Happy Stressful Birthday!

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I hope everyone had a nice Christmas, if you celebrate it. If you don’t celebrate Christmas, I hope you had a nice December 25th. My Christmas was wonderful. We had a lovely visit with Nicholas. Having him here was just the best present EVER. He went back to San Francisco on Thursday night. We will go visit him there in a few days.

We now return to our regularly scheduled blog.

My birthday brought nice weather, as had every day we had been here. My research had told me this was a great time of year for weather and it was certainly living up to that reputation.

Zung checks out the zoom feature of our camera. We had nice views from our room.


I checked out restaurants for breakfast and chose Sears. This did not meet with Nicholas’ approval because he reminded me I had said I would choose something closer to him. I went back to Yelp and chose Cafe Me. I texted him the address and we set out for the fifteen minute walk to get there. After about ten minutes of walking, Nicholas called. He had arrived at the restaurant and it was closed. Not forever, just for the weekend. Well, crap! I wasn’t sure what to do, being in a city that I was not familiar with. We had time limits because Nicholas had to be at work by noon, and we had to check out because we were heading to Napa today.

We passed a restaurant that served breakfast, but it too was closed. Nicholas told me that a lot of restaurants in the Financial District were closed on the weekend.  I thought that was about the most ridiculous thing I had ever heard. Especially in view of the fact that the Nike Women’s Marathon was being held on Sunday and there were all kinds of people in the area, who I am sure wanted to eat breakfast.

I saw a Starbucks up ahead and I told him we could go there. We could have. IF it had been open. I felt like I had now seen everything. Starbucks closed on a Saturday morning, just because it was in the Financial District? WTF? Nicholas doesn’t eat breakfast out often enough to know what to recommend. I am starting to panic.

Just then we walk past the Hilton. I tell him to meet us there. We can eat at their restaurant, because surely they will be open.

We waited for him to reach us and went inside and found the restaurant, which had just closed 5 minutes before, at 10:30. The hostess said they would reopen at 11 for lunch.

Are you freaking kidding me?

She told us there was a Chinese restaurant next door that served breakfast and, she whispered, was cheaper. They were open, she assured us. We went out and could see the closed sign. Argh! I couldn’t believe we were having such a hard time finding a place to eat breakfast in San Francisco on a Saturday morning.

We decided to just go back to the Hilton restaurant and wait the 20 minutes until they opened. We waited, and waited, and waited. At a couple minutes after 11, the hostess came back to the podium, but she didn’t look like she was opening the restaurant and she was avoiding eye contact with us. I went up to her and asked if the restaurant was opening for lunch.


“Soon?” What the hell does that mean?

She explained that the chef was taking a break because he had been there since 4 am.

At this point, my head felt like it was going to explode. She told us we could sit anywhere and someone would be by to help us. Soon.

We sat there for 10 minutes and then the manager came by and asked if our waiter had come by. Uhhhhh, no. He promised someone would be there, “soon”, or if necessary, he would take our order. Somewhere along the way, we got menus. The manager took our drink orders. It was 11:15 before we even got water.

Finally, our waiter came by, took our order and eventually brought our drinks.

I had a Mimosa. I should have ordered a double.


Nicholas was getting very anxious about the time. He had been distracted the whole time and it was just not how I wanted our last meal together to go.

He had ordered a couple of apps in liue of a main course. They brought the first one, ahi tuna on fried wontons.


It was a long time before they brought the rest of our dishes and at that point we had about 15 minutes in which to eat it, so we asked for the check as well.

Nicholas got fried calamari.


Zung got a club sandwich.


I had ordered angel hair pasta in tomato sauce with roasted vegetables. It tasted as bad as it looks. The pasta was okay, but I wasn’t expecting a big pile of charred broccoli and cauliflower. Broccoli is my least favorite vegetable and I don’t really eat it. I ate the 2 pieces of carrot and some of the pasta. I knew all these carbs would make me feel like crap later.


The food here wasn’t horrible, but I’d never eat here again. Between the service and food,it was a definite fail.

We said good-bye to Nicholas.

DSCN1415 DSCN1416

We paid the check and called for an Uber. We were really feeling crunched for time. We had to get back to the hotel and check out and get to Enterprise to pick up our rental. We asked our driver if he could just wait for us while we checked out and take us to Enterprise. He was happy to do that.

We went up to the room and finished our packing (fortunately, we’d done most of it before we left on our fruitless hunt for breakfast). I tried to check out on the TV, but it was past noon and they don’t let you do that if it is past checkout. We took our bags down and Zung took them out to load in the car and I went to check us out.

Our driver took us to Enterprise. We chatted with him on the way and he told us he was thinking about leaving San Francisco because it is so expensive and he wants to have a family and said that you just can’t afford it here. He was asking us about Colorado. We told him it was a great place to live. I did not add that you can find all kinds of places to eat breakfast on the weekends in downtown Denver. But I thought it.

When we got to Enterprise, I stayed outside with the bags while Zung went in to take care of the paperwork. It took forever. We had our first wine tasting scheduled for 2pm and I knew there was no way we were going to arrive for that on time. I was feeling more and more stressed as each minute passed.

Zung came out and they pulled up with our car, a compact. I looked at Zung and asked him what he had reserved and he said a premium sedan. “That is not a premium sedan,” I declare. He asked the Enterprise rep and they went back inside. He showed her the confirmation he had printed. They had the wrong information and it took quite a while to sort it out. We ended up with a Kia Sorento. It had zero zip. But it was comfortable and had lots of room for our luggage and any wine we might decide to purchase.

We finally get on the road and the traffic is horrendous. There is a BART strike and there are a lot of people in town because of the marathon. I am feeling increasingly frustrated with how this day is going.

Zung has brought his GPS and it says we should get to the winery at 2:30, but I don’t believe it. I call the winery and talk to Katie. I tell her our situation and ask if we can still come or should we just cancel. She tells me to come, that we will work it out.

We finally get out of the heavy traffic and arrive at Chase Family Cellars in St. Helena on Sulpher Springs Ave. It is 2:45. It is a tiny winery and we drive right by at first pass. We pull in and get out of the car and Katie comes out to greet us.

I take one look and immediately feel the stress of the day melt away. Our visit with Katie at Chase completely turned the day around.



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