Friday, July 13, 2018

101 South: Mountain View, Oren's Hummus Shop


Oren's Hummus Shop  126 Castro St., 650-938-6736.  $.  A branch of the mother ship in Palo Alto that specializes in authentic Middle Eastern cuisine, this spot by the Cal Train station offers a nice outdoor space that lets you fully enjoy the sound of the signals and passing trains.  The food style reminds me of what I enjoyed at similar simple spots in Israel, and that should be no surprise since many of the basic ingredients are imported from there.  A complimentary bowl of tangy coleslaw arrives with the menu and helps tide you over until your order arrives.  Service can be slow.  My menu favorite is the sampler plate that includes eggplant three ways and a slab of labane yogurt cheese, plus marinated beets Moroccan carrots, and fluffy pita breads.  I always like to purchase some hummus and eggplant to go for my next day’s lunch. 


exterior of Oren's Hummus Shop on Castro Street in Mountain View, California
exterior of Oren's Hummus Shop on Castro Street in Mountain View, California


interior of Oren's Hummus Shop on Castro Street in Mountain View, California
interior of Oren's Hummus Shop on Castro Street in Mountain View, California


sidewalk seating at Oren's Hummus Shop on Castro Street in Mountain View, California
sidewalk seating at Oren's Hummus Shop on Castro Street in Mountain View, California


dinner items at Oren's Hummus Shop on Castro Street in Mountain View, California
dinner items at Oren's Hummus Shop on Castro Street in Mountain View, California


dinner check at Oren's Hummus Shop on Castro Street in Mountain View, California
dinner check at Oren's Hummus Shop on Castro Street in Mountain View, California


More things to do in Mountain View. 

More ideas for exploring Northern California. 

images ©2018 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

80 North: Berkeley, La Capilla Mercado de Jugos Y Café


La Capilla Mercado de Jugos Y Café  1106 University Ave./San Pablo Ave., West Berkeley, (510) 529-4906.  Daily 9am-10pm. 

interior of La Capilla Mercado de Jugos Y Café in Berkeley, California
interior of La Capilla Mercado de Jugos Y Café in Berkeley, California


Located on one of Berkeley’s busiest traffic corners, this small spot offers the saving grace of an adjacent free parking lot.  The low-key interior features natural brick walls and high ceilings, but only a few tables.  La Capilla translates as "The Chapel," and the decor honors that with some traditional Mexican religious portraits.  Crispy chilaquiles are available on the breakfast menu and come with a mild salsa verde or spicier red salsa, an egg (I ask for this on the side), and a side of black beans.  Lunch brings on really good double-wrapped tacos with a large list of fillings, including fish as well as mushrooms and kale.  They are small, so two would be considered an average portion.  My go-to order is the spectacular mole 23 chicken tacos (made with free range chicken and a 23-ingredient mole) with a side of the flavorful green rice that is heavy on the cilantro and also a side of the sweet caramelly fried platanos.  Vegans favor the Vegetatiano burrito filled with grilled onions, serrano peppers, and guacamole.  A variety of fresh-squeezed juices are available along with smoothies and delicious aguas frescas.  It is counter service, but items are then brought to the table. 

brick walls at La Capilla Mercado de Jugos Y Café in Berkeley, California
brick walls at La Capilla Mercado de Jugos Y Café in Berkeley, California


tacos at La Capilla Mercado de Jugos Y Café in Berkeley, California
tacos at La Capilla Mercado de Jugos Y Café in Berkeley, California


array of lunch items at La Capilla Mercado de Jugos Y Café in Berkeley, California
array of lunch items at La Capilla Mercado de Jugos Y Café 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

Thursday, June 21, 2018

880 South: Oakland, Oakland Aviation Museum


Oakland Aviation Museum

exterior of Oakland Aviation Museum in Oakland, California
exterior of Oakland Aviation Museum in Oakland, California

