Wednesday in SF
Posted on 2010/11/20 18:35:50 (November 2010).
[Wednesday 17th November 2010]
Everybody working on my project had gone on an "offsite" today to celebrate the launch. For various reasons I decided to not go along. So instead I headed to my company's headquarters in Silicon Valley, having until now confined myself to their smaller office in in San Francisco. It has been three and a half years since I was last there - I just made two trips within the first three or four months of starting this job, back in 2007, and haven't been back since.
They lay on shuttle buses from San Francisco, as a lot of staff live there (which I can quite understand, the area around our headquarters itself is a pretty lifeless bit of suburbia), and having still not really got into a sensible sleeping pattern I was on the 7AM shuttle. There's wifi on onboard, which meant I effectively started work for the day as soon as I got on the bus - coordinating some changes to our production infrastructure with a member of my team who had stayed in London this week.
I had a meeting shortly after breakfast with somebody working on a related project, but after that I had nothing in particular I needed to do - and no-one working on my project was around. So I just spent the whole day "squatting" as people tend to call it in my company - working on my laptop from wherever I could find a free space (which typically tended to be near a coffee machine).
I got the shuttle back just after 4 - given that I could again work on the shuttle on the way back (which takes about an hour) I was pretty satisfied I'd put in a decent day's work.
Given that Chie had flown back on Monday, and my whole team were on their offsite thing, I was going to have to spend the evening by myself. Luckily I generally prefer this to the usual tedious group meals that ensue on business trips. I planned my evening around two things. First, I always like to find whisky bars when travelling around the world (nice to see how my favourite drink is enjoyed in different countries). Second, thanks to Tim's excellent TagWalk, which also pulls in data from Foursquare, I had been looking at the page for Twitter's headquarters in San Francisco, and noticed a lot of people who had checked in there had also checked in at a bar called 21st Amendment. Assuming this to be the regular hang out of Twitter engineers, I was keen to go and see it and see if I could spot any Twitterers (or whatever they call themselves). As a bonus the bar in question brewed it's own beer.
So I started out at 21st Amendment, which was more or less in walking distance from my hotel. Therein I had dinner, after a fashion: some battered onion rings, a salad, and the piece de la resistance - beer and cheese soup. Whilst the onion rings were a challenge to eat, and the salad was unremarkable, I was very excited at the concept of the beer and cheese soup. I think it was predominantly a vegetable soup, with beer used instead of stock, and cheese added presumably at the last minute. I thought this was an inspired idea, which I thoroughly intend to steal, and henceforth pretend it is a British classic.
I didn't get chatting to any Twitter employees, although there were several tables of people who fit the stereotype demographic of software engineers.
Next, I headed to a whisky bar I'd found using Hotpot (hey by the way that just launched this week - cough - cough - ahem ahem - cough) which was called Nihon, and sounded to me like it would be a Japanese style whisky bar - hopefully even ran by Japanese people? Alas it wasn't quite what I'd expected - it was a whisky bar that just happened to also serve Japanese food - but nonetheless the American guy behind the bar was very knowledgeable about whisky and I had a fun time working my way through their whisky selection.
So John ... the question has to be... Was the beer and cheese soup any good?!?!?
Posted by Nigel at 2010/11/23 09:00:24.
It was good! Although maybe in hindsight I was excited about the idea more than the actual flavour...
Posted by John at 2010/11/29 21:43:45.
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