Castro Street in Mountain View is not the same as Castro Street in San Francisco. This one has no signs of being a gay mecca, but is rather a row of businesses that are mostly restaurants, many of which are Asian, and most of which have sidewalk seating. It's the sort of little walkable downtown area that New Urbanism has been reintroducing to city planning over the last decade or two. I ended up at a Thai place called Amarim, sitting outside. The food was well-presented but unremarkable; the Thai place I went to with Tacit and Bandage near Moscone Center was definitely better, as were the two Thai places I used to frequent around Tampa. (Tampa Bay has an amazing number of Asian restaurants. All but four of the ten thousand Chinese places suck, but many of the Japanese and Thai ones are surprisingly good.) What was remarkable was the fact that I was eating lunch, outside, in early August.
If you haven't lived in or around Tampa, you might not know just why that seems so remarkable.
On Friday I decided that I wanted ethnic food this weekend: not Asian or Mexican or Italian, but specifically, Yuppie. So far I haven't fulfilled that. Last night Tugrik, Revar, Farix and I went to El Burro, a Mexican place in the Pruneyard that's surprisingly good--and that had a full bar, which was Farix's prime criteria for a restaurant then. Today I met Kim for lunch at a new place near him called Red Robin. This is a chain that neither of us had been to before; its focus is on upscale burgers, and the one-line review is "a better Chili's than Chili's." (The last time I went to Chili's, I couldn't find chili on the menu. What's up with that?) Note to Farix: it has a full bar.
After that, I went out and bought a French press, one of those almost annoyingly manual coffee makers whose primary virtues are that it can make a single cup very easily, which the Bunn can't, and that it makes good coffee. The Bunn also makes good coffee, to be sure (and it makes it awfully fast, since their claim to fame was figuring out how to get water to all points in a basket design rather than switching to a cone design), but it's been making inconsistent coffee lately--I think something may be slightly off in a valve somewhere. And, it's very difficult to find a good permanent filter for basket coffee makers, which is the best way increase the flavor you get--the only place that I've found that sells permanent filters specifically designed for Bunns would charge about as much for one as I paid for the press. I'll have to decide if I want to "decommission" the Bunn now; part of me would rather keep it around anyway, but realistically, the chances of needing to make more than the 3-4 cups the press can do at once is fairly minimal given how few of my friends are fellow coffee drinkers.