We were in San Francisco July 13-17, 2012. Before that, my San Franciscan relative Kuya Dodge and I chatted via FB. We were so excited to see each other after oh so many years. He said he was seven when he left the Philippines. And I was over two years old. And yet I remember him – as the grouchy-looking cousin that scared me. He turned out to be a teddy bear.

He treated us at a Brazilian restaurant, Espetus, where there were seven and 15-course meals. We are from Sweden, meaning we eat less (smiley) so we decided on a seven-course meal – since there was no other alternative.

Before lunch, Kuya Dodge warned:  “Do not eat breakfast” or eat super light breakfast. He was right. The menu was huge! Salad bar alone could fill little old me. And Espetus is an all you can eat-restaurant. The full course – with all its juicy meat – came nonstop until we gave up and practically begged them to stop. It took time to give up, though, because the meat tasted really good.

And the waiters were tremendously friendly and service-minded, in fact we got special attention because Kuya Dodge was a regular customer. They personally knew him and greeted him with warm handshakes.

Nowadays, we hardly eat meat from pigs and cows. We are what you call Stockholm vegetarians – the term called for those who eat only meat from fish and birds. But if we come back to San Francisco, I will not hesitate in dining at Espetus again (forgive me, my fellow Stockholm vegetarian comrades). And definitely with Kuya Dodge.

And just to remind me where to find it: 1686 Market Street, San Francisco.

I will also remember Kuya Dodge through his legacy:

  1. He introduced me to Siri.
  2. He taught me not to shop in pawnshops in Reno.
  3. He taught me to track down local factory outlets. In San Francisco, he drove us even to a certain place called Ross.
  4. Where to find factory outlets? Usually malls near a freeway on city outskirts. Signature stores sell their damaged, left-over or out-of-season stock at big discounts.
  5. He forbade me to shop at Macy’s because I could buy products cheaper in the factory outlets (although I bought Mac-lipsticks at Macy’s, but just those).
  6. He gave Tuwa a blue and brown bear, which is still in Tuwa’s possession. He gave us presents which we will always remember.
  7. He organized a spontaneous family reunion to welcome us. I was touched by the Santiago clan’s warmth in San Francisco.

Here are other blog posts with Kuya Dodge:

Old Saint Mary’s Church – Kuya Dodge’s refuge

Marina Motel built in 1939

San Francisco, like the Phoenix bird