Friday, January 30, 2015

80 North: Berkeley, Perdition Smokehouse


Perdition Smokehouse  2050 University Ave., downtown, (510) 900-5858.  L W-Sun, D daily; $$.  No reservations.  Woodsy and dark, this restaurant specializes in authentic Texas-style barbecue.  California asserts itself with ingredients from humane family farms that don’t use hormones or antibiotics.  The interior features roomy wood booths and communal high tables in a wide-open room.  In the back, an outdoor beer garden with picnic tables is pleasant in good weather and entertains with a movie running silently on a wall.  Diners enter the order line queue past informal “walls” of wood logs stacked for use.  ‘Que is ordered at one counter and beer at another (more than 40 American craft beers are on tap).  Service is attentive and friendly.  Portions are large but the menu is short:  smoked meats (brisket, pork shoulder, hot links, St. Louis pork ribs, and chicken) and sides (meaty cowboy beans, greens, mac & cheese, coleslaw, potato salad, and broccoli salad).  A few other miscellaneous items and sweets round things out.  You can order meats by the pound or by the plate, which includes two sides, bread, and housemade sweet pickles.  A variety of sauces are on the table, including a tasty spicy sauce (my fave) and a South Carolina mustard sauce.  I enjoyed my plate of tender, meaty ribs and cowboy beans but needed to spice up the bland potato salad.  It went well with a Magnolia Blue Bell Bitter.  My dining companion wasn’t as happy with his chicken, which he considered too dry, or coleslaw, which was pink.

interior of Perdition Smokehouse in Berkeley, California


ribs plate at Perdition Smokehouse in Berkeley, California



chicken plate at Perdition Smokehouse in Berkeley, California

Perdition Smokehouse on Urbanspoon

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images ©2015 Carole Terwilliger Meyers


Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Highway 49--Gold Rush Country: Auburn, Awful Annie’s

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Awful Annie’s  160 Sacramento St., in Historic Old Town, (530) 888-9857.  B-L-D daily; $-$$.  Reservations for 5+.  Everything about this restaurant is appealing--the lace-covered windows, the large outdoor deck with tables covered in cheery blue-and-white-checked plastic tablecloths, the all-day breakfast menu that includes omelettes and scrambles galore and more.  The kitchen is famous for blackberry and cream cheese-stuffed French toast and Grandma’s bread pudding with brandy sauce, and the lunch menu includes scads of salads, sandwiches, and burgers.  My fave is the BLT on sourdough, but I have my eye on the grilled pastrami Rueben made with lean meat, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese, and thousand-island dressing on swirled rye bread.  Truth be told, Annie’s is awful good.

porch at Awful Annie's restaurant in Auburn, California

BLTA sandwich at Awful Annie's restaurant in Auburn, California

Awful Annie's on Urbanspoon

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image ©2015 Carole Terwilliger Meyers


Monday, January 26, 2015

Highway 49--Gold Rush Country: Nevada City: Two Room Inn


Two Room Inn  431 Broad St., (415) 891-9022.  Hot tub.  No pets.  Originally a miner’s cabin built in the 1880s, this colorful cottage was for a while known as the Teddy Bear Castle and has been embellished upon through the years.  It features stained-glass windows, a fireplace built with vintage cobblestones from San Francisco, and an upstairs bedroom with a vaulted pine ceiling and cedar walls.  A balcony provides a great view out over Broad Street.  It sleeps up to four adults and two children.


Two Room Inn in Nevada City, California


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image ©2015 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Thursday, January 22, 2015

San Francisco: Great Eastern


Great Eastern  649 Jackson St./Grant, (415) 986-2500.  B-L-D daily; dim sum daily 10-3; $.


dining room at Great Eastern restaurant in San Francisco
Though small, this atmospheric spot located in the heart of Chinatown features an open room with mostly large round tables covered with white tablecloths.  A smaller room downstairs handles overflow.  A wall of tanks filled with live fish is in the back, verifying the restaurant’s reputation for serving one of Chinatown’s most extensive seafood selections.  Everything is cooked to order, so fried dishes arrive hot from the wok.  A laminated picture menu helps you select from the extensive dim sum options.  Dim sum items are mostly made to order, so no carts and few trays circulate.


deep-fried taro balls at Great Eastern restaurant in San Francisco
deep-fried taro balls
My favorites are the delicate and crunchy cilantro shrimp dumplings and the exquisite deep-friend taro balls.  In the evening if you have five to eight people in your group, consider ordering a set family-style dinner or a more elaborate banquet-style dinner--the crab version is reputedly particularly good.  President Obama stopped here for a take-out assortment of dumplings in 2012, and that certainly helped establish the restaurant’s popularity. 

Great Eastern on Urbanspoon

More dim sum photos.

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images ©2015 Carole Terwilliger Meyers 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Highway 49--Gold Rush Country: Nevada City: The Art Cottage & Art Studio


The Art Cottage & Art Studio  2-min. drive from town, (530) 478-0920.  Off-street parking is provided for both units.  Designed by an artist to rejuvenate your spirit, these quiet retreats are located in a quiet residential area that is just a 15-minute walk from town.  Bright colors and plenty of art is factored into the decor--even art-related videos are provided.  If your party rents both units, you can open the gate between the properties and share the yards.

The Art Cottage  This cozy vacation rental has two bedrooms and two baths (one with a whirlpool tub) and can accommodate three guests comfortably.  Amenities include a full kitchen with granite counters and a private yard with barbecue.

The Art Cottage rental in Nevada City, California


The Art Studio  This sister rental is a smaller studio apartment.  It has a full kitchen and is perfect for a single guest  or for a weekend stay for a couple.  The up-to-date bathroom has a shower with twelve massage jets. 

