Monday, January 16, 2012

The Dutch Goose

I worked on Sand Hill Road before it became Sand Hill Road, home to the richest venture capitalists on the planet. The Dutch Goose, just down the hill on Alameda de las Pulgas, was one of our favorite lunchtime hangouts. It served juicy burgers and pastrami sandwiches that had to be eaten carefully to avoid getting spots on our ties (yes, children, we wore ties every day 30 years ago).

The Goose had the latest videogames; my proficiency improved to the point that a quarter was all that was needed to play for half an hour on Asteroids, Missile Command, or Donkey Kong. After I took a job in the East Bay, I never returned to the Dutch Goose....until today.

A couple of friends from the old days wanted to talk about a startup idea, and the Dutch Goose was really the only suitable venue for our reunion. I was late because I got lost. Office buildings, shops, and street lights had sprung up around the restaurant. The old dirt parking area was long gone. I was lucky to get a space within half a block.

Past the gate the restaurant had been built out into the outdoor space. The formerly empty patio was now filled with tables. Flat-screen TVs were mounted in each room. A new pool table had been set up outside the lavatories. Despite the modern appurtenances, the heart of the Goose--the weathered wooden tables, the salt- and fat-filled cuisine, the ancient videogames, and the broad selection of beer on tap--remains intact.

We dispensed quickly with the business discussion and reminisced for the next two hours. I tried my hand at Missile Command, scoring 8,000 when I used to break 100,000 regularly. After the second beer, I called it quits. Being aware of one's limits is the only way I'll be around for the next Goose reunion, hopefully less than 30 years from now. © 2012 Stephen Yuen

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