Tuesday, November 22, 2016

880 South: Oakland, Bellanico Restaurant & Wine Bar


Bellanico Restaurant & Wine Bar  4238 Park Blvd./Wellington St., Glenview, (510) 336-1180.  L M-F, Sat-SunBr, D daily; $$.  Reservations advised.  This small neighborhood restaurant produces spectacular Italian fare.  Seating is at tables and chairs, and bar seats handle overflow and solo diners.  A pleasant possibility here on a warm day is sitting outside by the sidewalk, which I did.
exterior of Bellanico Restaurant & Wine Bar in Oakland, California
exterior of Bellanico Restaurant & Wine Bar in Oakland, California

Complimentary bread is long, thin toasts along with a bean spread (sometimes it is bread with fruity olive oil).
toast and bean spread at Bellanico Restaurant & Wine Bar in Oakland, California
toast and bean spread at Bellanico Restaurant & Wine Bar in Oakland, California

You’ll definitely want to try an appetizer, which on the ever-changing menu might be cauliflower fritters, fried squash blossoms stuffed with cauliflower, or housemade burrata with toasts--which is what I shared with a companion.
housemade burrata at Bellanico Restaurant & Wine Bar in Oakland, California
housemade burrata at Bellanico Restaurant & Wine Bar in Oakland, California

A three-course lunch tasting menu is a bargain at $27, but instead we ordered a la carte and shared everything.  Lunch has the option for smaller plates of pasta, but we ordered the regular portion of five beautiful and delicious casunzei ravioli stuffed with red beets.
casunzei ravioli at Bellanico Restaurant & Wine Bar in Oakland, California
casunzei ravioli at Bellanico Restaurant & Wine Bar in Oakland, California

Pasta is housemade, and a few panini are also options.  Swiss chard malfatti and gnocchi described as “delicate pillows of heaven” are on my list for next time.  I’ve also heard good things about the deep-fried meatballs, housemade pesto, and duck pasta.  For dessert think bomboloni Florentine doughnuts, affogato, or warm fruit crostata.
fruit crostata at Bellanico Restaurant & Wine Bar in Oakland, California
fruit crostata at Bellanico Restaurant & Wine Bar in Oakland, California

The only thing I didn’t care for here was the loud music inside.  I wouldn’t have minded the volume if it had been an Italian aria, but it wasn’t.

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


More things to do in Oakland.

Way more things to do in Oakland. 

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

images ©2016 Carole Terwilliger Meyers


Friday, November 18, 2016

80 North: Pt. Richmond, Up & Under Pub and Grill


Up & Under Pub and Grill  2 W Richmond Ave., (510) 778-1313.  L-D daily; $$.  This atmospheric pub within a flatiron-style building dominates a corner in Christmasy red-and-green splendor.
exterior of Up & Under Pub and Grill in Pt. Richmond, California
exterior of Up & Under Pub and Grill in Pt. Richmond, California

Inside, it is a woodsy den, with a variety of seating.  I like best the main room where the bar is.
interior of Up & Under Pub and Grill in Pt. Richmond, California
interior of Up & Under Pub and Grill in Pt. Richmond, California

Of course the beer selections are primo, and the menu features nicely battered halibut fish & chips
halibut fish & chips at Up & Under Pub and Grill in Pt. Richmond, California
fish & chips at Up & Under Pub and Grill in Pt. Richmond, California

 and both ahi and regular burgers.  
ahi burger at Up & Under Pub and Grill in Pt. Richmond, California
ahi burger at Up & Under Pub and Grill in Pt. Richmond, California

Fries can be limp, and cole slaw is a bust, but the onion rings are worth a go.  Everything from salads, a Caprese sandwich, and BBQ is also available.  Several flat-screen TVs present sporting events.

Up And Under Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


You'll find these shops and more just around the corner:

Mom & Pop Art Shop  24 West Richmond Ave., (510) 730-1154.
exterior of Mom & Pop Art Shop in Pt. Richmond, California
exterior of Mom & Pop Art Shop in Pt. Richmond, California

This small shop multi-tasks.  It features an inventory of well-priced art supplies and items from local crafts people,
merchandise at Mom & Pop Art Shop in Pt. Richmond, California
merchandise at Mom & Pop Art Shop in Pt. Richmond, California

and it devotes an entire room to an art gallery that features rotating shows of works from artists around the world, including that of the artist-owners.  An “Imaginarium” table provides creative activities, puzzles, and toys for children to try out.
art gallery at Mom & Pop Art Shop in Pt. Richmond, California
art gallery at Mom & Pop Art Shop in Pt. Richmond, California

Outback  139 W. Richmond Ave., (510) 237 1199.  Sun 11-5, M-Sat 11-6.  Over the past 30 years this unusual clothing boutique has developed a loyal following.  I first discovered it in the outback of Oakland, and have since visited it in many more locations.  Currently it also has outlets in Berkeley and Ashland, Oregon.  You never know what you’ll find--most of the items are closeouts from wholesalers and some are designer labels--and you need to be prepared to try on your selections in a shared dressing room.
exterior of Outback in Pt. Richmond, California
exterior of Outback in Pt. Richmond, California

interior of Outback in Pt. Richmond, California
interior of Outback in Pt. Richmond, California

More things to do in Pt. Richmond.

More things to do in nearby Richmond. 

