Friday, September 4, 2015 have a sister?

Has anyone noticed the insane amount of marketing/merchandise recently released for the upcoming Star Wars film?  It's pretty nuts although Christmas shopping will be easy for any Star Wars fans in your life.  I guess I shouldn't be surprised since I saw the Lucas films sponsored extravagant Star Wars tableau ice sculpture in Sapporo last Winter.  Anyway, just something I noticed.

So, yes!  I have a sister!  Ha, ha.  We had a lot of fun this week going out after work, especially when I left work early.  On Monday, we went to Palo Alto where we had oysters for Happy Hour at Gravity Bistro and Wine Bar.  It was pretty good but no Shell Shock.  We had the oysters, calamari and eggplant bruschetta.  It was tasty and we had fun but it's not my favorite restaurant.  We decided to move on and try to find outdoor seating somewhere.  We ended up at Local Union 271 where we almost missed out on an outdoor table after we were waiting for it to be cleared and someone almost swooped in even though we were first.  That would have been a bummer but SMS saw what was happening and secured our table.  Hooray!  B and I shared a beet salad and chicken tacos.  It was all very delicious.  We then took a long-ish walk to the Stanford campus and went to the main courtyard, saw the Burghers of Calais installation and strolled through the Rodin garden.  It was really nice.  To make sure we didn't incur a calorie deficit, we bought ice cream at the Scoop "microcreamery."  The flavors there are subtle- not overwhelming sweet but really delicious.
Half Moon Bay
On Tuesday, we hopped in the car and drove out to Half Moon Bay.  We saw sandpipers and took a long walk on the beach.  This walk was made slightly longer by a closed trail and my erroneous map reading.  But, it was beautiful and we made it back!
Half Moon Bay
We went to the Half Moon Bay Brewing company for dinner, which was a cute place near the point where people watch the Mavericks surf competition.  We ate outside which was a little chilly but it's so hard to choose indoor seating on a Summer's evening, even if it is becoming a little more Fall-like.  We drove home and were stuck in a massive traffic jam from an accident ahead of us but we didn't mind too much.  It was an opportunity to rest and digest!
Wednesday, we went into Oakland for dinner and a concert.  Dinner was absolutely heavenly.  B read up on the area we were going to and there are a lot of awesome restaurants, bars and clubs.  It's the Uptown section of Oakland and really cool.  We ended up going to Hopscotch, an awesome restaurant with a farm-to-table, American cuisine with distinct Japanese fusion elements- miso sauces, yuzu flavoring, etc.  The restaurant bills itself as an "upscale diner."  I'd argue that it's more upscale than diner other than the one of the seating areas which does look like a nice, old-fashioned diner or ice cream parlor.  We sat in the other dining area two doors over and it was exquisitely decorated with several tables set against a comfortable tufted, pale yellow leather bench.  I loved it.

Dinner was pretty epic.  We ordered a lot of dishes and ate everything. The portions were moderate and we were hungry.  SMS and I each had a Yonsai oyster, an oyster with urchin, roe and citrus soy. It was delicious!  The three of us shared the Kakiage appetizer and the Greens and Shrooms (broccolini, king trumpet, shimeji and mung sprouts).  The Kakiage was fried goodness but the greens dish was amazing with a really good miso sauce binding all the veggies.  Plus, I love king trumpet mushrooms.

For mains, we shared again.  SMS ordered the black garlic gnocchi, I ordered the salmon and B got the mussels.  I loved the first two and didn't quite care for the combo of mussels and miso broth. Brady and SMS did so it was just a personal preference issue.

As good as dinner was, could things get better?  Yes.  We had desserts that were so awesome.  We had homemade donuts with an amazing butterscotch custard and an almond mud pie.  There was also a dessert drink menu and we ordered a Uptown Egg Cream, which was outstanding!  The drinks at the restaurant are really on point.  I had ordered a maple old-fashioned and Brady had an incredible Kentucky daiquiri with bourbon, strawberry, lemon and ginger beer.  I was leary of it initially because I thought the strawberry would be fake and cloying but it was real and awesome!
Set-up at the Fox Theatre
So yes, I highly recommend Hopscotch!  Afterwards, we went to the Brandon Flowers concert.  He was really good and I recommend any BF or Killers show.  I'm a little bit of a fangirl.
BF in action
Thursday and Friday were a little light on Brady QT since she went to Monterey on Thursday and into the city on Friday afternoon.  We're going to meet up for brunch on Sunday and hang out until her flight Sunday evening.  *Sniff!*