Sunday, April 29, 2007

Sunday 29 April - Dalai Lama!

Up early today and excited - going to hear the His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama speak to the San Francisco Civic centre!

Had a breakfast of cantaloupe, scrambled eggs and Noah's bagel (sun-dried tomato today with veggie schmear and onion and chive schmear) .

Just getting ready to head into town when we heard on the news that there had been a
collapse of a section highway at the 80/580/980 interchange. We had been planning to drive to the BART station and take the train into San Francisco, but now we were all in a frenzy to get moving EARLY as the highway collapse was bound to cause disruption.

So we all hustled into the car and set off, but the road was actually surprisingly empty and in the end, we drove all the way into San Francisco and park opposite the Westfield Centre.

Had a browse around the shops before opting for an early lunch at "Out the Door", an offshoot of the acclaimed Vietnamese restaurant, "The Slanted Door" in the Ferry Building , touted as the best Asian Restaurant in San Francisco. "Out the Door" is designed to be more casual and offers meals to take away as well as a cook shop .

The food was fabulous! We started off with vegetarian Imperial Rolls which were crispy spring rolls, stuffed with taro root, cabbage, glass noodles and peanuts & served with mint & lettuce wrap. For mains we had their Lemongrass Tofu with shiitake mushrooms, onions and chili sauce (Lyn's favourite) and Daikon (white radish) Cake with with shiitake mushrooms and shallots . I have not had white radish cake in ages - not since I was in Thailand or Indonesia and I had forgotten how much I like it. Must try to make some when I get home! Chef Charles Phan is terrific and I am an "Out the Door" convert.

From lunch we wandered down to the Civic Centre and got settled in to hear the Dalai Lama speak. There was a bit of a contretemps when he first appeared - a man emerged from the audience brandishing an apple (?!?) which he wanted the Dalai Lama to eat. I was impressed that the Dalai Lama was completely fearless of the man and approached him to accept the apple, before security staff intervened and hustled the man off. Not sure WHAT that was all about, but from there the talk proceeded smoothly. The Dalai Lama delivered a somewhat meandering address with the aid of an interpreter who assisted him with his English from time to time, but I was very impressed with his humour and warmth.
I found this article later on about the apple incident:
After the talk we mooched around a bit, wandering through the Yerba Buena Gardens before popping into the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art for a quick look around.

Yerba Buena Gardens and SFMOMA
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

It was nice to see San Francisco again after so many years, even if she did look a little tired and worn around the edges in some places, like a lot of urban centres in the US.

Back home, we opted for a quick and easy supper at the end of a long day and I made a salad which we ate along with some flatbread pizza from The American Flatbread Pizza Company. Very nice they were, too.

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