Dave and I met on an unseasonably cold evening in downtown Orlando on January 16, 2009. Over the course of our relationship, we have celebrated the anniversary of the day we met as a momentous occasion. Essentially, we started dating at that time and both of our lives changed forever, for the better.
Guess what happened to these two extremely busy folks this year? The day came and went, and we forgot.
On January 17, as we sat on the couch, I turned to Dave and gasped. At least we both forgot. No harm, no foul.
Luckily, I had already made reservations at a fairly new restaurant a week ago for this Saturday night so we had a time to hold our “celebration”. In the City, the good places fill up fast, so you have to plan ahead if you want to get a table on a weekend night.
We dined at TBD restaurant. TBD holds a bit of significance, as it is the sister and next-door neighbor to AQ restaurant, one of the places we ate during our scouting mission, when we visited San Francisco and considered whether or not to move here. (Perhaps it helped sway our decision that we had a celebrity sighting that night at AQ, and that hasn’t happened again.)
TBD was SO very San Francisco. The name “to be determined” showcases the seasonally changing menu, which is all locally sourced. Waiters and waitresses were in distressed denim shirts, there were low, square-wood tables complete with drawers holding the menu, silverware and napkins, and there was even a communal man/woman bathroom in the back with a trough sink just outside it. As always, little water cups sat at the table, with your own water jug to refill when needed.
The setting was great. Rustic decor in a small space, which made it intimate, although fairly casual. Restaurants in this City are a far cry from the large chain dining establishments we were used to in Florida. In fact, when dining in San Francisco, you must be comfortable sitting very close to other parties. You can always hear conversations, see what people order and be ready to bump elbows every once in a while.
75 percent amazing
With just beer and wine on the menu, the “loophole” cocktails were made with sherry. Having little knowledge of what a sherry cocktail would be like, I ordered one, and it was super sweet and served in a wine glass with a lemon. It was refreshing, but perhaps a bit too flavorful for me to want a second.
The menu at TBD was not traditional. Everything was meant to be shared, and items were organized by how they were prepared: Raw, Smoked, Hearth & Embers, Grill, Plancha and Sweet. There were no dollar signs, just triangles, which were associated with set prices.
We had the following items, rated from 1 to 10, with 10 being melt-in-your-mouth amazing:
- Raw beef, cheddar and beer mustard greens — a 10, hands down.
- Cauliflower gribiche and raisins — a 10, hands down.
- Chicken and dumplings NorCal style — a 10, hands down.
- Gulf shrimp, sweet potato avocado and black garlic — a 4, total disappointment.
The first three dishes were to-die-for. But the fourth, (the one I was looking forward to the most as a seafood lover), was just not good at all. I’d give the restaurant a full five-star rating had we not experienced that bad dish. But alas, it was a nice time, in a San Francisco dining scene that I’ve come to love so much.
Finding a new bar
After dinner, Dave and I attempted to go to The Cheesecake Factory for dessert (one of the few big chain places in the City), but it was incredibly busy, and there was even a line to take the elevator up to the restaurant waiting area. Thus, we walked around a bit, dropped money in the bucket for some street performers, changed plans and instead checked out Golden Gate Tap Room.
We don’t get around to many bar scenes these days, preferring restaurant bars, lounges and the like, but Golden Gate Tap Room was a nice change. We ordered cheap drinks, played a Mortal Kombat arcade game and people-watched.
Best of all, the bar is only two blocks away from our pad, and we didn’t even know it existed until now. We’re both so glad to know there is a casual, fun bar so close to us. Especially because it had a great beer selection, which Dave appreciated, and there were plenty of amusing activities like ski ball, shuffleboard and tons of big TVs.
It was a full and enjoyable Saturday night in the City. Full of a little bit of expected and a little bit of unexpected.
More adventures to come, as we have two more days of the weekend to enjoy, since Monday is a holiday for both of us.