Thursday, November 29, 2007

Out with the girls: The Lori Bonn trunk sale, a drink, and dinner

But not in that order. Here's how it went down:

J., D., S., and I (we were seriously missing P.!) met at Heinhold's First and Last Chance Saloon in Jack London Square. From a website documenting dive bars, I gleaned the following:

The building was made out of timbers from an old whaling ship in 1880, used as a bunk house by men tending the nearby oyster beds, and was converted in 1883 into a saloon by Johnny Heinhold. The name, First and Last Chance was added in the 1920s when the Oakland Alameda ferry launched and departed next to the saloon. Alameda was a dry city at the time, so commuters had either their first or last drink at Heinhold's. Additionally, military personnel from both Oakland and Alameda often shipped-out after having their last drink at Heinhold's.

The floor of the bar lists downward as you walk in. The pilings underneath the saloon gave way in the 1906 earthquake leaving half of the floor space at a sharp angle.

Jack London, a notorious drinker, probably spent way too much time here, but during that time he did study and make notes for books he would later write. The bar was designated a National Literary Landmark in 1998.

Here's D. standing in front. Does she look impressed? Not one bit.

On the way out, we marveled at the squalor of the cabin London stayed in while living in the Yukon. Very thoughtful of the Port of Oakland to haul it down here.

On to the main event of the evening: the Lori Bonn trunk sale!

Although I've long admired Lori's pieces that my friends have, I'm really not much of a jewelry person, so I was really just along for the opportunity to get together with my girlfriends for drinks and dinner. But I sensed danger the minute shopping began. Upon entry, you are handed a glass of champagne and a little black velvet-lined tray (your shopping cart).

D., a serious power shopper, got right to business.
And J. was doing just fine too.
I, however, was not doing as well.

I could tell D. was disappointed in me. "I already have jewelry," I explained. I'm a total loser when it comes to accessorizing. I wear exactly the same jewelry all the time: a Swiss Army watch, my stacked wedding (plain platinum) and engagement (platinum, channel-set diamonds) bands, diamond stud earrings that Big S. bought me for our fifth wedding anniversary, and silver pendant with my daughter's picture. Sounds like plenty to me, and all except the watch have sentinental value. Again, D. was not impressed but rather than engage me in debate merely started piling items in my tray that she said I "needed."

There was lots that I truly did like here, but then I found (on my own!) something I really loved. A ring with a square cushion-cut smoky quartz stone surrounded by teensy champagne diamonds on a white gold band with white diamonds along the side. If I can figure out how to take a reasonable close-up on my digital camera, I'll show a picture soon.

But J. said "You can't buy that. It's too expensive." So I just wore it around the sale for the next hour, while I carried my tray of things I liked but did not feel compelled to buy (remember, I'm not really a jewelry person). Until. I decided that I really wanted that ring. Really. So I bought it. And yes, even though at 50% off (whoohooo—thank you, Lori!) it was expensive according to a thrifty person like myself, I spend less than any of the girls. Although they all got a whole bunch of stuff and I only got one thing. But I'm as happy as if I had a whole bunch of stuff because I really like the one thing I got. Which is shown here on me, the happy shopper.

And did I mention that Lori herself was there? And she is as lovely as the jewelry she designs.

I had a wonderful time and am looking forward to her next trunk sale, when I might buy one more thing. :)

We wrapped up the evening with dinner at Flora, a new restaurant in Oakland by Thomas Schnetz and Dona Savitsky of Dona Tomas and Tacubaya fame. They've departed here upscale Mexican to upscale comfort food. The building was originally a flower outlet but rumor has it was more recently a medical marijuana dispensary.

The inside is very sleek and modern yet entirely comfortable.

S., J., and I all had prosciutto wrapped swordfish, green risotto, citrus soup, and olive oil (the last two in a puddle around the risotto and fish) and D. had pasta norma, which was bucatini, eggplant, olives, marinara, ricotta salata, and olive oil. The swordfish was a little overdone but good (they were probably cooking to where the prosciutto was crisp, which was good for the prosciutto but not so good for the fish) and the risotto was a little too chewy but a lovely vibrant green (we think the herb was chervil but became too engrossed in conversation to remember to ask our waiter). D.'s dish was truly the standout.

We finished with two desserts: warm apple galette with butterscotch ice cream and acacia honey and buttermilk panna cotta with muddled huckleberries and a shortbread cookie—both excellent, although I doubt the huckleberries were fresh, and they would have been better if they were.

That's all for now. Have a good weekend!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I was just channeling your inner good angel (as opposed to your inner devil) when I said "you can't buy that - it's too expensive" (did I really say that?). I really wanted you to have that ring. And I'M REALLY HAPPY about my ring and funky round earrings, which I wore yesterday, and the necklace and other earrings, which I will wear soon. ;-) "J"