In the evening I headed to SF for week #2 of the Sad Sack Club, officially taking place at the location where the instructor, and nobody else, went last week. It was held at the Telegraph Hill Neighborhood Center, a beautiful and interesting building and veritable labyrinth of classrooms and activity areas.
Looks like somebody has been hard at work Square Foot Gardening in the the courtyard there (an interesting concept--check out the link--that my Aunt Janet has mastered and swears by and which Kelsi was just talking about trying out last Sunday)
Anyway I managed to find parking and make it to the meeting on time, and while it wasn't mindblowingly educational or even really focused on co-parenting this session, it was nice to again be among people going through the exact same process I'm currently navigating. There is an instant, rare camaraderie there.
The nice thing about this new location is that it's in North Beach (sometimes thought of as the Little Italy of San Francisco), which is just bustling with cute restaurants, coffee shops, and attractions (probably the largest concentration of XXX theaters left in the country). When we got to the meeting, somebody asked the facilitator to recommend a good place for pizza, and for the next two hours--while yes, I was listening and participating in the class--one part of my mind remained firmly rooted in the singular goal of hunting down a yummy slice when the whole thing was over.
Rain couldn't stop me. Or darkness. Or lack of a solid tip on where to venture. The GGA Project was made for such moments. I walked a couple of blocks and wandered into the first promising, welcoming place I saw, which happened to be Cinecitta Ristorante & Bar.
Today's New Activity: Wonderful Restaurant, Wonderful Pizza, AMAZING Hostess
I decided to sit at the bar; it just seemed less lonely than facing the other solo diner at a two-top table across from him. Plus, the Lakers v. Suns game was on the t.v. behind the bar (which ended up going into triple overtime and ending with a Lakers win. Nice.)
Cinecitta's menu offered so many vegetarian pizza options I was a little overwhelmed at first. It was a very nice change from the typical Margherita, pesto, or artichoke hearts supreme choices. I went with the "Bianca," which contained Brie, Gorgonzola, and Mozzarella cheeses, along with pecans.
Oof. It was sooo tasty. I'm not normally a big fan of very thin crusts, but this was just perfect. I don't know how to describe what was different about it, but it was just the right ratio of sauce-to-crust. And the pecans were an awesome surprise. Even the leftovers were better than most pizza is the first time around. I was so happy with what seemed to be the perfect ending to a pretty great day.
But it turned out the best was yet-to-come. The best came in the form of Romina, one of Cinecitta's two owner/partners, a bona fide Italian woman from Rome (leading me to suspect "Romina" was actually a nickname, as in, "woman from Rome"), complete with a super charming accent and exaggerated hand gestures. She was the warmest, funniest, full-of-good stories hostess I've ever met. It's not often that I would refer to the simple meeting of somebody as an "experience," but tonight's meeting definitely qualified. There was another man sitting at the bar--a regular customer from the neighborhood and good friend of Romina's--and the three of us were there swapping stories and laughing until way longer than I'd planned to stay in the city. It was such a nice surprise, especially for a spur-of-the-moment Tuesday night meal that was really just meant to satisfy a craving and nothing more.
When I left the restaurant I was full of happiness, with this question on my mind: Have I mentioned here how much I love, love, LOVE this project?! If not, I'm doing so now.
I love, love, LOVE this project.
It's all about nights like tonight...the unexpected, the random connection, the excellent new restaurant discovery to be tucked away in my back pocket for when this year is over and I start revisiting all these new places. Sometimes, I feel like this year is going by way too fast. Good thing a formal project isn't a necessary factor when it comes to the habit of trying new things...