November 30, 2011

San Francisco: Jane


San Francisco

Jane  2123 Fillmore St., Upper Fillmore, (415) 931-5263. This small, narrow venue features tall ceilings and windows, a variety of seating options, and a scrumptious menu. Diners order at the counter near a mouth-watering display of baked goods. You can’t go wrong with the combo plate, most especially the veggie chopped salad combined with the tomato-basil-mozzarella-pesto panini. More tasty possibilities include a Nicoise salad, Asian chicken salad, and Duroc ham-Gruyere panini. Oh yeah, those pastries. I thoroughly enjoyed the chocolate chip toffee cookie, and plan to try the chocolate cherry cake next time.


More things to do in San Francisco

Way more things to do in San Francisco.

More ideas for exploring Northern California.

image ©2011 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

November 28, 2011

Petaluma: Metro Hotel


101 North

Metro Hotel 508 Petaluma Blvd. S., 6 blocks SE of downtown, (707) 773-4900. 14 rooms, 2 cottages, 1 Airstream trailer; 2 stories. Limited continental breakfast. No pets.
Located on a main thoroughfare four blocks south of downtown, this unusual lodging complex consists of rooms within an 1870s mansion as well as several cottages and an Airstream trailer. A mix of cheerful French blue and other perky colors welcomes guests. For the minimalist breakfast you make your own cup of drip coffee--which is kind of fun and it is the gourmet organic Peet’s brand--and then select from a couple of pastries that might include a pumpkin or blueberry tea cake. The French atmosphere is enhanced with music and decor, yet subtle. Rooms are decorated similarly with a Parisian flair: walls in varying soft color washes; a chalk-board for a headboard; light, natural hardwood floors; distressed antiques. Most rooms have the spaciousness and high ceilings that come with Victorian mansions. Bathrooms vary, and all but two rooms have a clawfoot tub with a shower. Vintage touches include tiny one-inch, six-sided white floor tiles and two-faucet sinks. A bocce court invites play, and many benches beckon in the small garden.


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image ©2011 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

November 25, 2011

San Francisco: Hyatt Regency San Francisco


San Francisco 

Hyatt Regency San Francisco is hosting snowfall throughout the holiday season in its dramatic atrium lobby--dubbed by the Guinness Book of World Records as the world's largest. Snow falls three times daily through December 31, 2011. In addition, you'll see thousands of dramatic cascading lights and a spectacular 30-foot tree.

Plus, Breakfast with Santa in the Eclipse CafĂ© occurs December 3, 4, 10, 11, 17, 18 from 8am–noon









and
ice skating at the Embarcadero Holiday Skating Rink occurs daily in December and January.



images ©2011 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

November 23, 2011

Berkeley: 900 Grayson


80 North

900 Grayson  900 Grayson St./7th St., (510) 704-9900. B-L M-Sat; $$. No reservations. Situated within an atmospheric vintage building, this cozy restaurant usually requires a wait. Once inside, it isn’t easy to choose from the tantalizing menu choices, but The Demon Lover does seem to be the runaway favorite. It consists of a spectacular crispy fried chicken breast atop an unremarkable waffle and is draped in old-time white chicken gravy; it is fork-licking good, but next time I order it, I’m doing it a la carte and getting the chicken with a side of gravy and slaw). Herb french fries, a burger, a pulled-pork sandwich, and coriander-crusted rare ahi tuna are also very good. Libations include unique mixed drinks and agua fresca.


More things to do in Berkeley.

Way more thing to do in Berkeley. 

More ideas for exploring Northern California.

image ©2011 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

November 21, 2011

November 18, 2011

Oakland: Oasis Food Market


880 South

Oasis Food Market 3045 Telegraph Ave., (510) 655-5111. Daily 9am-10pm; $. In addition to a deli and grocery, this Middle Eastern market has an informal dining area. It’s easy to fall in love with the smoky babaghanouge and crunchy red Turkish salad, especially when paired with 9-inch rounds of zatar-topped “pies,” but do save room for perhaps a kabob or shawarma or falafel. Five kinds of Feta and six varieties of olive are also available. Note that a paper menu at the counter makes ordering easier. Halal meat, hookahs, and Arabic kitchenware are also for sale.
 

More things to do in Oakland.

Way more things to do in Oakland.

More ideas for exploring Northern California.

November 16, 2011

Petaluma: Sonoma Valley Portworks


101 North

Sonoma Valley Portworks 613 Second St., Riverfront Warehouse District, (707) 769-5203. Daily 12-5. Tasting here includes six wines—perhaps the chocolaty Deco port, or the Duet hazelnut sherry--plus the rich, sweet Sonomic “almost” vinegar. On weekends, tastings are paired with cheeses and sweets, and amazingly it’s all free. Bottling takes place in the back.


More things to see and do in Petaluma.

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image ©2011 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

November 14, 2011

Petaluma: The Find


101 North

The Find  322 Western Ave., (707) 763-2276. This spacious shop features home furnishings on consignment as well as many chicken-related items—perhaps a series of chicken-head paintings or an antique chicken egg incubator.



