Tuesday, April 24, 2018

101 North: Kelseyville, Clear Lake area, Clear Lake State Park


Clear Lake State Park  5300 Soda Bay Rd., in Kelseyville, 3.5 mi. NE of town (9 mi. from Lakeport via scenic back road), west lake, (707) 279-4293.  Daily sunrise-sunset.  $8/vehicle.  Campsites available; lakeside cabins.  Located on the shores of the lake, this park offers swimming, fishing, a boat-launching ramp, picnic facilities, campsites, and miles of hiking trails--including the self-guided ¼-mile Indian Nature Trail that shows how the Pomo Indians used native plants and the 2-mile Dorn Nature Trail.  A Visitor Center provides a slide show introduction to the area and a Touch Corner for children.  Displays include local wildlife dioramas, a native fish aquarium, an erupting volcano, and exhibits on the area's Pomo Indian history. 

entrance to Clear Lake State Park in Kelseyville, California
entrance to Clear Lake State Park in Kelseyville, California


road into Clear Lake State Park in Kelseyville, California
road into Clear Lake State Park in Kelseyville, California


scenic at Clear Lake State Park in Kelseyville, California
scenic at Clear Lake State Park in Kelseyville, California


More things to do in Clear Lake. 

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images ©2018 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Thursday, April 19, 2018

101 North: Lakeport, Clear Lake area, Park Place


Park Place  50 3rd St., in Lakeport, west lake, (707) 263-0444.  L-D daily; $-$$.  Reservations advised.  Located lakefront and across the street from Library Park, this cafe offers great views from its outdoor rooftop dining area.  For starters, don't miss the magnificent bruchetta--a baguette topped with pesto and sun-dried tomatoes and then grilled--or the broiled Gorgonzola bread.  The menu has a large selection of fresh pastas, including several kinds of tortellini and raviolis, plus pizza, fresh fish, steaks, and hamburgers.  Personal favorites include the pasta marinara with housemade San Marzano tomato sauce atop housemade fettuccine and the beer-battered fish & chips.

bar at Park Place in Lakeport, California
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interior of Park Place in Lakeport, California
interior of Park Place in Lakeport, California


view of Clear Lake from Park Place in Lakeport, California
view of Clear Lake from Park Place in Lakeport, California


pasta marinara at Park Place in Lakeport, California
pasta marinara at Park Place in Lakeport, California


umami burger at Park Place in Lakeport, California
umami burger at Park Place in Lakeport, California
Park Place Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


More things to do in Clear Lake. 

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images ©2018 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

101 North: Lakeport, Clear Lake area, Angelina’s Bakery & Espresso


Angelina’s Bakery & Espresso  365 N. Main St., Lakeport, west lake, (707) 263-0391.  B-L daily.  This modest, casual coffeehouse-deli has a worn concrete floor and mix-matched seating.  It is famous for its gigantic fresh-baked cinnamon rolls, cookies, brownies, and lemon bars, and I can attest to the deliciousness of the blueberry muffin.  Housemade soup (good with a biscuit), specialty sandwiches and panini, pasta salads, and both ice cream and unique coffee ice cubes--especially popular in summer--are also on the menu.

interior of Angelina’s Bakery & Espresso in Lakeport, California
interior of Angelina’s Bakery & Espresso in Lakeport, California


blueberry muffin at Angelina’s Bakery & Espresso in Lakeport, California
blueberry muffin at Angelina’s Bakery & Espresso in Lakeport, California
Angelina's Bakery Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


More things to do in Clear Lake. 

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images ©2018 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Thursday, April 12, 2018

101 North: Lakeport, Clear Lake area, Lakeport Historic Courthouse Museum


Lakeport Historic Courthouse Museum  255 N. Main St., in Lakeport, west lake, (707) 263-4555.  W-Sat 10-4, Sun 12-4.  By donation, $2.  Formerly a courthouse, this 1871 brick building now reveals “The Mystery and History of Clear Lake” through its renowned collection of Pomo Indian artifacts--baskets, stone arrowheads, and tools--plus historical records, a restored courtroom, and a hunting and gun exhibit.  A dramatic 14-foot replica of a Pomo Indian tule boat is a standout exhibit, and lovely vintage display cases and small chandeliers add to the overall interest.  More exhibits include a collection of Lake County’s famous “diamonds,” an old-time telephone switchboard, and antlers from the last elk killed in Lake County.  The museum is situated in the town’s leafy central park, where a small Vietnam Veterans memorial is displayed. 

