Since we live near downtown Los Gatos, that’s most typically where we head for a nice dinner out. But wanting to do something different, Beatrice suggested we head up the I-280 to Palo Alto. Then she made reservations at what turned out to be a fantastic Mediterranean place called Evvia, right off University Ave.
Our reservation was for 6:30, earlier than our habitual 7-8. Upon arrival, the place was packed with sophisticated looking diners. Yep, this is the right place. Very warm ambience inside, impeccably professional staff. After sharing an app of traditionally grilled octopus, drizzled in Greek olive oil infused with lemon and oregano, then their signature salad…I opted for the rib cut, mesquite grilled lamb chops and Beatrice had a grilled, bone-in pork chop. All images can be clicked to open up higher resolution versions.
It was real food all the way around, simply prepared and delicious. I brought the bones home, and I saved one of the chops as well. Along with Bea’s leftover portion and bone, I think I’m going to concoct some sort of lamb and pork stew this afternoon, making sure to simmer all those bones for a good few hours.
We left the restaurant and I had something in mind but didn’t tell Beatrice about it. I simply suggested we take a stroll down University Avenue. But before that, we spotted a small gelato establishment across the street and each partook of a sensible indulgence: their smallest tiniest cup. I had them split mine, half pecan and the other half, hazelnut.
Palo Alto has changed dramatically since I used to regularly head up there back in the mid-90s. There are so many fine, independent eateries — most with outdoor, sidewalk seating, now — that it boggles the mind (as well as conjure endless fantasies about returning to eventually try them all). The only eyesore in terms of restaurant fare was the imposing, huge, Cheesecake Factory, with the predictable crowds of “foodies” standing outside, beepers in hand, waiting to get a taste of what everyone else eats there, coast to coast. Such daring imagination and sense of courageous adventure. Those places are fine for malls, I suppose, and their bar is certainly nice, but I hope the independent food artisans can hold out against the cookie cutter chains for a long time to come on this particularly charming avenue.
I had a suspicion there might be goings on down at the flagship Apple Store, the one Steve would show up at from time to time, as he lived close by. This is also the store I’ve always chose to stand in line at for a new iPhone or iPad release. The time passes quickly while you chat with interesting people, and food and beverage of all sorts arrives endlessly from all those local independent eateries. It’s all complimentary — even ice cream at the Ben & Jerry’s mobile parked right off the front door.
Here’s some photos of that emotional encounter. Again, click to make the images bigger.
It’s an experience I’ll cherish and never forget. Imagine this…and this isn’t the only Apple Store by any means where this has happened. For a billionaire? A capitalist? A dictatorial taskmaster? How can that be?
I think this is something libertarians who defend capitalism at all costs perhaps might want to integrate. Maybe, just maybe, it’s not the “capitalism” that stinks, per se. Maybe something else stinks, like, say, the way it’s so often done now?
Update: A commenter just dropped a link to this article in comments: How Steve Jobs Changed Capitalism.
In the last 24 hours Steve Jobs has been credited with changing the way we live, the way we view technology, the way we listen to music, the way we communicate, the way we think about art, design and invention, and much, much more. But I think the biggest change he has made is to the way both its critics and cheerleaders think about capitalism.
Take the old adage that the consumer is king. In some ways, this is as true for Apple as it is for anyone else. It stands or falls on the basis of whether people will buy its stuff. But Jobs’s success was built firmly on the idea that in another sense, you should not give consumers what they want because they don’t know what they want. No one thought they wanted the first desktop Mac, iPod, iPhone or iPad before they existed. Jobs repeatedly created things that people came to want more than anything else only by not trying to give them what they already wanted. This challenges the idea that consumer culture inevitably means pandering to the conventional, to the lowest common denominator. Markets are not necessarily conservative: truly great innovations can become popular.
Jobs has also provided the clearest evidence yet that excellence comes at a cost. Against both the optimistic open-source movement that thinks all good things can be made collaboratively for free, and the race-to-the-bottom chains that believe the answer is always to be the cheapest, Jobs showed that you could, and must, charge a premium price for a premium product. Far from condemning his company to a niche, by following this principle, Apple actually became, briefly, the biggest company in the world. The lesson has still to be taken on board elsewhere. In news and broadcasting, for example, we are all learning that you can’t sustain quality by giving things away.
Now go read the rest.