Friday, December 11, 2009

Contigo: With You

Sunday was a gray and cold day in San Francisco. By late afternoon I had done all the cleaning, writing, and on-line shopping I could do. I was going a bit stir crazy and decided a little jaunt and some fresh air was the perfect escape. It was not until I heard the door clicking behind me that I realized my keys were still inside. Just then, it started to rain.

Thankfully I was locked out with my journal, a good pen, and a box full of holiday cards. I made a few phone calls and discovered I had about five hours to kill before someone could come and rescue me. My stomach grumbled in protest. I went first to a coffee shop for tea, journal writing and Sunday New York Times reading. This did not take up nearly enough time.

Next I walked up the slick streets lined with lights, watching shoppers and shopkeepers. I stopped in front of Contigo, a small restaurant that seemed to be glowing from within. This was where I was going to have dinner.

Contigo means "with you." It is a small Spanish style tapas bar and cava cave. Unlike some hot and happening San Francisco restaurants, this place feels intimate, friendly, and neighborhoody; the kind of place you could easily find your self dining once a week.

Since I was eating alone they sat me at a the wine bar in the middle of the restaurant. They had just lined the molding with fresh greenery and the place smelled divine. When I told them I was locked out they smiled, then moaned, then poured me a large glass of rioja.

"What a perfect place to be," my waitress said -- and I agreed.

I ordered the soup -- lentil, pepper, and broccoli rab, and bread. As I ate I watched the restaurant fill up. It was early December so people were already starting to gather for holiday meals and friendly re-caps of the past year.

After a French press pot of Blue Bottle Coffee it was almost time to go home. But I was encouraged to stay. "Sit as long as you want," the waitress did. So I did, just a few minutes more, but long enough to marvel at how very unfortunate experiences can sometimes morph quickly into something beautiful.


Elan said...

Hi Anne,

What a lovely post! So glad you were able to have dinner with us. We hope to see you soon.

Brett and Elan

Ursula said...

Just backtracking a little... had an excellent dinner at Contigo a few weeks ago! I will miss these special SF spots.