Monday, February 07, 2005

Happy Birthday, Big Bird

Since Dashiell Hammett lived for a number of years in San Francisco, and wrote his most famous work here, the local paper has been filled with pieces about the Maltese Falcon, which turns 75 this week. Pieces on Bogart as Spade, on "why a Falcon," on Hammett, on hard-drinking writers in general, and on the guy who does a "Maltese Falcon" tour of downtown San Francisco. One of these days I'm going to have lunch at John's Grill, where Sam Spade ate lunch (lamb chops). In the meantime, maybe later I'll lift a glass to Spade and the Bird.


Blogger Maureen McHugh said...

Oh, have the lamb chops for me!

1:06 PM  
Blogger Madeleine Robins said...

What goes with lamb chops, scotch or rye? (Won't drink bourbon so that's right out...)

1:20 PM  
Blogger Maureen McHugh said...

Anything goes with lamb chops. But Scotch is always the drink of choice for me.

4:46 PM  
Blogger Madeleine Robins said...

God, I knew we were kindred souls. Blended or single malt?

4:50 PM  
Blogger Gregory Feeley said...

I can't think of the last time I ate at a nice restaurant in San Francisco. I think it may have been the evening of our senior prom, 1973.

We were in the City this summer, but with kids. After bidding farewell to Mad and her own darlings, we ended up dining at the Rain Forest Cafe. Not at all bad, but most RFCs are in malls.

4:30 AM  
Blogger Madeleine Robins said...

There are a number of very good, relatively affordable restaurants in San Francisco (relatively affordable=if you don't have kids and don't have to go to Olive Garden or pizza places). I would like to go to John's, which my friend Claire says does a fine steak. Or lamb chops. I'm partial to the Liberty Cafe, in Bernal Heights (they make a fabulous chicken pot pie), and LeZinc in Noe Valley, and there's a place in the SOMA district that Danny's boss took us when we first came out here that was really fabulous.

My lifestyle does not generally run to good restaurants, alas.

9:53 AM  
Blogger Gregory Feeley said...

Speaking of Big Bird -- okay, I know you mean the Maltese Falcon -- the website Verse Daily, which offers a nifty published poem every day, has one this morning on B.B. himself!

Probably not one we will be seeing in anthologies a hundred years from now, but I liked it.

10:32 AM  
Blogger Madeleine Robins said...

Oh, I do too. Thanks for sharing, Greg.

11:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

From Dave Smeds:

I had lunch at John's Grill last Labor Day weekend. And had the lamb chops. It being one of those years I couldn't go to worldcon, my wife and I decided to have a romantic getaway. For the first time ever, we chose San Francisco as our destination. Living only fifty miles away, S.F. had always seemed too close and familiar for a "weekend away." But it was great. We got rooms at the Hilton on Union Square for $65/night on PriceLine, and indulged. While I had hung out in the Hilton lobby during worldcon 1993, and while I had eaten at one of the local sushi restaurants, and while I had wandered Union Square before (The first of the Smeds family to move to the USA, my great uncle Jakob, worked at Shreve and Company Jewellers at the time of the 1906 earthquake, and I make a point of noting the building, which he helped restore after the big shake -- though the place was spared the great fire, Shreve needed more carpentry work than goldsmithing during that interval -- every time I swing past Union Square, I had never been Played Tourist in the neighborhood. It was great. Whether I'll ever get down there again, I second the notion that you take a few hours out of your busy schedule and check out John's, have some chops, etc.

1:44 PM  
Blogger Madeleine Robins said...

Will do, Dave.

Sometimes I think if we could sell the kids to the gypsies for a weekend, I'd do much the same thing: get a hotel room, go out for good meals, and just walk around the downtown area.

11:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

From Dave Smeds:

The weekend was made possible with the assistance of our eighteen-year-old daughter, who watched our eleven-year-old son at home. Now said daughter is off at college and not available as a babysitter, but as I keep telling myself, it's not many more years until the son is old enough Mom and Dad will be FREE AT LAST...

...and possibly too old to enjoy it.

1:14 PM  

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