8252 Earhart Rd./Swan Way, (510) 638-7100.  W-Sun 10-4.  18 $12, 60+ $10, 13-19 $8, 5-12 $6.  Housed inside a 1939 airplane hangar that once was home to the Boeing School of Aeronautics, this aviation museum is located on the North Field at Oakland Airport--just two blocks from where the airport bus drops riders at the Rental Car Center, making it a candidate for something to do if you have a long wait for a flight.  The vintage aircraft collection includes a crowd-pleasing favorite--a rare giant 1943 Short Solent mk3 flying boat that once flew passengers from London, England to Johannesburg, South Africa and to Australia.  It is sort of a baby Spruce Goose, and the last of its kind in the world.  Those long journeys took even longer--four days--because the plane flew only in daylight hours, so everyone overnighted along the way.  The Solent was featured in the 1981 movie "Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark," and is the star of this collection.  This treasure is opened at an additional fee for tours on weekends, when you can capture a selfie seated in one of the comfy seats inside, but can always be viewed from the outside.  And it can be rented for special events--think a birthday party, an anniversary.

1943 Short Solent mk3 flying boat at Oakland Aviation Museum in Oakland, California
1943 Short Solent mk3 flying boat at Oakland Aviation Museum in Oakland, California


1943 Short Solent mk3 flying boat at Oakland Aviation Museum in Oakland, California
1943 Short Solent mk3 flying boat at Oakland Aviation Museum in Oakland, California


1943 Short Solent mk3 flying boat at Oakland Aviation Museum in Oakland, California
1943 Short Solent mk3 flying boat at Oakland Aviation Museum in Oakland, California


interior seats on 1943 Short Solent mk3 flying boat at Oakland Aviation Museum in Oakland, California
interior seats on 1943 Short Solent mk3 flying boat at Oakland Aviation Museum in Oakland, California


1943 Short Solent mk3 flying boat in action at Oakland Aviation Museum in Oakland, California
1943 Short Solent mk3 flying boat in action at Oakland Aviation Museum in Oakland, California


None of the planes displayed here are flyable.  The collection also includes a T-3 tail glider that was built on the premises, a scale-model blimp hanging from the ceiling, a Hiller helicopter from a local aviation company, and a small plane like the one John Denver flew.  Young children will especially enjoy the playground in front featuring kid-sized planes to play on, as well as a play table inside and a few models to climb in for a photo op.

crashed plane at Oakland Aviation Museum in Oakland, California
crashed plane at Oakland Aviation Museum in Oakland, California


interior of hangar at Oakland Aviation Museum in Oakland, California
interior of hangar at Oakland Aviation Museum in Oakland, California


Kitfox Classic IV-1200 Taildragon plane at Oakland Aviation Museum in Oakland, California
Kitfox Classic IV-1200 Taildragon plane at Oakland Aviation Museum in Oakland, California


toy Flying Tiger plane for kids at Oakland Aviation Museum in Oakland, California
toy Flying Tiger plane for kids at Oakland Aviation Museum in Oakland, California


Small side rooms hold focused collections, including the Engine Room where engines from different eras and types of aircraft are displayed, Women in Aviation featuring photos of Amelia Earhart (who landed here in Oakland in 1935 at the conclusion of her record-setting flight from Honolulu, and who also famously began her ill-fated 1937 flight around the world right here), Black Americans in Aviation & Space that details the famous Tuskegee Airmen of World War II, and the General James Doolittle Room (this famous World War II aviator was born in Alameda).

Amelia and Carole prepare for takeoff at Oakland Aviation Museum in Oakland, California
Amelia and Carole prepare for takeoff at Oakland Aviation Museum in Oakland, California

Open Cockpit Day is held periodically.  Visitors then can enter a variety of aircraft.  Additional special activities might include Canine Companions for Independence, live music, refreshments for purchase, and roller derby demonstrations.



More things to do in Oakland.

Way more things to do in Oakland.

