A story featuring Son & Garden, a Farmhouse Kitchen Restaurant.
I dedicate this story to Peet and Biw, our kind servers at Son & Garden in San Francisco. I also dedicate this to every reader of Kwento by Nica. Thank you for being patient with me. Thank you for waiting for me to write a good story. Enjoy this one. It's my kwento, my story, about having fun.
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It all started with a bike ride around our town in Half Moon Bay. Hiro and I visited a neighbor, Pierre, who was selling flowers from his home garden. After choosing two pots of Dahlias and Chrysanthemums, we rode our bicycles home following a favorite trail.
In the middle of our ride is my favorite place to stop, a junction where time feels still and the path curves towards the sun. Every time I'm here, I look at what's before me and feel the embrace of what I see.
I wish everyone can see this, I thought to myself and called out to Hiro. I pulled out out my cellphone to take a photo.
After our ride pause Hiro and I reached home. We parked our bicycles in the garage and Hiro showed me his latest masterpiece: a new filing system /slash/ drawer on his garage cart. It was made from an old printer box and attached were finely hand-carved wooden handles he made himself.
"WOW," I said while sliding the drawer in and out. "This is probably one of the nicest cart-with-drawers ever made."
"I think so too," we laughed because that printer box took so much space in our garage for months. It's fate was to be beautifully sliced and turned into a fine drawer on Hiro's cart.
"What do you want to eat for dinner?" I asked Hiro. It was 6 o'clock and we had no dinner plans.
"I want to eat something fun." Hiro said while arranging stuff on his cart.
Hiro's mood excited me. There's a place I've been wanting to try.
"Okay, LET'S GO! I know a place that's fun!"
I searched for the restaurant I had in mind on the internet and made a dinner reservation for two at 8:00pm. After a quick shower I changed to evening clothes.
"You look nice... What should I wear?" Hiro's eyebrows caved. He does this every time I wear one of my dresses. I chose a pink collared dress with pleats. It made me feel like a fine lady from the early '90s.
"Wear something fun!"
And with that answer Hiro styled himself handsomely. He chose a green waxed cotton jacket paired with black corduroy pants. He looked like a fine gentleman from the 2020's.
"Where are we going?" Hiro asked as he took the driver seat.
"It's a surprise! I'll navigate us there. It's somewhere in Hayes Valley." In classic Nica-fashion, I kept the destination a mystery for an extra-wow experience.
The place I made reservations at was Son & Garden, a New American restaurant styled by creative people who by the looks of the menu and interior, were excited to offer something new and different. This restaurant has been around... I'm most certain I'm late to "discover" it as a happening place (as a child I was late to trends) but I stand in the belief that nothing is late rather the best moments come at the perfect timing.
Hiro and I parked on Eddy St. and after reaching Polk, we turned a right. I opened a door took me inside a place I've only seen on social media feeds. The hue was pink and walls were covered in flowers. I dressed to match the restaurant's everyday occasion and the hostess offered us a table by the window.
"I feel so bad!"
"Why?" Hiro asked.
"This place looks so nice but your view is the window," while I had the pleasure of viewing the whim and fancy of Son & Garden's vibe, Hiro looked out to the gray of the darkening street outside.
"It's okay," Hiro smiled to comfort me.
I asked my husband if he wanted to switch seats once in a while. He considered that.
After asking for our beverage orders, our server pointed at a flowery nook at the corner of the restaurant. From where we were, it looked like an indoor veranda where a bride and groom would sit on their wedding night. Our server invited us to sit at that table and gestured us to walk on over.
"WOWWWWW," my mouth opened as we slid onto the circular booth outlined with flowers. The lights were even more pink and we had a wide view of the restaurant together.
"Whuat is this?!" Hiro looked up examining the pink light.
"They wanted us to sit here! How cool is that!" Maybe Peet or Biw saw my face when I saw Hiro's gray view outside. It was nice of them to move us to a new table if they noticed that.
"Mylove, this is so fun," Hiro eyes widened.
When Hiro said that I knew we came to Son & Garden at the right time.
Dinner was fabulous. From what I observed on the internet, guests frequented the restaurant for brunch most often. Dinner seemed more of a happening time because it was quiet and the venue felt more romantic than cutesy-fun. My cocktail had a floating rubber ducky on top. We ordered bone marrow, truffle fries, and a homey-tasting beef dish with a fried egg on top. For the main, we enjoyed a "Game Hen" which was a small roasted bird with real flames fuming on the plate. For dessert, a lava cake with a sky-like cotton candy, flower petals, and watercress arrived.
"This watercress is actually good with the cotton candy,"
"Who knew it would paired well, huh?" I asked outwardly, but I knew— the team of Son & Garden knew. I could tell they were not boring people.
If fear lurks, remember to have fun. Dress nice, find an oasis, and transform your time into something colorful and delicious. Remember: where there is fun fear is absent ;)
Thank you for reading my kwento. For yourself and all of us— have fun everyday.
- Nica C.T.
Writer and Voice of Kwento by Nica
For more stories, find Nica on Instagram here.
“And this is the part where I tell you what this story would be like if I was afraid: had I been scared of riding my bicycle next to a freeway, Highway 1, then I would have not picked Dahlias and Chrysanthemums or even met Pierre. If I had feared falling on bumpy coastal trails, I would have no oasis, no favorite spot, no image to show you where the earth feels like a heavenly embrace.
If I had let fear guide me, I would have failed. I would have avoided this story all together or never created Kwento by Nica in the first place."
Absolutely powerful writing, Nica! Exactly what I needed! Thank you for reminding me about how I can be brave. Wish we had Son & Garden here in Manila. Thanks, too, for transporting us to such a good space (on many different levels!) through this post.
It’s written “in classic Nica fashion” !
Look forward to reading the next fun adventure.
Wish I could be part of it !
I felt like I crossed a time-lapse threshold into Nica and Hiro world! One of my favorite details was how your clothing each referenced a time period; as if you were both playing dress-up. Thank you for this playful and life-romantic piece. I can’t wait to read more of your writing.
Great story! I can’t believe you got a little ducky in your drink!? How fun.
On my search for my oasis
Nica, your stories always touch my heart! This was so wonderful and I can’t wait to share with my friends <3
You and Hiro are the most vibrant colors, Nica. Your writing eminates so much love and voracius appetite for life. Thank you for reminding all those who have the pleasure of reading your kwentos not only a glimpse into your magical lives, but how to experience it ourselves
When the world is doom and gloom we need to make the best of our situation, not forget about our own needs and write our own damn stories! Love the perspective and love the kwento
“having fun is for the brave”
thank you, nica. i, too, am teary from your kwento. thank you for a brave lesson about facing a world that feels brimming with fear and hurt. to every sun embrace, wooden handle, and the blooming flowers amidst it all~
Nica, you were right. This was an excellent evening read as I’m winding down from today.
Like many have said, it’s such a treat to read one of your stories again! Whenever I read your writings, it feels like we are right there with you & Hiro. You’re both so fun & you are such a gifted storyteller. Thank you for being brave & fighting against the fear! Can’t wait to read more from you!
I’m wiping my tears as I write this. Nica, with every story you write, I can hear your voice in my head. It’s like you’re there for me and understand me. I cry because I can think of many ways of how fear has gotten in the way of things. Thank you for sharing your story…I’m feel inspired and brave. <3