"What the hell am I doing?" I muttered to myself sitting in the lounge of OneUp, the new restaurant that replaced the Grandviews at the San Francisco Grand Hyatt.
If you've never heard of OneUp it's probably because it is territory long ceded by locals to the tourists; there in the center of the hustle, it is a spot hidden in plain sight. Everyone except us knows the location, and it seemed like the perfect place to rendezvous with an old flame.
I had seen her photo in a friend's Facebook post and marveled at how little her looks had changed. She still dressed in pink, and her trademark hourglass shape I used to trace with my hands 10 years ago was still there. Those memories got the better of me and here I was, nervous and clumsy, waiting for her to arrive. The sleek lounge, one floor up from the lobby, has a catwalk that divides the dining room from the bar making almost every entrance a dramatic one, and boy, did she make one.
The Moroccan Cosmopolitan ($14, Hangar One Mandarin Orange Blossom vodka, lime, cardamom, pomegranate) arrived to my table, and we immediately locked lips like old times. She's still such a tart -- vibrant with lime juice that embraces her orange perfume -- but you could tell the years had matured her.
Consulting bar manager Scott Beattie (Goose & Gander, Hog & Rocks, Hi-Lo BBQ) took her to North Africa, and she now elegantly wears cardamom, orange blossoms, and pomegranate instead of more dressed-down cranberry. Despite her age, she seems sultrier than ever, and it's a little too easy to spend the night with her.
Fashion and the craft cocktail disdain for vodka made her less sought after (once or twice practically chased out of town), but even in my lust I recognized that she, like most cocktails, was never meant for long-term relationships. The whole time I was reminded of the heartache she's capable of causing the morning after -- me waking up nauseous, with a dry mouth and huge headache. Still, I'll be happy to run into her more often at OneUp, and talk about the good times.
by Scott Beattie
¾ oz. Hangar One Mandarin Orange Blossom Vodka
¾ oz. Straight vodka
¾ oz. lime juice
¼ oz. Pomegranate juice
½ oz. Cardamom simple syrup*
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake hard for seven seconds and strain into a coupe glass or martini glass. Garnish with edible flowers or a lime wheel.
*Cardamom simple syrup: Combine eight drops of cardamom essential oil with 12 ounces simple syrup (equal parts sugar and water) in a container. Seal it up and shake hard to mix. Syrup is ready in five minutes.
OneUP Restaurant & Lounge, 345 Stockton, 848-6187