More things to see and do in Petaluma.  

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image ©2011 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

November 11, 2011

Palo Alto: Hotel Keen


101 South

Hotel Keen 425 High St./University Ave., downtown, (650) 327-2775. 42 rooms; 3 stories. Afterrnoon wine tasting; evening cookies; grab-and-go breakfast. No pets. Located a quiet half-block from vibrant University Avenue and its plethora of shops and restaurants, this Very Now new hotel features a cool color scheme-- grey, black, and white with a few splashes of color. Spiffy touches include a shiny whiteboard wall behind each 32-inch flat screen TV (with HBO), where guests can write notes and express their inner artist. Though no parking is provided, free hours in an adjacent public lot accommodate most schedules. An alcove the sleek lobby holds an honor snack bar and a small breakfast room (breakfasts ordered the night before will be boxed and ready for pickup). Though not spacious, the deluxe room is efficient and comfortable for a couple; the standard room is 25% smaller and has no closet. The bathroom and closet door is a curtain. A nearby fitness center is available at additional charge.

 
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image ©2011 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

November 9, 2011

Plymouth: Amador Flower Farm


Highway 49--Gold Rush Country

Amador Flower Farm 22001 Shenandoah School Rd., (209) 245-6660. Daily 9-4. Free. No pets. Four acres of demonstration gardens display unusual perennials (including some deer-resistant varieties) and grasses plus almost a dozen types of peony (there are only two or three dozen in existence) that bloom in April and May and the 60 varieties of rose that begin blooming of May. The star attraction is the more than 1,000 different daylilies displayed. Peak of bloom is mid-June through July, when an annual Daylily Days celebration is held that includes fruit tasting and a free tram ride around the farm. Several pond-side picnic tables are provided under gigantic heritage oak trees.


More things to see and do in Plymouth.

More things to do in Gold Rush Country.

More gardens.

More ideas for exploring Northern California.

 

November 7, 2011

Oakland: Xyclo


880 South

Xyclo 4218 Piedmont Ave., Entrada Ave., (510) 654-2681. L-D daily; $$. Reservations advised. In simple but pleasant surroundings, this Vietnamese venue inspires diners to argue over which is the best dish. The list of possibilities includes stuffed eggplant (actually long slices of eggplant tossed with lengthwise slices of fried shrimp, green onion, and sake sauce), spicy green beans, chili ribs, devil wings, spicy steak salad, pho, double spring rolls, sugarcane shrimp roll, bird’s nest noodles, and lemongrass basil chicken dish. And on and on. It is difficult to order poorly.


More things to do in Oakland.

Way more things to do in Oakland.

More ideas for exploring Northern California.

image courtesy of venue

November 4, 2011

Ukiah: Schat’s Bakery Cafe


101 North

Schat’s Bakery Cafe 113 W. Perkins St., downtown, (707) 462-1670. B-L; $. Located across from the town’s court house, this popular Dutch-heritage bakery makes everything from scratch. Step up to the counter to order. For breakfast it’s omelettes, waffles, burritos, and plenty more; for lunch think soups, salads, stuffed baked potatoes, and sandwiches (including a build your own) made with delicious organic bread—do try the whole-grain sunflower seed or the cloud-soft sheepherder. Popular bakery items include Dutch crunch bread, fruit pastries, oversize macaroons, and hunky muffins. Goods are well priced to begin with, but leftovers become half-price after 5:30 p.m.


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November 2, 2011

Berkeley: Spenger’s Fresh Fish Grotto--CLOSED


80 North

The new Sunday brunch buffet at Spenger's--CLOSED--includes omelette/waffle and prime rib/ham carving stations, fresh fruit, seasonal fresh shell fish (usually the seafood trifecta of crab, prawns, oysters), smoked red salmon, talapia and catfish items, crispy romaine lettuce and delicious dressing, breakfast pastries, and more, plus coffee, tea, and soda ($29.95, age 10 and under $10.95). In fact there are so many delicious options that I barely made a dent in them, yet I ate little more for the rest of the day. A bottomless Mimosa or glass of sparkling wine is $8. Seating in the central “snugs room” is light and cheery, while the comfy booths lining the bar buffet are darker but also closer to the food.


November 1, 2011

San Francisco: Ripley's Believe It or Not! San Francisco Odditorium


San Francisco 

At last! You can visit Ripley’s Believe It or Not! for less moo-lah and do a good deed at the same time. Here’s the deal. With a donation of five non-perishable food items, you can purchse a ticket to Ripley's Believe It or Not! San Francisco Odditorium for just $5 (regular adult ticket price is $19.99). All food collected goes to the San Francisco Food Bank/Marin Food Bank partnership. Have fun while doing some good for others. Can’t beat that! Offer is good November 6 through 10.
(This offer is no longer available.)



More things to do in San Francisco

Way more things to do in San Francisco. 

More ideas for exploring Northern California. 
 
image ©2011 Carole Terwilliger Meyers