Columbus Ave. slices a diagonal cut across the upper right tip of the SF peninsula, running from Fisherman's Wharf down to the financial district. The diagonal creates magical, oddly angled intersections--pie-shaped wedges, some fat some thin. You never know what little gems you're going to miss if you don't turn a corner. Pat's is one of those gems. Colored like some Jamaican boat (serving American food), it's a clean, cute diner with playful art on the walls and an easy mix of tunes floating out of the speakers. (Ed Sheeran was crooning "A Team" as I left; Lady Antebellum was playing "Need You Know" when I snapped the pic of the homemade chunks of corned beef hash & over-easy eggs & sourdough toast & coffee--all dee-lish.)
I sat in the window, where I noticed all the big, obvious things that are normally invisible to me, things that paint San Francisco in my subconscious: the steel skeleton back of a billboard; veins of power lines cutting across painted-lady buildings and palm trees growing out of the sidewalk; the magic of cars, bikes, buses, cable cars navigating the tricky, tilted intersections; a chubby, Latino man walking his Yorkie; the metal sidewalk cover of the hidden elevator that lets you load supplies into the basement.
A painted, wooden image of Pat herself was smiling back at me from the sidewalk, silently assuring me I'd made the right choice. I knew I had to leave soon to go work in some hotel conference room. But right then, I was happy.