Friday, November 30, 2012

101 South: Burlingame, Burlingame Museum of Pez Memorabilia

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Burlingame Museum of Pez Memorabilia  Operating in what was once a computer store, this small museum displays all of the more than 600 styles of plastic Pez candy dispensers that have been produced from the 1950s to the present.  Owner Gary Doss says, “I haven’t sold a computer in 16 years.  Pez is a lot more fun and requires less customer support.”  The rarest item is a 1972 Make-a-Face.  Snoopy, Bugs Bunny, and Fred Flintstone are all on display, along with Tweety Bird, who starred in a Seinfeld episode that was declared by TV Guide to be the 42nd most funny episode on TV.  A collection of classic toys that are also 50-plus years old--including Lincoln Logs and Mr. Potato Head—and an example of the original Barbie and the world’s first comic book are also displayed.  A large selection of contemporary and collectible Pez dispensers (even Santa!) and candy refills are for sale in the well-stocked gift shop, where you can also have your picture taken with the world’s largest Pez dispenser.  The Pez mint was invented in Linz, Austria—where they are still made--in 1927.  It was introduced to the U.S. in fruit flavors and offered in a head dispenser in 1952 (the first dispensers were head-less).

More things to do in Burlingame.

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

image ©2012 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

San Francisco: Great Dickens Christmas Fair

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Actually in Daly City in a building adjacent to the Cow Palace, the spectacular seasonal Great Dickens Christmas Fair is a don't-miss.  I attended last weekend and fell in love again with stepping from the real world into the fantasy world of Dickens' London.  And I had the surprise pleasure of enjoying afternoon tea in the Dickens Family Parlour and meeting the great man himself.  Entertainment here is on-going, so you can walk for a spell and sit for a spell and eat for a spell.  Highlights include a traditional tea in the Cuthbert's Tea Shoppe (make reservations for the popular 4 p.m. tea with complimentary entertainment), opera in the Victoria & Albert Music Hall, and cancan dancing at Mad Sal's.  All this is punctuated by periodic parades featuring The Queen and her procession, and colorful characters mingling in the "streets."  Oh yes, and there are shops galore--I loved the Fitz-Gerald Manor Shop's gigantic collection of English tea cups and saucers--and crafts and games for kids and the young at heart, including the London Sweep Dispatch and Boot the Cat.  Runs weekends through December 23; 10am-7pm.  

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Monday, November 26, 2012

101 North: San Rafael, Terrapin Crossroads

Terrapin Crossroads  100 Yacht Club Dr./Francisco Blvd., central San Rafael exit off Hwy. 101, (415) 524-2773.  D Tu-Sun, Sat-SunBr; $$.  Located in an unlikely spot behind a frontage of car dealerships, this new restaurant and music venue is owned by Grateful Dead musician Phil Lesh.  It is expansive, with both indoor and outdoor canal-side seating.  An adjacent auditorium where Lesh performs regularly with musician friends is in the process of being refurbished.  Restaurant decor features light hardwood floors, some portholes, and rough weathered barn-wood walls adorned with photos of Lesh and others.  Seating areas are varied—one is especially for families--and include many comfortable oversize booths.  Organic and local is the aim of the eclectic seasonal menu featuring wood-fired pizzas with exceptional thin crust, housemade pastas, a burger on a potato pepper bun with housemade pickles (a veggie version, too), Alaskan cod fish & chips, and a chopped chicken salad.  My choices were a creamy-smooth cauliflower soup and spectacular, tender balsamic-glazed pork ribs with a perfectly prepared mustard-spiced potato salad.  My dining partner chose a satisfying mushroom risotto.  We shared and demolished the best chocolate cake I’ve had in ages—sort of a devils food-style double chocolate cake with a creamy chocolate frosting.  I can see why people become loyal repeat customers—the menu holds more mouth-watering items than can be sampled in one visit.  More reasons to return include for brunch on the patio that stretches into the San Rafael Canal, for the complimentary live music at Wednesday dinner and Sunday brunch, and for the scheduled concerts in the auditorium.  The taproom bar dispenses draught beers, wines by the glass, cocktails, and more.  Should you want a souvenir, a counter at the entrance sells posters and t-shirts, 

More things to do in San Rafael.

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

image ©2012 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

1 South: Monterey, Royal Presidio Chapel

Royal Presidio Chapel  500 Church St./Figueroa St., (831) 373-2628.  Known today as San Carlos Cathedral, this structure stands on the site of the original Monterey Presidio and next to the site of the original mission, Mission San Carlos, founded in 1770 by Father Junipero Serra (he then moved on to Carmel to reestablish the mission there in 1771).  Completed in 1794, it is the fourth Royal Presidio Chapel and is now the only original presidio building still standing (and thus the oldest building in Monterey).  It is California’s first cathedral, the country’s smallest cathedral, and the state’s oldest church in continuous use.  Constructed with an elaborate sandstone fa├žade, adobe walls, and a stone base, it was recently restored (windows in the interior walls permit viewing sections of unplastered adobe).  An adjacent history center displays found artifacts. 

All-adobe tour of Monterey.

