June 29, 2011

Los Gatos: History Museum at Forbes Mill


Santa Cruz Mountains 

Note the new name for this one-room museum tucked away on a dead end beside the Los Gatos Creek Trail. Among the objects on display are an antique shirt press and iron from the long-gone Gem City French Laundry, and currently you can see as well a Beatles display from a local private collection (the Fab Four were presented the key to the town in 1967).


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June 27, 2011

Forestville: Corks/Russian River Vineyards


101 North

The patio and farmhouse are still here, but now the menu at Corks might offer a spectacular pulled-pork sandwich made from a pig raised right on site and fed restaurant scraps, or maybe eggs Benedict made with bright-orange-yolked eggs that are collected daily from the chickens that patrol the vineyards. Don’t miss the crispy fries tossed with truffle oil, or the strawberry shortcake prepared with crisp housemade biscuits and dense Chantilly cream.
(707) 887-3344; .

Organically-grown wines can be sampled in the Russian River Vineyards tasting room bar that operates now in the entryway. Taste a citrussy Sauvignon Blanc, a rare Old World Charbono, and an uncommon Botrytis Chardonnay dessert wine.


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image ©2011 Carole Terwilliger Meyers
(formerly Stella's at Russian River Vineyards)

June 24, 2011

Pleasanton: Nonni's


Greater East Bay

Nonni’s Bistro 425 Main St., downtown, (925) 600-0411. Born in Iceland, chef-owner Jon Magnusson has traveled and cooked in kitchens all over the world. He jokes he came to Pleasanton “to get away from my second ex-wife.” Her loss, our gain. The setting is one open room with banquettes along the wall and tables topped with white cloths topped with white butcher paper. Menu items are prepared with care and extremely tasty—salad with house basil dressing, cedar-wood salmon, peppered short rib—but desserts are exceptional—don’t miss the crepes stuffed with fresh ricotta and surrounded with vibrant raspberry and mango sauces. Live jazz and windows that open to the summer air are coming.


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image ©2011 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

June 22, 2011

Livermore: Campo di Bocce


880 South 

Campo di Bocce  175 E. Vineyard Ave., (925) 249-9800. L-D Sun-Thur, SunBr; $-$$.  Bocce:  $10/person/1½ hr.  Reservations advised. 
Delicious Italian fare mingles here with bocce ball--the game that “takes five minutes to learn, a lifetime to master.”  This hooting and hollering spot has four inside courts—along with a gigantic open room for dining--plus four outside courts with a sheltered open-air dining area.  Two outside volo courts are also available. 

The United States Bocce Championships are sometimes held here.  Most events are free admission.


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image ©2011 Carole Terwilliger Meyers
updated September 15, 2016

June 20, 2011

Los Gatos: Andalé Mexican Restaurant


Santa Cruz Mountains

Andalé Mexican Restaurant  at #21 N. Santa Cruz Ave. is aa good as ever.  #6, the original location, also serves breakfast and, with a long counter with stools and two window tables facing the sidewalk, is a great choice for solo diners. My all-time favorite is the vegetarian flauta (pictured), but the beer-battered fresh fish tacos and seasonal fresh-fruit agua fresca drinks are also noteworthy.


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image ©2011 Carole Terwilliger Meyers


June 17, 2011

Los Gatos: Sierra Toy Soldier Co.


Santa Cruz Mountains

Sierra Toy Soldier Co. 29 N. Santa Cruz Ave., (866) 869-7653, (408) 395-3000. Lined with shelves displaying detailed dioramas of battalions of soldiers from various wars, this is a destination shop for toy soldier collectors and offers everything from inexpensive toy items on up to the finest quality collector pieces from St. Petersburg, Russia.  This is the perfect place to bring Dad for Father's Day--or give him a gift certificate and bring him in later. 

The image above shows two combatants from the Australian Light Horse battle. They were made by a former royal Marine, a Scotsman who lives now in Hong Kong. He will be at the shop on September 17, 2011 for an open house.


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image ©2011 Carole Terwilliger Meyers 


June 13, 2011

Forestville: The Quicksilver Mine Co.