exterior of Lakeport Historic Courthouse Museum in Lakeport, California
exterior of Lakeport Historic Courthouse Museum in Lakeport, California


Pomo Indian basket display at Lakeport Historic Courthouse Museum in Lakeport, California
Pomo Indian basket display at Lakeport Historic Courthouse Museum in Lakeport, California


replica Pomo Indian tule boat at Lakeport Historic Courthouse Museum in Lakeport, California
replica Pomo Indian tule boat at Lakeport Historic Courthouse Museum in Lakeport, California


description of Pomo Indian baskets at Lakeport Historic Courthouse Museum in Lakeport, California
description of Pomo Indian baskets at Lakeport Historic Courthouse Museum in Lakeport, California


Lake County diamonds display at Lakeport Historic Courthouse Museum in Lakeport, California
Lake County diamonds display at Lakeport Historic Courthouse Museum in Lakeport, California


old-time telephone switchboard displayed at Lakeport Historic Courthouse Museum in Lakeport, California
old-time telephone switchboard displayed at Lakeport Historic Courthouse Museum in Lakeport, California


antlers from last elk killed in Lake County at Lakeport Historic Courthouse Museum in Lakeport, California
antlers from last elk killed in Lake County at Lakeport Historic Courthouse Museum in Lakeport, California


More things to do in Clear Lake. 

More ideas for exploring Northern California. 

images ©2018 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

101 North: Clear Lake area, background information


CLEAR LAKE AREA


Clear Lake seen from Park Place restaurant window in Lakeport, California
Clear Lake seen from Park Place restaurant window in Lakeport, California

A Little Background 
Believed to be the oldest lake in North America, spring-fed Clear Lake is the largest natural fresh-water lake that is totally within California (Lake Tahoe is partially in Nevada).  It measures 19 miles by 8 miles.  The 90-mile drive around the perimeter takes 2½ to 3 hours.

Clear Lake is situated on volcanic terrain, giving it an unusual physical appearance and a profusion of hot springs.  According to a Pomo Indian legend, when there is no snow on 4,200-foot Mount Konocti in April, the volcano will erupt.  Those who heed legends should check the April snowfall before making vacation plans.

From the 1870s into the early 1900s, this area was world-famous for its health spas and huge luxury resort hotels.  Then, for various reasons, it fell into a state of disrepair and slowly lost its acclaim.  Now it is a reasonably priced family resort area.

Lake County is also noted for its high-elevation wines, and some wineries and vineyards offer spectacular views.  Grapes were planted here extensively before Prohibition, when they were taken out and replaced with plum, pear, and walnut trees.  Now the trees are losing their hold, and the grapes are coming back.

And North America’s only eagle species—bald eagles and golden eagles—come to Lake County to nest each year.

Lake County's first traffic light was installed in 1982.  There are now seven, but it still has no parking meters.

Getting There
Located approximately 19 miles east of Hopland via curvy Highway 175 (a tight, curvy, and scenic two-lane mountain-pass back road), and 110 miles north of San Francisco.   Alternatively, continue north to Ukiah and take Highway 20 east for 20 miles to the town of Upper Lake.

An alternate route follows Highway 29 north from St. Helena.  This scenic route goes through the heart of the Wine Country.  The rolling hills are strewn with blooming wild flowers in spring and with brilliantly colored foliage in fall.  Make the drive during daylight; this winding two-lane road is tedious to drive at night, and, of course, the lovely scenery cannot be enjoyed then.

More Information about Clear Lake.


More things to do in Clear Lake. 

More ideas for exploring Northern California. 

images ©2018 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Friday, April 6, 2018

