First, let it be said that birthdays are weird. I've always felt this pressure to make the day memorable, while also (more so as I get older) not wanting to make too big a deal about it. The latter may actually have much to do with the former as there's always the fear that you'll throw a party and no one will come and then the birthday's memorable in the not-so-good way. Perhaps due to my inability to make a decision one way or another, I tend towards the "birthday week" variation and just try to plan as much fun stuff as possible. This year it actually worked. Not only was there a host of outings, but the actual day of birth was fantastic, one of the best I've spent in years. Oh, Happy Day.
Started it off with a trip to Swan Oyster Depot. I'd been wanting to go for ages, but kept forgetting or I'd think of it at 6 (closed) or Sunday afternoon (closed) or we'd be too hungry to deal with the line (perpetual). This time it was the only thing I wanted to do all day, line be damned. Luckily we missed most of the lunch crowd and only waited about half an hour, which is pretty amazing for a place that's only got 20 or so seats. The place is tiny, just a long marble counter with stools for the patrons and white aproned guys chopping fish and shucking oysters on the other side, Anchor Steam on tap and everyone chatting between bites of crab and shrimp louie. Doesn't seem like much has changed since it opened in 1912, except maybe the prices. I love it, I love it, I love it.
Didn't see the crawdads til we'd already downed half the menu so we'll have to try them next time. Did manage to fit in a dozen oysters, half a crab, smoked salmon with capers and an amazing salad with chunks of shrimp, fish and crab on it, not to mention the never-ending supply of thick, chewy sourdough bread. So wonderful, I think we could have continued eating for days.
I forgot how great good oysters are.
The second half of the day (aka the evening) was was no less phenomenal and food filled, this time centered around tasty grilled meats and some seriously awesome baseball. Maybe it was because we hadn't played in such a long time but, damn that was fun. I even got the palm sweats and butterflies before my first at-bat.
I just love this photo.
Cousin Galen, Banger for life.
Rolls led some pre-game stretches. He then proceeded to nail half a dozen batters with his fast and crazy pitches. Silly me, I'd forgotten what it feels like to take a hardball to the shin.
Can't believe how many people came out despite the winter-like freeze. Some said it was because they liked me, but I chalk it up to the power of baseball.
Plus night games always have a neat "Field Of Dreams" magic to them.
At some point I even got a double. God, I love playing baseball.
Thanks kids, that was swell.
I get by? With a little help from my friends. I cannot say enough about Swan Oyster Depot, its just great. Its been owned by the same family since 1946 and they also sell fresh seafood to go. Take a trip up to Polk and California and see for yourself, there'll probably be a line, but its worth every minute of the wait and once you're inside no one tries to hustle you out or hurry you along. Its not cheap, but fseafood-wise its not actually expensive either and with three of us (Franklin, Rolls and Yours Truly) we were able to try a whole bunch of different plates. The combination salad is a must and I hear the chowder is also fantastic (though I'm a Manhattan-style girl myself). There's beer and wine for the drinking folks and though they're only open for "lunch" that manages to span from 8 am til 5:30 pm. As for the baseball side of things? Gonna try and organize more games at the same field (across from the Parkside) for sunny Sunday afternoons. Get psyched and come play!