Where To Celebrate During COVID-19
We usually associate the word “celebration” with the special events in our lives – birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, and restaurants are one of the natural destinations. But COVID-19 changed everything.
Every day, when I open the San Francisco Chronicle, I learn about the number of people who got infected and died, growing. It seems that someone purposely wants to get me scared or upset. The information about the disease is confusing, and instructions how to protect ourselves change all the time (did you read about 3 feet social distancing?). Not everyone follows the Shelter-in-Place orders. Just visit Golden Gate Park over the weekend. It is filled with people, who come here to celebrate life and other life events and are not stopped by the government restrictions. When I recently drove through Chestnut Street, I was surprised to see how many coffee shops and restaurants built sidewalk sitting arrangements, which were filled with diners.
One of the major changes in our lives that was a result of COVID-19, was that we have to eat at home all the time. Of course some restaurants offer take-out meals or outside sitting arrangements, which is better than nothing, but all of this misses the fun, the atmosphere and the ambience. Pre-Covid, our favorite restaurant was Zuni Café on Market Street. We first had lunch there in 1989. Since then, this popular restaurant became our favorite dining destination. We’ve gone there for breakfast (in the early days), lunches and dinners, either by ourselves or with friends. This was the place where we would first dine, after returning from our travels, and for birthday celebrations with our friends.
Over the past thirty years, we got to know the staff and the owners, and when I called Gilbert Pilgram, the executive chef and the current owner of Zuni to find how he is copying, I found out that they had started take out service, as well as provide meals for the needy people through the World Central Kitchen.
When I recently received a text from Gilbert that on Sunday there is going to be lunch on the sidewalk, we were delighted. It was also the day our daughter Alona and her boyfriend Jeff came to San Francisco, which was a good reason to celebrate.
One of the reasons we like to eat in Zuni is the food, which is consistently delicious. We ordered chicken for two (eaten by three, with leftovers) and I ordered salmon. The food was familiar, but the experience was different. We were not accustomed to sitting in front of the windows, which were covered by plywood, after they were broken during the demonstrations against the police. Since Mr. Pilgram is a very creative person, the plywood was painted over with beautiful pictures. I know it’s going to be a gradual process for us to return to the dining experience we carry in our memory, but we are ready and patient.
P.S. It just happened that this was the day of the miniature Gay Pride Parade, and some of the participants who walked by were happy to pose for me. I also captured an image of Adrianne, who usually greets the customers at Zuni with a big smile, not covered with a mask.
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