San Francisco: Herlen Place


Herlen Place  334 Grant Ave./Harlan Pl., in the Financial District, 1 blk. S of Chinatown gate, (415) 391-0207.  Daily from 8am-9pm.  Located just a few doors down from its sister restaurant, Cafe de la Presse, this small glass-box of a spot features giant windows to the street action (one entertaining sight is the double-decker tourist buses that ply this popular area).  Sidewalk-side tables are available in front--perfect for the occasional warm weather--and assorted seating in the high-ceilinged interior includes couches, marble-topped high and low tables, and bar seating.  The interior displays a selection of images by renowned French photographer Bénédicte Lassalle.  The short menu changes regularly, and on the evening I dined here it featured tasty vegetable-centric small plates.  The also short but interesting wine menu presents complementary vintages along with a few beers and coffees.  The space is primarily a wine lounge, amd the staff is trained in assisting with selection.  Our waiter led us to three wines I enjoyed very much.  We ordered by the glass, and each vintage was served in a carafe making it easy to share our tasting.  We settled on two pinot noirs, a 2014 Bouchaine from Napa Valley and a 2015 Cigar Box from Casablanca Valley in Chile.  Both were very good, but we favored the more complex Cigar Box.  When the waiter realized I am fond of earthy pinot noirs from Oregon, he suggested a 2010 Marchesidi Gresy Merlot from Piemonte, Italy.  It was very, very good.  To enhance our wines and satisfy our hunger, we ordered a simple avocado hummus topped with pistachio nuts, a plate of vegetable tempura, and two empanadas--one beef with a spicy dipping sauce, and one chicken with a milder sauce.  More veggie options included a whole roasted cauliflower with curry butter, a vegetable pickle board, and potato croquettes.  Non-vegetarians can get their fix with buffalo chicken drumettes, a smoked salmon tart, and a charcuterie board.  Coffee and breakfast items--croissants, potato-cheese galettes, egg dishes--are served until 2:30 p.m.

exterior of Herlen Place wine bar in San Francisco, California
exterior of Herlen Place wine bar in San Francisco, California


exterior seating at Herlen Place wine bar in San Francisco, California
exterior seating at Herlen Place wine bar in San Francisco, California


bar at Herlen Place wine bar in San Francisco, California
bar at Herlen Place wine bar in San Francisco, California


table set up and view at Herlen Place wine bar in San Francisco, California
table set up and view at Herlen Place wine bar in San Francisco, California


wine pour and small plates at Herlen Place wine bar in San Francisco, California
wine pour and small plates at Herlen Place wine bar in San Francisco, California


colorful empanadas at Herlen Place wine bar in San Francisco, California
colorful empanadas at Herlen Place wine bar in San Francisco, California


More things to do in San Francisco's Financial District.

More things to do in San Francisco

Way more things to do in San Francisco.

More ideas for exploring Northern California.

images ©2018 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

80 North: El Cerrito, El Cerrito Recycling Center & El Cerrito Hillside Natural Area


El Cerrito Recycling Center  7501 Schmidt Ln., (510) 215-4350.  M-F 8-5:30, Sat-Sun 9-4:30.  This is not your usual recycling center.  I’d been hearing about it for years and finally made a visit recently.  There are bins here for the basic categories--cardboard, paper, wire--plus the more unusual--batteries, prescription medications, hangars, Styrofoam--and there is also an area for appliances and electronics.  I particularly liked the book exchange, which is in a covered shed and also has a bin for magazines as well as space for movies, CDs, and DVDs.  This shed also has an area to leave things that can be reused, and a Goodwill depository is available so you can donate to a good cause and get a tax receipt, too.  Donations of canned goods are also accepted.  There is plenty of parking, and the entire space is kept clean.  You can also call the office here for referrals to other businesses that accept items that they do not.

magazine bin at El Cerrito Recycling Center in El Cerrito, California
magazine bin at El Cerrito Recycling Center in El Cerrito, California


books on shelves at El Cerrito Recycling Center in El Cerrito, California
books on shelves at El Cerrito Recycling Center in El Cerrito, California


Goodwill collection station at El Cerrito Recycling Center in El Cerrito, California
Goodwill collection station at El Cerrito Recycling Center in El Cerrito, California


El Cerrito Foundation Memorial Grove  7501 Schmidt Ln., just west of the recycling center.  Dogs on leash ok.  To reach the moderate 1.3-mile loop trail through this grove mixed with pines and redwoods, head up the fire road.  From this road, above the recycling center, you can see the remains of the former Hutchinson rock quarry.  Along the trail are views that include the Bay and Golden Gate bridges, Brooks Island, Point Richmond, Point Isabel, and Albany Hill.  Several paths lead off from the fire road to the left.  The third one was once a Boy Scout nature trail and still has marking posts, and two benches on that path are inscribed with the name of the troop that built it.
          This grove is part of the El Cerrito Hillside Natural Area, which features several trails through forests, grasslands, streams, and rocky outcroppings along with those sensational views.  Trails are unmarked; map
Way more information.


More things to do in El Cerrito.

