Day three in San Fran began a bit later than had the first two, and not just because of our unexpected late night at Toronado the night before. This was the first day during which we didn't really have any grand plans during the day prior to the show, other than to eat a meal at House of Nanking, which I'd first eaten at last summer with Salvador. With the weather in the city absolutely gorgeous, we decided to start off at the Palace of Fine Arts in the Marina District, walking a few miles through the marina to the restaurant.
We arrived at House of Nanking, meeting up with a girl we'd met the previous night at Toronado. She wanted to try the Nanking Chicken, and Salvador and I just told the waiter to just bring us whatever he wanted to suggest, which wound up working out great. As we expected, the Nanking Chicken was basically like a higher end General Tso's, and we also got a scallop dish with vinegary greens and a fried lamb dish with bok choy. Oh yeah, also a crisp fried knish-shaped egg roll thingy with fresh vegetables and noodle filling. Splendid!
After stopping by briefly at the famed City Lights Bookstore nearby, I walked back to the hotel for a nap while Salvador met a friend elsewhere in the city. Started getting ready for the show around 5 - ate a grilled falafel wrap (kinda meh, but improved dramatically by liberal squirts of sriracha) from the aptly named Food Cafe on Van Ness and drank a couple iced coffees to fuel up.
Once again, the city was showing the baseball game (Game 7, wooooo hooooo) on a huge screen at Civic Center Plaza, only unlike the previous night the game was super competitive and the assembled Giants fans were watching intently. For the first time, I realized that there could, in fact, be a riot after the game, and I was eager to see what the reaction of the city would be post show. We headed inside BGCA early in order to get seats extreme Page side again, a few rows lower than where we'd been the previous night. Between the excellent sight lines, ampleness of space and sound quality, I have to say this is the best place in the room to be.
The show itself was another solid outing, in line with night one at BGCA and, say, Chula Vista earlier in the tour. The "Moma" > "We Are the Champions" > "Moma", was great with the band going into "WatChampions" just after the conclusion of the baseball game - the Giants won, and the crowd absolutely ate this up. Nice gesture by the band, even though Trey outed Page as a Mets fan after the song, hahaha. The set-closing "Wolfmans," the set's other high point, featured knee-deep chunky funk and a great peak.
Second set began with "First Tube," which is definitely my favorite song to watch Trey play. He was all smiles during this version, hopping around enthusiastically and playing powerfully throughout. The "Disease" that came next had some nice type 1 jamming, eventually dissolving into the ambient / spacey type of improv that's been employed so frequently during this tour. On the heels of the great "Theme" at SBB2, this one was back in the realm of being a fairly standard version. "Light" was probably the highlight of the set, getting really atonal and rhythmically unsual in a manner similar to the great version from summer '13 at MPP2. And closing the set was probably the rippin'est "Possum" I've heard in ages.
After the show, we were surprised to find practically no evidence of post-World Series mayhem, walking to our friend's hotel room at the Days Inn nearby for a few beers after chilling in the Plaza area for awhile. We decided to call it an evening fairly early, as Salvador needed to get on the road super early the next morning to drive home to Oregon. Not to mention that we were both very, very much spent.
So, this ended the California portion of the trip for me. By the time I'd get to SFO to drop off my rental car the next day, I had racked up about 13 miles of driving between LAX > Pasadena > Santa Barbara > Pasadena > LA > Chula Vista > LA > Pasadena > San Luis Obispo > Big Sur > San Francisco. Jeez frickin' Louise, what a trip!
With all of the moving parts and variables that were at play, from logistics to tickets to accomodations to just general travel anxiety, I feel incredibly fortunate that things went as smoothly as they did, and that we were able to have so much fun not only at the shows, but before and after. I'm getting a bit misty-eyed here with gratitude - for Salvador, who is pretty much the greatest tour guide (and friend!) I could ever ask for, for Beafvy, who flew in for the Forum > Chula Vista portion of the run amidst terrible stress (HAHAHAHAH!), for Bricer and Rumpo, who I'll be seeing the Vegas shows with, and the general Phish communnity overall, with / amongst whom I've had nearly entirely positive interactions along the way. Oh yeah, also Trey, Page, Mike and Fish. Can't forget them. You guys are the frickin' best.
OK - time to start pregaming in earnest for Vegas1. WOOOOOOOOOOO HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
As I mentioned in this post, we had some splendid meals during our San Fran trip in early August. On the Saturday, we got some excellent (and cheap, especially compared to what I'm used to in Brooklyn) banh mi at Saigon Sandwich, before taking a ride out to Land's End, after which we headed in to House of Nanking. Not gonna lie, this was probably the finest meal we ate the whole trip.
So, above we have five pictures. The top is the outside of the restaurant (duh!), second pic is of the ginger garlic poached scallops; third pic is salt and pepper mushrooms; fourth pic is stir-fried baby pea shoots; last pic is of the "shrimpackets."
I'm a huge fan of the fresh, unadorned, (seemingly) authentic style of food preparation they utilize here. Each of the dishes we tried seemed to be made with as few ingredients as possible, and nearly everything was freshly prepared and delicious. Even the "fried" items were (for the most part) light, tender and crisp. Definitely miles away from the typical cheapo greasy Chinese crap that I'm used to. The atmosphere inside the restaurant was hurried and efficient, with a team of waiters serving the dishes one-by-one as soon as each was prepared. Reminded me of when I'd eat in Chinatown (NYC) with my grandma thirty years ago - your first instinct is that the whole thing is about go off the rails, but then you realize that the system thrives in chaos, functioning as a well-oiled machine of deliciousness.
The only item that we tried which I wouldn't recommend was the "shrimpackets," which were little shrimp chunks inside an empanada-type fried wrapper. I just didn't really much care for the neither-doughy-nor-crispy texture, but then again I don't really love empanadas, so I would've likely ordered something else had I known what "shrimpackets" consist of.
By the time we were done with our meal, a line of people waiting to eat had formed outside House of Nanking that continued halfway down the block. "Don't worry, it's worth the wait," I douchily reassured the few folks within earshot as we left and headed back to the car.
After the meal, we hustled back to our hotel to get ready for the evening's Phish show, which... hmmm... no clue when I'll get to reviewing that, since I'm only up to Merriweather at this point. Anyhow.