The AmbASSador: A Crappy Tale

I saw on Eater.com that the Ambassador Bar closed last Thursday. A pang fluttered in my heart as it used to be one of my favorites. I have countless memories from my time spent there, but none quite as grotesque as the following—a tale that rivals any parent’s worst diaper blowout.

There is a picture of me taken at the Ambassador, a bar in the Tenderloin seven years ago. I’m smiling broadly, practically laughing, with flushed pink cheeks. My friend is picking me up with one arm and his fiance with the other arm. We are utterly happy, celebrating his 30th birthday.

She had planned the evening perfectly by securing a private booth and ordering endless rounds of drinks. Some of us would spill out onto the dance floor, while others remained in the booth to chat. As closing time approached, I knew I had to get home, having crossed my threshold of alcohol consumption. I felt this innate sonar kick in. Must transport home. NOW!

I grabbed my purse, discreetly making a beeline for the door without mentioning my departure to the birthday crew. A friend snagged me. “Hey you can’t leave. We’re going to Osha Thai as soon as the bar closes.”

I looked him in the eye and did what any good Catholic girl does when she’s in a bind. I lied. “Yeah!” I screamed way too enthusiastically. “I just have to make a phone call. I’ll be back in a sec.” As soon as I walked outside of the bar, I turned around to make sure my friend hadn’t followed, then stepped out onto the street and flailed my hands furiously for a cab. Thankfully, a Yellow Cab pulled up momentarily.

I directed him to my home address, a 5 minute ride, no more than $10. When he stopped in front of my place, I handed him $20 and continued to hold out my hand for the change. He turned away without looking back.

“Hey what about my change!” I demanded.

“Get out,” he barked.

I opened the door and slammed it as hard as I could. “Fucking asshole,” I muttered. I couldn’t get too angry though, since I was immensely glad to be home. I was nauseous and fearful, cognizant that I had had too much to drink.

Hot showers always do me a world of good and figured it would help me achieve a good night’s sleep. But the shower had the opposite effect of calm. While luxuriating in heavenly steam and warmth, I began puking, like a garden hose with a kink in it–intermittent bursts of alcohol regurgitated between breaths. I doubled over, crying and clutching my stomach. The worst, however, was ahead: fecal incontinence. I had completely lost control of my body. Tears were streaming down my face. Snot was pouring through my nose. I was vomiting and shitting too. So disgusted by the excrement, I vowed to take care of the mess first thing in the morning.

But at that moment, all I wanted was to make it through the night. Whatever it takes. Whatever crap (literally) ensues. Flush the poison out.

I lathered myself three times over with soap. I scrubbed, I shampooed. I brushed my teeth. I removed my contacts. I was finally ready for bed.

Despite the shower horror, I slept peacefully and woke up the next morning relieved it was a Sunday. I stepped outside my bedroom door into the hallway. My black dress was crumpled on the floor, pink high heels laying on their sides. I picked the dress up to hang. Orange and brown chunks clung to the wool down the front. Without realizing it, I’d thrown up all over myself. I pondered, no wonder the cab driver kept my change. Could I have made a mess in the cab?

Oh drudge. I stuffed the dress into a plastic bag, horrified for the dry cleaner. But that was the least of my concerns. I had a Sunday brunch date with the shower.

Food Review: Saigon Sandwich

Saigon Sandwich in the heart of the ‘Loin is apparently ‘the’ place for bahn mi sandwiches. I made a detour today to check it out. It’s located across from the Phoenix Hotel on Larkin between Eddy and Turk.

I got there at 11:15am. No line, but while I was eating at the 2-person counter, a line started up about 15 minutes later. I surmised there were a good number of people who work in City Hall or one of the municipal buildings in that area.

Sorry, but I am not a fan. I got the roasted pork bahn mi for $3.50 and was quite disappointed. It lacked flavor. Nor did I care for the mango custard. I took a couple bites, then tossed it. Fresh Brew Coffee at 882 Bush Street makes way better banh mis in a much nicer neighborhood.

Restaurant Review: Chambers

Alrighty, I’m posting a Yelp review because I write so few of them these days. Cmon, people, am I ready to be a food critic or what? Not a food critic yet, but a nightlife critic possibly?

Looks like the Tenderloin is the new Mission because hipsters are crowding around and forming lines outside Farm:Table, Jones, and the Shooting Gallery. Bored of the same consistently-good restaurants–Bar Jules, Mission Beach Café, and La Mar–I can finally ecstatically recommend a newcomer to the Tenderloin scene. In the aptly-named Phoenix Hotel, the adjacent lounge has re-incarnated itself from Backflip to Bambuddha and now to Chambers. It is sick, or slick, or whatever the lingo is today. It’s like entering Bourbon and Branch’s library, but better. Like the Ace Hotel, but even better. You can actually see your date as the lighting, a refreshing golden hue, has been strategically placed. Even the food is worth the guarded walk from your locked car to the entrance. As for the impeccable food, the PBLT, pork belly lettuce and tomatoes, is stand-out. A big coup for the neighborhood, this new hot spot won’t be reinventing itself for quite a while.

Photo Credit: Thrillist

Fashion Friday Supports the Tenderloin

I had the opportunity to have my makeup done by the owner of Eye Candy. The website for the beauty salon notes its location as Mid-Market, but I affectionately and properly call that area the Tenderloin. If it weren’t for its close proximity to my home, I wouldn’t have booked an appointment there but I’m so glad I did. Tracy has grown her business through word-of-mouth and dominant 5-star Yelp reviews, and she’s been in the Warfield building as one of the first retail tenants for the past year.

While she’s an amazing makeup artist (best makeup I’ve ever had done), she’s known for shaping eyebrows. I believe her shop had recently been named the best in the city. She filled in my brows and made them look great with makeup so I have no doubt she’s skilled when she spends 30 minutes on a brow appointment.

When talking to Tracy, she said, “Who says you can’t go past 5th Street as a business owner.”

Here is information from her website. “While just a block from the glamour and notoriety of Union Square, mid-market has long been a neighborhood in transition. Instead of premium retailers, our neighbors include everything from mid-rise office towers, to upstart restaurants and funky night clubs, to boutique retailers, art galleries, and, yes, the occasional adult theater. But Mid-Market is also full of history and at the moment, full of promise. On July 8, 2010, the CityPlace retail center was approved for development. A five-story, 250,000-square foot retail space directly across from the Warfield and just steps from San Francisco Center at 5th and Market, this new anchor is sure to have a major impact on our block. We expect a major discount retailer, such as Target, to be a key tenant in the new mall, and along with them a new sense of polish, activity, security, and connection between Mid-Market and Union Square. We’re fascinated by the history of this area and building, and we’re currently reading and researching as much as we can. Our efforts are for the greater good, of course, and we look forward to sharing the most interesting and peculiar bits of information we can dig up. We’re really looking forward to being a part of this vibrant and re-emerging part of San Francisco, and we really want you to share the experience with us.”

Now that’s fashion forward in the largest sense.

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