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images c2018 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Thursday, March 29, 2018

80 North: Berkeley, Super Super


Super Super  1428 San Pablo Ave./Page St., (510) 559-7759.  Daily 10am-8:30pm.  Operating out of a converted bungalow house on busy San Pablo, this family-run Vietnamese spot specializes in traditional pho soup and banh mi sandwiches enhanced with cucumbers, jalapeños, cilantro, pickled carrots, and a creamy sauce.  Rice plates as well as hamburgers and garlic fries are also on the menu.  My favorite item is the roast pork banh mi.  A good selection of vegetarian versions are available.  Order at the counter, then pick a seat either indoors or outside on the spacious sheltered patio.  Service is fast.  Plenty of free parking is in the back.

exterior of Super Super in Berkeley, California
exterior of Super Super in Berkeley, California


order counter at Super Super in Berkeley, California
order counter at Super Super in Berkeley, California


chicken and rice plate at Super Super in Berkeley, California
chicken and rice plate at Super Super in Berkeley, California


roast pork banh mi at Super Super in Berkeley, California
roast pork banh mi at Super Super in Berkeley, California


More things to do in Berkeley.

Way more thing to do in Berkeley.

More ideas for exploring Northern California.

images ©2018 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

1 South: Morro Bay, seashells, skate boards, and avocados


The Shell Shop  590 Embarcadero Rd., (805) 772-8014.  Daily 9:30-7, in winter 9:30-5:30.  The perfect souvenir stop, this shop has the largest selection of seashells on the Central Coast and offers them at bargain prices.  Children can walk in with just 15 cents and purchase and a lovely, tiny shell, or splurge their entire allowance and walk out with something memorable. 

Blue Limpet shells at The Shell Shop in Morro Bay, California
Blue Limpet shells at The Shell Shop in Morro Bay, California

shell roses at The Shell Shop in Morro Bay, California
shell roses at The Shell Shop in Morro Bay, California


Morro Bay Skateboard Museum  601 Embarcadero, (805) 610-3565.  M-F 11am-5pm, Sat-Sun 10am-5pm.  More than 200 skateboards on display here tell the complete history of skateboarding--from the 1930s through today.  Currently it holds John Lennon's skateboard, but exhibits are rotate out from private collections.  Unfortunately, it was closed when I stopped by. 

exterior of Morro Bay Skateboard Museum in Morro Bay, California
exterior of Morro Bay Skateboard Museum in Morro Bay, California


Morro Creek Ranch  1800 Atascadero Rd., (805) 772-8200.  Daily 10am-5pm.  This working avocado farm features more than 11,000 Haas avocado trees.  Though the mainstay is the Hass, sometimes more unusual avocado varieties such as the Zutano are also available for sale.  A small open-air shop also dispenses avocado cosmetics, avocado oil, and more. 

sign at Morro Creek Ranch in Morro Bay, California
sign at Morro Creek Ranch in Morro Bay, California

Zutano avocados at Morro Creek Ranch in Morro Bay, California
Zutano avocados at Morro Creek Ranch in Morro Bay, California


More things to do in Morro Bay.

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images ©2018 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Thursday, March 22, 2018

80 North: Albany, Sugata Japanese Restaurant


Sugata Japanese Restaurant  1105 Solano Ave., Albany, (510) 526-3516.  L-D Tu-Sat; $$-$$$.  Reservations advised.  This intimate, atmospheric spot feels like it was lifted up from Japan and dropped down here intact.  Choose to sit at a small sushi counter, on the floor in a private tatami room, or in the small main dining room.  Lunch specials are well priced at around $13 to $14 and include miso soup, marinated cucumber salad, and fragrant tea.  My tempura bento box additionally included one shrimp and many vegetable tempuras, rice, and salad.  My partner’s bento box was the same except his main items was a chunk of fresh salmon with teriyaki sauce.  The fresh fish sushi has a stellar reputation, and I’ve heard people rave about the seaweed salad and sukiyaki.

interior and menu board at Sugata Japanese Restaurant in Albany, California
interior and menu board at Sugata Japanese Restaurant in Albany, California

sushi bar at Sugata Japanese Restaurant in Albany, California
sushi bar at Sugata Japanese Restaurant in Albany, California

appetizers at Sugata Japanese Restaurant in Albany, California
appetizers at Sugata Japanese Restaurant in Albany, California

bento box teriyaki salmon at Sugata Japanese Restaurant in Albany, California
bento box teriyaki salmon at Sugata Japanese Restaurant in Albany, California

bento box teriyaki tempura at Sugata Japanese Restaurant in Albany, California
bento box teriyaki tempura at Sugata Japanese Restaurant in Albany, California
Sugata Japanese Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


More things to do in Albany.