More ideas for exploring Northern California.

images ©2018 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

101 South: Mountain View, Computer History Museum


Computer History Museum  1401 N. Shoreline Blvd., just E of Hwy. 101, (650) 810-1010.  W-Sun 10am-5pm (tour times vary).  $17.50, under 11 free.  Formerly part of The Computer Museum in Boston, this comprehensive collection of computer-related artifacts moved to the Bay Area in 1996 and opened here in 2002.  Displaying more than 1,100 items (only 1% of the collection), it has the world’s largest collection of computing artifacts.  Hardware and software are exhibited, as well as photos and videos.  Take a tour if possible, and take time to view the orientation movie.  Among the gems you’ll see are the first Apple computer (which sells now for more than it did when it went on the market), a World War II ENIGMA encryption/decryption device, and the 1975 Illiac IV (an earlier Illiac computer is said to have inspired director Stanley Kubrick for his movie “2001”).  A 1980 Japanese Sharp calculator with abacus (for those who didn’t trust the calculator) and a 1969 Neiman Marcus "Kitchen Computer" that was priced at $10,000 (they didn’t sell any) are also displayed.  A new section devoted to software that opened in 2017 features many hands-on exhibits.  In a circular layout, it shows how, according to my guide, “software is to a computer as sheet music is to a piano.”  Exhibits describe how software functions in Photoshop, MRIs, and car-crash tests.

Monroe LAS-160 calculator from 1940s at Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California
Monroe LAS-160 calculator from 1940s at Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California


early analog computer patch panel at Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California
early analog computer patch panel at Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California


phonograph doll from 1940s at Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California
phonograph doll from 1940s at Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California


Waymo self-driving vehicle from 2014 at Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California
Waymo self-driving vehicle from 2014 at Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California





The Cloud Bistro operates in the lobby and serves light fare such as soups, sandwiches, salads, and pastries.  Seating is available both inside, and outside on an expansive lawn with shade and plenty of colorful, comfortable Adirondack chairs.

outside lounge area at Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California
outside lounge area at Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California


Also noteworthy is a planting of dramatic coast redwoods that lines the sidewalk in back by the parking lot, where you'll also have access to re-charging your Tesla while you browse the museum.

coast redwoods line sidewalk behind Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California
coast redwoods line sidewalk behind Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California


Tesla charging station behind Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California
Tesla charging station behind Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California




Friday, June 15, 2018

101 South: Palo Alto, Palo Alto Duck Pond + Baylands Nature Preserve


Palo Alto Duck Pond  2775 Embarcadero Rd., a E end, (650) 617-3156.  Daily sunrise-sunset.  Free.  Located in a quiet, unpopulated area away from town, this pond is one of the Bay Area’s best spots to see ducks, birds, and the occasional swan.  In winter, unusual migrating birds are also seen.  Visitors are asked not to feed the birds.  A paved path leads around the pond, and an adjacent small airport provides plane-watching fun. 

sign at Palo Alto Duck Pond in Palo Alto, California
sign at Palo Alto Duck Pond in Palo Alto, California


bird description sign at Palo Alto Duck Pond in Palo Alto, California
bird description sign at Palo Alto Duck Pond in Palo Alto, California


overview of Palo Alto Duck Pond in Palo Alto, California
overview of Palo Alto Duck Pond in Palo Alto, California


small plane coming in for landing near Palo Alto Duck Pond in Palo Alto, California
small plane coming in for landing near Palo Alto Duck Pond in Palo Alto, California


Across the street, the Baylands Nature Preserve has 15 miles of trails.  Bird watching is excellent, but wind surfing and kayaking are also popular.  The free-admission Lucy Evans Baylands Nature Interpretive Center has exhibits that orient visitors to the area.  During daylight hours, visitors can walk out over the 120-acre salt marsh on an 800-foot-long raised wooden walkway.  Naturalist-led walks are scheduled on weekends.

duck crossing sign at Baylands Nature Preserve and Palo Alto Duck Pond in Palo Alto, California
duck crossing sign at Baylands Nature Preserve and Palo Alto Duck Pond in Palo Alto, California




More things to do in Palo Alto.

More ideas for exploring Northern California.

images ©2018 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

880 South: Oakland, Oakland Museum of California


NEW SHOW AT OAKLAND MUSEUM

“Respect: Hip-Hop Style & Wisdom” tells the story of Oakland-specific Hip-Hop, beginning with pre-rap, through breakdancing, and into mainstream culture.  In a darkened room, I viewed a film loop that covered influential performers ranging from local resident MC Hammer performing “Can’t Touch Me” in his trademark baggy pants to current wonder Kendrick Lamar in his award-winning hair’s-on-fire “Humble” video.  Pre-teens from a school group screamed atmospherically at appropriate times.  Among the artifacts displayed are a freaky pair of Adidas sneakers with soles lined with real teeth.  Runs through August 12.

