Wednesday, December 28, 2011

80 North: Berkeley, Thai Delight Cuisine

Thai Delight Cuisine 1700 Shattuck Ave./Virginia St., Gourmet Ghetto, (510) 549-0611. L-D daily; $$. Reservations accepted. Featuring a pleasant atmosphere, this one-room Thai venue provides a wall lined with comfortable booths as well as a sea of tables and chairs. The extensive lunch menu is well priced, with noodle dishes and rice plates, plus an entire page of veggie options and an additional several pages of organic choices. Particularly tasty items include pad Thai, green curry, pumpkin curry, basil eggplant, and pra ram tofu (with peanut sauce on top of spinach and broccoli). If you want spicy, do request it.

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 c2011 Carole Terwilliger Meyers


Thai Delight Cuisine on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

80 North: El Cerrito, Banh Mi Ba Le

update 10-31-14
 

Banh Mi Ba Le 10174 San Pablo Ave./Central, (510) 528-8882. Daily 8-6; $3-$3.25/sandwich. Cash only.  This tiny strip-mall take-out spot has only one table inside plus two outside. The specialty is super delicious, cheap Vietnamese sandwiches that consist of a large crispy sandwich roll (made so crunchy by using a combination of wheat and rice flour), a choice of stuffing.  They are spiced with chili pepper and fluffed with cucumber slices, shredded carrots, and cilantro.  Of the ten choices, I favor the #7 (very red barbecued pork) and the #5 (meatballs that seem more like unstuffed sausage), but bacon and tofu veggie ham are also among the possibilities. I thought the sandwiches must be quite small since they are each around $3, and so I ordered two. Big mistake for one person, since these sandwiches measure almost 12 inches, but I just took the extra one home and ate it the next day. To order, just get in line and choose your filling. Several other enticing take-out items are available, and some unusual drinks are in the fridge. Try to refrain from eating in your car because you’ll wind up with a lot of crumbs.

More things to do in El Cerrito. 

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

image c2011 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Banh Mi Ba Le on Urbanspoon


Monday, December 19, 2011

80 North: Berkeley, ACCI Gallery

ACCI Gallery 1652 Shattuck Ave., (510) 843-2527. M-Sat 11-6, Sun 12-5. Featuring ceramics, jewelry, paintings and more, this is the place to find thet perfect gift.

More things to do in Berkeley.

Way more thing to do in Berkeley. 


More art galleries. 

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

image c2011 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Friday, December 16, 2011

San Francisco: Samovar

Samovar 730 Howard St./3rd St., Upper Terrace of Yerba Buena Gardens, (415) 227-9400. Daily 10-8; $$. No reservations. A menu of whole-leaf teas along with some sweet or savory treats are just the thing to enjoy here in the airy, high-ceilinged interior space or outside on the sprawling patio overlooking Yerba Buena Gardens. The Upper Terrace is home to Sister City Gardens, which features flowering plants from San Francisco’s thirteen sister cities. Try the housemade Masala chai paired with a cherry-oat scone or smoked wild salmon quiche, or maybe one of the cultural tea services—the Moorish spread comes with veggie kebabs, mint salad, endamame hummus and roasted eggplant spreads, chevre-stuffed dates, and mint tea.

More things to do in San Francisco

Way more things to do in San Francisco. 

More tea rooms.

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

image ©2011 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Samovar Tea Lounge on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

San Francisco: Contemporary Jewish Museum

update/page 28

Who knew that Bay Area “Jewish surf music” even existed? A delightful photo of "Hassids with surfboards" (it is also on the album cover of Meshugga Beach Party's latest album, “Let’s Go Shleppin!”) is part of the "California Dreaming" show here, running through October 16, 2012. Don't miss it . . . or the Houdini: Art and Magic show, which displays some amazing video footage and continues through January 16, 2012.


more about the Contemporary Jewish Museum, including the deli restaurant (scroll down).

More things to do in San Francisco

Way more things to do in San Francisco.

