Friday, June 22, 2012

1 South: Carmel, Rio Grill

Rio Grill  101 Crossroads Blvd./Hwy.1, in Crossroads shopping center, (831) 625-5436.  L-D daily; $$.  Reservations taken.  This bright, airy restaurant is popular with locals who like to hang out in its inviting bar area.  It is a reliable workhorse for anything from a snack to a full meal, including American classics (barbecued ribs, a burger) as well as Southwestern/Mexican-style dishes (scrumptious tri-tip empanadas, a poblano pepper stuffed with a creative veggie mix).  The house-smoked chicken with luscious chili butter is a favorite, and you absolutely must experience the delicious signature roasted artichoke appetizer.  Indeed, the menu begs for repeat visits.  Creative, made-from-scratch margaritas include the basic as well as the special—a blood orange version with chili syrup. 

More things to do in Carmel. 

image c2012 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

1 South: Monterey, Cannery Row Antique Mall

Cannery Row Antique Mall  471 Wave St./McClellan Ave., (831) 655-0264.  M-F 10-5:30, Sat 10-6, Sun 10-5.  More than 140 dealers operate here in a huge warehouse that is the largest antiques mall on the central coast.

More things to do in Monterey.

image c2012 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Monday, June 18, 2012

1 South: Carmel, Mundaka--CLOSED

Mundaka  San Carlos St., betw. Ocean Ave. & 7th Ave., (831) 624-7400.  D M-Sat; $$$.  With a casual yet stylish atmosphere that includes lively background music and a DJ some nights, this is the place to come for tapas.  You can put together a satisfying meal for two with bravas (fried potatoes), gambas (shrimp with heads on, cooked in white wine and garlic), boquerones (white anchovies drenched in luscious olive oil), coliflor (cauliflower baked with horseradish and Gruyere), and datiles (bacon-wrapped dates stuffed with goat cheese and almonds).  End the feast with gingibre (fresh ginger cake) and a pot of Moroccan mint tea prepared each day with fresh mint and served in an ornate tea pot.  Plates for two are also available--paella, ribeye steak, and whole-roasted chicken with wild ramps. 

More things to do in Carmel.  

image c2012 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Friday, June 15, 2012

1 South: Carmel, Hofsas House

Hofsas House  San Carlos St./4th Ave., 3 blks. N of Ocean Blvd., 8 blks. to beach, (800) 221-2548, (831) 624-2745.  4 stories; 38 rooms.  Some wood-burning fireplaces & kitchens.  Heated pool; 2 dry saunas.  Continental breakfast.  Pets ok in some rooms.  free parking.  Built in 1947, this family-run lodging has a classic Old World Bavarian exterior of cross beams and brick enhanced by a welcoming painted mural.  The lobby breakfast includes pastries, yogurt, fruit, hot drinks, and orange juice, and a tray is provided for carrying items back to the room.  Rooms vary in size and amenities and are furnished in eclectic style--some with antique furniture that once belonged to the original owner.  The best rooms are on the third floor with private balconies, but most upper-floor rooms have a view over tall treetops to the Pacific Ocean.  A fun feature is that all rooms have Dutch doors, allowing guests to open the top door to catch a refreshing ocean breeze.  A beach S’mores Package is sometimes available.  
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image c2012 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

San Francisco: Inn at the Presidio

Inn at the Presidio  42 Moraga Ave., (415) 800-7356.  22 rooms.  Some gas fireplaces.  Children under 12 free.  Pets ok.  Evening wine & cheese reception; continental breakfast buffet.  Self-parking $6.   This unfussy inn is the first public lodging to open in the Presidio of San Francisco, a National Historic Landmark within the walls of one of the country’s oldest former military posts and within sight of the Golden Gate Bridge.  It is fitted inside historic Pershing Hall (previously the post’s bachelor officers’ quarters), allowing guests to experience a taste of the privilege once reserved for top brass.  The check-in desk is an actual desk, and guests can also sit in a chair during check-in.  Mellow ‘40s and ‘50s music softly sets the mood.  Though the property has no restaurant or bar, several dining options are available an easy walk away within the Presidio gates.  At the inn, the original mess hall and officer’s lounge serve in their original capacity at breakfast.  And though the inn has no on-site fitness facilities, plenty are available nearby within the gates, including a golf course, bowling alley, YMCA gym with nearby indoor pool and hot tub ($12 fee), urban spa, fitness/Pilates/yoga studio, indoor rock-climbing studio, and trampoline park.  An Ecology Trail begins behind the inn’s parking lot, and guests can additionally relax in an inviting army of rocking chairs on the front porch and balconies as well as in front of a gas fire-pit on an outdoor patio in the back.  Guest rooms are contemporary in style and spacious, though they do retain their original old-time wavy glass windows.  
More things to do in San Francisco.   

Way more things to do in San Francisco.

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image c2012 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Monday, June 11, 2012

80 North: Berkeley, Kip’s Bar

Kip’s Bar  Upstairs at 2439 Durant Ave./Telegraph Ave., (510) 848-4340;  L Tu-F, D daily, Sat-SunBr; $.  No reservations.  Long popular with Cal students interested in eating and drinking while  playing pool and dancing and watching sports TV, this campus classic has updated its decor and menu.  A large open room with exposed pipes running casually along the ceiling now holds dark wood tables that provide a more muted feel, but it still says American roadhouse.  The new menu includes items such as spinach salad with figs and blue cheese, chicken-and-waffle sliders, and a basket of fish & chips.  The house cheeseburger is made with fresh angus beef and served on a ciabatta roll with sautéed onions and secret sauce.  It is big, messy, and delicious.  A full bar serves up 22 beers on tap.  Well drinks are $3 during Happy Hour (M-F 4-7pm), and bottomless mimosas are $10 at Saturday and Sunday brunch.  

More things to do in Berkeley.

Way more thing to do in Berkeley. 

More travel articles to inspire you and help you plan some spectacular getaways.  
image c2012 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

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