Flying With Faber: Our Annual Trip to San Francisco

By Stuart J. Faber

The Dining Room at Farallon, San Francisco. (Courtesy Farallon)In the course of each year, my job takes me to the four corners of the planet. One week, I may be in Shanghai. A week later, I am on the other end of the globe – perhaps London. In between, I might visit places that some folks might regard is less glamorous.

That’s okay with me – I’m not always looking for glamour. You know, at times you might love to dine on gourmet cuisine (I’ve never quite understood what the term means), on a table adorned with white linen and bone China plates. Other times, it’s just as exciting, or even more so, to saunter into a dive in a small, obscure town and have a down-home sizzling steak or burger dinner. (For the latter, I’ve often written about, and rhapsodized over, one of my favorite joints in America – Jocko’s steak house in Nipomo, Calif. I can’t count the times we’ve flown or driven from Los Angeles just to devour one of their steaks).

The point is that I often can derive just as much pleasure and exhilaration, or more, from a trip to some off-the-beaten-path village as I can from strolling down the Champs Elysees. But when asked about my favorite places in the world, San Francisco is always near the top of the list.

One reason is that the environs of this city are so magnificent and unique that, as is true with all genuine beauty, the pulchritude increases with each observation. Another is that San Francisco was my boyhood home for two years during WWII. Some force draws me back each year.

The Airport

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Orlando – An Extraordinary Culinary Destination 

By Stuart J. Faber

During my freshman year at the University of Wisconsin, I met a student from Orlando, Fla. Her name was Nina.  My attention was drawn to her because I had never met anyone named Nina.  Wisconsin, a melting pot for immigrants from Scandinavia and Germany was populated with girls named Mary, Nancy, Susan, or Joyce.  I do recall one girl named Nora but not a single Nina.

Nina hailed from a town with which neither my fellow students nor I were familiar.  Actually, none of us in the early 1950s had ever heard of Orlando, Fla. Nina soon became a target of warm and friendly teasing-“Nina from Orlando.”  

Once populated by Creek and other Native American tribes, this city of modest origin is now one of the largest growing metrotrapolitan areas in America. It boasts more than 62 million visitors each year – the country’s record. The two million square foot convention center is the country’s second largest – exceeded only by Chicago. Disney World, of course, is a world-renowned destination. Orlando International Airport, once a grass strip, then an Army Air Force base, now receives daily flights from as far away as Dubai.

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Flying With Faber: New (and Some Old) Discoveries

By Stuart J. Faber

The more I travel, the more travel I crave. The more I fly, the more flying I crave. If this is an addiction, I plead guilty. Rehab is not an option. I recall a trip from the East Coast back to my home base in Burbank, California. I flew my Centurion from Greensboro, North Carolina against some persistent headwinds and touched down at home about a half day after I started. In retrospect, I could have exercised better judgment. Exhausted, I stepped out of my airplane and headed for the couch in the FBOs office. I thought I’d take a nap before driving home. I should have tied down way back at Tucumcari, New Mexico. As I headed toward the office, a friend approached me with his recently acquired Stearman.

“Want to go for a ride,” he asked? A few feet from the FBO, I executed a 180 and climbed into his plane. Only another pilot would understand my decision.

Today, many years later, still an inveterate traveler, I exercise better judgment and hopefully, possess greater wisdom. I won’t get into my airplane unless I’m fully rested and free of recent consumption of geezer-like aches and pains. I avoid countries and neighborhoods where I might end up as a hostage or a crime victim. I’m careful that the food I consume does not contain organisms not listed on the menu.

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Flying With Faber: Georgetown, Texas

A City with a Beautiful Past and a Simple Vibrant Present

By Stuart J. Faber

Lake Georgetown (Courtesy Georgetown CVB)Up until a month ago, I had never heard of Georgetown, Texas. I’ve been to Texas a few times.  I’ve explored Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, Galveston, San Antonio, and Austin. Recently, a business obligation brought me to Georgetown. The business trip evolved into a love affair with a city.

Georgetown, a city with a population of approximately 50,000, lies just about due north of Austin. On the northeastern edge of Texas Hill Country, portions of the city are located on a fault line of the Balcones Escarpment, which is characterized by black fertile soils and glistening rivers.

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Flying With Faber: My Annual Visit to San Francisco 

By Stuart J. Faber

Each annual trip to San Francisco reveals new, dramatic changes – some are impressive, others give me concern. Of course, I endorse city growth. I want every citizen to flourish. But why not develop growth within the bounds of the historical and architectural integrity that originally made San Francisco one of the world’s greatest cities? Why install modern arms on the Venus de Milo?

Some developers, those with conscience, passion and integrity, are erecting structures that enhance the fabric of the city. Others are building people warehouses – just four dreary cement walls to house the droves of pilgrims who want to live in town.

As we do every year, we roamed around the town – paid visits to where I lived as a kid during WWII and visited several restaurants, some old and some new. Here is a list of what I consider some of the city’s hotel and restaurant treasures.

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