PrologueIn 1996, Craig visited California with friends. He went to Yosemite, San Francisco, and even saw the elusive Tom Waits perform in Oakland.
Craig and I visited California together in 1997. We visited friends, toured San Francisco, and got engaged at Yosemite.
Craig's only regret was that he was unable to replicate his Tom Waits experience with me. So when we learned that Tom Waits would be performing concerts in Oakland and Los Angeles in support of his newly released "Mule Variations" album, we decided to take a whirlwind trip to see the two concerts in Oakland.
The shows would prove to be so successful that Tom Waits would embark on a small fall tour, which brought him to Boston for three nights. We attended each of those shows as well.
Wednesday 6/9/99 - Tom WaitsWe flew out of Boston and arrived in San Francisco prior to lunchtime. We wandered around North Beach, killing time before meeting our friend Tom and his Fresno friends (girlfriend Margaret, her brother John, and friend Heidi) for lunch at House of Nan King. We mused about how odd it was to have woken up in Boston and to be meeting friends in San Francisco for lunch the same day! It was nice to be reunited with them, and we enjoyed a very nice lunch.
Then we all headed over to the Grant Plaza Hotel to check in. After freshening up, John drove us across the bridge to Oakland, to make sure we were in plenty of time for the concert. Some Waits fans were to be meeting at the Hof-Brau for drinks and dinner prior to the show. We got a table and some drinks there, but after a mouse sighting, we decided to forego the food, and instead headed over to a Chinese restaurant.
We went to the show and had very good seats. It was amazing to finally get a chance to see Tom Waits live. Here is the set list:
Thursday 6/10/99 - Tom WaitsWe went to City Lights Books and did some general wandering around North Beach. Then we drove to Berkeley, where we went to Amoeba Music and Rasputin's Records.
We had drinks and dinner and played pool at a bar called Raleigh's Pub (where they had pear cider on tap), and then headed to Oakland for the second wonderful Tom Waits show.
Friday 6/11/99 - DepartureWe all went out to breakfast together, and then said our goodbyes. Craig and I drove up to wine country. We stopped to see the Old Faithful Geyser of California.
Then we stopped at the Petrified Forest. The petrified wood here is quite different than what we saw in Arizona. This was totally gray.
We found it funny that there was a little statue of a man with a mule, as the album Tom Waits was performing was entitled Mule Variations, and there is a song on there called "Get Behind the Mule."
We expected both the geyser and the petrified forest to be kind of cheesy, as they are privately owned on someone's property. But they were interesting nonetheless.
We went back to Berkeley and did a bit of shopping before heading to the airport. We dropped off our rental car, and then met our friends Andy and Iris Ann (who hosted us on our previous California trip. They took us out to eat at a wonderful Italian restaurant called Kuleto's, where we had focaccia, tortellini in a white sauce, and tiramisu. The food was incredibly rich. When we saw that the plate had only about eight tortellini on it, we were bit skeptical that we would leave with full bellies. But we did! It was difficult to try to squeeze the tiramisu into our stomachs after the delicious main course.
It was great to see Andy and Iris Ann, even for such a short visit, before flying back home and returning to reality after a truly magical weekend.
House of Nanking: Heidi, Margaret, Tom, Steph, Craig
Hof-Brau: Heidi, Craig, Tom, Margaret, John
Dinner with Andy and Iris Ann