In Which Things are Eaten and Drunk

Friend, one of these days you're going to be driving through the East Bay on I-580 westbound, and you're going to have a mysterious impulse to take the Albany/Buchanan Ave. exit. This, friend, is a good impulse, and you should follow it. If you do, when you do, you're in for a lovely evening. Because a few blocks east on Buchanan, you're going to do some brief and simple automotive gymnastics and you'll be on Solano Avenue in Albany, California. This is a good thing. Drive up past the Safeway and park your car.

On the north side of the street, you're going to see a tiny little hole-in-the-wall called Sushi Shō. The door proclaims "No Tables, No Take-out." There's only eight or ten seats at the bar, and you may have to wait a while to claim one. This is okay, and entirely worth the wait. Once you're seated, you'll be able to drink some saké or a Sapporo and watch a very talented master sushi chef at work - he's a true artist, painstakingly making all the garnishes by hand, slicing perfect servings of sashimi with a very sharp knife and a very sure hand. He's endlessly friendly and always ready to offer advice on what you should eat and how you should eat it. You'll learn tons about sushi and sashimi and you'll have an opportunity to sample some Japanese delicacies that you don't find at an average, everyday sushi place. He was quite pleased when both myself and one of my dining companions sampled a spicy, salted cod roe and both liked it quite a lot. "It's an acquired taste," he said, "and you acquire right away! Very good!" It's not cheap, but for the quality and quantity you get, the price is very reasonable.

After your fabulous dinner, you'll walk back down Solano towards the highway. Pass by the Safeway again, and before long, on the south side of the street, you'll see a sign proclaiming quite simply, "PUB." Friend, this isn't "Tipsy McStagger's Genyouwine Oirish Pub." This is really a pub. There's a vague smell of pipe tobacco in the air thanks to the quite fully-stocked tobacconist's shop next to the bar. They serve Guinness and Bass and Harp and all the usuals, of course, but also a variety of English ales I'd never even heard of. The atmosphere is terrifically friendly and laid-back. You're going to have a great time at The Pub, friend, because I think it's pretty much impossible not to.

So that's what you'll do, and you'll love it. You lucky dog.

This post has been edited to fix egregious geographical errors.