Read about Day 1 and the first half of Day 2 in my earlier post Another Day of Awesome.
Day 2 continued: Where I forget to dress up
After refilling at the font of the Mocha gods, I hopped on a bus in an impulsive interest to visit a museum.
On the way, I encountered several mysterious beings. At one bus stop, a swarthy pirate of indeterminate gender waddled poised in full regalia complete with a white shirt with ruffled sleeves, a feathered hat, several leather belts complete with waist saddle bags -sans weaponry-, and complete in a red cape and black calf boots.Harlequin stopped across the boulevard minus her bat and complete with a heavy backpack (Batman was nowhere to be seen, which disappointed me). At one point, I thought I spotted Ezio from Assassins Creed…
A medieval doctor, complete with stork-mask, paused at the intersection and waited to cross the busy street. Pale face adorned with face paint and a luridly painted grin, a distant cousin of BeetleJuice clambered onto the bus and latched onto the support pole.
What a strange world…
Arriving at the Arts Museum, I checked my backpack and began to peruse the displays of sculptures, paintings, and artwork. Beyond the riveting pieces, I was even most arrested by the accompanying descriptions and quotes from the artists and other noteworthy opinions.
Don’t get me wrong, the art is gorgeous; but the words often seem even more powerful than the art.
After frittering about for a couple of hours, I exited the museum -passing two security guards in kitty masks- and dragged my tired feet back to the hotel.
Day 3: About the “syrup” food group
I woke up hankering for pancakes. So I hit up google, google maps, and yelp to find a highly accredited restaurant rumored to hold the best pancakes to be consumed in this beautiful city.
Challenge accepted (wha-? this isn’t a challenge, it’s an accredited and highly reviewed fact).
Screw it, inner logic. I have said it’s a challenge and so shall it be!
(Alright, fine you twerp. Enjoy your “challenge”).
So I took the train and several buses (one of which, I rode in the opposite direction by accident…) before I landed at the bottom of a longggg hill. Google maps indicated the destination was midway up.
I huffed and puffed- okay it wasn’t that steep but I don’t like hills- to the spot on the map and looked up at the splendor of-!
A Japanese church?
I looked down at my phone, then back up at the building. Did the store exist behind the church…nope, there’s just a parking lot and the street back there.
Don’t tell me, religion stole the best pancakes restaurant?!
I almost succumbed to panic. Then I remembered that my locator function would act wonky when in and out of service range. And I’d taken the train into the tunnel…
Yep, sure enough, after turning stuff off then back on again, google maps cheerfully relayed that I was only 4+ miles off from the actual restaurant location.
Oh, and if I hadn’t gotten off the bus, I wouldn’t have needed to climb the ridiculous hill.
Greeaatt. I only needed to work off negative calories before I’d even eaten breakfast!
I caught the rails again (thank goodness they worked) and arrived at my stop, then walked a few blocks before arriving -at last!- at my destination.
And, boy was it worth it!
The establishment was a ground level restaurant with an external door and another door that opened into a small “mall” (I assumed apartments were on the upper levels). Upon entry, the long narrow seating area was flanked on the left by an L-shaped bar covered with stainless steel tiles, with a punched six leaf design on each. This bar had a break about midway down that separated the wet bar from the serving stations while creating an entry point to the kitchen behind the bar and serving window.
The restaurant sported a dull red paint on the walls (fortunately, several shades removed from barn red) which hosted black and white pictures depicting logging and other blue collar labor activities in thick black frames. The dusty white tile floors were cozily crowded with rustic wooden tables, benches, and chairs of dark-toned stain that clustered along the wall opposite the bar and echoed the L-shaped flow. Benches were attached to the walls themselves as half seating for the tables completed with free standing chairs. Next to the front door was a small display section that was interrupted by a large storefront window for street viewing pairing with mealtime.
The wet bar was tucked snuggly at the far end and had shelves of liquor that stretched up to the ceiling. A middle-aged patron nursed a final glass and chatted with the amiable bartender-slash-waiter in a light gray vest.
Aside from the customers, there were no women in the establishment. A closely shaved and burly cook took a stovetop covered in hashbrowns to town with his metal spatula while his taller, lankier co-cook who playfully elbowed his shoulder to share a raucous laugh at some joke one of them had made.
In front-of-house was a shorter fellow with a full russet beard and ungelled black hair. His serious features and watchful eye surveyed his dominion with a sharpness that reassured me of the customer service I would receive. Next to him, was a tall thin fellow whose colorful t-shirt and skinny black jeans contrasted the shorter man’s red flannel-like shirt and straight-legged pants that could have been cropped directly from a lumberjack-fashion magazine. In comparison, the tall fellow -with his closely shaven head, save for a 4-inch shock of purple & blond hair on top, reminded me of the twinks from my hometown. His bubbly personality truly contrasted with the serious personage of Russet Beard and yet there was obvious comradery between them.
All this I absorbed as I sat and peeled off my fingerless gloves, hat, and hoodie (aka overcoat) and served to reassure me that this was a good place to eat and be for a while.
Russet Beard approached with the menu. “Isitj(indeciferable)ustonetoay?”
I blinked. “What?”
“Isit just one t(indeciferable)”.
My brain slowly and quickly filled in the blanks. “Yes, it’s just me.”
He took a breath. “Would you like something to drink?” he asked, quickly setting down a worn bifold 5 in x 14 in before me.
My eyes lit up, “Can I have some orange juice?!”
“Sure, coming right up!”
Between feeling dumb for not catching what he said the first time and trying not to knock over the condiments on the table, I was feeling a little awkward with a hint of underlying tension. Until-
“I love your neon green hair!”
I glanced up at Purple-Hair, who grinned and nodded at by neon green locks revealed from under my cool-weather garb.
I smiled back and immediately relaxed. And not a moment too soon as Russet Beard returned with a mason jar of water and another with orange juice.
So cool! I thought to myself eyeing the mason jars with new ideas for interior kitchenware.
Mere moments after ordering, I was chin deep into the most delicious stack of oatmeal pancakes with blueberry compote. So, good!
I’m afraid I wouldn’t have shared, (were there anyone with which to share them with…).
The low lighting and exposed wooden beams in the ceiling lulled me into a state of full-fledged relaxation and contentment. I even sketched the water and salt/pepper grinder combo.
By the time food had been consumed, it was mid-afternoon. So I caught the train back to the hotel and nodded off.
to be continued.