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images ©2018 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

80 North: Berkeley, Donato & Co.


Donato & Co.  2635 Ashby Ave./College Ave., Elmwood District.  L M-F, Sat-SunBr, D daily.  Once a car repair shop, the gigantic space that holds this Italian restaurant is beautifully transformed into an airy industrial-chic decor with high ceilings, skylights, and seating that includes wildly spacious six-person booths as well as two long wood banquettes with matching polished-wood tables and also regular tables and chairs.  Two oversized black-and-white photographs of Bergamo--the chef’s hometown in Italy--grace one wall, and a vintage Vespa is perched playfully in the back of the room.  An acoustic sound system from Berkeley’s renowned Meyer Sound makes sure you can enjoy some pleasant music but also still hear your companion.  It feels good to be in this room, and it is a spectacular spot to celebrate a special occasion.  A showcase for rustic Italian cuisine with a contemporary twist, this restaurant produces housemade pastas and cooks locally sourced seafood and meats over an open fire.  The seasonal menu takes inspiration from all regions of Italy, and the chefs use fresh, simple ingredients in inventive ways.  In addition to some lovely local and Italian wines, craft cocktails are available.  You need to ask for the complimentary house bread and spread.  The menu is organized into four sections.  Farm & Fields offers a selection of appetizers and salads.  From this section we tried a delectable chicken-liver Vasetto with quince jam and crostini bread.  Salt & Water features seafood, shellfish, and cured items,  We chose Pizzelle--three little saucer-size pizzas topped with broccoli and pecorino; anchovies and mozzarella; and burrata and sundried tomatoes (this last one was super colorful and tasty and our favorite).  Pasta & Co. includes an array of housemade pastas, risotto, and other grains.  We enjoyed buckwheat ravioli flavored with sage and filled with Swiss chards, Casera cheese, and potatoes.  Iron & Fire brings on meats and other items cooked over a wood fire.  We had the Il Maiale house specialty, which includes pork cooked three ways--as sausage, ribs, and crispy belly--served over polenta and Savoy cabbage (my favorite of these was the flavorful sausage).  Many dishes are available in both small and large sizes, making it easy to try more items.  We shared everything and wound up with enough food left over to take home for lunch the next day.  Filled with Italian pastries and sweets that aren’t often seen here, the dessert menu is not business as usual.  As chance would have it, just a few days before I had seen in a magazine for the first time “salami” cookies--chocolate and nuts shaped into a salami roll and cut in flat slices.  And I was tempted by the Montebianco (chilled chestnut and cocoa paste).  But we decided to share an artistically plated Semifreddo Al Agrumi made with Meyer lemon-infused meringue and slathered with orange crema and crushed pistachios around the edge, plus a few mushed up pieces of blood orange for color.  Lunch highlights include panini made with housemade bread, while brunch includes Ciambellone (an Italian breakfast cake), assorted pastries, and Italian-style egg dishes--including an absolutely delicious potato-and-cheese Frico cake with poached eggs. 

exterior of Donato & Co. in Berkeley, California
exterior of Donato & Co. in Berkeley, California


interior of Donato & Co. in Berkeley, California
interior of Donato & Co. in Berkeley, California


booths at Donato & Co. in Berkeley, California
booths at Donato & Co. in Berkeley, California


bar at Donato & Co. in Berkeley, California
bar at Donato & Co. in Berkeley, California


bread basket at Donato & Co. in Berkeley, California
bread basket at Donato & Co. in Berkeley, California


chicken-liver Vasetto with quince jam at Donato & Co. in Berkeley, California
chicken-liver Vasetto with quince jam at Donato & Co. in Berkeley, California


Pizzelle at Donato & Co. in Berkeley, California
Pizzelle at Donato & Co. in Berkeley, California


cauliflower steak at Donato & Co. in Berkeley, California
cauliflower steak at Donato & Co. in Berkeley, California


buckwheat ravioli at Donato & Co. in Berkeley, California
buckwheat ravioli at Donato & Co. in Berkeley, California


Il Maiale pork cooked three ways at Donato & Co. in Berkeley, California
Il Maiale pork cooked three ways at Donato & Co. in Berkeley, California


Semifreddo Al Agrumi at Donato & Co. in Berkeley, California
Semifreddo Al Agrumi at Donato & Co. in Berkeley, California


More things to do in Berkeley. 

Way more thing to do in Berkeley.  

More ideas for exploring Northern California.   

images ©2018 Carole Terwilliger Meyers