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Weekend in the Bay Area

Weekend in the Bay Area
via United Airlines First Class
January 2016

Mrs. SFO777 and I are off to our old home town this weekend to see our San Francisco family and adorable grandkids.  Two months to go before Virgin America starts DEN-SFO service so this weekend is one last fling with United.  On a spectacular 60F/15C January day with Broncos fever on display everywhere.

When it's just me, I park myself.  With Mrs. SFO, we do valet.  Happy wife, happy life. 

The South PreCheck was open and deserted, and we were thru in no time.

At Mrs. SFO suggestion, we came a little early and headed for lunch at Elway's. 

Crap weather in San Francisco means ATC delays to SFO.

So we headed for the United Club East, where a surly lounge dragon refused entrance since I didn't have my actual Copa Star Gold card.   I had used my Lufthansa Miles & More account where I only have Silver status.  No, a picture of your Copa card is not good enough.  No, I'm not going to enter your number.   OK, then change my M&M number to my Copa number... which she grudgingly did and we passed the test.  Welcome to the friendly skies. LOL.   

After all of that, what was the point?  Yikes this is one dump of a lounge.

With furniture that is fully depreciated and then some.   Oh yeah, and power outlets that are scarcer than a Haley's Comet sighting.

​Delta upgraded their Sky Club food offerings, so United copied Delta as they do with every decision.

Our 2:20p departure which had been moved to 2:50p and then briefly to 2:30p is now 3:05p.

We headed downstairs to nearby B46 where the atmosphere was much more pleasant and seating more comfortable than the United Club.  Also, more power outlets.

United 733
2:20p-4:05p (sked)
3:30p-5:10p (actual... ATC delay)
January 22, 2016

Friendly and cute FA Megan greeting us and helping with PDBs.  Unfortunately, she worked the Y cabin and we never say her again.

Just a few greasy fingerprints on this window.

The good news is at seat power and live DirectTV.  

The bad news is that live TV wasn't working today.   The good news is that we'll probably get a $100 UA service failure credit.

Oh yeah, I can see why we're down to one runway today.

This is one ugly day.

As we deplaned, I ordered Uber.  Cool feature is that you can specify terminal and door and don't have to worry about texting the driver.

Our driver Alex pulled up less than a minute after we were outside.   Friday rush hour traffic... ugh.

We came the back way up 3rd past AT&T Park.

And arrived at our SF fave, the Taj Campton Place just off of Union Square.  

Time for a drink at the Campton Place bar. 

We've always enjoyed dining at the wonderful and elegant Cal-Indian Campton Place restaurant.  This is our first visit since it received its 2nd Michelin star.   What a treat!

What a great menu, whetting our appetites for our trip to India next month.  We chose the Spice Route Menu with wine pairings, which were outstanding.


From the Campton Place website.  

Our amuse-bouche platter.

Wonderful house naan.

Brassicas... Tandoori Caulifower, Saffron Whey and Pineapple relish.  Wow.

Maine Lobster with Brussels Sprouts Kurkure, Apple and Coconut Butter.  Sensational.

I'm not a big cod fan but the Black Cod with Shrimp Podidas, Paratha Crust and Snow Peas was very good.

The Guinea Hen with Chestnut Kitchdi, Chicories, Chanterelles and Spinach Jus was fantastic.

The carnage.

The Slow-Cooked Lamb Rack was divine, with  Basmati Rice, Biriyani Spices and Spiced Yogurt Broth. Wow.

By this time, the 7 glasses of wine was having its effect.  No idea what this was... oh, palate cleanser I believe.

For dessert, Mrs. SFO chose the Dark Chocolate with Candied Kamquat, Mandarin Ice and Lemon Grass.

I went with the "lighter" and delicious Citrus... Mango, Lime Velouté and Lemon Confit.

OMG... no mas, no mas.

OK, maybe just another bite.

Oops.  No idea how Mrs. SFO did that.  Time to leave.

What a truly spectacular meal.

Miraculously, yesterday's rain is gone and the sun is out this morning.  While Mrs. SFO got ready for the day, I headed out to Union Square to take in the sights of The City.

Time to hit the road and head north to Petaluma.

But first a lunch stop at another favorite neighbor haunts, Balboa Café.


And just next door, our favorite SF pizza.

You take whatever parking spot you can get.

More of the old Marina neighborhood.

Next stop: Larkspur Landing across from the Larkspur Ferry.

... and Three Twins Ice Cream.  AA serves this on its LAX-JFK supper transcons.  Despite getting rave reviews by FTers, it didn't do anything for me.  So, I decided to try it at sea level.  Had a scoop of the same Madagascar Vanilla.  Meh, maybe a little better but not a wow.  Mrs. SFO agreed.  "... Too icy, not creamy enough.  Ben & Jerry's is better..."   There you go, the culinary school graduate has spoken.

Then up 101 for the 30 minute drive to Petaluma.


The real reason for our visit this weekend is to watch our San Francisco grand-daughter compete in a gymnastics competition, this weekend on Rohnert Park.   The whole family chose to stay at the nearby Sheraton, located just off 101 in Petaluma.


Your basic Sheraton room.

The hotel had a Club Lounge which offered various a reasonable selection of food and beverages throughout the day.

The evening setting.

We had dinner in Tolay, the hotel's restaurant.   Not sure how this place survives as there were not of other diners here on this Saturday night.  They had an impressive wine list but our first choice was not available as our waited warned that a lot of the wines were not avaibable as they were revamping the wine list.

I had the fresh Wild King Salmon which was just OK.  Veggies were awful.

Home made angel hair pasta with meatballs were actually pretty good.

Dessert was good.

Breakfast the next morning in the Club Lounge.

Hey, you get what you pay for.  It's a Sheraton afterall but perfectly fine comfy hotel for a family stay.  

Mid morning we headed up 101 to Rohnert Park for the Gymastics in the Wine Country 2016 competition featuring teams from around the Bay Area and Sacramento.

After the competition, we headed back down 101 towards the City, stopping for a late lunch/early dinner at another fave, The Buckeye Roadhouse.

Today's medal haul.  :)

My smoked brisket with horseradish mash potatoes.  Fabulous!

At 4:50pm, we bid adieu to the kids and grandkids and head down 101 to SFO.

And down 19th towards I-280 and the SFO Rental Car Center, arriving at 5:35p or 70 minutes before our UA departure.


There was no one in the T3 PreCheck lane and we cleared security just before 6pm, heading for the end of concourse Gate 90.   But a great Super Bowl display on the way.

Sadly, this is as close as my Browns will ever get to a Super Bowl.

Mrs. SFO stops at See's for some sweets.

Yes, we are in San Francisco.

Another of our faves, although no time today for an Irish Coffee.

United 1412
January 24, 2016

If it's Gate Lice, odds are that it's United.

Excellent crew tonight offering open bad PDBs and attentive service the entire flight.   DirecTV on board means watching Broncos highlights!   I love the Browns but let's be realistic.  I live in Denver and you get caught up in the excitement.

We both passed on dinner tonight but one of the options was the Chicken Jambalaya which is one of the best domestic meals you'll find.

A similar jambalaya from another flight.  Yummy.

And the best chocolate cookies in the domestic skies.  When AA when cheap and dumped baked on board cookies for the current garbage chips ahoy, UA moved in with baked on board.

Just a little crowded tonight on the train to the main terminal.

And only one escalator working tonight.

What a great weekend with the kids.  Thanks for following along.