Monday, August 25, 2008

How Far Is Too Far?

I'm a city girl through and through. I pride myself in knowing all about San Francisco...the sights, sounds, people. If there's an argument about which city is best, I will jump in and fight to prove that SF is best.

As a city gal, I don't have a car, and find myself a little limited when it comes to how far I can venture. Sure, there's BART and trains and ferries, etc. but when you take into consideration the schedules, the longer commute time, the pain of carrying everything I'm traveling with in a bag on my shoulder, and the 'characters' I tend to run into, I limit my excursions out of the city.

So last week, when my friend Michelle invited me to a Friends & Family meal at Miss Pearl's Jam House, a relatively high profile new restaurant with Chef Joey Altman at the helm, I had to think twice about going. But only because, the restaurant is in Oakland.

I'm usually not a gal to pass up any opportunity, much less the opportunity to check out a new restaurant. But a Friday night trek to Oakland? I wasn't so sure. I've heard New Yorkers talk like this...why would a Manhattan dweller trek unnecessarily to Brooklyn?

For those of you not familiar with the Bay Area, you won't know really just how silly this is. Oakland is only maybe 30 min away. Probably even closer and quicker without traffic. Literally just across a bridge. And it's true, a lot of people that work in SF do live in Oakland, or even further. And in terms of public transportation, the ferry really isn't a bad way to go.

Of course, in the end, I said yes. I'm always up for an adventure, even if it was an adventure in Oakland. I was told that taking the ferry was easy. People commuted on it all the time, and there was even a bar on board!

I think the day of the Big Trek, everyone I talked to heard about my plans for the night. And of course each time I asked someone if they had taken the ferry to Oakland, I'd get a look. And when I asked my friend Bryan, a fellow city dweller, if he'd want to join us, I got the 'Why would I go to Oakland?'

I wonder, if it was any other restaurant project, would they have gotten this type of turn out from San Francisco residents? It helped that there was a local 'celebrity chef' at the helm (what does that term mean anymore?) Michael Bauer recently reviewed Camino, a restaurant in Oakland. He gave it 3 stars. The reaction from many of my friends? Huh. Never heard of it. Or oh, never made the trip out there. Yea. Sad but true. Probably a fine restaurant. Will I ever check it out? Probably not. Any future treks will be saved for Chez Panisse or The Cheese Board, or even a strawberry cupcake at Love At First Bite.

The most delicious fresh strawberry cupcakes ever!

When there's an abundance of restaurants right here in your own city, why leave? Why bother looking up Ferry schedules and BART maps? All for a dinner? Better be a damn good dinner. Isn't it easier to just get there on your own timeline, and at the end of the meal, hop out and catch a cab home? I know. Very snobby of this San Franciscian.

In the end?

A fun meal. The decor wasn't really my cup of tea, but the food was good, Chef Joey Altman was a awesome and totally working the room (always great to see a chef talking to the customers!) and I even had the pleasant surprise of running into some other industry friends that had made the trek.

Me and the gals at the bar before dinner! Who couldn't have fun with this group?

Oh. And the ferry ride? I missed the boat. I ended up taking BART and a cab to get there.

1 comment:

  1. I almost went to that shindig, too, but coming from the South Bay, I had second thoughts just like you about the long trek to Oakland. Thankfully, I'll have another chance to go there in a week. You made the restaurant sound so fun and lively, I simply must go this time around. ;)