Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Highway 49--Gold Rush Country: Sierra City, Oktoberfest Festival


Oktoberfest Festival  Held in this scenic mountain town, this festive event is scheduled this year for October 10.  The Downieville Lions Club makes sure that there are plenty of delicious brats and homemade sauerkraut, plus beers fresh from Munich and fresh apple cider prepared on the spot.  Live music entertains a happy audience seated on hay bales under tall shade trees, and vendor booths line the main street—providing just enough to do.

street vendors at Oktoberfest Festival in Sierra City, California

hangin' on hay bales at Oktoberfest Festival in Sierra City, California

beer hall bar at Oktoberfest Festival in Sierra City, California

attendee in lederhosen at Oktoberfest Festival in Sierra City, California

More things to do in Sierra City. 

More things to do in Gold Rush Country.

The original Oktoberfest.   

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5 Carole Terwilliger Meyers
 

Monday, September 28, 2015

San Francisco: Papito Hayes


Papito Hayes  425 A Hayes St./Gough St., (415) 554-0541.  L M-F, D daily, Sat-SunBr.  No reservations.  Organic Mexican food is the specialty at this small establishment.  You can see the activity in the small kitchen from everywhere inside, and you’ll find delicious options on the menu--including tacos (on the small side; served open-face), burritos (on the big side; grilled to finish), quesadillas, enchiladas (a mole poblano version is available), and torta sandwiches, plus soups, salads, and larger entrees.  Vegetarian tacos can easily be made vegan.  A good start is the chips with a housemade salsa trio.  From the drink menu, I selected a refreshing watermelon agua fresca, but next time I want to try a blood-orange margarita.  At brunch, chilaquiles and huevos rancheros are available.  Seating includes two traditional booths in the back, a banquette along one wall, a bar with stools in the front, and three sidewalk-side tables outside.  

Papito Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

interior of Papito Hayes in San Francisco

drink menu at Papito Hayes in San Francisco

tacos at Papito Hayes in San Francisco

burrito at Papito Hayes in San Francisco

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.  

images ©2015 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

101 North: Healdsburg, Costeaux French Bakery & Cafe

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Costeaux French Bakery & Cafe  417 Healdsburg Ave., (888) 355-0217, (707) 433-1913.  B-L Tu-Sun; $.  No reservations.  Family-owned and -operated since 1923, this bakery is choice for picking up picnic supplies or a pre-ordered ribbon-tied box lunch.  Sit-down service includes sandwiches on housemade breads, delicious French onion soup, and selections from the awe-inspiring pastry case:  cheesecake, cookies, fresh fruit tart, French pastries.  The bakery is famous for its round sourdough pull-a-part bread--its country French bread is also very good--and once baked the world’s largest pumpkin pie in its oven.  Breakfast is served all day and includes fresh-squeezed OJ and thick French toast made with the housemade cinnamon-walnut bread.  Seating is either in the airy, high-ceilinged interior or outside on a pleasant sidewalk-side enclosed patio. 
 Costeaux Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


interior of Costeaux French Bakery & Cafe in Healdsburg, California


cakes at Costeaux French Bakery & Cafe in Healdsburg, California

More things to do in Healdsburg.

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images © 2014 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Monday, September 21, 2015

San Francisco: American Bookbinders Museum


American Bookbinders Museum  355 Clementina St./5th St., SOMA, (415) 824-9754.  M-F 10am-4 pm; tours at 10am & 2 pm.  Located on a narrow street that you would unlikely ever see without intent, this new museum has an interesting collection of fully-functioning 18th- and 19th-century bookbinding equipment.  You can smell the ink in the air, and the fascinating tour provides the opportunity to learn how each antique piece was used and to see it actually operate.  Another display show elegant samples of contemporary books, including one bound with a slate stone cover and silver staples.  







“Toad Poems” by Kenneth Grahame & Don Magius displayed at American Bookbinders Museum in San Francisco
“Toad Poems,” by Kenneth Grahame & Don Magius, illustrated by Alice Smith, binder Coleen Curry

More things to do in San Francisco

Way more things to do in San Francisco. 

