Friday, October 29, 2010

101 North: Geyserville, Meeker Winery


The Meeker Vineyard 21035 Geyserville Ave., (707) 431-2148. Tasting daily 10:30-6. Charlie Meeker used to be in The Biz in L.A. (as an attorney, then as a film producer, and later as a studio executive and president of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer), so his winemaking career then was confined to many, many weekend and holiday trips. Finally, in 1999, he and his actress wife, moved here to make wine full time. The tasting room is inside the town’s 1903 former bank building, and the sampling occurs at a wine bar made from a single slab from a fallen oak. The signature wine is “Handprint Merlot,” called that because the bottle has an actual handprint from one of the winemakers. They say they spend 50 days each year dipping their hands in paint and imprinting them on a total of 16,000 bottles of wine (and spend $40,000 for the paint!). No two of the trippy bottles are exactly alike, and yellow and orange indicates Charlie did it. Oh yeah, and the wine is darn good, too.

More things to do in Geyserville.

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image c2010 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

San Francisco: Roam Artisan Burgers

Roam Artisan Burgers 1785 Union St./Octavia St., in Cow Hollow, (415) 440-7626. L-D M-Sat; $. No reservations. The young and the restless Union Street singles have definitely roamed on over to this eco-conscious (grass-fed beef, organic free-range eggs, etc.) burger emporium. And they can be LOUD. Still, it is fun to part of the happy scene, whether sitting inside at the communal table, on a high stool at the bar, or outside at a petite table sidewalk-side. Ordering is simple. Pick your filling—beef, turkey, bison, veggie—and style—perhaps the classic, with butter lettuce, tomato, onions, housemade pickles, and housemade sauce; or maybe the sunny side, with an egg, white cheddar, caramelized onions, and sweet chili sauce. Fries are a choice of regular, sweet potato, or a thin and crispy zucchini-onion haystack, and come with optional custom seasonings—lemon-chive is fresh and tangy, while chipotle-maple is sweet and a little hot. Among the drinks are sodas (including housemade versions), limited beers and wines, fermented kombucha tea, and Straus Family Creamery shakes (think Blue Bottle coffee, Tahitian vanilla bean). Prices are low because you order at the counter.

More things to do in San Francisco

Way more things to do in San Francisco.

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image c2010 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Monday, October 25, 2010

101 North: Geyserville, Route 128 Winery

Route 128 Winery 21079 Geyserville Ave., (707) 696-0004. Tasting Thur-Sun 11-6. Today, in what was once the parts department for one Ford Motor Company’s first distributorships, this family-operated estate winery pours a pleasant Viognier, an intense Syrah, and a delicious PeLu Rouge blend. Because it is a small production winery, most of the bottles are sold here at the tasting room. “Keep it small. Keep it simple.” is the motto.

More things to do in Geyserville.

More things to do in the Wine Country.

Travel articles to inspire and help you plan some spectacular getaways. 

 image c2010 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Friday, October 22, 2010

101 North: Geyserville, Geyserville Inn + Hoffman House Restaurant


Geyserville Inn  21714 Geyserville Ave., 1 mi. N of town, (877) 857-4343, (707) 857-4343. 40 rooms + 1 cottage. Some gas fireplaces. Solar-heated pool; hot tub. A step up from the standard motel, this spot has spacious grounds abutting vineyards. Most rooms have a terrace or balcony.








Next door, the Hoffman House Restaurant ((707) 857-3264. B-L daily, D (seasonal) F-Sat; $$.) operates within a 19th-century house. It offers inviting patio dining and is a convenient choice for breakfast.

More things to do in Geyserville.

More things to do in the Wine Country.

