Jimmy T Tran

October 21, 2022


My dearest of friends are getting married. My flight is at 8:50am, boarding ending at 8:30am. Up until the week prior, I figured waking up early and taking the first BART to SFO would suffice. Then, I remembered one BART trip I took one morning to take my Police Academy physical test, which got delayed by a mentally ill passenger - how stressful that was, getting me to panic-Lyft. Thankfully, it got resolved timely, but panic sucks. Odd passenger events often cause these delays.

There is no way in hell I am going to miss my friend's wedding.

I started researching how to sleep in airports, not that I am completely against getting sub-par sleep, but what got me was the uncertainty of being able to get through security the night prior to my flight, and if I couldn't get past security, my belongings getting stolen in the night while sleeping in the public ticketing area.

Then I remembered there is a Grand Hyatt at SFO. Unfortunately, it was completely booked. Then, I started searching Google Maps for neighboring hotels. I considered renting a nap room for an overnight at Freshen Up, but the rate I saw was $250 for the night. I defaulted back to sleepinginairports.net's SFO recommendations. I don't need anything fancy so my final (cheapest) choice to be made was between La Quinta's Millbrae and Airport Boulevard's location. What sealed the deal? La Quinta's Millbrae location is next door to a Hookah lounge. I was going to make this a 1-night staycation in Millbrae.

Getting to the $6 shuttle to La Quinta at SFO was easy: once you get off BART, head out to the departure lanes on the ground level, to the island, where ride shares are picked up. (I called La Quinta the night prior to make sure the shuttle was active: 5-9am and 5-9pm) In about 15 minutes, my 3rd party shuttle arrived. The ride into Millbrae's La Quinta was 15 minutes. I wish I had smaller dollar bills to tip the driver, I felt like a cheap jerk. I didn't get charged for the $6 drive in.

El Camino Real has a respectable selection of restaurants (a lot of Chinese). But I found Patio Pilipino. Pilipino restaurants are far and few in the East Bay, hence my excitement. After watching the Bucks beat the 76ers (Rockets basketball redux, Embiid is fuming), I made the short 7-block trek to the restaurant (no irony). Patio Pilipino unfortunately did not have their set menu prominently displayed on their site, so I opt for the most opulent dish (staycation!): Crispy Pata with vinegar soy sauce. It's like a really good steak, or a prime rib, in that I envision a future where a restaurant could make itself simply by serving up Crispy Patas as their spotlight dish. San Miguel beer was necessary to accompany the meal. You have to eat the Crispy Pata while it's freshly hot, while it's still freshly crispy. I wish I had 3 other friends with me so I could have ordered the garlic rice (they don't serve single servings of garlic rice), so I ordered Chicken Empanadas as my carbs.

After, I headed to Cloudz Hookah Lounge, where I got the Money Maker (fruit/mint) flavor. Price for all flavors: $28 with tax. They were showing the Lakers/Clippers game (of course the Clippers beat this year's Lakers). I chilled there for a good chunk of time, because the Hookah just kept on giving. I left my phone in the hotel room to charge, but I brought along my friend's amazing new children's book, Octopus Have Zero Bones.

I should've jumped in for a swim before I went to eat because I decided not to complicate my morning, to make it on the airport shuttle. The shuttle was an important part of my decision: $6 for the shuttle, which you have to buy a ticket for going back to SFO. It leaves every 45 minutes. I opted for the 6:25am shuttle. It arrived on right on the dot, we left promptly. I remembered to get smaller bills, so I tipped the driver this time. With Clear and TSA Pre-Check, I got through security at 6:50am. It took 25 minutes, as opposed to the rushed 90 minute trek it would have taken me from home.

I am an AMEX Platinum member. I was able to get a grab-n-go breakfast bag in 5 minutes, after it opening at 8am. My flight was at Gate 11, which took 5 minutes to walk to from the renovating AMEX lounge. My boarding group wasn't called yet.

I had a great night of sleep, from a chill night kicking it on El Camino Real. Staying Millbrae's La Quinta was a great game-time decision.