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images ©2015 Carole Terwilliger Meyers 


Friday, September 18, 2015

101 North: Eureka, Carson Mansion

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Carson Mansion  143 M St./2nd St.  Built between 1884 and 1886, this is said to be the most photographed Victorian house in the world and is the "queen" of Victorian architecture.  It is a mixture of several Victorian building styles--including Queen Anne, Italianate, and Stick-Eastlake—and took 100 men more than 2 years to build.  Pioneer lumber baron William Carson, a failed gold miner, privately financed it in order to avoid laying off his best men during a depression.  It now houses a private club and can be viewed only from the exterior.

Carson Mansion in Eureka, California

More things to do in Eureka.

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

image ©2015 Carole Terwilliger Meyers
 

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

San Francisco: Reverb Kitchen & Bar and Russian Hill Bookstore


Reverb Kitchen & Bar  2323 Polk St./Union St., Russian Hill, (415) 441-2323.  D daily, Sat-SunBr; $$.  Related to Gather in Berkeley and an offshoot of Verbena, which operated in this space previously,  Reverb aims to serve innovative comfort food.  The ceiling is high and features a large skylight, one wall is brick, and plenty of rustic reclaimed wood is incorporated into the decor.  
interior of Reverb Kitchen & Bar in San Francisco

The inviting bar area is separated by a divider, and sidewalk-side seating is popular and available in good weather.
interior of Reverb Kitchen & Bar in San Francisco

exterior of Reverb Kitchen & Bar in San Francisco

The young chef, Ryan Shelton, was previously at Michelin 2-star Baumé in Palo Alto, which probably helps explain why the dishes are so delicious and presented so beautifully.  The menu is balanced between meat and vegetable items, so you’ll find pole bean-chickpea flour fritters with chutneys; asparagus soup with lemon-coconut ice cream and grilled asparagus; New York strip steak with wilted baby roots and red wine sauce; and crispy pork ribs with baby greens and galangal-tamari.  A popular house specialty, fried chicken with an amaranth and cornmeal waffle includes butterscotch-apple maple syrup and charred greens.  It is served at dinner using breast meat and at brunch using a full leg cut in three pieces.  I had the divine brunch version—the chicken skin, waffle, and well-seasoned kale accompanying them were all crispy-crisp perfection, and the chicken meat, which is marinated and then poached for three hours, was succulent.
waffle and chicken at Reverb Kitchen & Bar in San Francisco

A house-pickled zucchini pickle used as a garnish was a special treat (the pickle can vary from watermelon rind to a radish to a green tomato).
house-pickled peppers at Reverb Kitchen & Bar in San Francisco
house-pickled peppers
My dining partner ordered a smoked-salmon Benedict on a potato latke, which was both gorgeous and delicious.
smoked-salmon Benedict at Reverb Kitchen & Bar in San Francisco

We each paired our dishes with a bright-orange Mimosa, which wound up also brightening the day.
mimosas at Reverb Kitchen & Bar in San Francisco

If you had a rough night before and fit the description, you might want to opt for a Corpse Reviver made with gin, lilet blanc, cointreau, and absinthe.  More entrees I’d like to try Include the peach cobbler French toast and the fried-egg sandwich with goat cheese and healthy-for-you maitake mushrooms.  We concluded our feast with sweet little ricotta donuts sprinkled with cinnamon sugar and served attractively on a wood slab.
ricotta donuts at Reverb Kitchen & Bar in San Francisco

Sunday brunch is served all day.  Vegan, vegetarian, and glutin-free items are noted on the menu.
Reverb Kitchen & Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

This neighborhood is filled with small shops.  I particularly enjoy the Russian Hill Bookstore at #2234.   It spreads through a warren of small rooms, and in addition to books galore also stocks great gifts—I especially like the huge collection of silk-screened kitchen towels--and greeting cards and has a well-stocked children’s room. 
exterior of Russian Hill Bookstore in San Francisco


interior of Russian Hill Bookstore in San Francisco

More things to do in San Francisco

Way more things to do in San Francisco. 

