Wednesday, September 29, 2010

80 North: Berkeley, Slow--CLOSED

Slow 1966 University Ave./Milvia St., downtown, (510) 647-FOOD (3663). L-D M-Sat; $. No reservations. Slow is what the cooking is at this counter-service restaurant (you can see the chefs at work while you place your order). Fast is what the service and in-out time are. Of course, if the weather is nice enough to permit sitting out at one of the picnic tables on the enchanting hidden back patio surrounded by a mature rose garden, you’ll want to slow down . . . and smell the roses. Seating in the narrow yellow interior is on stools at two long bars (made with wood reclaimed from an 1822 railroad tunnel) on either side wall. The menu is small, but the tastes are big, and local organic ingredients are used when possible. The moderately priced menu changes periodically but currently offers braised boneless short ribs with creamy polenta and delicious cooked carrots, a pulled pork sandwich, linguini with arugula-walnut pesto, a portobello mushroom stuffed with mashed eggplant, and for dessert--a fruit cobbler or oversize cookie. A good drink choice is lemonade with tiny diced fruit bits for flavor. Curbside pickup for takeout is available, as well as grab-and-go lunchtime selections. All serveware is compostable.

More things to do in Berkeley.

Way more thing to do in Berkeley. 

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

image c2010 Carole Terwilliger Meyers 

Monday, September 27, 2010

101 North: Geyserville, Catelli's


Catelli’s 21047 Geyserville Ave. /Hwy. 128, (707) 857-3471. L-D M-Sat; $$-$$$. Opened originally in this 1902 building by the present owners’ grandparents, then moved to Santa Rosa, and now repurchased and brought back again to its original site, this long-time Italian restaurant serves updated traditional fare. Granddaughter Domenica is the chef (she once worked for Oprah! and is the author of the Mom-a-licious cookbook) and grandson Nicholas does the other stuff. Don’t miss the signature thin-rolled ravioli, either with a garlicky butter sauce or a tangy red meat sauce. Nonnie’s minestrone, a meatball sandwich, and a portabello burger are also options.

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image c2010 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Friday, September 24, 2010

Wine Country: Napa, Silverado Trail, Darioush

Darioush  4240 Silverado Trail, in Napa, (707) 257-2345. Tasting daily 10:30-5; tours by appt. This ultra-premium estate winery features dramatic Persian architecture evocative of Persepolis, the capital of ancient Persia, but also reminiscent of the grandeur of Egyptian monuments. Design features include 16 freestanding 18-foot columns at the entrance, and yellow travertine stone quarried near Persepolis surrounds the building. A small and charming amphitheatre is available for performances and events. The spectacular tasting room is in the center of a high-ceilinged temple-like room and features a “wall of water”; a gift shop displays dearly-priced exquistite and exotic wares along with inexpensive glasses made from wine bottles. Noted for its Bordeaux-style estate wines, the winery is one of the few that makes a 100% Cabernet Franc wine (it is available only at the winery).
Participants in the “Fine Wines, Artisan Cheeses Tour” gather in a posh VIP lounge where tasting begins with a tropical Rhine-style 2009 Viognier--described as a “white wine for red wine drinkers” and excellent with shellfish, sushi, and spicy food. Pours are generous throughout. Then it is out to the vineyards where we learn that they “drop 60% of the grapes. We’re talking rabbit food.” No machines are involved in caring for the grapes. Then it is into the cellar barrel room, where one wine is described as like “chocolate espresso, its huge color is like blood.” Guide Diana Lasso says, “Wine is meant to be savored over conversation. It is not beer.” And by the end of the tasting, we’re all sharing some details of our lives and reaping the enjoyment of sharing wine with others.

More things to do in Napa. 

