April 28, 2010

Oakland: Oakland Museum of California; things to do

880 South 

After being renovated and expanded to the tune of $62 million, the Oakland Museum of California reopens this weekend. Admission is free beginning May 1 at 11 a.m. through May 2 at 6 p.m. Yes, that is 31 hours straight, with plenty of festivities planned to entertain throughout--all funded by Target. Inside The Gallery of California History you'll see Dorothea Lange’s Depresession images projected on the windshield of a Model T Ford and--in the museum’s spirit of providing thoughtful experiences and making clever use of artifacts--you can curl up in a real pipe from the infamous Pipe City. The Gallery of California Art offers further interactive ways to heighten your sensitivity to the art being observed.

More information about the Oakland Museum.

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image courtesy of venue; Isaac W. Baker, Untitled (Portrait of a Chinese Man), c.1851; gift of an anonymous donor.

April 25, 2010

San Mateo: AcquaPazza (CLOSED); restaurant review

101 South

AcquaPazza  CLOSED  201 E. 3rd Ave./Ellsworth St., downtown, (650) 375-0903. L-D daily; $$. Reservations advised.

Seating here is in an open, high-ceilinged room that is alive with promise. It’s the perfect spot for a rainy evening or a sunny day. Operated by three brothers who share a charming family smile, this comfortable venue offers a Neapolitan menu. It just might be impossible to find a better bolognese sauce, so don’t miss it, but then there is also the fresh fish of the day cooked in olive oil and garlic, and the classic risottos, and the crispy crostini that is sometimes topped with grilled fresh sardines. Also, Mamma Carmela’s famous arancini e crocchè (rice ball and potato cake) is reputedly amazing and there are wood-oven pizzas, too! Live music is sometimes scheduled on weekends. See the video.

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image ©2013 Carole Terwilliger Meyers  

April 23, 2010

Sonoma: Jacuzzi Family Vineyards + The Olive Press; things to do

Wine Country

Jacuzzi Family Vineyards  24724 Arnold Dr. (Hwy. 121), (866) 522-8693, (707) 931-7575. Tasting daily 10-5:30.

This large, rustic Italian stone villa is modeled after the family home in the Friuli region of Italy. It pays homage to owner Fred Cline’s maternal grandfather, Valeriano Jacuzzi of the fizzy-water tubs fame. Instead of bubblies, the winery focuses on Italian varietals such as Sangiovese, Barbera, Nebbiolo, and Pinot Grigio.

The tasting room is in one wing, and The Olive Press ((800) 9-OLIVE-9, (707) 939-8900. Tasting daily 10-5:30.) is in the other. It is the most highly awarded producer of California extra virgin olive oil in the state. Visitors can taste 16 varieties of olive oil, eight of which are made on site. You can view the olive presses through a picture window, and see the whole process in fall, when olives are custom-pressed.

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April 21, 2010

April 16, 2010

Pt. Reyes Station: Pine Cone Diner; restaurant review

1 North

Pine Cone Diner 60 4th St., (415) 663-1536. Daily 7-3; $$. No website. No reservations. No cards.

This cozy, authentic diner has been here seemingly forever. Tiny and unassuming, it uses mostly organic ingredients and whips up classics like corned beef hash plus a popular roasted garlic chicken. Breakfast is choice, though at lunch the sandwiches are big, the bread is delicious, and fresh cobbler is a dessert option. Seating is at a counter with backless swivel stools, in a bank of booths, or at one of a few tables with chairs.

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April 14, 2010

Emeryville: Chevys Fresh Mex; restaurant review

80 North

Chevys Fresh Mex  1890 Powell St., (510) 653-8210.

The bar here is as spacious as the restaurant and it also has the best bay views, so you might want to just settle in on a stool at one of the high tables. Families will be more comfortable in the dining room, where comfy booths and larger tables are available. Menu stars include a variety of build-your-own fajitas, a fajita salad or guacamole prepared tableside, sopapillas a la mode, and deep-fried ice cream—and don’t forget the hand-shaken margaritas and premium Tequilas. A la carte items and a kids menu are available. Entertainment is provided by El Machino, the tortilla-making contraption that offers a kid’s-eye view of the process.

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April 10, 2010

Coloma: Olde Coloma Theatre; things to do

Highway 49--Gold Rush Country

Olde Coloma Theatre  380 Monument Rd., (530) 626-5282. May-Dec. $9, children $4.

During these old-time melodrama performances, the audience munches on popcorn, and hisses and boos, and occasionally throws foil balls at the performers. After, take time to visit the nearby pioneer cemetery.

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Here's a sample:

video c2010 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

April 2, 2010

San Jose: Happy Hollow Park & Zoo; things to do

101 South 

Following a $70 million renovation, this popular family attraction reopened on March 30.

Here's a video of the new fossa exhibit:

Familiar sights are still there:
Crooked House
lower Zoo
Mini Put-Putt cars
Granny Bug Rides
Danny the Dragon ride (he's just “greener”)

New sights include:
Education Center - The greenest of all the new buildings and built out of hay bales, the Learning L.O.D.G.E. is the center of educational activity for the new facility.
Doc’s Critter Care – This new animal hospital features indoor and outdoor
quarantine, surgery, and radiology facilities.
Giggle Grove – The new rides area features Kiddie Swings and Frog Hopper.
Family Rides – Includes a spectacular carousel with endangered species characters and Pacific Fruit Express Family Roller Coaster.
Double H Ranch Exhibit - Includes expansive animal contact area with an
additional play areas for children. It features Animal Barn, which offers close contact with domestic species along with new exhibits of animals
typically found in a barn.
Lemur Woods Exhibit – Displays endangered lemurs and a parallel play area
for children to hop, jump, and move like a lemur.
Redwood Lookout play area - Perfect for multiple age groups with an area for
toddlers, a sitting area for parents, and a larger play structure for older
children. Built to resemble a Ranger lookout station, the giant play structure is
nestled in redwoods with slides, swings, ropes, and climbing areas.
New Fossa Exhibit – This largest member of the mongoose family is the largest carnivore and top predator native to Madagascar. Happy Hollow is the only Bay Area zoo exhibiting this endangered species.
Picnic Basket Restaurant

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