June 30, 2017

Palo Alto: El Palo Alto Park


101 South

El Palo Alto Park  117 Palo Alto Ave./Alma St.  Located four blocks north of downtown and just east of El Camino Real and the railroad tracks, this narrow park hugs San Francisquito Creek.  Home to El Palo Alto, also known as The Tall Tree--the 1,000-year-old Sequoia Sempervirens, or Coast Redwood, that gave the town its name.  El Palo Alto is more than a thousand years old, stands at 110.8 feet tall, and is California Heritage Landmark #2 (still, it is a baby compared to the giant trees up north on the Avenue of Giants).  A local landmark for hundreds of years, the tree was revered by the Costanoan/Ohlone Indians.  Gaspar de Portola and his party camped beneath it in 1769, and a cross was placed here in 1774 marking the site as a possible location for a Spanish mission.  The park features a lighted pedestrian/bike pathway that connects Palo Alto and Menlo Park.


entrance to El Palo Alto Park in Palo Alto, California
entrance to El Palo Alto Park in Palo Alto, California


bridge in El Palo Alto Park in Palo Alto, California
bridge in El Palo Alto Park in Palo Alto, California


sign in El Palo Alto Park in Palo Alto, California
sign in El Palo Alto Park in Palo Alto, California


namesake El Palo Alto tree in El Palo Alto Park in Palo Alto, California
namesake El Palo Alto tree in El Palo Alto Park in Palo Alto, California


namesake El Palo Alto tree in El Palo Alto Park in Palo Alto, California
namesake El Palo Alto tree in El Palo Alto Park in Palo Alto, California

 
More things to do in Palo Alto. 

More ideas for exploring Northern California. 

images ©2017 Carole Terwilliger Meyers 

June 28, 2017

Palo Alto: The Clement Hotel


101 South

The Clement Hotel  711 El Camino Real, (650) 322-7111.  23 rooms; 3 stories.  $$$$+.  Pool; hot tub; fitness room.  All-inclusive: meals, snacks, cocktails, tips, valet parking included; 24-hr. room service.  Pets ok.  Built just in 2016, this unusual all-inclusive, all-suite boutique hotel is across the street from Stanford University and within walking distance of downtown--but who wants to leave?  The idea is to enjoy all the luxurious amenities.  All meals are included, and guests do not need reservations--you just appear in the dining room when you want to eat.  The chef prepares meals to order in an open kitchen area off the dining room.  Guests can also dine outside on a patio or have their meal delivered to the room.  Additionally, a 24-hour Guest Pantry is stocked with items such as ice cream, fruit plates, and mini Bundt cakes, and alcoholic beverages are included and can also be delivered to the pool or room upon request (when I got hungry after a hot-tub dip, I ordered up a margarita and some delicious housemade potato chips).  All this, and rooms have stocked mini bars, too!  Guest suites include a separate sitting room with a coffee table topped with a sweet little live bonsai and several coffee table books, two 65-inch TVs plus a 20-incher in the bathroom mirror, and free phone calls within the U.S.  Decor is in subdued contemporary greys and black, and furnishings are stylishly modern.  The posh beds are made with deep toppers and Matouk linens.  A spacious marble bathroom has a heated white-marble floor, a lovely live orchid, an oversize oval soaking tub and separate rain-head shower enclosure, and a separate closet for the Toto toilet equipped with a heated seat and all the other bells and whistles.  I want to go back now!

welcome mini-zen garden at The Clement Hotel in Palo Alto, California
welcome mini-zen garden at The Clement Hotel in Palo Alto, California

 
posh bed at The Clement Hotel in Palo Alto, California
posh bed at The Clement Hotel in Palo Alto, California



sleek bathroom at The Clement Hotel in Palo Alto, California
sleek bathroom at The Clement Hotel in Palo Alto, California



roof-top pool at The Clement Hotel in Palo Alto, California
roof-top pool at The Clement Hotel in Palo Alto, California



chef at work at The Clement Hotel in Palo Alto, California
chef at work at The Clement Hotel in Palo Alto, California



afternoon wine and housemade potato chips at The Clement Hotel in Palo Alto, California
afternoon wine and housemade potato chips at The Clement Hotel in Palo Alto, California



crab cakes appetizer at The Clement Hotel in Palo Alto, California
crab cakes appetizer at The Clement Hotel in Palo Alto, California



salmon dinner at The Clement Hotel in Palo Alto, California
salmon dinner at The Clement Hotel in Palo Alto, California



Guest Pantry at The Clement Hotel in Palo Alto, California
Guest Pantry at The Clement Hotel in Palo Alto, California


More things to do in Palo Alto. 

