Monday, August 18, 2008

Traffic Jam Solution

I enjoy living in Northern California; this part of the nation has a lot to recommend it. We have beautiful scenery, great food, low humidity, easy weather and few bugs. Okay, yes, we have the occasional earthquake but, all in all, life is pretty darn good here except for the traffic.

One is fairly safe venturing out between 10am and 3pm but either side of those times driving can be a nightmare of inching along, staring fearfully at the bumper of the car ahead, when even a minute's inattention can cause a rear-ender that costs thousands of dollars and a whole lot of negative energy. I was lucky that for most of my working life in the bay area, I was able to ride BART back and forth to work and to pity the poor bastards out on the freeways in the linear parking lot.

However, even as a retired person, every now and then I encounter a traffic jam. Luckily, My Beloved has a great solution - he ducks out and finds the nearest nice restaurant to wait it out. Last week, when there was some difficulty on the Golden Gate Bridge which sent all the cars crawling toward the Bay Bridge hoping to avoid the jam and thereby creating another jam on the other side of town, we jumped out of the ant trail of cars and drove through the Presidio to Pres a Vi, a wine bar and restaurant inside the new-ish campus of Industrial Light and Magic.

The restaurant was nearly empty at 5:30pm when we arrived - the wait staff was delighted to see us. The menu is a movable feast of small plate options and one of the most fun offerings was soup in either cups, bowls or "shots." I couldn't resist a shot of sweet corn soup - it came in a vodka glass, truly a shot of soup, and was quite tasty and fresh. They serve a variety of crisp breads and soft rolls, all in small nibble sizes so you don't fill up too much before dinner arrives, and even offer half glasses of wine if you want just a sip to go along with dinner. We really liked the concept of small, interchangeable options.

For a main course, I had the meaty pork spareribs "Adobo," which was quite delicious and served over brown fried rice with intriguing little bits of a sweet salami sauteed in with the rice. It was 'way too big to finish, so it came home and made a delicious lunch the next day. MB chose the crab cakes and the pasta with two kinds of wild mushrooms, both really tasty.

By the time we finished our dinner and enjoyed a little stroll around the lovely garden designed by the ingenious Lawrence Halprin, the traffic jam had magically melted away and we sailed home full of good food and happy with our traffic jam solution.


Blogger Dagny said...

Thanks for reminding me that I haven't been to the Presidio since the new ILM campus opened. Another place for my list.

Monday, August 18, 2008  
Anonymous Mrs. L said...

That corn soup was really good. We really enjoyed our lunch there a few months ago.
Did you get to see the Yoda statue?

Monday, August 18, 2008  
Blogger Zoomie said...

Dagny, move that outing to the very top of your list - the garden is lovely, the restaurant is good and they even have a statue of Yoda to enjoy!

Mrs. I, we surely did - we visit him each time we go to the garden, which is frequently since we take out of town visitors to the garden on a regular basis.

Monday, August 18, 2008  
Blogger dancingmorganmouse said...

Brilliant idea, am now wondering if it will translate to traffic jam + no parking ;)

Monday, August 18, 2008  
Blogger Zoomie said...

Morgan, no, no, no - all the other parkers are in their cars trying to get home! :-)

Tuesday, August 19, 2008  
Blogger Rachel said...

Genius! Although I take the bus, so I'm limited to the options directly on my route. But I bet I could still find some decent food.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008  
Blogger Zoomie said...

Rachel, welcome! And I'm sure you could find food on the bus route - might even be fun to play a sort of "route-lette" - the challenge being to find a reasonably good restaurant within two blocks in any direction of where the traffic stopped the bus!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008  
Blogger Kitt said...

Yum! A much more relaxing alternative to inching along.

In the winter here, the big hassle is ski traffic. Best to hop off the highway and find a place to dine in one of the mountain towns, then finish the drive once the jams have cleared.

Monday, September 01, 2008  

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