A jazzy night in the alley

Nothing tastes better than a fancy meal purchased with a gift card.

Last night we ventured to a lovely little spot just minutes from our apartment called Café Claude.  For his birthday, Dave’s Dad solicited a local recommendation from his sister (who has visited San Francisco quite a bit), and sent us a gift card to her favorite French restaurant in the City.

Our visit to Café Claude introduced us to a new concept, which I’d like to name the “alley restaurant.”  The street where it was located looked like a dark alley that we probably wouldn’t want to encounter.  However, once we turned the corner … there was light.  Claude Street featured not only one nice restaurant, but three, and each had a little tented, outdoor table area in the alley between the high-rise buildings, which led upstairs to the main dining rooms.

To say Café Claude is cozy is a bit of an understatement.  The live jazz trio was tucked into the corner near a bar, and the tables were just inches from each other throughout the dining area.  In fact, the hostess had to pull our corner table out from the wall for us to get into our seats, at which point she said, “we like to keep it interesting around here.”  Yes, they do.

Our very French waiter was a little hard to understand among the chatter.  However, we were successfully able to order some excellent food, including steak tartar, which was seasoned tableside to our choosing, assorted formaggio (that’s cheese, people) and Coq au Vin (which I cannot say out loud without thinking of the movie Julie & Julia).  For dessert we enjoyed bread pudding and chocolate cake, both served in crème brûlée dishes with little pitchers of crème to pour on top to our liking.  It was just too dark to get a good shot of everything.  However, not only would a flash have been rude to our fellow patrons sitting just an arm’s length away, nothing says “new in town” like taking pictures of your food.

The experience offered was unlike any restaurant we’ve gone.  The live jazz music was such a nice addition, and the cozy setting was even better.  While I don’t know if we will return to Café Claude any time soon, since we have about 3,490 restaurants left to visit in San Francisco on our list, it was perfect.  It certainly had more character than any place we ever dined in the City Beautiful (Orlando).

After dinner we met up with some visiting friends.

The Lotts are on the tail-end of their honeymoon and spending a couple of nights in San Francisco after their week in Napa.  We joined them at a bar called Jasper’s and chatted until far too late, recounting the events of their honeymoon and recent wedding.  It was officially the latest we’ve stayed out in the City so far, but we knew we had to take advantage of having actual friends around us.

Today the Lotts are coming over to our apartment — a visit which marks us welcoming our first official guests.  Good thing I was able to do some shopping yesterday …

Please meet my new, favorite piece of gaudy home décor.
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