Friday, September 23, 2016

80 North: Albany, Cafe Eugene


Cafe Eugene  1175 Solano Ave./Stannage Ave., Albany, (510) 647-9999.  L M-Thur, Br F-Sun, D daily.  Featuring a woodsy interior that accents the Pacific Northwest lean of the menu, this new spot is particularly popular for breakfast and brunch.  One of the owners is from Eugene, Oregon, and was inspired by the Chez Panisse-like former Excelsior Cafe there, which I remember visiting in the 1970s and ‘80s.  Three big wood booths each will accommodate six people, and large windows revealing the exterior action give it a cafe feel, and a nice little sheltered dining area is out on the sidewalk in front.  Items on the menu that most give a nod to the north include delicate house-cured salmon and drinks mixed with marionberry liqueur--a I-5 High Five gin cocktail and marionberry mimosa.  Coffee is Catahoula’s smooth Lola blend.  My brunch choice was Green Eggs & Sam, which consisted of a perfect toasted biscuit topped with really good eggs scrambled with greens, some of that delicious house-cured salmon, and a lemony sauce--all topped yet again with a fanned sliced avocado half.  I would definitely order this tasty green dish again, but next time I would ask for the biscuit on the side with some butter and jam--it was just too delicious to not enjoy on its own.  My dining partner had the daily scramble mixed with asparagus and pecorino cheese and served atop smoky grilled Acme bread.  We shared a side of cute little cubes of perfectly crisped home fries topped with a nicely spicy horseradish sauce, no ketchup needed.  Though the bowl of fresh fruit  contained a variety of pit-fruit and berries and the shredded apple accent was a pleasant surprise, the boring presentation was a disappointment.  Items here are fresh and unusual.  If you want “the usual” you’ll need to extract it a la carte from the sides menu--two farm eggs any style, home fries, bacon.  I don’t know where we found the space, but we indulged in strawberry shortcake for dessert, which was made with one of those fabulous biscuits topped with macerated strawberries and whipped cream.  The lunch and brunch menus are almost identical, except lunch drops the egg options.  Dinner adds on some more substantial items, including mussels and steak.  One of the most popular items then is a shareable platter of smoked salmon, pickled vegetables, and hard-boiled eggs.  Bread is served by request.  


exterior of Cafe Eugene in Albany, California
exterior of Cafe Eugene in Albany, California


interior of Cafe Eugene in Albany, California
interior of Cafe Eugene in Albany, California


marionberry mimosa at Cafe Eugene in Albany, California
marionberry mimosa at Cafe Eugene in Albany, California

Green Eggs & Sam + more at Cafe Eugene in Albany, California
Green Eggs & Sam + more at Cafe Eugene in Albany, California

strawberry shortcake at Cafe Eugene in Albany, California
strawberry shortcake at Cafe Eugene in Albany, California
Café Eugene Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

More things to do in Albany. 

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images ©2015 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

 

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

5 North: Woodland, First Friday Art Walk and antiques stores


First Friday Art Walk  1st F of month; 5-9:30pm.  Free.  Local galleries are open for this festive event, and many other shops stay open and display art as well.  Exhibits of children’s art and art featuring adoptable pets are sometimes part of the fun.  Live music enhances the experience—you might encounter a colorfully painted piano to play your own tune on, or, if you’re lucky, The Cups or The Bottom Dwellers might give a live performance.

local paintings at Poppies Gallery in Woodland, California
local paintings at Poppies Gallery in Woodland, California

children's art at First Friday Art Walk in Woodland, California
children's art at First Friday Art Walk in Woodland, California

pet art at First Friday Art Walk in Woodland, California
pet art at First Friday Art Walk in Woodland, California

piano to play at First Friday Art Walk in Woodland, California
piano to play at First Friday Art Walk in Woodland, California

The Bottom Dwellers perform at First Friday Art Walk in Woodland, California
The Bottom Dwellers perform at First Friday Art Walk in Woodland, California


Antiques stores galore are scattered along Main Street.
The House Dresser  617 Main St., (530) 661-9596.  This consignment shop features home furnishings. 
Main Street Antiques  531 Main St., (530) 723-3194.
Oak Tree Antiques  535 Main St., (530) 681-1983.  Local art is among the antiques and collectibles found here. 
Remember When Emporium  606 Main St., (530) 669-5755.  Come here for vintage antiques and collectibles. 

