Because this was my birthmonth -- which meant I could order whatever the hell I wanted -- our third entree was what you might call a simple indulgence: the Kelly's Mission Rock burger with cheese ($9). Served on a toasted bun with fresh-cut, whole-potato fries, this half-pound behemoth held its own and then some when compared to the hundreds of burgers I consumed in my youth (now that I'm older and more sophisticated, I eat burritos), and left me wishing only that my jaw opened a bit wider, so I could have enjoyed more of it with each bite.
Desserts at Kelly's are nicely done, but probably won't win any awards. Michelle's Chocolate Decadence ($6) -- a small tart filled with bittersweet mousse -- was adequate, but didn't live up to its name, while my cheesecake ($6) with slices of fresh strawberry was more effective, a simple pastry that accomplished its goal without calling more attention to itself than warranted.
817 China Basin (between Mission Rock and Illinois), 626-5355. Dockside cafe open Monday 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Upstairs open for lunch Tuesday through Friday 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., for dinner Thursday through Saturday 5:30 to 10 p.m., for brunch on weekends 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Reservations accepted. Wheelchair accessible. Parking: happy birthday. Muni: 15. Noise level: varies; boisterous at times.
To finish things off, I ordered one last dram of sweetness: Mrs. Butterworth herself, Frangelico ($5.50). A syrupy blend of hazelnut-infused enchantment, the Frangelico tasted even sweeter as a result of the phrase printed on our bill: "todo es posible" (everything is possible). Though I'm not so gullible as to believe this kindhearted lie -- I mean, it is simply not possible for me to enjoy step aerobics -- the thought stayed with me as we departed, and was rendered particularly poignant by what greeted us next: the shimmering skyline of San Francisco.
Ah, but that view never ceases to amaze me, both for its beauty and because it reveals a place where, I like to think, the things I want out of life are there for the taking, provided I have the tenacity to track them down. Of course, there will be obstacles, disappointments, setbacks, perhaps worse, and even a simple goal, like spending a month celebrating life, may prove beyond my ability. But still, I have to give it everything I've got. Which led to one final upgrade: As we headed back to the city, I vowed to make that night the first in what will, hopefully, be a fabulous birthyear.