Monday, October 09, 2006

The essence of California

My friend Doc Searls often goes on and on about how wonderful it is to live in Santa Barbara. But this past weekend I finally realized why the Bay Area is so great.

On Saturday, we journeyed into the city to Justin Herman Plaza for San Francisco Magazine's annual Fallfest benefit for Meals on Wheels.

While kicking back in the sun (or the shade) and tasting the wonderful food of the city's top chefs and best artisan producers, all washed down by wines from dozens of great California vintners we were entertained by the Backburner Blues Band, chef Joey Altman's true amateur collection of food service personnel with outstanding musical talent.

As we arrived for the noon kickoff, we watched planes new and old circling the sky getting ready for the Red Bull Air Race

We also watched as a "parade of ships" went up the harbor past the Ferry Building across the Embarcadero from the plaza, then leaned back to be dazzled by a 90-minute exhibition from the Navy's Blue Angels, all part of the opening of Fleet Week in the city.

If sports is high on your activities list, there was college football (Cal), pro football (49ers vs. Raiders) and baseball on deck (ALCS w the A's). Hockey was "right down the street" as the Sharks easily handled the Islanders.

Did I mention the clear blue skies, low humidity and lovely 72 (F) degree weather?

If you can't be in Paris, San Francisco is the next best thing. Or maybe I got that backwards.

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