Travel articles to inspire and help you plan some spectacular getaways. 

 images c2010 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Thursday, October 21, 2010

101 North: Geyserville, Francis Ford Coppola Winery + RUSTIC restaurant

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Francis Ford Coppola Winer300 Via Archimedes, at Independence Lane exit off Hwy. 101, (877) 590-3329, (707) 857-1400; . Tasting daily 11-6; tour daily at 11, 1, 3. Tucked into a vineyard-covered hill and featuring distinctive towers reminiscent of the area’s once-common hop kilns, this winery is currently undergoing renovation  Tasting consists of a flight of three of the same varietal served with complementary food bites. A favorite to look for is the flagship Archimedes Cabernet Sauvignon made with some of the estate grapes seen growing out front.  Director Coppola’s five Oscars and one of two Tucker automobiles he owns are on display. The tour is given along a skywalk overlooking the production facility.  Newly-opened RUSTIC restaurant (Daily 11-9.) here is all about Coppola remembering what he ate as a child. His personal favorites are on the mneu, including a flavorful Florentine steak made in the dining room’s Argentianian parrilla oven (one of only a few in the U.S.) and a succulent Mrs. Scorsese’s Lemon Chicken (yes, that Scorsese). Crispy thin-crust pizza that rivals NYC’s best and charming and tasty bumblebee pasta (bumbola con broccoli e salsiccia) are also winners. The emphasis is on family-style cooking that features fresh, seasonal ingredients sourced from the property’s organic herb and produce garden. An extensive collection of olive oil tins bring charm to the large open dining room; patio dining overlooking vineyards is also available.

More things to do in Geyserville.

More things to do in the Wine Country.

Travel articles to inspire and help you plan some spectacular getaways.



video c2010 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

101 North: Tiburon, Sweden House Bakery & Cafe--CLOSED

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This restaurant space is now bistrot 35.

Monday, October 18, 2010

80 North: Sacramento, Ettore's European Bakery & Restaurant

Ettore’s European Bakery & Restaurant  2376 Fair Oaks Blvd., (916) 482-0708. Sun 7am-2pm, M-Thur 6am-9pm, F-Sat 6am-10pm; $. No reservations. Considering this popular spot has an Austrian pastry chef, it isn’t too surprising to find out Governor Schwarzenegger has been spotted here. But the whole town seems to enjoy the tasty soups (fresh corn bisque is divine), salads, and sandwiches (a veggie burger and pizza are also available), and most everyone saves room for dessert: Fresh Fruit Tart cake, a red velvet cupcake, or a slice of very refined white Princess cake layered with whipped cream and featuring a curved dome top frosted with green marzipan. Coming here regularly is positively dangerous to your waistline.

image c2010 Carole Terwilliger Meyers 

Friday, October 1, 2010

5 North: Fall River Mills, Clearwater Lodge at the Pit River

Clearwater Lodge at the Pit River 24500 Pit One Powerhouse Rd., in Fall River Mills, (800) 600-5451, (530) 336-5005. 11 rooms, 5 cottages. No TVs. Cookies 24/7; 3 meals/day. Originally built in 1921 as a retreat for PG&E executives during the building of the still-adjacent Pit One Powerhouse hydro electric power plant, this remote Craftsman-style lodge is situated on 44 acres of forested land. A full-service fly fishing destination, the lodge offers guides and instruction on northeastern California's five great wild-trout rivers and spring-fed stillwaters. Multi-day fly fishing schools for all ability levels and guided fly fishing trips with knowledgeable guides are a specialty. Three meals are provided each day. It’s sort of like summer camp, except cold beer and the lodge’s own private-label wines are available at reasonable additional charge. Vintage furniture, antiques, and oriental rugs are found throughout. Modern amenities including wireless internet access and air conditioning. In the common room, a floor-to-ceiling stone fireplace with cozy seating invites relaxing and lingering to spin fish tales and share stories of the day's adventures. A well-traveled guest from Madrid told me over dinner here at one of the two long tables in the paneled dining room that successful fly fishing is all about, “The right time, the right fly, and the presentation you make to the fish.” Dinner was seared halibut with caramelized onion jus, penne with roasted butternut squash, asparagus with roasted lemon vinaigrette, mixed greens with hazel nuts and dried cranberries, and a ginger cheese tart with caramel pears for dessert. Guests can also relax in ample Adirondack chairs on the grounds and on the wide front porch, which is shaded by magnificent old sycamores. Fishing excursions include use of most required equipment. Instead of tipping, a service charge is added at the end of your stay, and you are sent off with a bag lunch.

image c2010 Carole Terwilliger Meyers