On Saturday I went to San Francisco with my cousin. Most of Saturday was driving to SF from LA, and most of Monday was driving back to LA from SF. Hearst Castle is gorgeous, btw, go there. On Sunday we had a full day there, which we started with our tour group. Breakfast in Chinatown was crappy beyond words since none of the good places were open yet. At Lombard Street, tour buses are not allowed to go up the hill, therefore we had to start at the bottom and basically go hiking. At the Golden Gate Bridge, cousin Simon did what he usually does at every attraction and snapped one nondescript picture before going back to checking his email on his iPhone 4.

I never liked San Francisco.

The previous evening I stayed up until 2 AM looking up the various bus lines, directions, etc needed to plan out a nice afternoon route at cousin Simon’s request — Mission Dolores, City Hall, Twin Peaks. We didn’t want to stay with the tour bus, because they were going to pack up and go back to the Hotel around 5 PM, and we really wanted to have dinner in the city. At seven the next morning we boarded our tour bus for the hour drive from our hotel in San Jose to San Fran, and he looked at me and said, “How about we just go shopping this afternoon? How nice would that be?”

So I spent four hours in the afternoon in Union Square, going into department store after ridiculously overpriced boutique after coffee shop (he gets caffeine withdrawal without coffee at regular intervals). Midway through he turns to me and says, “Actually, you know, I don’t like shopping.” And in the end, he purchased a total of zero items.

AT LEAST DINNER WAS GOOD. This is my mantra. It really was great. An equivalent meal in Madison would have been about 20% more expensive and not nearly as well executed, or as tasty. You would think that the Underground Kitchen could competently peel a potato, that Harvest could competently sear a piece of meat or make a celeriac soup that doesn’t taste like slurried chalk, or that Graze could make non-limp french fries. But you would be wrong.

At least dinner was good. And in the end, what else do I care about, really?