Main Street antiques store in Woodland, California
Main Street antiques store in Woodland, California

Main Street antiques store in Woodland, California
Main Street antiques store in Woodland, California

Main Street antiques store in Woodland, California
Main Street antiques store in Woodland, California

Main Street antiques store in Woodland, California
Main Street antiques store in Woodland, California

More things to do in Woodland. 
   
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Travel articles to inspire and help you plan some spectacular getaways.


images c2016 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

 

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

101 South: San Mateo, Coyote Point Recreation Area + CuriOdyssey

update/p.169

Coyote Point Recreation Area  1701 Coyote Point Dr., (650) 573-2592.  Daily 8-sunset.  $6/vehicle.  No pets; no smoking.  This 149-acre park (plus 538 additional underwater acres) is equipped with a barbecue are, picnic areas sheltered by fragrant eucalyptus, several playgrounds, inviting grassy expanses, several trails, an 18-hole golf course, a rifle range, and a swimming beach with bathhouse.  It is one of the best windsurfing sites in the U.S. and considered prime for beginners.  As if all this isn’t enough, it’s also located on the descent route for the San Francisco International Airport, making it a great place to just sit and watch planes land. 

CuriOdyssey   1651 Coyote Point Dr., (650) 342-7755.  Tu-Sun 10-5.  $9, 62+ & 13-17 $7, 2-12 $6.  Bay-side and surrounded by an aromatic grove of eucalyptus trees, the architecturally impressive aims to educate visitors with numerous hands-on and multi-media displays.  Exhibits inside include a live colony of bees.  Outside, the impressive Wildlife Habitats area includes exhibits of live, non-releasable native animals (burrowing owls, a porcupine, a banana slug), a walk-through aviary of native Bay Area birds, and a colorful demonstration garden composed of plants that attract hummingbirds and butterflies.  Animal feedings occur daily.  Bring a lunch to enjoy in the inviting picnic area. 


interior exhibits at CuriOdyssey in San Mateo, California
interior exhibits at CuriOdyssey in San Mateo, California



cattle egret at CuriOdyssey in San Mateo, California
cattle egret at CuriOdyssey in San Mateo, California


great blue heron at CuriOdyssey in San Mateo, California
great blue heron at CuriOdyssey in San Mateo, California

More things to do in San Mateo.

Here are some travel articles to inspire and help you plan some spectacular getaways. 

images ©2016 Carole Terwilliger Meyers


Thursday, September 1, 2016

San Francisco: Lovejoy’s Tea Room + Lovejoy’s Attic + Noe Valley neighborhood


Lovejoy’s Tea Room  1351 Church St./Clipper St., (3 blks. south of 24th St.), Noe Valley.  Begun in another location as an antique shop that served tea and named for a fictional antique dealer named Lovejoy, this delightful tea room is as cozy as anything encountered in England and provides a welcome retreat from city streets.  The menu offers all things English--toasted crumpets, scones, tea sandwiches, sausage rolls, pasties.  Tea service ranges from a simple Cream Tea  (two scones with Devon cream and fresh fruit) to an expansive High Tea (two tea sandwiches, two salads (green and cabbage), and a tea biscuit are added) to a Queen’s Tea (a crumpet with lemon curd and petit four are added), plus a special Wee Tea for children (cream cheese and jelly sandwich, a scone, fresh fruit, and a petit four, with an option to sub in hot chocolate for tea).  My favorite tea is the delicious black vanilla with lavender and the fragrant decaf Lady Grey with apricot.  The tea room is a popular spot for celebrations, and most customers show up dressed up and many wear sweet hats.  For those who forget, a hat rack offers loaners.  Tables here are covered with antique cloths, and the tableware is mix-matched vintage china. 