Adidas sneakers with real teeth as soles in "Respect: Hip-Hop Style & Wisdom" show at Oakland Museum
Adidas sneakers with real teeth as soles in "Respect: Hip-Hop Style & Wisdom" show at Oakland Museum


exhibit room at "Respect: Hip-Hop Style & Wisdom" show at Oakland Museum
exhibit room at "Respect: Hip-Hop Style & Wisdom" show at Oakland Museum


gift shop goods for "Respect: Hip-Hop Style & Wisdom" show at Oakland Museum
gift shop goods for "Respect: Hip-Hop Style & Wisdom" show at Oakland Museum



More information about the Oakland Museum.

More things to do in Oakland.

Way more things to do in Oakland. 

More ideas for exploring Northern California.  

images ©2018 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Thursday, May 24, 2018

101 North: Upper Lake, Clear Lake area, Tallman Hotel and Blue Wing Saloon Restaurant


Tallman Hotel  9550 Main St., in Upper Lake, north lake, (866) 708-5253, (707) 275-2244.  17 rooms; $$-$$$.  Heated pool (closed Nov-Apr); hot tub.  Continental breakfast; restaurant.

exteriors of Tallman Hotel and Blue Wing Saloon in Upper Lake, California
exteriors of Tallman Hotel and Blue Wing Saloon in Upper Lake, California



Built in 1895, this beautifully restored hotel combines rustic and chic in a delightful manner.  The original hotel has four high-ceilinged guest rooms that are decorator-adorned in a soothing mix of subdued colors in a fashionable mix of patterns and styles.  Should a guest fall in love with any fabric or color, a resource book is kept at the desk to advise of brands and code numbers.  One of the most interesting features is the highly functional antique bathroom plumbing, which is so old it’s new again.  Room #1 has both an oversize clawfoot tub with center drain and a tall shower enclosure with a wrap-around chrome fixture sporting all kinds of porcelain knobs and levers that control a giant sunflower head and side sprayers.  Lodging is available in several adjacent buildings, and some new-construction garden rooms have a Japanese ofuro soaking tub on a private patio with outdoor shower.

exterior of Tallman Hotel in Upper Lake, California
exterior of Tallman Hotel in Upper Lake, California


exterior of bungalow at Tallman Hotel in Upper Lake, California
exterior of bungalow at Tallman Hotel in Upper Lake, California


guest room in bungalow at Tallman Hotel in Upper Lake, California
guest room in bungalow at Tallman Hotel in Upper Lake, California


wall decor in lobby at Tallman Hotel in Upper Lake, California
wall decor in lobby at Tallman Hotel in Upper Lake, California


antique safe at check-in desk at Tallman Hotel in Upper Lake, California
antique safe at check-in desk at Tallman Hotel in Upper Lake, California


breakfast room at Tallman Hotel in Upper Lake, California
breakfast room at Tallman Hotel in Upper Lake, California


breakfast buffet at Tallman Hotel in Upper Lake, California
breakfast buffet at Tallman Hotel in Upper Lake, California


breakfast plate at Tallman Hotel in Upper Lake, California
breakfast plate at Tallman Hotel in Upper Lake, California


The complex’s Blue Wing Saloon Restaurant serves a well-priced eclectic menu.  The roasted beet-goat cheese salad and the baked oysters make super starters.  Entrée specialties include barbecued tri tip, seafood cioppino, and my personal favorite--portobello mushroom ravioli--but a variety of burgers are also options.  Local wines are featured, and beers and sarsaparilla are on tap.  Sunday brunch is a particularly popular time and features live music, plus a really good mushroom omelette is on the menu then.  Diners can sit in the cozy interior or, in good weather, outside on a delightful garden patio sheltered by umbrellas and plane trees.  It is hard to believe the saloon is all new construction.  Do take time to admire the long bar made from one seamless piece of straight-grained black walnut wood salvaged from a tree that fell down on the property.  The Blue Wing Blues Festival is held here each August.