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images ©2015 Carole Terwilliger Meyers 


Monday, September 14, 2015

880 South: Berkeley, CREAM


CREAM  2399 Telegraph Ave./Durant Ave., (510) 649-1000; www.creamnation.com.  M-F noon-midnight, Sat 11am-midnight, Sun 11am-11pm.  The story is that the name comes from the Wu-Tang song “C.R.E.A.M. (Cash Rules Everything Around Me),” and that the owner’s teen suggested changing “cash”’ to “cookies.”  But maybe they should have left it “cash” because they’re making plenty of that with all the franchises in the Bay Area as well as in Southern California and Nevada.  So step up to the counter and select your cookies (you can pick two of the same or two different ones from a selection of 10).  Then pick your ice cream flavor from a selection of 25.  Toppings are optional and cost additional.  Or skip the cookies and put the ice cream in a red velvet waffle cone.  I hear that someone—probably a Cal mathematician--figured out that you can choose from more than 2,500 different combinations!  What will you decide on?  The owner says his favorite is chocolate-chip cookies with cookie-dough ice cream.  Others favor snickerdoodle and lemon cookies with eggnog ice cream; snickerdoodle and oatmeal-raisin cookies with banana-fudge-walnut ice cream; chocolate chip cookies with green tea ice cream.  My fave is white chocolate-macadamia nut and snickerdoodle cookies with vanilla ice cream.  Gluten-free and vegan cookies plus soy ice cream are available, and milkshakes and sundaes are also an option.  Need a jolt?  Fill your cookies with Cup of Joe ice cream.  Indecisive?  Study the menu ahead of time at the website.

CREAM Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

interior of CREAM on Telegraph Avenue in Berkeley, California

prep counter at CREAM on Telegraph Avenue in Berkeley, California


ice cream sandwich at CREAM on Telegraph Avenue in Berkeley, California

ice cream sandwich at CREAM on Telegraph Avenue in Berkeley, California

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.  
 
images ©2015 Carole Terwilliger Meyers 

Friday, September 11, 2015

101 North: Eureka, Carter House Inns

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Carter House Inns  (800) 404-1390, (707) 444-8062.  $$-$$$+.  Afternoon & evening snack; full breakfast; restaurant; room service.  Pets ok in some rooms. 
Hotel Carter  301 L St.  24 rooms.  Some gas fireplaces.  The center of this little empire, this hotel was built in 1984 to replicate a long gone Victorian inn originally located in the area.  It provides casual, tasteful lodging amenable to families.  Some suites have showers for two and in-room whirlpool tubs large enough for a family of four.  When staying in one of these posh rooms recently, I’d set my alarm so I’d have enough time to enjoy a leisurely soak before my 8:30 a.m. breakfast time.  It was at 7:30 a.m. that I glimpsed a card requesting that guests please not use the tub between 10 p.m. and 8 a.m.  What’s a girl to do?  I ran the whirlpool tub at 7:15 a.m.--it was just too good to pass up, being one of the deepest tubs I’ve come across--and I regretted nothing once the perfectly operating jets started soothing my overused tootsies.  I plead “rules are made to be broken.”  Oh, and did I mention the abundance of fluffy white towels everywhere?
Hotel Carter in Eureka, California

guest room bed at Hotel Carter in Eureka, California

whirlpool tub at Hotel Carter in Eureka, California

    Restaurant 301 offers an elegant dinner menu showcasing the region’s finest seasonal delicacies, including Kumamoto oysters and Pacific salmon.  Designed to please both the eye and the palate, entrees are arranged artistically on oversize plates and garnished with such delights as fresh flowers and herb sprigs.  Past menu selections have included flavorful squash cakes, chicken cacciatora with creamy polenta, and grilled pork loin with both housemade chutney and applesauce.  A well-priced five-course, fixed price dinner is available with optional selected wine pairings.  Bar drinks are available as well as several thousand wines, including vintages from Envy Wines, the proprietor’s winery in Calistoga.  Breakfast for the inns is provided here and includes a pastry buffet and a hot egg dish served to the table.
Restaurant 301 Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

breakfast plate from buffet at Hotel Carter in Eureka, California

breakfast hote entree at Hotel Carter in Eureka, California

    Interested guests may visit the herb and vegetable garden that supplies the restaurant.  It is the most extensive inn kitchen garden on the West Coast.
    In the late afternoon complimentary wine and hors d'oeuvres are served in the lobby, and in the evening freshly baked cookies and tea appear.  Just remember that if you want a chocolate and turndown, you need to request it.  
afternoon hors d'oeuvres at Hotel Carter in Eureka, California