More things to do in Monterey.

image c2012 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Monday, November 19, 2012

101 South: Burlingame, Hyatt Regency San Francisco Airport + Knuckles Historical Sports Bar + Swiftwater Cafe

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Hyatt Regency San Francisco Airport  1333 Bayshore Hwy., (800) 233-1234, (650) 347-1234.  10 stories; 789815 rooms; $$.  Heated pool; hot tub; fitness room.  3 restaurants; room service.  Pets ok. The fabulous 10-story atrium here features greenery, revitalizing natural light, and a cascading waterfalls.  Prime guest rooms face the airport and bay, but rooms opening on the immense indoor atrium are also enjoyable.  Beds are made with Italian-made Egyptian cotton linens, and each room has an iHome clock radio and a desk with an Aeron office chair.  Complimentary amenities include a 24-hour airport shuttle and a shuttle to nearby downtown Burlingame for one-of-a-kind shops and specialty restaurants. 
     A Park, Stay N’ Fly Package  is sometimes available.  It Includes a spacious guestroom, complimentary shuttle to/from the San Francisco International Airport, and free parking for up to ten days in a covered lot (additional parking days are $10 per, with a maximum of twenty days).
     Knuckles Historical Sports Bar (L-D daily.) features 30 big flat-screen TVs, free Wi-Fi, and several pool tables.  Non-gustatory delights in this atmospheric pub include pressed-tin ceilings and old-time tiny 1-inch white floor tiles.  But I was most impressed by the 30 ice-cold beers on tap—my favorite being the Spaten from Germany (my companion favored the Pilsner Urquell from Czechoslovakia).  Fish & chips and fall-off-the-bone-tender barbecued ribs made tasty accompaniments.  Salads, sandwiches, and hand-tossed pizza round out the menu.  There are plenty of stools at the friendly bar, as well as high banquettes with small round tables and also regular table seating.

 Knuckles Historical Sports Bar on Urbanspoon

     Swiftwater Cafe  (B-L daily, Sun brunch, D sometimes.) in open to the dramatic  atrium and serves a daily breakfast buffet in addition to an a la carte breakfast and lunch menu.  The Sunday Champagne Jazz Brunch offers an expansive array that includes fresh seafood, sushi, dim sum, made-to-order omelets and pancakes, meat carving stations, salads, breakfast classics, and a colorful and decadent dessert table.

Swiftwater Cafe on Urbanspoon

More things to do in Burlingame.

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

images ©2012 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

1 South: Monterey, Olio Vintage Fun & Osio Adobe

Olio Vintage Fun  380 Alvarado St., (831) 375-6546.  W-Sat 10:30-5:30, Sun 11-4.  Operating inside the historic 1849 Osio Adobe, this boutique purveys 1950s items--think rotary phones and vintage sewing patterns.  The appealing adobe is one of the few still standing on this street and is a good example of a two-story adobe with a cantilevered balcony. 

All-adobe tour of Monterey.

More things to do in Monterey.

image c2012 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Monday, November 12, 2012

Greater East Bay: Lafayette, Amarin Thai Cuisine

Amarin Thai Cuisine  3555 Mt. Diablo Blvd./Oak Hill Rd., (925) 283-8883.  L M-Sat (11-3), D daily; $$.  Reservations advised.  Traditional dishes are served here in a pleasant, casual atmosphere.  Among the best items are panang beef and pumpkin curry.  Massaman chicken features long-simmered chicken that is fall-off-the-bone tender in a lightly spiced sauce made better with some sweet-hot sauce.  A crisp green salad comes with lunch.

 Amarin Thai Cuisine on Urbanspoon

More things to do in Lafayette.

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image c2012 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Friday, November 9, 2012

1 South: Monterey, Casa Serrano

Casa Serrano  412 Pacific St., 831-372-2608.  Tours on Sat 2-4.  Built in 1845 by Thomas O. Larkin, this graceful adobe has been completely restored and is furnished with antique furniture and local historic art.  It was one of the first U.S. schools in the area.

All-adobe tour of Monterey.

More things to do in Monterey.

image c2012 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

5 South: Kettleman City, In-N-Out Burger

In-N-Out Burger  Exit 309, 33464 Bernard Dr./Hwy.41, (800) 786-1000.  Only burgers, fries, shakes, and soft drinks are on this super-popular, always buzzing spot’s focused menu.  Patties are made from fresh beef that has never been frozen.  Buns are preservative-free, and fries are made fresh each day from Kennebec potatoes and fried in cholesterol-free oil.  Onions are also fresh, and grilling them is a free option.  But unfortunately, the veggie burger is basically a grilled cheese. 


In-N-Out Burger on Urbanspoon
More stops on Highway 5.

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

image c2012 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Monday, November 5, 2012

1 South: Monterey, Vasquez Adobe

Vasquez Adobe  On Dutra St./Jefferson St., behind Colton Hall.  The family home of the colorful bandit Tiburcio Vasquez, this 1835 adobe has changed dramatically since it was built as a single-story structure.  Charming and flamboyant Tiburcio was into cattle wrestling, horse stealing, and stage coach robbery.  He was captured in 1874 where the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles is today, then tried and hung in San Jose.  Today the building houses city offices and is not generally open to the public.

All-adobe tour of Monterey.

More things to do in Monterey.

image c2012 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Friday, November 2, 2012

1 South: Monterey, Lara-Soto Adobe

Monterey is home to the most adobes west of Santa Fe.  The largest adobe concentration is in the historic downtown area and near Fisherman’s Wharf.  Monterey State Historic Park protects a large collection.  A few others are owned by private organizations and individuals, and some have been adapted to business use. 
    Luckily for us, today we can shop, dine, sight-see, sleep, and more in historic adobes.  For a while, I will be posting descriptions some of the many adobes I discovered on a recent research trip.  Let's start with:


Lara-Soto Adobe  460 Pierce St..  Built in the 1830s, this property was one of the few lots granted directly to a woman.  It was once owned by John Steinbeck, who began writing “The Pearl” here.  Legend has it that the magnificent Monterey cypress in the front yard was planted as a seedling over the grave of an occupants' infant first child.  The building is currently the admissions office for the Monterey Institute of International Studies.

All-adobe tour of Monterey.

More things to do in Monterey.

image c2012 Carole Terwilliger Meyers