear so lifelike when they move. All in spite of being so very obviously built with plastic and they wander along beaches. More photos from the exhibit here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/pleia2/albums/72157673332520306

Monday didn’t have so many adventures. As we prepare for all this overlapping travel, we had a lot to get squared away at home and in preparation for our trips (like booking one of them! And packing!). Though we did have time to sneak out to a nice brunch together at the nearby Red Dog Restaurant.