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image c2010 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

80 North: Berkeley, Zut! on Fourth

Zut! on Fourth  1820 Fourth St./Hearst St., (510) 644-0444. L-D daily; $$-$$$. Reservations advised. Sporting a name that is a play on the French expression “Zut alors!,” which refers to a surprise, this well-located restaurant is the perfect after-shopping rest-and-refresh stop. Regional Mediterranean dishes change regularly on the short menu and are prepared with fresh, locally sourced ingredients—perhaps crispy smelts or braised white beans with roasted peppers and goat cheese to start. A surprisingly tasty seasonal salad of arugula, pluots, and fennel goes well with one of the pizzas. A semi-exhibition kitchen with wood-fired grill and rotisserie produces entrees that might include a pasta, a generous portion of rotisserie chicken with a warm fingerling potato salad, a hefty hamburger topped with an heirloom tomato slice and served with crispy frites, and a New York steak with chimichurri sauce. Cocktails are unusual—the Maltese is an especially tasty mix of vodka, grapefruit, lemon, mint, and ouzo—and desserts are both familiar (a hot fudge sundae) and obscure (a divine muscovado pot de crème plus whole wheat-hazelnut sable cookies). Some tables and the bar have a zinc surface, and seating is available outside as well as inside in front of windows that slide open to fresh air and a passing parade of envious pedestrians.

More things to do in Berkeley.

Way more thing to do in Berkeley. 

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

image courtesy of venue
 

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

101 North: Sausalito, Floating Homes Tour

update/p.217

Curious about what it is like to live on the water in one of the most uniquecommunities in the Bay Area? Nineteen of Sausalito’s colorful floating homes will open their doors to you on Saturday, September 25th from 11am to 4pm. The annual tour is self-guided, though docents will be on-board to describe the waterfront lifestyle and answer questions.  Many of the homes on this year's tour have never been open to the public before.  One of the featured homes, “The Red Star,” is exquisitely detailed by the owner--a versatile artist and master builder.  The tour begins at the Kappas Marina Green, located off Bridgeway at the north end of Sausalito.  Festivities include free entertainment all day featuring local musicians and an Art Show and Sale featuring the paintings, sculpture, photographs, and drawings of 11 artists from floating home community.  Food and drink will be available for purchase.   Traditionally this tour sells out.  Purchase tickets online at www.floatinghomes.org; $35 in advance/$40 at gate.  Ticket sales benefit the Floating Home Association, The Marin City Library, and other local non-profit organizations.

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image courtesy of venue 

Monday, September 13, 2010

80 North: Berkeley, Everest Cafe--CLOSED

Everest Cafe 1645 Solano Ave./Tulare Ave., (510) 526-4915. L M-Sat, D daily; $-$$. Named for the tallest peak in Nepal and the world and yet located on an unassuming stretch near the Albany border, this small spot sporting cheery lace curtains features eastern Nepalese and Indian cuisine. Lunch specials include sides of raita (yogurt), atar (tomato chutney), and nan on trays with main dishes prepared to requested spiciness—including a delicious eggplant, garbanzo bean-spinach, or goat curry. Among the many vegan and vegetarian options are vegetable momo (steamed dumplings), vegetable chow mein, and vegetable thukpa (the special Nepali sherpa dish).

More things to do in Berkeley.

Way more thing to do in Berkeley. 

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

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Wine Country: Napa, Silverado Trail, Kenzo Estate

Kenzo Estate 3200 Monticello Rd., Napa, (877) 977-7704, (707) 259-5408. Tasting tour by appt. Set on 4,000 stunning acres on the slopes of Mt. George, this winery is the vision of Japanese video game pioneer Kenzo Tsujimoto. Visitors with an appointment are given a code to enter the serene gated property, then enjoy a pleasant ride through the bucolic estate to the tasting room. Several tours are available that include tasting four of the upscale wines, including the $75 signature Rindo--a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Petit Verdot. The $30 tasting is a 1-ounce pour with a few palate-clearing tidbits, the $50 tasting includes a 2-ounce pour and a small charcuterie/cheese plate, and the $60 tasting includes a lunch pairing from chef Thomas Keller’s Bouchon. Visitors are welcome to relax and enjoy the property after their tour and tasting.

More things to do in Napa. 

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image c2010 Carole Terwilliger Meyers