exterior of Blue Wing Saloon Restaurant in Upper Lake, California
exterior of Blue Wing Saloon Restaurant in Upper Lake, California


dining room at Blue Wing Saloon Restaurant in Upper Lake, California
dining room at Blue Wing Saloon Restaurant in Upper Lake, California


entertainment in dining room at Blue Wing Saloon Restaurant in Upper Lake, California
entertainment in dining room at Blue Wing Saloon Restaurant in Upper Lake, California


chef Pablo at Blue Wing Saloon Restaurant in Upper Lake, California
chef Pablo at Blue Wing Saloon Restaurant in Upper Lake, California


mushroom omelette at Blue Wing Saloon Restaurant in Upper Lake, California
mushroom omelette at Blue Wing Saloon Restaurant in Upper Lake, California


beet salad at Blue Wing Saloon Restaurant in Upper Lake, California
beet salad at Blue Wing Saloon Restaurant in Upper Lake, California
Blue Wing Saloon & Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


A few doors down, beneath the historic landmark town clock, The Upper Lake Mercantile operates as the hotel’s gift shop in the town’s long-vacant 1921 bank building.  It features huge windows, beautiful wood floors, and high ceilings and purveys an eclectic mix of goods made by local artists and craftspeople.

exterior of Upper Lake Mercantile in Upper Lake, California
exterior of Upper Lake Mercantile in Upper Lake, California


interior of Upper Lake Mercantile in Upper Lake, California
interior of Upper Lake Mercantile in Upper Lake, California


UPPER LAKE is a tad larger than a one-horse town.  Once the end of the stage coach line from Cloverdale, it now holds a wine-tasting bar and several antiques shops.  The berg now has a welcoming town arch over the street and Victorian-style street lights.  Horse-drawn carriage rides are sometimes available.  Highway 20 to Ukiah makes a direct route in or out to Highway 101.


horse-drawn carriage in Upper Lake, California
horse-drawn carriage in Upper Lake, California


More town businesses
Lake County Wine Studio  #9505, (707) 275-8030.  Tasting:  6 wines/$8.  The The walls here feature the work of local artists, and hard-to-find artisan wines from local producers can be tasted.  (Guests of the Tallman hotel receive a free tasting.)

wine-tasting set up at Lake County Wine Studio in Upper Lake, California
wine-tasting set up at Lake County Wine Studio in Upper Lake, California


tasty vintages at Lake County Wine Studio in Upper Lake, California
tasty vintages at Lake County Wine Studio in Upper Lake, California


The cheese from local maker Yerba Santa Goat Dairy & Bodega Goat Cheese  which is made from “free grazing, happy Alpine goats,” is available here.  I had the opportunity to taste some of these fresh and aged goat cheeses, including fresh chevre, semi-soft chevito, and dry aged shepherds cheese.  They were all delicious, but my favorite was the soft fresh version.  They sell almost exclusively at farmers markets, including the one at the Ferry Building in San Francisco.  The farm is open to visits, and when I was there, the herd consisted of 83 females and 2 males.

Yerba Santa Goat Dairy owners at Lake County Wine Studio in Upper Lake, California
Yerba Santa Goat Dairy owners at Lake County Wine Studio in Upper Lake, California


Yerba Santa Goat Dairy cheeses at Lake County Wine Studio in Upper Lake, California
Yerba Santa Goat Dairy cheeses at Lake County Wine Studio in Upper Lake, California


Lavender Blue  #9505, (707) 245-9643.  This sweet shop purveys gifts, plants, and more.

exterior of Lavender Blue shop in Upper Lake, California
exterior of Lavender Blue shop in Upper Lake, California


merchandise at Lavender Blue shop in Upper Lake, California
merchandise at Lavender Blue shop in Upper Lake, California


Mi Chelas Mexican Restaurant  #9475, (707) 275-4065.  L-D Thur-Tu.  Everyone raves about the food here.  I enjoyed an inexpensive, delicious bowl of Azteca soup that was thick with beans and chicken.


Oliveira Antiques  #9515, (707) 275-9408.  This shop features a collection of western art, a stage coach, and guns galore.  The owner sometimes leads an informal, eccentric tour of his homage to the old west.

exterior of Oliveira Antiques shop in Upper Lake, California
exterior of Oliveira Antiques shop in Upper Lake, California