I made sure that it worked with deliriumdreams's schedule, so she could join me for the weekend proper. That gave me two workdays at, well, work; then we were going to visit old friends, old haunts, and a new obsession or two.
I got into town around 7:30 on Wednesday evening. Car rental went fairly painlessly -- I ended up with another Malibu, but this one was relatively tolerable. I met up with my friend D at her new loft in Downtown; she bought a place with her boyfriend (and ex-coworker of mine) S. She was actually going up to the Bay Area later that weekend, to help him pack up and move back down south, but she had time for us to grab dinner and drinks at The Yardhouse. It was a bit of a walk from her new place, but that just helps me walk off a fraction of the pint I had. (For the foodies: I had the Thai Chicken Salad, and it was OK, but nothing to write home about. The beer list, while extensive, was a bit out of date, so I didn't really get to try too many new/different brews. Maybe some other day, when I've more time, money, and liver capacity...)
Then I drove up to Rancho Bernardo, where I was staying the first two nights. I'd stayed at the same hotel before, and not been impressed, but this stay was pretty nice. Free hot breakfast, free internet, and easy walking distance to work.
The first day of work was a bit of a wash; none of the people I'd hoped to meet with were able to make it in that day, for various reasons. I did get to catch up with a couple of my coworkers on both technical and personal levels.
That evening was low-key antisocial recovery time at the hotel. Hooray for hot tubs...
The meetings today were more on-track, as at least one of my more immediate co-workers was in the office. We made some good progress, but overall there was probably more value in my touching base with all the people at the office, getting a feel for what's going on -- the things that are never discussed over work e-mail.
Amusingly enough, the nearest restaurant to work is... Hooters. Despite having my sysadmin bend my ear for an hour, I still managed to get some lunch in me.
From work, I scooted south to the Harbor Island Hilton, where I'd gotten a decent rate via Priceline. I got checked in -- our room was one off from an absolutely amazing harbor view; we had a nice view of the marina, and my sweetie liked that, but I wanted the harbor view. *sulk*
A few minutes later, it was off to the airport to pick up deliriumdreams. We dropped off excess stuff at the hotel, then wandered out to Ocean Beach to get dinner. The victuals at South Beach Bar & Grill were up to their usual standard ... but so was the crush, the noise, and the annoyance of trying to find a place to sit. We enjoyed the food and the people-watching, but left as soon as we were done.
We had a leisurely morning, eventually meeting up with H (and later A) for brunch at Ranchos. A long, belly-filling time later, sweetie and I left OB and went shopping. Between some of the shinier stores available in SD (and not so much in Abq), and the draconian TSA restrictions...
She had a lovely time at Aveda in Fashion Valley Mall. Me? I was getting a bit sunburned but otherwise tolerating an afternoon at the mall.
That evening, we met up with bob_and_natalie at the amazing Stone World Bistro and Beer Garden. I'd been there once or twice before, but sweetie informed me that we will be going there ... or I might not make it home alive.
It was a lovely evening! B&N didn't recognize me at first (oh yeah, I shaved my head again, first time since 1996). There was a fair wait to get a table, but we had a few beers and I took the time to get my card for contributing to the Stonewall Ale charity a few years back. (”Arrogant Bastard“ level, of course!)
Dinner itself was epic. We had the Onion Rings and the Soft and Stinky Cheese Plate for appetizers, then various entrees (which I've forgotten already!). deliriumdreams points out that she'll now be even more jealous of me when I get to visit SD, since she won't be able to join me at the Bistro. (On the other paw, we finally got a proper Irish Pub here in Albquerque, so there is hope for us yet...)
We ended the evening by burning the rest of my gift certificates and getting a few more t-shirts and hoodies at the gift shop, along with some yummy Chuao chocolates and a bottle of Imperial Russian Stout. The latter was drunk as a nightcap back at the hotel; we eventually had the former as munchies at home.
We'd made vague plans to meet up with bob_and_natalie for brunch at The Field; they couldn't make it. We'd hope to meet up with our dear friend J as well... unfortunately, she was sick. Oh well; a yummy breakfast was had.
We headed back to the airport so I could return the car. Sweetie and I had different departing terminals, so we had to part ways; I was going to just hang out, and she was busy studying for her organic chemistry test.
Of course, it's never that easy. Stupid work booking agency put me on a multi-hop flight, changing planes in Las Vegas, whil sweetie got a late but non-stop flight into Abq. My flight got held up for an hour on the ground, due to blowing dust in Las Vegas. I didn't make it back into town until 8p or so, barely enough time to collect K and head home; sweetie got home just a few mintutes later -- her non-stop flight had fewer delays than mine. Oh well. :)
So, apologies to the SD-ites that I didn't get to meet up with this last trip -- hopefully there'll be more trips, in the near future.