A night in the big city

Last night, Mike and I headed up to San Francisco to have dinner with Dan and Beah at The Monk’s Kettle. Let me first get the negative (and probably more interesting) part out of the way. I’m not a city person. I never have been.

If I’m in a city for too long, I feel trapped. There are people everywhere and there is no escape. I feel like there’s never a chance when I can let my guard down and truly relax. Being raised in the suburbs (the near-rural farmland type, not just townhouses and cul-de-sacs), I’m used to going home to peace, quiet, and open space. Cities are where I go to work or have a night of entertainment, but not live. I understand that other people have different thoughts on this, but this is the way I am and good luck convincing me otherwise. I don’t have a problem dealing with a city for a night, short trip, or even a few years like I did in Baltimore, but I cannot see myself living in one on any kind of permanent basis.

Call me insensitive or whatever you want, but one of my biggest issues with cities (and I have several issues) is the crazies. And by “crazies,” I mean anyone who doesn’t understand that in most cases, it is not socially acceptable to approach or engage a stranger. This brings me to my story which I recently referred to in a tweet.

We were standing outside of the no-reservations (don’t get me started on that) restaurant minding our own business like normal people when a man approached us, speaking in a language which was not English. He seemed frustrated about something and then walked away.

The same man came back a second time, this time mixing in some English, asking if any of us wanted a job. He wanted to “team up” with some people since apparently his friend who was supposed to help him out with “the job” didn’t show up. This was in San Francisco, so I think we can assume he was looking for people to help with his Internet-based social media startup. All of us were already employed, so we politely declined and he left us alone again for about a minute.

The third time he came back pretty angry, using language which is not used on this all-ages blog, and to the best that we could understand he was accusing us of making comments about him, even though I believe at the time we were talking about cats, dogs, and goats. At this point I think we all started to feel a little uncomfortable, but fortunately the guy soon left. This time, the host at the restaurant noticed him walking away and asked us if the job recruiter was bothering us, and noted that he had seen him with a knife in the past. He suggested that we wait inside, and then called the cops.

The host kept an eye on the guy as he paced up and down the sidewalk, and within a few minutes several cop cars showed up, and about seven or eight cops surround the guy. I didn’t really see much of what was going on as by this point we were inside, but I think Beah saw him sitting down in handcuffs. I assumed we would be questioned about what happened, but the cops never came to talk to us. I’m not sure what happened to the guy.

According to our waiter, the crazy guy goes around threatening to stab half the city. They think he has a grudge on someone who worked at a restaurant which was previously located where The Monk’s Kettle is, and keeps coming back even though that place hasn’t been there for years. Oh well, at least they’re aware of him and know to call the cops.

But anyway… The Monk’s Kettle gets a thumbs up from me. The beer was surprisingly good (I’m usually not a fan), so I need to start giving it a chance more often. We had Fuller’s London Porter-Nitro. I’m not good at describing tastes, so I’ll use a description that was given to one of my professors when he was buying wine: “It tastes like a wet barn.”

For dinner, we started with an appetizer of a giant pretzel, served with ground mustard and cheddar ale sauce. The mustard was good, but the cheese sauce was amazing. I don’t often get excited about food, but I really loved this. I wanted to make out with that pretzel. We tried to guess the sauce’s ingredients, and while the waiter was pretty sure it was just a blend of soft cheeses, we came up with cheese, butter, and possibly even mayonnaise.

Next up, we all ordered BBQ pulled pork sandwiches. I really like these when they’re done right (I like the sauce really mixed in well and no noticeably hard or fatty meat), and these were done right. Each was served with a side of fries, which Dan identified as “suspiciously like McDonald’s fries.” We all agreed that this was not a bad thing. They were crispy, salty, and delicious.

All things considered, I would totally go back to this establishment, even if it means getting stabbed. Of course I would only tolerate a minor flesh wound, with no infection or anything. Maybe more of a prick than a stab… and I’d love to see the attacker get taken down by the cops afterward. I’d also like to go without getting stabbed; in fact that would be preferable.

I totally need to do more with Beah and Dan in the future. They know how to have a good time.

3 thoughts on “A night in the big city”

  1. That guy was actually an actor I paid so that Wysz and Mike could have a more authentic urban experience. It was fun.

  2. I used to live on the same block as the Monk’s Kettle. It can definitely wear you down after a while to see the same people in various states of decay, sometimes looking dramatically worse with every time you see them. I don’t pretend to have the solution, but it’s unfortunate.

    Try the hamburger, their (perfect) fries, and a pint of La Chouffe next time. Very tasty.

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