Hey cheese lovers, I’m still doing my $50 Whole Foods giveaway! Just enter by going to this FB post!
What a busy weekend! Not only did Miss Cheesemonger the blog celebrate 5 years last week, I (the human) celebrated a birthday yesterday! M. Cheesemonger told me to reserve the whole day because he had something planned for me.
Oh yes, was it a birthday to remember. We went SKYDIVING! It was a worthwhile experience all around, both to feel what happens as you fall from that high up, but also to check in with myself. This was a great way to see how I react in stressful situations. I mean, every day life has its own stresses, and I know how I react to those, but this was something totally new! I was ready to push the envelope, even though I felt terrified at the same time.
My instructor, a weathered, gruff dude gave me about 3 minutes of instruction (which included this warning, “If you grab my arms, you’re gonna feel my teeth on your neck,”), handed me a jumpsuit, put my harness on, then left to do his first jump with another group. I watched them all float down, feeling reassured now that I knew what I would look like in the next few minutes. Then, Instructor Man unhooked himself from the last customer, strode to the counter to pick up another parachute backpack, turned to me, and said, “Let’s go.”
The plane was tiny. There was enough space for maybe 9 people + the pilot. I was trying not to think about what I was doing, lest I try to run away. Everything felt pretty banal, really, even the takeoff, even when the harness tightened as Instructor Man attached himself to me. A beep sounded that we had hit 13,000 feet. Someone opened the door. My ears popped, and I kind of yelped at that. M. Cheesemonger was all smiles. I let him go first. I was instructed to squat walk on over to the door. I did, and then, after peering down at the land far, far below, I formed the thought, “Oh, waaaiiiiiit!” just as Instructor Man launched himself out. I was attached to his chest, so off we went. I lost a contact lens at the exit, which is really the only mishap of the jump. We kept falling and falling. I stuck my hands out as instructed. And it really wasn’t SO bad. It felt exactly like falling, but it didn’t feel violent. I didn’t get whiplash. I could still think. It felt like we were falling forever. The adrenaline was definitely going, but I couldn’t make a sound. So I just thought of my breathing to chill out, and tried to pay attention to my surroundings. M. Cheesemonger took it all much more easily; he and his instructor were doing flips in the air below me.
When the parachute opened, it felt like I was being pulled up, but again, not nearly as violently as I had worried. We floated on down. I could wiggle my feet. Instructor Man showed me Mount Diablo, some canals and nearby towns. He even let me hold onto the parachute handles for a bit. And very soon, we were back on the ground. I think we had spent 6 or 7 minutes in the air. M. Cheesemonger and I walked away with little certificates reminding us of what we’d done. Instructor Man even hastily scrawled, “B-Day!!” on mine before moving on to his next jump. It was perfect. Would I do it again? Yes.
As if that wasn’t enough of a birthday celebration, M. Cheesemonger found a special dinner destination—Keiko à Nob Hill, a Michelin starred, Japanese restaurant tucked away in a quiet part of San Francisco. We went all out. There was some of the most wonderful champagne I’ve ever tasted (it tasted like apples, but why didn’t I ask for the name?) and a 12-course tasting menu. M. Cheesemonger and I were treated to sardines, saury, abalone, sea urchin, bonito, prawns, Cornish hen, high-grade Wagyu beef, a cheese plate, and two dessert courses. Gosh, I’m missing one dish, but it must not have left much of an impression on me! It was a beautiful, meal, though. The setting was small, yet opulent. The service was attentive and oh so elaborate. I fell in love with the dishes and flatware. And the food—all of the seafood, as far as I could tell from asking the waiters, was imported from Japan. The sea urchin, which was served in a mousse with gelée top, caviar garnish, and gold flake was probably my favorite dish. I would have taken 12 courses of that, easily! Early on, though, M. Cheesemonger and I surrendered to the moment, and stopped trying to keep track of the exact ingredients in each dish. Just like for the skydiving, we just let the experience happen. By the end of our 3.5 hour meal, our senses were overloaded, our bellies were full, and we were feeling sleepy from the day’s outing.
If you’re feeling feisty and want to go skydiving in the SF Bay area, I can recommend Bay Area Skydiving. And if you get Bruce as your instructor, you’ll get the same fabulous experience as I did! M. Cheesemonger worked with Justin, who was fabulous as well! 6901 Armstrong Rd, Byron, CA 94514; (925) 634-7575.
Later, if you want to experience some Michelin star-age, Keiko à Nob Hill is located at: 1250 Jones St. San Francisco, CA, 94109. (415) 829-7141. There’s only one seating per evening, so be ready to start dining early.