#2.02 | This one is happy and short

How I screwed up our first anniversary but maybe made it better?

It was our first wedding anniversary, in the middle of a relentless year, and there we stood, in the doorway at Ulele, where a hostess was doing a poor job at keeping her eyes from rolling as she explained to us that we didn’t have a reservation. 

“I have a booking for today at six,” I said as I shared my name.

“No you don’t.”

“Yes, I do.” I tried to muster some contempt but it came out as a squeak.

“You have a reservation for tomorrow at six,” she said. “We can get you in today, but it’s going to be a while.”


My face turned as red as the sunset I had hoped we would watch over the Hillsborough River just as we enjoyed dessert. If I’ve ever apologized that much before or since, I can’t recall.

We scuttled to make plans until our new reservation was ready. The idea of visiting a nearby brewery wasn’t as enticing as a trip to a meadery around the corner. Doesn’t mead seem more romantic than beer? Is it because of its Renaissance evocation? Its sweet and supple body?

It didn’t matter much because the meadery was closed on Sundays. To the brewery, then.

With walls painted bright blue and a logo the size of a Corolla, Hidden Springs didn’t exactly live up to its name. But a salvaged night did spring from the bar. We ordered beer based on the imaginary Brawndo from “Idiocracy,” saisons crafted from hemp seeds, liquid peanut butter on nitro and more. We marveled at every pup that came through the door and assigned a friend to every beer on the menu.

When we were done roasting and toasting the friends who we loved, we spent a few moments remembering those who we lost. 

Then it was finally dinner time. We cheersed with bourbon barrel-aged lagers and looked out on the Hillsborough River from the best seat in the house — splitting a guava pie just as the sun set, as it turned out.

What I’m drinking this week: Keeley and I just got back from Los Angeles, where we hit two breweries with friends Dara and Tomasz.

Monkish, in Torrence, had a world-class taplist that checked all of my beer boxes but… left something to be desired! I can’t explain it! Meanwhile, I had never heard of Angel City Brewing in DTLA and was pleasantly surprised. While their taplist wasn’t trendy (though they did have a grisette) and their beers weren’t mindblowing, I found them fun and refreshing and had a great time in their vaguely LA-apocalypse-feeling brewery.

Cheers to old friends and new drinks!

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