Monday, February 25, 2008

photos of food and castle

Mocha from Coupa Cafe. The cream was originally in a star shape (imagine the top half mirrored onto the bottom half).

I drank a sip, and it became an owl.

Naturally, preservation of the owl became key. The next ten minutes saw me crouching over the cup in strange contortions each time I wanted to take a sip.

I promised to take Megan to a vegan restaurant to celebrate her birthday. She chose Cafe Gratitude, in San Francisco. I braced myself for unsatisfying raw vegetables.

How wrong I was!

The menu items are phrased as affirmations. My mint chocolate chip milkshake is "I am Cool". Our appetizer of crackers and hummus was called "We are Bountiful". I rather enjoyed ordering:

Waitress: "What can I get for you?"

Megan: "I am Elated, and I am Honored. We are Bountiful. My friend here wants 'I am Cool'. Oh, also, I am Extra Green."

To my shock, the food was actually tasty. It's much better than the majority of non-vegan food.

The inside of the cafe. My stomach is not used to the food, so by the time we left, I actually felt a little like vomiting. Nonetheless, I went back again the following night.

The tables carry a fun card game, with questions like "Name three things you love about the other players."

The best one was a multi-part card. Part one was "Who do you hold a grudge against?" We wracked our brains and described people from our distant past who wronged us. The next part read, "Pretend the other player is the person you hold a grudge against. Now apologize for holding a grudge for so long."

That card owned us good!

Hearst Castle.

View from the castle.

The tour talked about how Hearst lived with his wife for twenty-odd years, and she bore him five sons.

Then he fell in love with Marion Davies, his "true love match", who lived with him for 40+ years until his death. His wife was very amicable. She lived across the country in New York, and would telegraph before arrival so that Marion Davies could duck out during her stay.

Upon Hearst's death, he left his property and a significant chunk of stock to Marion Davies. She sold it to his widow for a penny, because she said, "I was with him for love, not money."

Meanwhile, Mrs. Hearst performed a number of charitable deeds in Manhattan. Bluebirds sang, and ponies ran happily in the meadow.

Then I came home, and read on wikipedia how it's commonly believed that Mrs. Hearst was a prostitute when Hearst met her. Also, Hearst was terribly jealous of Marion Davies and is suspected to have murdered a man during a jealous rage on a sailboat. Allegedly he used his money and influence to shush up the shooting. Finally, Marion Davies married someone else a week after Hearst's death.

Funny how they didn't mention any of that on the tour.

A pretty walkway.

The outdoor pool.

Hearst often changed his mind after a portion of the house was completed, and would order it torn down and rebuilt. This pool was recreated three times before he was satisfied.

The architect, Julie Morgan, worked on the house for 28 years. I wonder if she found it fulfilling to design a lavish castle (rather than yet another square office building), or whether it was frustrating to have Hearst switching his mind all the time.


ArC said...

Gosh, before you described how the 'owl' came to be I thought it was a particularly impressive feat of latte decoration on the barista's part.

Cafe Gratitude sounds like if it got any more hippie it'd open a timewarp back to the 60s.

As for the Hearst castle architect, maybe things were different back then, but I imagine an architect could dump a client at some point over 28 years if they were unhappy with how the project was going.

Anonymous said...

Megan is hot.

melinda said...

Which one did you go to? C and I go to the one in the Sunset fairly regularly. I like the I am Grace and the I am Graceful.

Anonymous said...

how'd the Orly owl get in your coffee?

PS I saw this picture and I thought of you:

Anonymous said...

Vegan Megan ... heh heh.

:-) said...

You say prostitute like it is a bad thing.

Adam Villani said...

Julia Morgan actually designed from office buildings that were pretty non-boring. The Herald-Examiner building in L.A. is pretty awesome, though it's been shuttered since the 1980s. There are plans to convert it into residential and retail space; it's in an area with a bunch of loft conversions.

Adam Villani said...

Correction... pretend I wrote "designed some," not "designed from."

Neil said...

My first time here, passing through after signing up for FriendFeed. I thought it was amusing the contrast between the birthday meal in Vegas to that at the Cafe Gratitude. I've been there myself. Although it wasn't my cup of green tea, I was impressed with what you can create without typical food stuff.

Anonymous said...

the man shot on the boat was Thomas Ince.