Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Wayfare Tavern

As a wedding gift, John's company, Hot Pads, gave us a gift certificate to Wayfare Tavern. We were quite excited to try the restaurant but were a bit disgruntled to find out there is a month wait for a decent table on a Friday or Saturday night. If you want a table at 5pm or 10pm then it's wide open but for a decent 8pm table, the wait for the common folks is at least a month. After much anticipation, we finally had our dinner at Wayfare Tavern last Friday.

The restaurant is located in San Francisco's Financial District. It's a modern space with dark wood, an open kitchen and lots of white walls. I liked the minimalism of the restaurant in hopes that the food would do the actually talking. We were sat at a nice table in the back. Our waiter was quite aloof and had absolutely no enthusiasm for his job. For such a hot restaurant, I'd hope the server would have smiled at least once, but not this guy. We ordered the Tomales Bay Muscles and Steak Tartar to start. The mussels were OK at best. The best part of the muscles was the pork belly in the milky Herbsaint cream sauce. The Steak Tartar was much better and plentiful. The tartar was mixed with a delicious French mustard dressing and topped with an egg yolk. Only 4 garlic popovers came with the large tartar, causing us to leave a good portion of it behind. For the amount of steak, the bread does not match at all.

For our entrees, John chose the Steak Frites, a Santa Maria tri-tip with truffle butter, watercress and French fried potatoes, and I chose the Organic Fried Chicken and a side of Baked Macaroni and Cheese. The Steak Frites was good, but I'd say the fries were better. The Fried Chicken was perfection. I was so happy with the flaky skin and tender meat that I had a hard time sharing. I was 100% disappointed that for a $22 plate of fried chicken it didn't come with any sides. Sides cost an addition $8. The entrees aren't pricey at around $20 each, but to not include a side is ridiculous. An $8 Mac and Cheese or side of Brussels Sprouts is a bit much.

The food was good, but I wasn't overwhelmed. If the service was better, the experience would have been a four rather than a three star. When we paid the bill, we used a gift card and the server was clearly annoyed. We had two cards and said one had $200 and the other $50 but we weren't sure which was which. After a scoff he took our gift cards and left. The server should be trying to please the customer, not the other way around. Overall the meal was a decent price, a good bottle of wine, 2 entrees and 2 appetizers all for under $200.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Ventana Inn & Spa Deal

For anyone who is looking for a special holiday gift or a weekend get away with your loved one, check out the deal at the Ventana Inn & Spa. If you book through the Visa Signature Luxury Hotel Collection, cardholders will get $100 in food & beverage credit (for 2 consecutive nights) or $25 in food and beverage credits for one night. In addition, you'll receive exclusive VIP benefits such as VIP guest status, 3PM check-out, automatic upgrades and a free continental breakfast.

Ventana Inn & Spa is nestled on a hillside overlooking the Pacific coastline in beautiful Big Sur.  Located on 243 acres in the heart of Big Sur, the Inn's unique one-and two-story buildings blend seamlessly into their natural surroundings. Relax poolside, soak in Japanese hot baths, dine at The Restaurant at Ventana, rejuvenate at The Spa at Ventana or just contemplate the sky from your own private hammock. Afternoon wine and cheese reception, daily yoga classes, Guided Discovery Walk, and a sumptuous breakfast complete the Ventana experience.

For more info:

Ventana Inn & Spa is a luxurious hotel. It has received numerous awards including:
"Top 100 Hotels" - Conde Nast Traveler, November, 2010; Fodor's Choice Gold Award Winner - Top 10 Most Romantic Hotels," 2010;  and "Reader's Choice Award Winner - Top 20 U.S. Hideaways"

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Circus School

John and I received a fantastic "choose your own adventure" wedding present from one of his friends and we settled on a trapeze class at the Circus Center of San Francisco. For someone who is deathly afraid of heights, this was quite an adventure to choose. The anticipation leading up to the class was killing me and finally we took our class this past Sunday.

The Circus Center is located in the Inner Sunset at 755 Fredrick, right across from Golden Gate Park. It looks like an old elementary school transformed into a circus extravaganza. The Circus Center offers classes in acrobatics, aerial arts, circus skills and clowning. The most popular class is the trapeze class we took. The classes can be quite expensive at $45 a pop, but if you buy a membership, you get a discounted per class rate. The class is open to all ages and skills, they have ages 5 to 85 enrolled at the school.

The trapeze class is a heck of a lot of fun, but also extremely terrifying if you don't like heights. We had 8 people in our class, 4 beginners and 4 seasoned circus folks. Our instructors were very nice and patient. At first you practice flying on the low bar about 10 feet off the ground. After about 15 minutes of practice, you get to try your skills 45 feet up in the air. I must admit the most terrifying part was not flying through the air but climbing the ladder to the top. Your safety harness isn't attached until you reach the summit of the ladder. Once at the top, the instructor hooks you up, holds you back as you uncomfortably lean out over the safety net reaching for the bar. Once you have the bar in one hand, the teacher tells you to put both on the bar and you are in sort of a trust hold with the teacher. They yell, "hep" (which mean jump/release) and you fly. The first time I was not able to pull my legs up for the knee hang but I was able to on the 2nd, 3rd and 4th try. They say let gravity do the work, but my muscles were screaming the next day from the workout. I didn't have the stomach to try the "hand off" with the teacher. I just couldn't bring myself to hang from my knees 45 feet in the air and then let go in hopes that the teacher will catch my hands mid-air.

The class was a lot of fun. I've always wanted to fly through the air like a circus performer; however, I will not be quitting my job and joining the circus. This was a one time thing. Next time I'll try something a little closer to the ground, like how to balance a plate on a stick or riding a unicycle.