More ideas for exploring Northern California.   

images ©2017 Carole Terwilliger Meyers 

June 8, 2017

San Francisco: The Pied Piper Bar and Lounge


San Francisco

The Pied Piper Bar and Lounge in the Palace Hotel is famous for the Maxfield Parrish “Pied Piper of Hamelin” painting, which was commissioned in 1909 and hangs behind the bar--dominating the room.  

Pied Piper Bar in San Francisco, California
Pied Piper Bar in San Francisco, California

Additionally, two Antonio Sotomayor murals--one depicting Mark Twain and the other madam Sally Stanford, hang in a new lounge entered at the back of the bar.  Seating includes at the bar as well as at tables and in booths--a few of which are partial booths with the banquette side featuring an aristocratic high back.  The music is just right, and this place is in full-blast party mode at 5 p.m.  Carpeting keeps the din in the darkened den manageable.  The spacious newer lounge in back features informal seating in comfy chairs and couches.  

Pied Piper Bar Lounge in San Francisco, California
Pied Piper Bar Lounge in San Francisco, California

Signature cocktails include the hands-down favorite--The Last Cocktail (made with Bombay Sapphire Gin, lemon juice, organic pear juice, rosemary syrup, and Prosecco)--and runners-up The Charlie Chaplin and The Spiced Knob.  

cocktails at Pied Piper Bar in San Francisco, California
cocktails at Pied Piper Bar in San Francisco, California

The bar has also sold a lot of martinis.  A bowl of nuts is complimentary, and a small bar menu offers up such scrumptious goodies as burrata on nutty country bread


burrata bread at Pied Piper Bar in San Francisco, California
burrata bread at Pied Piper Bar in San Francisco, California

and succulent chicken wings with sweet Asian dipping sauce


chicken wings at Pied Piper Bar in San Francisco, California
chicken wings at Pied Piper Bar in San Francisco, California

as well as lobster mac ‘n cheese and a steak.  I saw several TVs and even a few kids in the bar.  

Pied Piper Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


More things to do in San Francisco.



Way more things to do in San Francisco.

More ideas for exploring Northern California.  

 
images ©2017 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

June 6, 2017

San Francisco: Top of the Mark


San Francisco

The tower of the InterContinental Mark Hopkins San Francisco was crowned on the 19th floor in 1939 by the legendary Top of the Mark lounge and restaurant.  It has an extraordinary 360-degree view of the city and features live entertainment several nights each week.  It is said that proposing marriage by presenting an engagement ring in the bottom of a drink glass is played out more frequently here than anywhere else in the world.  A plaque on the wall by the bar commemorates it as being a favorite spot for World War II Marines to have a last drink before sailing off to battle in the Pacific, believing that this was good luck and would bring them home.  Wives and sweethearts gathered here in the northwest corner, dubbed the “Weepers’ Corner,” to gaze out the windows as their men sailed away.  Service men also had a tradition of buying a bottle and leaving it with the bartender so the next soldier from their squadron could enjoy a free drink.  You can see examples in a cabinet by the bar check-in stand.  This venue is a prime setting for a sunset cocktail or a night cap, and becomes even more romantic if you arrive by cable car.  The perfect drink choice seems to be a martini.  When martinis were first introduced, they were served in a Champagne coupe glass.  And tasting like a doctor’s office smells--which doesn’t mean they aren’t good--a retro coupe glass is what they are served in here.  I think of this spot as more formal and had insisted that my husband put on black slacks for our recent visit, and of course two girls at the table next to us were wearing shorts, spaghetti-strap tops, and sandals--not that my husband minded.  Another man sat down at a prime view table and opened up his computer and started working.  So times have changed.  Cocktails and light bites (the housemade potato chips and Crab Louis bruchetta are superb)
are available daily, and brunch is served on Sunday. 

couple enjoying cocktails at the Top of the Mark in San Francisco, California
couple enjoying cocktails at the Top of the Mark in San Francisco, California

bar at the Top of the Mark in San Francisco, California
bar at the Top of the Mark in San Francisco, California

historic bottle at the Top of the Mark in San Francisco, California
historic bottle at the Top of the Mark in San Francisco, California

housemade potato chips at the Top of the Mark in San Francisco, California
housemade potato chips at the Top of the Mark in San Francisco, California

Crab Louis bruchetta at the Top of the Mark in San Francisco, California
Crab Louis bruchetta at the Top of the Mark in San Francisco, California
Top of the Mark Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

 
More things to do in San Francisco.



Way more things to do in San Francisco.

More ideas for exploring Northern California.  

 
images ©2017 Carole Terwilliger Meyers