    The owner’s substantial collection of original local art is displayed here and throughout the lodgings, and an impressive wine shop operates off the lobby.    
Carter House  1033 3rd St./L St.  4 stories; 6 rooms.  Unsuitable for toddlers.  1 fireplace.  When constructed by then and current owner Mark Carter in 1982, this Victorian-style building was the original Carter House.  Its redwood exterior was ominously weather-darkened, and it looked like it had been here forever, but now it is painted an inviting cheery yellow.  It is surprising to learn it is a replica of the 1884 Eastlake Victorian design of two San Francisco architects, one of whom also designed Eureka’s famous Carson Mansion.  (The original house stood on the corner of Bush and Jones streets in San Francisco and was destroyed in the fire following the 1906 earthquake.)  Rooms are all oversize and elegantly furnished.
Carter House before, at Hotel Carter in Eureka, California
Carter House before

Carter House now, at Hotel Carter in Eureka, California
Carter House now

Bell Cottage  1023 3rd St.  3 rooms.  Shared kitchen; some wood-burning & gas fireplaces.
Carter Cottage 1027 3rd St.  1 room.  Kitchen; 2 gas fireplaces.  Located adjacent to the Carter House, these sweet Victorian cottages offer a little more privacy and independence.  Each suite in the 1890 Bell Cottage has a marble fireplace plus a private bath and whirlpool tub.  Carter Cottage features a deep marble whirlpool tub, fireplaces in both the sleeping and living areas, and a secluded back deck with a fountain plus a marina view.

More things to do in Eureka.

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

images ©2015 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

880 South: Berkeley, Westbrae Biergarten


Westbrae Biergarten  1280 Gilman St./Santa Fe Ave.  L-D daily; $.  Dogs ok.  If you adore German beer gardens, you’re going to enjoy this American version.  Spread out over the grounds of a former nursery, it is entirely outdoors, with gravel on the ground and a children’s play area/sand box in the back.  BART runs by almost overhead.  Place your order, pick up your beer, and select from an array of long communal picnic tables.  Seating in Adirondack chairs around a fire pit is also an option.  Diners tend to fill up the table ends first, but there is usually room in the middle to squeeze in between.  Food is prepared in a truck kitchen.  The item to order here is the super-flavorful Brazilian tri-tip sandwich, which I like to share with my dining mate along with a veggie salad.  The menu is simple:  pick your meat—tri tip steak, linguica sausage, chicken chipotle, pork carnitas, or veggie—then select the style—as sandwich, salad, or rice plate.  Seasoned fries and bacon-wrapped chicken bites are also available and served with a pesto aioli and spicy red-pepper sauce.  Another option is a barbecue truck.  An array of beers are on tap, my constant fave being the Berkeley-brewed Trumer Pils, and draught wine and bottled or canned cider is available.  Service consists of food delivery to the table and removal of used items, and it is both efficient and done with a smile.  Should you get chilled, you can buy a logo hoodie for $35.  Before or after, browse the adjacent nursery.

Westbrae Biergarten Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

entrance to Westbrae Biergarten in Berkeley, California

order counter at Westbrae Biergarten in Berkeley, California

barbecue counter at Westbrae Biergarten in Berkeley, California

famous tri-tip sandwich at Westbrae Biergarten in Berkeley, California

veggie salad at Westbrae Biergarten in Berkeley, California

communal tables at Westbrae Biergarten in Berkeley, California

kids' sandbox at Westbrae Biergarten in Berkeley, California

More things to do in Berkeley.

Way more thing to do in Berkeley.  

