Mount Sutro: An Electronic Periodical

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The Visit to Google

by Archived Article (2001–2014) Help
Photo Credit: David July — A bicyclist sits atop the northern peak of Twin Peaks looking out over San Francisco on a clear day, San Francisco, California, 20 January 2013

A bicyclist sits atop the northern peak of Twin Peaks looking out over San Francisco on a clear day.

Near Twin Peaks Boulevard, San Francisco, California: 20 January 2013

On Wednesday, 30 January 2013, I had an opportunity to visit Google headquarters in Mountain View for a brief tour. Marc and I were to meet up with his friend and our host Matt for lunch.

We first drove to the quad on North Whisman Road and picked up Christan at Google Building QD6, next door to Symantec and just up the way from Roger's Deli—great breakfast, sandwiches and freshly baked breads.

We arrived in the midst of lunch hour, making parking difficult. Google offers a free valet parking service at the Googleplex and there were lines at each of the three valet stations we visited. However, all valet lots were full and we were directed to the subterranean parking garage. It did not take long to see that it too was completely full.

I ended up finding free street parking on Landings Drive near Building 1965. This worked out well since our first stop was the triad of Buildings 1900, 1950 and 2000 located nearby on the other side of Charleston Road.

We gathered a few more Googlers and headed east toward Building 40, crossing a small pedestrian bridge over Permanente Creek. After a quick stop at a small office where Matt signed Marc and I in as guests, we put on our white badges and continued.

Photo Credit: David July — My Google Visitor White Badge, Mountain View, California, 30 January 2013

It was extremely crowded as we entered Building 40 and made our way through the main corridor. Even more crowded was the food-court-style room filled with restaurants of varied cuisines and where everything is free. I filled my tray with items from several eateries, grabbed a drink and made a beeline for the exit away from the crowds.

Like most of the days on this trip, the weather was beautiful so the outside tables were at a premium. We managed to find a one that was too small, but we made it work anyway. After all, we were hungry and several members of our party were due in meetings shortly.

Meandering through the complex, it is amazing to see how many people work here. Some 3,500 staffers commute in daily from San Francisco, Marin, East Bay and other nearby areas on the free Google Shuttle coach service. To help people move about the various buildings that make up the Googleplex, colorfully painted bicycles are available for use.

As far as the well-known tourist attractions, we saw Stan, the life-sized Tyrannosaurus Rex replica skeleton; the replica of suborbital air-launched spaceplane SpaceShipOne; a neat Google Earth demo with huge LCD televisions arranged in a circle around the console; and the Android lawn statues.

It was fun, different and I enjoyed myself, but it was really just an office complex. We let everyone get back to work, gave a few people lifts to other Google buildings and then headed back to Sunnyvale.

Photo Credit: David July
Photo Credit: David July

The Trident Kind of Night

by Archived Article (2001–2014) Help
Photo Credit: David July — Exterior sign for The Trident illuminated on the side of the building near decorative lighting, Sausalito, California, 29 January 2013

Exterior sign for The Trident illuminated on the side of the building near decorative lighting.

558 Bridgeway, Sausalito, California: 29 January 2013

As mentioned previously, my birthday in the bay area was planned to be a relaxing and fun day of nature, trails and photography.

We got an early start on Tuesday, 29 January and began at Muir Woods National Park. After lunch, we continued to Mount Tamalpais State Park and enjoyed amazing views of the entire region from the East Peak at 2,571 feet.

The next destination was dinner and we were ready for it. I had set out to pick the perfect location on 30 December 2012 so that I could make a reservation a month in advance, not to mention cross this off on the trip preparation checklist.

View the entire The Trident album in the Gallery

Photo Credit: David July — Two photo panorama from the The Trident of Oakland, the Bay Bridge, Yerba Buena Island, San Francisco, Sutro Tower and homes in the hills of Sausalito, Sausalito, California, 29 January 2013

There were a few characteristics that I was looking for in potential restaurants, which I thought might make this difficult. First, since we were spending the day in Marin County, it seemed only logical to dine in Sausalito. With that in mind, I focused on places along the waterfront featuring scenic views.

