Certain words set off mnemonics in my head, and "linda" is one of them. But strangely, what comes to mind is "Rosalinda's Eyes" by Billy Joel, a song I don't really know by a guy I don't really like. I'm sure this was helped along by the "Lo" of "Lolinda" sounding like the "Ro" in "Rosalinda." For god's sake, have you heard that song? It's Joel attempting some sort of pretentious Cubano skeez. I think I hate it more than when Paul Simon went all African.
But none of this is dear Lolinda's fault, and I shan't blame her no' mo'.
The venue is huge and gorgeous and sits in the same place that used to house Medjool, which was a bit of a mess but had a cool rooftop hangout. Lolinda is owned by the same people behind Beretta and Starbelly, which means they are going to try to make their mark with specialty "handcrafted" drinks and upscale dining.
"Rosalinda's eyeeeeees ..."
Pull out stool. Sit down. Peruse menu.
Lolinda is an Argentinian-inspired steakhouse, which actually is a good idea because it fills a gourmet hole in the Mission.
It's not often that I feel dwarfed, but this place will do that to you. It's about the size of an airport hangar, with two levels. The roof area is still under construction, but once that opens I bet the entire hamlet of Colma, including the dead people, would all fit here nicely. There are bull heads mounted on one wall, enormous chandeliers inspired by wagon wheels hanging above, and a rustic sleekness that is warm and inviting. Also I need to give a shout-out to whoever designed the place acoustically — no matter how many people are there, you can still hear each other talk. Still, I was left with the usual "meh" I get from being in yet another beautiful, well-designed bar. No one is really doing anything maverick in this town anymore.
The staff was closing up early that night for its annual party, and there was that same air of excitement I used to feel on the last day of school. Staff parties in bars usually end with hook-ups, but that's okay, because I am convinced that the best place to find a partner is at work. You see each other day in and day out, you see how other people react to the person, and a certain Stockholm syndrome arises and takes shape as clinging pheromones.
I'm a freelance writer. I don't have co-workers. That leaves me with the Internet. More on that in a second.
I ordered a beer and the chorizo sandwich, and chatted with the friendly staff. My bartender had been working for this company for a while now, bouncing between locations. Two other staffers who weren't bartenders came over to say hi, too, but not in a forced, gross way. I was beginning to wish I could stay and party with them later. They were, however, playing a Portishead-inspired Pandora thing, which seemed a bit contrived. But hey, like I said, no esta disidentes aquí (there ain't no mavericks here).
I felt soothed, which I sort of needed, since I was recovering from a five-day love affair. We had met online, on a debates website, and in about one day became obsessed with one another, with only the other person's Facebook photo as a guide. This is dangerous, gentle reader, because you can project all sorts of things onto this person that may or may not be there. However, that is also a great way to stoke the fires of love. It began for me quickly. They say that falling in love is like taking cocaine; all the same chemicals are released. I had snorted a line of Belushian proportions. Here's the weird thing: He was an extremely right-wing gun enthusiast. He collected guns and felt that we needed them in case we ever had to rise up against the U.S. government. He thought that Obama was a Muslim. But he was pro-choice and swore he wasn't a racist. I got caught up in his intellectual arguments for all of these things. He damn sure wasn't like anyone in the Bay Area, and I realized that I was attracted to him as the reflection of my "dark side," the forbidden fantasy of having a Tea Party member ravish me next to his gun display. "Talk to me about tort reform," I would coo, head thrown back in ecstasy.
I snapped out of it, of course, when I realized that he probably really was a racist, but I learned that as long as a guy is smart I can fall for him.
So there I was, alone again, naturally, sitting at the bar at Lolinda with "Rosalinda's Eyes" still in my head, refusing to be supplanted by trip-hop. I could still feel the last tingles of love for this man, but they were the lord's way of telling me that the real thing will come my way eventually. And if he happens to be packing heat as well, then so be it.
I talked to staff members about the upstairs area on the roof, and they said that it needed to be made "safer," but that it would open in a few months. I remembered sitting up there when it was Medjool. It was quite rinky-dink, with Christmas lights and lawn furniture. Little did I know that I could probably have fallen through the floor at any time. But the view was spectacular.
I settled up and left a nice tip, since these were good people. I also realized that I wanted to come back to try more food on the menu. My love affair with Lolinda just might last more than five days.