101 North

The Quicksilver Mine Co. 6671 Front St. (Hwy. 116), downtown, (707) 887-0799. Thur-M 11-6. It is surprising to find a bright and friendly art gallery in this tiny, tiny town, but here it is. Though this is its fourth location, the Quicksilver Mine Co. has been around for 29 years--long enough for owner Khysie Horn to make plenty of connections with area artists (she displays 80 percent Sonoma County artists). One is 3D Edddy, who lives in Santa Rosa and makes delightful, and inexpensive, junk sculpture heads. The shop also sells books by local authors. An inviting sculpture garden with picnic table is available in back.


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image ©2011 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

June 11, 2011

Forestville: Hartford Family Winery


101 North

Hartford Family Winery 8075 Martinelli Rd., (707) 887-8010. Tasting daily 10-4:30. Situated way back from the road, the tasting room here is reached via a scenic drive in over a one-lane bridge and past bucolic vineyards. The claim is they have “a pinot for everybody,” so you might taste an earthy 2007 Far Coast Vineyard Pinot Noir, or if you’re very lucky, a 2008 Arrendell Vineyard Pinot Noir that is served in the White House and quite the treat. Picnic facilities are available, and the $15 tasting fee is waived with a wine purchase.


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image ©2011 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

June 7, 2011

Forestville: The Farmhouse Inn


101 North

The Farmhouse Inn 7871 River Rd., (800) 464-6642, (707) 887-3300. 18 units. Some wood-burning & gas fireplaces; some saunas & steam rooms. Heated pool (avail. May-Sept); full-service spa. Evening snack; full breakfast; restaurant; limited room service. No pets. The Victorian farmhouse that forms the center of this property dates back to 1872. The inn buildings are on a tamed 6-acre lot, with nearby vineyards stretching for miles. The name evokes patchwork quilts, but it isn’t that kind of farmhouse. It’s an upscale, modern version. After registering, guests get the pleasure of selecting and dishing up some bath salts and a sugar rub, and of slicing off a bar of their favorite soap. This is also where they borrow a DVD and pick up the makings for s’mores (including housemade marshmallows) to feast on later at the fire pit surrounded by Adirondack chairs. Throughout, the inn is stylish and contemporary, with interesting farm antiques displayed here and there. The color palette is subdued whites, greys, and black, and each room is slightly different and has some unusual feature, such as a top-hung sliding barn door to the bathroom or a sliding headboard that allows seeing through to an adjacent fireplace. Two rooms are up a steep staircase in the farmhouse, where alterations are restricted because it is a historical building. Their bathrooms feature an unusual custom-made, two-level, grey soapstone tub that fills from a faucet in the ceiling (!), a two-person steam shower, and a heated floor. Built in the early 1900s as farm-worker housing, the spacious cottages are equipped today with white-tile bathrooms featuring decorative tile and a jetted tub; some have a full-size dry sauna. The all-new barn rooms sit on the site of the property’s original barn. Rooms in the majestic two-story building have high ceilings, and large windows look out onto large private decks. Mixing lavish and humble, these rooms feature bold architecture accented with homey hand-woven fabrics and simple, elegant furnishings. All 18 units have sumptuous bedding, and everyone gets bottled water and turn-down cookies and milk.

Farmhouse, the restaurant, offers two dining rooms and a sophisticated seasonal menu. Diners have a choice of a three- or four-course dinner with optional wine pairings in a pleasing variety of glasses. Options are many, and usually include the popular Rabbit Rabbit Rabbit—featuring rabbit prepared three ways—as well as exceptional fresh fish and beef dishes. A smooth Valrhona chocolate souffle is also a menu mainstay. Breakfast is served here, and on a sunny day the patio is choice. Optionally, an in-room continental breakfast is also possible.


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image ©2011 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

June 5, 2011

Boonville: Rookie-To Gallery--CLOSED


101 North

Rookie-To Gallery  CLOSED  14300 Hwy. 128, (707) 895-2204. M-Sat 10-5, Sun 11-5.  Tucked away in a repurposed 1930s bungalow, this art and fine crafts shop purveys the work of mostly local artists. It’s named after the Boontling word for “quail.”


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image courtesy of gallery