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

Thursday, December 8, 2011

80 North: Berkeley, Origen: a Farm to Fork Restaurant--CLOSED

Origen: a Farm to Fork Restaurant 2826 Telegraph Ave./Oregon St., (510) 848-9200. L Tu-F, D Tu-Sun; $$. The restaurant’s name is a Catalan word meaning “from the source.” The locally-sourced menu changes daily and features international flavors, Catalan influences, and a small plates presentation. Chef-owner Trace Leighton says, “We do large flavors on small plates.” My meal began with a stiff 50’s-style “freight & salvage” highball made with Redemption rye, Chartreuse, and Carpano. It took the edge off. My companion and I ordered everything to share: really good potatoes bravas with aioli, pan-fried baby Brussels sprouts with chestnuts and aged sherry vinegar, a silky wilted spinach salad with beets and pecans (it definitely wasn’t wilted, but was still very good). We enjoyed a highly-seasoned, spicy paella--one variety is available each day--with shrimp, pistachios, and squash; it had a creamy consistency like a risotto. Room remained for just a few slices of the tasty Basque chorizo pizza made in a wood-fired brick oven and so most of it went home with us (it measured 9 inches and featured a soft, fluffy, chewy crust). Many items can be prepared vegan by request. A five-course prix fixe menu with optional wine pairings changes daily. Desserts include homey bread pudding, a scrumptious butterscotch-pecan blondie, and assorted artisan cheeses. Polished wood paneling and accents by Berkeley Mills provide a warm decor, and some booths offer comfy seating. My favorite touch is the soft dish towels that are used as oversize napkins.

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 c2011 Carole Terwilliger Meyers


Origen on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Highway 49--Gold Rush Country: Christmas events, Nevada City & Grass Valley

updates/pp. 367, 370, &; 371



WHAT: Victorian Christmas
WHERE: Nevada City
WHEN: December 7, 11, 14, 18, and 21; Wednesdays 5-9 PM, Sundays 1:30-6 PM
DETAILS: This Gold Rush town’s historic district is closed to traffic and transformed into Christmas past, and enchanting melodies and costumed characters take visitors to another time and place. Enjoy tasting chestnuts roasted on an open fire, hearing strolling minstrels and brass bands, riding on a hay wagon, and more. Among the promises: Victorian singers, bagpipers, a living nativity scene, a walking Christmas tree, and, of course, Santa Claus.
MORE INFO: (800) 655-NJOY, (530) 265-2692
and
WHAT: Cornish Christmas
WHERE: Grass Valley
WHEN: On Fridays, beginning the Friday after Thanksgiving (November 25) until the Friday before Christmas (December 23), 6-9 PM.
DETAILS: Experience an old-time Christmas at this event celebrating the traditions of the Cornish miners who settled this neighboring Gold Rush town. Visitors can taste traditional food and drink, hear period music, and dance in the traffic-free downtown streets.
MORE INFO: (530) 272-8315

NEARBY LODGING: National Hotel (in Nevada City), (530) 265-4551. Located right in the center of all the action, on the town's main street, this claims to be the oldest continuously operating hotel west of the Rockies--maybe even west of the Mississippi. Built in 1856, it is a state historical landmark and features high ceilings, cozy floral wallpapers, and old-time furniture.

More things to do in Grass Valley.

More things to do in Nevada City.

More things to do in Gold Rush Country.
 
Travel articles to inspire and help you plan some spectacular getaways.  


Monday, December 5, 2011

101 North: Petaluma, Della Fattoria

Della Fattoria 141 Petaluma Blvd. N, (707) 763-0161. Tu-Thur & Sat 7-3, F 7am-9pm, Sun 9-3; $$. Part artisan bread bakery and part cafe, this is a cozy, pleasing venue for a tasty breakfast or lunch. Breakfast items include a housemade bagel with homemade cream cheese and smoked salmon (though it is near perfect, a few garnishes—perhaps some onions and pickles—would be nice) and a crusty housemade rosemary-Meyer lemon bread toasted and topped with pureed flageolet beans, Laura Chenel chevre, roasted garlic, and olive oil. Do remember to order up a loaf of bread and a bag of granola (heavy on nuts mixed with oats) to take home.

More things to see and do in Petaluma.  

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

image c2011 Carole Terwilliger Meyers



Della Fattoria on Urbanspoon

Friday, December 2, 2011

Greater East Bay: Orinda, Szechwan Restaurant

Szechwan Restaurant 79 Orinda Way, (925) 254-2020. L Tu-Sat, D Tu-Sun; $$. Simple, clean, and with a nice park view, this welcoming spot also has quite a few comfy booths. No MSG is used in the dishes, which include tasty hot-and-sour soup, sweet-and-sour pork (cut in small pieces and not overly sweet), and Szechwan beef (deep-fried meat punctuated with bright green peas). The bargain lunch special includes tea, soup, salad, appetizer, rice, entrée, orange slices, and a fortune cookie.

Szechwan Chinese Restaurant on Urbanspoon

More things to do in Orinda.

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

image c2011 Carole Terwilliger Meyers