exterior of Lovejoy’s Tea Room in San Francisco
exterior of Lovejoy’s Tea Room in San Francisco

reservation card at Lovejoy’s Tea Room in San Francisco
reservation card at Lovejoy’s Tea Room in San Francisco

interior of Lovejoy’s Tea Room in San Francisco
interior of Lovejoy’s Tea Room in San Francisco

set at Lovejoy’s Tea Room in San Francisco
set at Lovejoy’s Tea Room in San Francisco

vintage teapot at Lovejoy’s Tea Room in San Francisco
vintage teapot at Lovejoy’s Tea Room in San Francisco

High Tea at Lovejoy’s Tea Room in San Francisco
High Tea at Lovejoy’s Tea Room in San Francisco

pretty pink petit four heart at Lovejoy’s Tea Room in San Francisco
pretty pink petit four heart at Lovejoy’s Tea Room in San Francisco
Lovejoy's Antiques & Tea Room Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Across the street, Lovejoy’s Attic purveys a tea-related inventory that includes items both antique and new.  You’ll find tea towels, fancy tablecloths, tea paraphernalia and accoutrements, honey and lemon curd, and a fragrant back pantry filled with bags of teas.  Why, there are even bags of broken china to use for art projects.  I say, old chap, what fun!
exterior of Lovejoy’s Attic in San Francisco
exterior of Lovejoy’s Attic in San Francisco

tea set and lace at Lovejoy’s Attic in San Francisco
tea set and lace at Lovejoy’s Attic in San Francisco


The Noe Valley neighborhood is centered at Church/24th streets, and is situated between the Mission District on the east and the Castro District on the west.  The J Church streetcar runs from Embarcadero along Market Street downtown; stops along the way include 20th Street at Dolores Park.  This usually sunny neighborhood is a great place for brunch.  Restaurants and boutiques abound along 24th Street between Church Street and Castro Street, as do babies and dogs.  You’ll find all kinds of foods, including bagels, baked goods, and candies, plus plenty of fragrant flower shops.

a perfect day in the Noe Valley neighborhood in San Francisco
a perfect day in the Noe Valley neighborhood in San Francisco

More things to do in San Francisco.
 
Way more things to do in San Francisco. 

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images ©2016 Carole Terwilliger Meyers
 

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

5 North: Woodland, Ludy’s Main St. BBQ


Ludy’s Main St. BBQ  667 Main St., (530) 666-4400.  L-D daily.  Seating in the huge interior here is broken up into smaller areas with plenty of semi-private booths, plus a back patio where the barbecuing is done.
interior of Ludy’s Main St. BBQ in Woodland, California
interior of Ludy’s Main St. BBQ in Woodland, California

To order, head to the center and line up.  Boot marks give you an idea of how long your wait will be.
order line at Ludy’s Main St. BBQ in Woodland, California
order line at Ludy’s Main St. BBQ in Woodland, California

Platters are a good deal and include hand-cut fries and excellent housemade cornbread that is close to as good as mine, plus a choice of coleslaw, barbecue cowboy beans (Ludy’s is famous for them), or potato salad.
ribs platter at Ludy’s Main St. BBQ in Woodland, California
ribs platter at Ludy’s Main St. BBQ in Woodland, California

More menu items include pork ribs, hot links, and a tri-tip steak sandwich--plus burgers and sandwiches, salads, award-winning chili, fish & chips, onion rings, chili-cheese fries, and buffalo wings.  Hickory-smoked prime rib is available on Friday and Saturday nights.
burger at Ludy’s Main St. BBQ in Woodland, California
burger at Ludy’s Main St. BBQ in Woodland, California

chicken wings at Ludy’s Main St. BBQ in Woodland, California
chicken wings at Ludy’s Main St. BBQ in Woodland, California

The housemade peach cobbler was topped with a mess of whipped cream and was too much to eat even when shared with six other people!  Live music is sometimes scheduled.  
peach cobbler at Ludy’s Main St. BBQ in Woodland, California
peach cobbler at Ludy’s Main St. BBQ in Woodland, California
Ludy's Main Street BBQ and Catering Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

More things to do in Woodland. 
   
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images c2016 Carole Terwilliger Meyers