Sunday, March 26, 2006

Millennium Restuarant and A Cable Car Ride

I was just reminded by my mother-in-law about my interesting experience in San Francisco when I went to Millennium Restaurant about a month ago. I was meeting my sister and her boyfriend to discuss a project in the works: Wake Up and Eat I was down by Fisherman's Wharf and was supposed to meet them near Union Square to go to dinner for a 6 p.m. reservation. As hard as I tried I could not get a later reservation. Things always work out, just not the way that you thought that they would.

I headed to the cable car turn around a bit late since unbeknownst to me my watch had stopped running. I figured that I could get to Union Square in 30 minutes, although there was a line. And it seemd that the cars sat for a while at the turn around before actually leaving. AND, and this was the big AND my conductor had a tantrum. He yelled at a young passenger and then stormed off the car. This was when I picked up my cell phone and made the first call to my sister and told her about my dilemma, being stuck on the cable car and that I might be a few minutes late. When I realized that it would be longer than that, I called again and also called the restaurant to tell them. They thanked me for the call and said that it was OK.

About 5 minutes later the conductor returned, a bit more composed, and we left the turnaround and headed toward North Beach. We almost took out 2 tourists who ambled in front of the cable car, not realizing that it doesn't stop when you are crossing in front of it against the light. We went 1 more block and the conductor pulled back on the brake that is attached to the cable. It would not catch. At first I thought that he must have been kidding. But as we slid down the hill a bit , and almost into the intersection behind us, I could tell that we were doomed. The cable had stopped running. Faced with impending dinner reservations, mild hunger and a huge hill and many blocks before me at around 6 p.m. I made my final call.

"Donna, why don't you go to the restaurant? I 'll meet you there" I said as I stepped off the cable car. Luckily, I wear sensible shoes. I hoofed my way to Union Square, and then beyond to the theater district where Millennium is located. I had never been there and found the room was a bit hushed and dark with a clubby and romantic feeling to it. It was what I needed. It was 6:30, the time at which I had wanted the reservation. I was so warmed up from my hike up and down SF hills, that I peeled off my scarf, my hat, my jacket and any other clothing that I could. I asked if the wine was there yet (it would shortly arrive), strolled to the restroom to compose myself, and came back feeling much better a few minutes later.

Dinner was mostly fantastic. The plate presentations were wonderfully artistic with an incredible variety of tastes and textures on each one. I bet that you will not miss the meat (if you do eat it) and find each dish intriguing, if not always to your liking. The ingredients are not ordinary. We shared many dishes and at the moment I cannot tell you which was the best but I have a recollection of oyster mushrooms being great. None of the desserts wowed me but I was likely too full and definitely had at least a couple of glasses of wine. I recommend that you go to Millennium when you are in San Francisco if you can get a reservation (even if it's a bit earlier than you'd like).

We left the restaurant and hailed a cab. The ride was short and sweet, and cost only $6 for the 3 of us. But somehow it just didn't compare to my $5 cable car ride and hike, at least not in the story telling department.

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