The Art Studio rental in Nevada City, California


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images ©2015 Connie Terwilliger

Friday, January 16, 2015

80 North: Berkeley, Townie


Townie  1799 University Ave./Grant St., (510) 356-4903.  D Tu-Sun, Sat-Sun Br.  Free parking in rear.


bar at Townie restaurant in Berkeley, California
The immense open dining room here features large windows to the street, a cozy original brick wall behind the bar, a black open-rafter ceiling, a few wood booths and other features made from reclaimed wood, and a concrete floor.  A sea of tables and chairs populate the center of the room.  The Sunday morning I was here for brunch, diners were sparse and the room was quiet—it felt like the room itself was having a own hangover from the night before.  Fortunately, music faves from the ‘50s and ’60s—“Runaround Sue,” “Walk like a Man”--perked things up.  The seasonal menu featuring New American cuisine small plates is short but sweet and makes use of spectacular seasonal ingredients.


eggs Benedict at Townie restaurant in Berkeley, California
I loved my eggs Benedict even though it was served on a very small plate with no garnish.  The large chunk of flavorful braised pork belly and the perfectly puffed eggs were delicious, and I downed them with an Irish Coffee made with a strong pour of Jameson Irish Whiskey.


bacon & eggs at Townie restaurant in Berkeley, California
My dining partner opted for eggs over easy, which were served with pillows of crispy hash browns, bacon, and very good sourdough toast with raspberry jam.  He drank a colorful fresh-orange Mimosa (grapefruit is also an option).  We were tempted to try the chia pudding because it is something we make at home, but the day pulled at us to move on.  Dinner brings on miyagi oysters from Marin, potato croquettes with serrano ham and manchego, and a Townie burger with hot sauce aioli.  Sometimes you might also find a Vietnamese banh mi pork belly sandwich, mussels, or hanger steak.  Fresh cocktails are whipped up behind a long bar with stool seating.  Live jazz is scheduled on the first Sunday of each month from 6 to 9 p.m.  Townie is a work in progress.  Changes are coming. 

Townie on Urbanspoon

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images ©2015 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Highway 49--Gold Rush Country: Nevada City: Broad Street Bistro & Gallery


Broad Street Bistro & Gallery  426 Broad St., (530) 265-4204.  Daily 7am-6pm.  You’ll find a small menu listed on a board above the order counter.  It includes simple items such as bagels, sandwiches, salads, and baked goods, as well as espressos, but the smoothies are only wannabees (they are way too thin).  Still, it makes a great place for a light meal or snack.  You can choose a seat in the cozy inside where local art decorates the walls, or in good weather out on the shady patio—as I did.

Broad Street Bistro on Urbanspoonpatio at Broad Street Bistro in Nevada City, California
 

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image ©2015 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Monday, January 12, 2015

Highway 49--Gold Rush Country: Nevada City: Three Forks Bakery and Brewing Co.


Three Forks Bakery and Brewing Co.  211 Commercial St., (530) 470-8333.  Opens 7am; $$.  It’s all about the yeast here.  In addition to brewing their own beer on premises, all the bread is baked on site—it’s sourdough Saturday through Thursday, and challah on Fridays.  



Order at the counter.  The simple menu offers several soups—I enjoyed a tasty one with small white beans and kale—salads, and an array of sourdough thin-crust pizzas cooked in a wood-fired oven.  Jams, condiments, processed meats such as sausage, and some cheeses are made in house.



Ingredients are organic and locally sourced—I enjoyed a colorful house salad that was sprinkled with kernels from a pomegranate harvested from the owners’ own garden.  The restaurant is famous for their pastries, cakes, pies, and cookies, so don’t miss out!  My beer choice was a Malakoff Maibock, described as a “German pale Bock lager-style that is traditionally brewed for release in May (Mai).  Lighter than a traditional German Bock, our Maibock has a strong backbone of Pilsner and Munich malts to give it a nice malty body, and is crisply balanced by Perle and Tettnang hops.  Clean and delicious, it is one of the Brewer’s favorite styles.”  It was quite satisfying.  The large, open dining space with high ceilings is a transformed warehouse that once stored dynamite.  Now it has a dynamite atmosphere, where everyone is busy having a good time.
More about the beer: 




Three Forks Bakery & Brewing Co. on Urbanspoon

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images and video ©2015 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Friday, January 9, 2015

Highway 49--Gold Rush Country: Nevada City: Miners Foundry Cultural Center


Miners Foundry Cultural Center  325 Spring St., (530) 265-5040.  This building dates back to 1856, when it made metal parts for local mines.

Miners Foundry Cultural Center in Nevada City, California


small Pelton Wheel Miners at Foundry Cultural Center in Nevada City, California
small Pelton Wheel


In 1879, it made the world’s first Pelton Wheel--a local invention that revolutionized hydroelectric power production.  The foundry ceased operation in 1965.  A self-guided tour explains many historical artifact displays and exhibits.  Today this structure is used as a venue for special events, which are scheduled regularly.

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images ©2015 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Highway 49--Gold Rush Country: Nevada City: Nevada Theatre

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Nevada Theatre  401 Broad St., (530) 265-6161.  Schedule & ticket prices vary.  Opened in September of 1865 and lectured in twice by Mark Twain (Jack London and Motley Crue have also appeared here), this is the oldest original-use theater building in California.  It is refurbished to appear as it did when it first opened and is used year-round for plays, concerts, films, and other performing arts events.


historic Nevada Theatre in Nevada City, California

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image ©1983, 2015 Carole Terwilliger Meyers