Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Even When Bad Things Happen, We're Golden

Our stay at the fabulous $1 Orchard Hotel room was limited to one night, so we checked into the Warwick the next day. Totally not our style, but still lovely for just $60 via the ever trusty priceline.
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Nearby, we happened upon David's Delicatessen, the look of which reminded us of our beloved and delicious Langer's here in Los Angeles.
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And that's where the similarities ended.

The food at David's was insanely terrible. Almost inedible. This is what I get for not doing my homework and just going into a place because I'm hungry. Ugh.

Kosher corned beef hash crowned with poached eggs ($16.95).
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Bland. Mushy. Wholly unpalatable. I got through part of an egg and maybe three bites of the so-called hash. So utterly gross.

Luckily this came with a bagel and cream cheese.
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At least I could stomach this pedestrian little offering.

Hot pastrami and cheese sandwich ($13.95).
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Notwithstanding Mr. Monkey's amused expression, we were not delighted at all by this sad specimen of a sandwich. The meat was tough and nothing like the savory wonder that is our own Langer's pastrami.

Shame on me for just walking in. Boo to me. Booooo. But at least I have saved you from the same fate. That is something.

After our nasty brunch, we went to pick up our Mini convertible.
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Or so we thought.

The stupid rental car place only had a regular Mini even though we'd reserved the convertible weeks in advance. One employee even had the gall to utter the words, "You can't always get what you want." WTF? That's precisely what a reservation is for, asshole.

We ended up with this hardtop.
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We were whizzing down the Golden Gate bridge 15 minutes later. Whee!
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As I snapped away in our cute little car on the bridge, I started to hear some rattling on the side of my door. The rattling got louder. I looked out my window to see the side reflector undone and whipping back and forth violently, slamming and scratching the side of our car.

We were on the Golden Gate Bridge. There was nowhere to pull over.

Then the thing went flying. Flying. Right off of our car. Onto the bridge.

When we were finally over the bridge, we immediately parked at an observation area to survey the damage.

Here's the driver's side reflector intact.
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Here's the passenger's side.
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[insert wah wah noise here]

We drove back to the rental place, explained what had happened, argued with several employees about paying for the non-collision damage, won the argument, complained about the rude service we'd experienced earlier in the day, and got a convertible Sebring as a replacement gratis.

Yes, we got a complete refund for our rental, as well as a voucher for another free rental in the future. It pays to know how to argue.
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Hey, it wasn't broken. And it was free. That was good enough for us.

Not to mention, with a convertible, I could get shots like this.
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The delay we incurred from dealing with The Crazy Escape of the Mini Reflector threw a wrench into our original plan to visit Point Reyes National Seashore that afternoon.

But Mr. Monkey always knows what to do. We went to Muir Woods instead, which was closer and would allow us to get back in time for our dinner reservation.
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Mind you, I was still a gimp with two ankle braces, thanks to the previous day's tumble, but that didn't stop me from making the short hike. I was on vacation, damn it. What was I going to do? Sit on a bench? Every painful step was worth it.
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After our woodsy walk, we stopped to admire the Golden Gate Bridge a little more before we drove back into the city.
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Mr. Monkey found these bars in an adjoining bunker-type area.
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We made a quick detour to Lombard Street on our way back to the hotel.
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Then it was time to get cleaned up for our evening culinary adventure.

Next: Great food and great service the Michelin two-starred way.

Monday, July 20, 2009

San Francisco on the Cheap

It wasn't quite as cheap as the $14 Jet Blue flight that we took last time, but we were pleased as punch to pay $48 for our Virgin America flight to San Francisco in late April.
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If you haven't flown Virgin America yet, do it. Do it now. Now, I said! It's like Jet Blue on steroids -- everything great about Jet Blue but even greater. It is hands down my favorite airline ever.

With its lavender neon and ambient music, the Virgin America cabin makes you feel like you should've brought your light sticks and ecstasy.
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Even without any chemical help, however, you'll be in ecstasy thanks to the great entertainment system.
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We arrived at our $1 hotel late that night. Yes, $1 for a room that's usually $339.
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During his frequent perusal of travel blogs and other travel-related sites, Mr. Monkey came across an "April Fool's deal" offered by The Orchard Hotel. For a few select Fridays, you could book a room for just $1. Mr. Monkey was no fool. He snatched up a night immediately.

Between this and the $48 flight, we just had to go to San Francisco even though we'd gone just a few weeks before.

The Orchard Hotel was lovely. I took this photo the next morning when it was light out.
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As I stepped back to get a better shot, I tumbled off the curbed and sprained both of my ankles. Both. The doorman watched in horror as I fell. I totally ate it, but my camera came out unscathed -- even as I collapsed, I held up my little baby. Must. Save. Camera.

I wore ankle braces the rest of the trip. Sexy. And it wasn't even a good photo. Stupid.

At least the $1 room was for real. See?
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By the time we'd settled in, we were starving. It was past midnight. We had no choice but to go to Lori's Diner, a nearby local chain that was open and surprisingly busy.
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This was called "San Francisco's Best Corned Beef Hash" ($10.95). I don't think so.
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Side of sausage. Palatable enough.
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The "Taco Ole Omelet" ($10.50) with vegetarian chili, avocado, salsa, monterey jack cheese and sour cream.
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Still, we were happy. $1. San. Francisco. Hotel. Room. Yeah.

Next: An atrocious deli, flying car parts on the Golden Gate Bridge, and a woodsy walk.
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