Numerous options were eliminated rather quickly. Menus not in English or featuring unrecognizable food items were easy to dismiss (think fancy French and Italian eateries). Other places with acceptable menus and price ranges unfortunately also required fancier dress.

We were going to be outside all day, walking through the woods, hiking trails and other non-suit situations. I did not fancy the idea of bringing a change of clothes; plus, who wants to suit up after a day of hiking without a shower? That was when I found and read more about The Trident at 558 Bridgeway.

Photo Credit: David July — The wonderful outside seating area at The Trident kept warm by Tower of Fire heaters has a great view of San Francisco, Sausalito and beyond, Sausalito, California, 29 January 2013

Located in the original San Francisco Yacht Club building (1898), The Trident has a rich history from its beginnings as a jazz club called Yacht Dock in 1960. Later in 1966 as the hippie movement took over, Yacht Dock was renamed The Trident and underwent a "major groovification." Notable patrons of the time included regular Janis Joplin, Jerry Garcia, Joan Baez, Clint Eastwood and Bill Cosby.

Despite closing in 1980 and being replaced by Horizons restaurant, The Trident was given new life and reopened in November 2012. The building was renovated to include a second-level deck but "most of the custom built wooden interior and the 1960s ceiling mural painted by artist David Richards" remain intact. A menu from the still groovy early 1970s now hangs framed in the hallway as you enter the restaurant.

Photo Credit: David July — An original psychedelic menu from the 1970s framed and on display near the entrance of The Trident, Sausalito, California, 29 January 2013

My strict criteria notwithstanding, I was able to find the perfect location in The Trident. Their menu is one of an upper-end restaurant with prices and service quality to match, but have a casual dress code. The tables along the windows, including our Table 82, have seats on one side only. It was a little chilly this night, but next time I will sit outside on the bay-facing deck.

We arrived early but were seated immediately and quickly tended to by a nice waiter. We started with Fried Calamari served with cocktail and tartar sauce ($14) and glasses of 2010 Highway 12 Cabernet Sauvignon ($11). Delicious loaves of bread with butter were also delivered and replenished several times.

Photo Credit: David July — Marc Malonzo looking toward San Francisco as visible from our table at The Trident, Sausalito, California, 29 January 2013

For dinner, Marc ordered the Golden Gate All Natural Burger ($14) with mushrooms ($2) while I went with the Mahi-Mahi catch of the day special served with potatoes and vegetables ($29). Everything was delicious. The waiter even commented on our extremely clean plates afterward.

I usually end birthday dinners with a cocktail such as whiskey on the rocks, but instead went with a Yacht Club Stella Artois ($7.75) since I was driving. When making the reservation via OpenTable, I noted that this was to be my birthday celebration. As such, we were surprised with a Flourless Lava Cake dessert served with fresh fruits and vanilla ice cream ($8) on the house.

Photo Credit: David July — The Transamerica Building and other San Francisco skyscrapers, some with red and gold lighting to celebrate the 49ers making it into the Super Bowl, from The Trident, Sausalito, California, 29 January 2013

After settling up and but before heading to our final stops in the Marin Headlands, we went to the deck to enjoy the view outside and shoot photos.

The evening at The Trident was perfect and at about $100 for two before gratuity, perfectly reasonable considering how much food we had consumed. I will definitely return some time, preferably before sunset on a warm clear day.

Photo Credit: David July — Alcatraz Island Lighthouse (1909) shining brightly with the Oakland Bay Bridge beyond as seen from The Trident, Sausalito, California, 29 January 2013
Photo Credit: David July
Photo Credit: David July
Photo Credit: David July
Photo Credit: David July
Photo Credit: David July
Photo Credit: David July
Photo Credit: David July