Monday, February 28, 2011

880 South: Oakland, Dona Thomas

Doña Thomas 5004 Telegraph Ave./51st St., (510) 450-0522. D Tu-Sat; $$. Reservations advised. Free parking lot across street. This exceptional restaurant is a real pleaser. It is divided into three different dining rooms: the small, cozy main room has high ceilings and a low-key vibe; a heated patio is choice in good weather; and a colorful tiny bar area in an adjacent building (the narrow interior courtyard is where people wait) is painted red and decorated with vibrant Mexican art. Specialties include seasonal chile rellenos (sometimes stuffed with sweet potatoes and a variety of cheeses), carnitas, and carne asada—all served with housemade tortillas. A tall, cool beer or hand-shaken Margarita is the perfect accompaniment.

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Friday, February 25, 2011

1 North: Mendocino, Cafe Beaujolais

Cafe Beaujolais 961 Ukiah St., (707) 937-5614. L W-Sun, D daily; $$-$$$. Reservations advised. This long-time restaurant operates within an 1893 Victorian farmhouse, now updated with a clean-lined contemporary sleek style featuring sedate colors and dangling track lights. According to one local resident, “This is the best restaurant in town.” Lunch items are enticing and might include a Niman Ranch burger, crab cakes Benedict, or quiche. Dinner entrees might include roasted chicken with plenty of mashed potatoes and roasted garlic, a vegetarian spanakopita with sunchokes, or the house specialty pan-roasted California sturgeon fillet with housemade tagliatelle and wild forest mushrooms. For dessert, it’s hard to go wrong with coconut cream pie in a chocolate macaroon crust accompanied by herbal tea served in special plunger pots.

Exceptional breads, including a dense Austrian sunflower version, are baked out back in the Brickery’s wood-burning oven. Do return to pick up a loaf and perhaps a package of the delicious Early Bird Cashew Granola before leaving town.

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image c2011 Carole Terwilliger Meyers   

Monday, February 14, 2011

Wine Country: Napa, Cedar Gables Inn

Cedar Gables Inn 486 Coombs St./Oak St., 3 blks. from downtown, (800) 309-7969, (707) 224-7969. 4 stories; 9 rooms. Afternoon snack, full breakfast. Some fireplaces. No pets. Built in 1892 as a wedding gift for E. Wilder Churchill, son of the Churchill who owned the mansion next door (now also a B&B), this dark and cozy inn resembles a 16th-century English country manor. It is constructed all with dowels—no nails or screws! The English-style public rooms include a low-ceilinged downstairs parlour tavern with stuffed leather chairs and a large, flat-screen TV atop a massive fireplace—not to mention decorative cranberry-glass windows made with gold. The exceptional kitchen produces delicious goodies and is the center for periodic cooking classes.

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image c2011 Carole Terwilliger Meyers  

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Wine Country: Napa, Uptown Theatre

Uptown Theatre 1350 3rd St./Franklin St., (707) 259-0123. Shows at 8pm. Age 21+. This classic 1937 movie house has been gussied up and converted into a classy uptown venue featuring live performances by big names.

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image c2011 Carole Terwilliger Meyers 

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Monday, February 7, 2011

101 North: Geyserville, Diavola Pizzeria & Salumeria

Diavola Pizzeria & Salumeria 21021 Geyserville Ave., (707) 814-0111. $$. Delicious treats—including spectacular housemade breadsticks--await within this rustic, brick-walled vintage building. The space is deep and features two large spaces with a tin ceiling. Superb thin-crust pizza is tossed in an open kitchen in back beside a wood-fired oven (varieties include the basic tame Margherita as well as the spicy Inferno), and charcuterie is housemade (to sample, try the antipasta plate). Lunch selections include salads and panini, and pastas are always an option. Specials sometimes include surprises such as full-flavored Moroccan chicken meatballs with spinach, carrots, apricots, and barley. Several beers and Peterson Dego Red wine are on tap.

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image c2011 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Friday, February 4, 2011

San Francisco: San Francisco Eats: A History of San Francisco in its Food

San Francisco Eats: A History of San Francisco in its Food
on view through March 20, 2011
at San Francisco’s Main Library
This exhibition focusing on the restaurants, street vendors and recipes that have characterized San Francisco from the Gold Rush to the Slow Food movement. Through menus, historic photos, ephemera and cookbooks drawn from the San Francisco Public Library collections, along with loans from institutions and individuals, San Francisco Eats examines how immigration, geography and tourism have informed the city’s exuberant food culture.
An “all you can eat” array of food-themed films, workshops and panels has also been scheduled for the run of the exhibition .

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