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

images ©2015 Carole Terwilliger Meyers 
 

Friday, September 4, 2015

San Francisco Bay Area: best Labor Day weekend events


What are your plans for this Labor Day weekend?  Need some ideas?  I'll be chatting with John Hamilton on Sunday, September 6, on KGO radio.  Tune in at 9:50 to "On the Go," when we will discuss some of the best San Francisco Bay Area Labor Day weekend events.

horse-pulled train car at Ardenwood Historic Farm in Fremont
horse-pulled train car at Ardenwood Historic Farm in Fremont

annual Kings Mountain Art Fair  In Woodside, California
annual Kings Mountain Art Fair  In Woodside

More annual events in Northern California.

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

images courtesy of venues

 

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

101 North: Eureka, Samoa Island, Samoa Cookhouse and Humboldt Bay Maritime Museum

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Samoa Island
Samoa Island is a scenic 5-minute. drive from town across the Samoa Bridge,  Before the bridge was built in 1972, people traveled here by ferry. 
Samoa Cookhouse  908 Vance Ave., off Cookhouse Rd. (call for directions), (707) 442-1659.  B-L-D daily; adults B $12.95, L $13.95, D $16.95; kids 8-11 $6.95, 5-7 $4.95, under 5 free, 60+ 10% discount.  No reservations.  Originally built in the 1890s by the Georgia-Pacific Corporation to feed its loggers, this is the last surviving cookhouse in the West.  There is no menu.  Just sit down at one of the long, boarding house-style tables and a hearty, delicious, family-style meal starts arriving.  Though the menu changes daily, a typical breakfast consists of biscuits and gravy, fluffy scrambled eggs, pancakes, sausage, and coffee or tea.  Lunch might be a marinated three-bean salad, long-simmered and flavorful Florentine tomato soup, fresh-baked bread with butter and assorted jams, green salad with ranch dressing and croutons, rice pilaf, lemon-pepper chicken, saucy beans, peas, chocolate cake with chocolate pudding frosting and whipped cream topping, and coffee or tea.  My most recently lunch here included fluffy housemade white bread with butter, chicken and rice soup, crispy salad with croutons, marinated 3-bean salad, roasted potatoes, pot roast with carrots, baked beans, peach cake, and iced tea.  It is a fantastic value!  Most dishes are prepared from scratch with fresh ingredients.  The only items not included in the fixed price are milk and sodas.

exterior of Samoa Cookhouse in Eureka, California

front door of Samoa Cookhouse in Eureka, California

menu board at Samoa Cookhouse in Eureka, California

dining room at Samoa Cookhouse in Eureka, California

dining room at Samoa Cookhouse in Eureka, California

lunch bread basket at Samoa Cookhouse in Eureka, California

lunch salad at Samoa Cookhouse in Eureka, California

lunch at Samoa Cookhouse in Eureka, California

peach cake at Samoa Cookhouse in Eureka, California


Click to add a blog post for Samoa Cookhouse on Zomato 

After dining, wander through the free Historic Logging Museum of artifacts and historical photos located in the back. 

Historic Logging Museum at Samoa Cookhouse in Eureka, California

●Work up an appetite before, or work off some calories after, with a walk along one of the area's driftwood-strewn beaches.  To find them, follow any of the turnoffs from Samoa Boulevard. 

Humboldt Bay Maritime Museum  77 Cookhouse Rd., (707) 444-9440.  Tu-Sat 12-4.  By donation, $3.  Located next door to the Samoa Cookhouse, this small museum operates inside a replica of the oldest commercial building in Eureka.  It  displays vintage photos and artifacts that tell the maritime history of the north coast.  Shipwrecks and disasters include a submarine that ran ashore in 1917.  Eureka is one of only two official Coast Guard Cities in the U.S., so you’ll learn about the local legacy.  Many artifacts came from offshore shipwrecks, and displays include vintage tools and instruments as well as a 4th-order Frensel lens from the long gone Table Bluff lighthouse and a cupola from the Humboldt Bay lighthouse.  Museum volunteers are on hand to tell stories and answer questions.

exterior of Humboldt Bay Maritime Museum


mooring anchor at Humboldt Bay Maritime Museum

displays at Humboldt Bay Maritime Museum

displays at Humboldt Bay Maritime Museum

4th-order Frensel lens at Humboldt Bay Maritime Museum

More things to do in Eureka.

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images ©2015 Carole Terwilliger Meyers