We are apparently booked for a room at the Magnolia Hotel in Victoria. I say "apparently" because I tried booking this weekend except when I hit "next" on the reservation form I got an error message and never received an email confirmation. Low and behold when checking out our credit card charges online today we saw the charge. It's a damn good thing I didn't win the Priceline "name your own price" bid because then I'd be double booked and in a world of hurt. It's especially annoying because the charge on our card doesn't match the confirmation I had to call and get emailed to me, and the room price is more per night than I was looking at and now they're trying to tell me it's a non-refundable reservation. I never book those because I ALWAYS change my mind about where I want to stay. At this rate I could have booked a room overlooking the harbor. Oh well. Lesson learned - always use Expedia.
About 7.5 years ago during one of the crappy jobs I had after Alan and I got married, some co-workers dragged me down to Jack's Cannery Bar in Fisherman's Wharf for my very first taste of oysters. I thought I would hate 'em, but oh how wrong I was. Here I am years later, planning hotel stays around which restaurants have the best oysters and routinely going back to the same place over and over again everytime I visit Seattle. I am a woman obsessed.
A couple of years ago I heard there was a magical place about 1.5 hours north of San Francisco called Tomales Bay where the local oysters were farmed. What was even more amazing about this discovery is that I also learned you could drive up there any time you wanted, buy a crap load of oysters for cheap and shuck & bbq them RIGHT ON SITE. This sounded like nirvana to me. Alas, for whatever reason we'd never actually tried to do this.
All that changed this weekend when on Wednesday I decided it would be warm enough this weekend for the trek. Ha! When will I learn that Bay Area weather is notoriously finicky and will likely never bend to my will. Still, not to be deterred, we woke up and left the casa around 11:30 a.m. Unfortunately, Google Maps didn't work quite so well on my iPhone and instead of arriving around 1 p.m. we found ourselves driving out to the end of civilization on the wild Pacific coast ... in the dense, cold fog. It was beautiful, cold fog, to be sure but not exactly what we were going for. Thankfully, we have a car map I bought for Alan for Christmas several years ago sitting in the glove box of the Saab so we popped it open only to find that we were on the exact wrong side of the bay. Our little detour took about an extra hour, but we finally arrived at Tomales Bay Oyster Company around 2 p.m.
My first thought was, "holy geez this place is packed!" because there were NO tables available. My second thought was, "where are my damn oysters?" We purchased two dozen medium oysters because the man standing in line behind us told us that they were actually much smaller inside than the shell would lead you to believe. Being novices, we took his advice only to find later that these were the biggest damn oysters we've ever consumed. Before we could eat though, we had to find a table. Much to our luck a family was leaving and we were able to snag their spot before anyone else could. At the same time a young couple from San Francisco also walked up and asked if they could share the table with us. What we later learned this meant was "can we have 4 additional friends come and then take over every single open space of the table so that you're in the very far corner with no room for your own oyster fest." le sigh. Given my aversion to small talk and being in close proximity to people I don't know, this was a challenge. They were also very chipper. I'm sure the one girl was a very nice person but after she exclaimed for the 8th time, "oh my god this is the best oyster ever" I wanted to shove her head in the coals. I know, I know. Not very charitable of me. (I like to think it's part of my charm.)
In about an hour we had put a HURT on our oysters and were ready to high tail it back to Oakland. On our way back we stopped at the Lexus dealer to check out the RX350. I liked it a lot but the guy didn't seem too keen to let us do a test drive so I have no idea how it drives. Alan keeps bringing me the brochure and pointing to a picture of the entire cabin and saying things like "it's so luxurious." Personally, I'm enamored of the concept of air conditioned seats more than anything. We still don't know what the iPod integration is like because the old man who was showing us the car didn't know how it worked. Fail.
We're definitely going to go back again at some point for another oyster fest. Next time we'll probably go to Hog Island Oyster Company (it's the chi-chi one) but first we'll have to make reservations, so no spur of the moment, hop in the car and go trips for us.
Okay, no more playing around. This thing's booked. We're going to Vancouver (and Vancouver Island) for my birthday - direct flights booked this afternoon and the first leg of our trip booked this evening.
Our itinerary is even shaping up as follows:
2 nights in Vancouver at the Sheraton Vancouver Wall Centre