layover. the word instills fear in any well-seasoned traveler; the grim prospect of being stuck in between where you were and where you want to be, with nothing more than sub-grade food courts and sundry stores to entertain you. the wounds are rubbed even more raw when you have a layover during what should be a non-stop flight; such was the case en route to a wedding in orange county that i’d been anticipating for nearly a decade. i’ve been scouring the airports of america looking for a tasty fernet during pesky layovers, but until now, have proved unsuccessful. imagine my surprise when i spotted a bottle proudly displayed at nearly every bar in the san francisco airport (of course)! and not only does sfo have fernet, their better than standard food court boasts the only dim sum vendor ive seen in a non-asian airport. ha gow + fernet? double happiness 囍.
what better way to get introduced to naked athletics than by running san francisco’s legendary bay to breakers 12k? but let’s first rewind to the saturday before the race, when a couple of unknowing seattleites boarded the plane for a relaxing weekend of sf r&d (racing and dining). after such relay race events as marathon shopping (including a surprise sale at discount designer mecca jeremy’s), midnight stickering sessions for esperanza atl, and a non-stop stream of calorie consumption (did i eat three dinners in one night? maybe…), it was time to overcome my usual pre-race nausea and strap up for the race. as we approached the start line, we watched as hoards of costumed fanatics (many wreaking of booze at 7am) descended upon the embarcadero. when the race kicked off, flying tortillas rained upon us, and legions of naked people ran along-side us. fast forward 1 hour and 20 minutes later (all the while carefully avoiding brushing any naked old man parts), and we were already looking forward to our next well-deserved designer meal: enter rn74. established by restaurant mogul michael mina, rn74 is positioned as a wine bar featuring modern interpretations of franco-american fare in a concrete jungle aesthetic. and despite missing the mark for the 2010 james beard award for best new restaurant, this discerning girl’s palette had no complaints.
everyone needs a vacay, so i decided to pack up the fernet wagon and take this show on the road. seattle is but a drop in the apertif ocean, so i headed down to the american capitol of fernet: san francisco. some say that fernet’s american resurrection started back in 2005 with the sf weekly article, “the myth of fernet“, or you can date as far back as bill cosby’s 1973 fat albert recollection of how fernet saved him from a certain sparrow. either way, there’s truth in numbers at r bar in san francisco’s nob hill precinct. despite grossing the highest fernet sales in the country, i was surprised by its demure exterior. when i saw the eagle bar mats and a ledge of fernet bottles spanning the storefront, i knew i was home. the night only got better from there: 12 drinks later, i asked the friendly (and not to mention easy on the eyes) bartender for our bill. he looked at me, furrowed his brow, and then pointed at me as he said, “$30”. now, im not one to look a gift horse in the mouth, but my conscience was screaming when i replied, “no, for all of us”. he remained steadfast in his original quote, and to this day, im not sure if he honestly managed to overlook the slew of drinks he served us, but i have a feeling that r bar would be out of business by now if that was the case. i guess there is truth in numbers, no matter how far off they are.