Today was our 25th wedding anniversary and my spouse wanted to spend it at the zoo. So we went to the San Francisco zoo.
After that was a delightful dinner in Palo Alto.
Then this evening we re-lit our wedding candles (at the present rate of burn, we’ll use them up in about 25 more years…), 3 in a glass holder.
All in all a very pleasant day. Some photos of the zoo follow.
Taking pictures of animals it’s good to take many redundant shots. You don’t know when there will be a blink, a yawn, or a motion blur. That, and the plexiglass they use these days can put a lot of blur, reflections, and distortion into some shots. Still, I managed to take about 250 all told. More good ones that I could ever put up here, but these are some I like the most.
When looking at these, realize that some of these (the big cats in particular) were in rather large enclosures. A good telephoto lens helped a lot, as did a willingness to find gaps or angles where the lens could be placed so it did not need to see through plexiglass. For the big cats, the heavy steel cable mesh at each side of the window areas had room for a lens. Sometimes It took some leaning and / or some some imagination to ‘get the shot’. Often it took patience. The cats sleep mid-day, so the first pass by we saw nearly nothing. About 2 to 3 pm they ‘came out’ more.
You can click on these to get a very large version.
With that, here is my favorite single image of the set:
We have a special fondness for the big cats.
Though they can make you feel a little like lunch when they notice you…
I’m sure he was just thinking about a mouse or something… nothing at all to do with me…
Or perhaps a “Bird-cicle”…
I also liked the flowers and plantings. This fellow caught my eye:
The penguins were waiting for the Food God to drop a fish
While everyone focuses on the tail of the peacock, the rest of them is interesting too. These fellows roam the grounds ‘cleaning up’ dropped snacks and any stray bugs.
This guy was behind plexiglass, so the image is a bit soft and blurred. Still, I just can’t resist a “bird with a doo”!
Then while the Global Warming hysterics say polar bears are doomed if it get above freezing, this guy was getting a chin scratch prior to his mid day nap in the 75 F or so weather. No problems for this bear!
Next door his cousin was demonstrating how to peal corn on the cob with claws… Check out that paw. Yet he was neatly pealing individual husk leaves off and not breaking the kernels.
Then there is the peculiar look of a preening Pelican:
Of course, a late lunch is always a pleasant time, but this joey had the best idea. Grab a snack without leaving the hammock
And for no good reason, I really like this tree
I have to think it would make a very interesting jig-saw puzzle. I wonder what the minimum size order would be to get jig-saws made from some of these? The ‘texture’ photos I do would be devilish…
Like this one. (The “proper” orientation is rotated 90 degrees so the shadows are cast downward, but I find it more interesting this way)
And this flower had ended up on the ground from who knows where. The contrast in color and form caught my eye.
Then there was this odd bush with coppery tips to the strangely shaped leaves / stems. This IS the right orientation, yet looks wrong. And would be a very interesting jig-saw to work:
Scattered through the park are interesting bronze statues. Like this one
But after a full day, one gets tired. And thinks of things like naps…
They just lock onto a branch and nod off…
We stopped in Palo Alto for dinner. Semi-randomly we chose a restaurant with a Mediterranean / Italian style. Turned out to be a bit pricey, but very very well worth it. I had ‘medallions of lamb in a wine sauce’ (I think they said Marsala wine, and I detected rosemary and garlic in the sauce too… I think… the spices were subtile in the blend and flavorful on the fork; but mixed in a way that no note stood out for inspection. Clever, very clever.) While my spouse had shrimp scampi. Both were spectacular. The scampi were in a lemon, butter and (something.. garlic?) sauce, but the name does not tell the spices. I love scampi and my spouse let me have a couple. The best I’ve ever had. The portion was large enough that even with sharing, there was some left at the end of the meal.
Both the spinach salad and the minestrone soup were great, too. Minestrone can be rather pedantic some times, this was not. Grated parmesan and ground pepper added at the table. Both the salad and the soup come in very large servings. Be careful not to fill up on the bread and soup, and I don’t think I could have both soup and salad and still have room for the main course.
For desert we had the best flan I’ve ever had. Just perfect. I had an espresso with desert (being as I was in deep koala envy and still needed to drive home ;-) and the whole thing ran out to $68.15 (though we only had water with dinner, being dehydrated from a day in the park the idea of wine was too drying and putting soda pop with this meal would have been criminal. The wine was about $7 or $8 a glass and the names all looked worth it.) They had some kind of Tuscan bread (about 1/2 a round loaf!) served with the meal. Rich, with meaty crumb, yet with a tender crust, with a textured top crust. Green beans and carrots (sliced about 1 cm x 1 cm x 10 cm) each in their own sauces, and in ample amounts. Cooked to the perfect ‘bit of crunch left but still cooked through’ stage.
The place? The receipt says “Osteria” 247 Hamilton, Palo Alto, California. 94301. Phone 328-5700. (Which I’m pretty sure is area code 650).
We got there about 5:30 pm and the place was full by when we left. And with good cause. Reservations would be needed ‘prime time’. Never been there before, but we will go again.
A perfect end to a perfect day.