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

images and video ©2016 Carole Terwilliger Meyers 
 

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

80 North: Berkeley, Espresso Roma


Espresso Roma  2960 College Ave./Ashby Ave., Elmwood, (510) 644-3773.  Daily 6:30am-10pm.  Supremely well located on a busy corner on a popular shopping street, Roma’s kitchen offers pre-made sandwiches and pastries along with specialty coffees.
exterior of Espresso Roma in Berkeley, California
exterior of Espresso Roma in Berkeley, California

Among the drinks are lavender lemonade, soy chai latte, caramella latte, Italian sodas, draft beers, and my choice--a frothy mocha bianca.
mocha bianca at Espresso Roma in Berkeley, California
mocha bianca at Espresso Roma in Berkeley, California

The breakfast menu includes bagels and eggs. 
breakfast menu at Espresso Roma in Berkeley, California
breakfast menu at Espresso Roma in Berkeley, California

For lunch, a sample salad platter includes three salads of your choice--perhaps curried cauliflower, marinated beets, or roasted Brussels sprouts--plus toasted foccacia bread.  From 4 p.m. on, buy a pint and get a free slice of pizza.  Popular as a hangout for students and travel writers completing guidebooks, this spacious coffeehouse has several large rooms with high ceilings and provides plenty of outlets, wi-fi, and good people watching, plus outdoor seating is available in front. 
interior at Espresso Roma in Berkeley, California
interior at Espresso Roma in Berkeley, California

Espresso Roma Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

More things to do in Berkeley.

Way more thing to do in Berkeley. 

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images ©2016 Carole Terwilliger Meyers
 

Thursday, November 10, 2016

5 North: Woodland, Matchbook Winery


Matchbook Winery  12300 Country Road 92B, near Hwy. 505, in Zamora, (530) 662-1032.  Tasting daily 11am-4:30pm.  This contemporary-style winery is way out there, so do check the website for directions.  The wine to taste is The Arsonist, a red blend well described as big, bold, and rich as well as assertive.  In addition to a spectacular and spacious tasting room, a patio with posh seats and tables awaits for relaxing, picnicking, or just enjoying the panoramic view of their Dunnigan Hills vineyards.  Special events are a further enticement to make the trek.  


wine display at Matchbook Winery in Zamora, California
wine display at Matchbook Winery in Zamora, California


patio tasting at Matchbook Winery in Zamora, California
patio tasting at Matchbook Winery in Zamora, California


boxes of The Arsonist wine at Matchbook Winery in Zamora, California
boxes of The Arsonist wine at Matchbook Winery in Zamora, California


exterior of Matchbook Winery in Zamora, California
exterior of Matchbook Winery in Zamora, California


barrel room at Matchbook Winery in Zamora, California
barrel room at Matchbook Winery in Zamora, California

More things to do in Woodland. 

More things to do in nearby Davis.
 
Travel articles to inspire and help you plan some spectacular getaways.


images c2016 Carole Terwilliger Meyers



Tuesday, November 8, 2016

880 South: Oakland, Izzy's Steak & Chop House


Izzy's Steak & Chop House  59 Grand Ave./Webster St., (510) 452-2822.  D daily; $$$.  Located two blocks west of Lake Merritt, this expansive--the restaurant spreads through three large rooms--yet cozy venue serves quality steaks at competitive prices.  Dining room decor includes a collection of antique pub mirrors, beer trays, and ceramic whiskey bottles, as well as a few elk horns.
dining room at Izzy's Steak & Chop House in Oakland, California
dining room at Izzy's Steak & Chop House in Oakland, California

The inviting full bar in front features a high ceiling, slow-spinning fans, and a lighted honey onyx bar with a granite top.
bar at Izzy's Steak & Chop House in Oakland, California
bar at Izzy's Steak & Chop House in Oakland, California

In addition to corn-fed USDA Choice Midwestern beef, the menu includes premium pork chops and fresh fish.  Portions are generous.  Drink choices include a California-centric wine list (we chose a smooth Franciscan cabernet that paired well with our steaks), craft beers, and both classic and original cocktails such as the Izzy’s Manhattan, Dragon Fruit Cosmo, and Hemingway Daiquiri.
wine-opening at Izzy's Steak & Chop House in Oakland, California
wine-opening at Izzy's Steak & Chop House in Oakland, California

Appetizers include salads, a soup, and roasted mussels, as well as sautéed button mushrooms that are more like mushrooms in soup broth (still, we ate them all).  Sourdough bread is complimentary.  For my main course, I ordered the signature New York sirloin steak, which is aged 21-plus days.  It was well-seasoned and cooked to perfection--in my case that is medium.
New York steak at Izzy's Steak & Chop House in Oakland, California
New York steak at Izzy's Steak & Chop House in Oakland, California

More beef cuts include slow-roasted prime rib, filet mignon (which my dining partner chose and indicated was very tender), and filet medallions au poivre with pepper cream sauce.
filet mignon steak at Izzy's Steak & Chop House in Oakland, California
filet mignon steak at Izzy's Steak & Chop House in Oakland, California

Each meal comes with a choice of two sides.  We both chose a baked potato with sour cream, and he added carrots with onions while I added naked steamed broccoli (it needed some flavoring).  More sides include creamed spinach, the chefs’ signature potatoes au gratin, and French fries cut in house.  Housemade desserts are generally rich--New York cheese cake, chocolate mousse cake, and a refreshing Key lime pie--
Key lime pie at Izzy's Steak & Chop House in Oakland, California
Key lime pie at Izzy's Steak & Chop House in Oakland, California

but I found a lighter option, seasonal fresh strawberries with whipped cream.
fresh strawberries and whipped cream at Izzy's Steak & Chop House in Oakland, California
fresh strawberries and whipped cream at Izzy's Steak & Chop House in Oakland, California
Izzy's Steak & Chop House Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


More things to do in Oakland.

Way more things to do in Oakland. 

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

images ©2016 Carole Terwilliger Meyers