What's great in wine, beer, fine dining,
places to stay, & places to visit
in California State

Sunday, 06 January 2013 02:54

April 1, 2017 Lodi Spring Wine Show

Region: Central Valley     City: Lodi     Contact: www.grapefestival.com

Region: Central Valley     City: Esparto     Contact: www.espartoregionalchamber.com

Region: Central Valley     City: Madera     Contact: www.maderavintners.com

Region: Central Valley     City: Lodi     Contact: www.lodiwineandchocolate.com

Saturday, 10 November 2012 17:04

Beer Central Valley

Sacramento Valley

 

Yuba County

Yuba City

Sutter Buttes Brewing

www.sutterbuttesbrewing.com

 

 

Yolo County

West Sacramento

Broderick Roadhouse

www.broderick1893.com

The Streets of London

www.streetsoflondon.net

Davis

Burgers & Brew

burgersbrew.com

City Hall Tavern

www.sro-inc.com

Davis Graduate, The

www.davisgrad.com

de Vere's Irish Pub

www.deverespub.com

G Street Wunderbar

www.gstreetwunderbar.com

Sudwerk Privatbrauerei Hubsch

www.sudwerk.com

Winters

Berryessa Brewing Taproom

http://berryessabrewingco.com 

Preserve Public House

www.preservedrinkery.com 

Placer County

Lincoln

Chef's Table, The

www.chefdavidstable.com

Knee Deep Brewing Company

http://kneedeepbrewing.com/

Loomis Basin Brewing

www.loomisbasinbrewing.com

Newcastle

Constable Jack's

www.constablejacks.com

Rocklin

Chef's Table, The

www.chefdavidstable.com

Boneshaker Brewery Public House

http://www.boneshakerpub.com/

Roseville

Bar 101

www.bar101roseville.com

BJ's Brewhouse

http://www.bjsrestaurants.com/

Final Gravity

www.finalgravitybeer.com

Gordon Biersch Tavern

www.gordonbiersch.com

Owl Club, The

www.owlclubroseville.com

Perecto Lounge

www.perfectolounge.com

Roseville Brewing Co.

www.rosevillebrewingcompany.com

Yard House

www.yardhouse.com/CA/roseville

 

Sacramento County

Folsom

BJ's Brewery

www.bjsbrewhouse.com

Cellar Wine Bar

www.cellarwinebar.com

Gekkeikan Sake (USA)

http://www.gekkeikan-sake.com/

Manderes

www.manderes.com

Samuel Horne's Tavern

http://samhornes.com

Sudwerk Riverside

www.sudwerkriverside.com

Citrus Heights

Sacramento Brewing Oasis www.sacbrew.com

City of Sacramento

American River Brewing

www.americanriverbrewingcomany.com

Bella Bru Cafe - Natomas

www.bellabrucafe.com

BJ's Brew House

www.bjsbrewhouse.com

Blackbird Kitchen + Bar

www.blackbird-kitchen.com

Bonn Lair

bonnlair.com

Bows & Arrows

www.bowscollective.com

Burgers and Brew

www.burgersbrew.com

Capitol Beer & Tap Room

www.capitolbeer.com

Capitol Garage

www.capitolgarage.com

Coyote Tap House

coyotetaphouse.com

Dad's Kitchen

www.ilovedadskitchen.com

de Vere's Irish Pub

www.deverespub.com

Enotria

www.enotria.com

Extreme Pizza

www.extremepizza.com

Firestone Public House

www.firestonepublichouse.com

Flaming Grill Cafe

www.flaminggrillcafe.com

Fox and Goose

www.foxandgoose.com

Golden Bear

www.goldenbear916.com

Hook & Ladder Manufacturing Co.

www.hookandladder916.com

Hoppy Brewing Company

www.hoppy.com

Hot City Pizza

www.eastsacpizza.com

Kilt Pub

www.kilt-pub.com

Kupros Bistro

www.kuprosbistro.com

La Trattoria Bohemia

http://latrattoriabohemia.com

Low Brau

www.lowbrausacramento.com

Magpie Cafe

www.magpiecafe.com

Mulvaney's B & L

www.culinaryspecialists.com

New Helvetia Brewing Co.

www.newhelvetiabrew.com

OneSpeed Pizza

www.onespeedpizza.com

Panagea Two Brews Cafe

http://pangaeatwobrews.com/

Petes Restaurant & Brewhouse

http://petesrandb.com

Pour House

www.pourhouse.com

Pyramid Alehouse

http://www.pyramidbrew.com/alehouses/sacramento

River City Brewing Company

http://www.rivercitybrewing.net/

Rubicon Brewing Company

www.rubiconbrewing.com

The Shack

www.eastsacshack.com

Shady Lady, The

www.shadyladybar.com

The Porch Restaurant and Bar

www.theporchsacramento.com

The Streets of London

www.streetsoflondon.net

Swabbies

www.swabbies.com

Ten22

www.ten22oldsac.com

Tuli

www.tulibistro.com

Thir13en

www.thir13en.com

 

Elk Grove

BJ's Brewhouse

http://www.bjsrestaurants.com/

 

El Dorado County

El Dorado Hills

33 Handles

www.36handles.com

Pete's Restaurant and Brewery

www.petesrandb.com

 

Solano County

Vacaville

BJ's Brewhouse

ww.bjsbrewhouse.com

Fairfield

Blue Frog Grog and Grill

http://bigbluefrog.com/

 

San Joaquin Valley

 

San Joaquin County

Lodi

Crush Kitchen and Bar

http://www.crushkitchen.com

Lodi Beer Company

http://www.lodibeercompany.com/

Stockton

BJ's Brewery

http://www.bjsbrewhouse.com/

P. Wexford's Pub

http://www.pwexpub.com

The Abbey Trappist Pub

http://abbeytrappistpub.com/

Valley Brewing Company

www.valleybrew.com

 

Stanislaus County

Modesto

St. Stans Brewing Company

www.st-stans.com

Turlock

Dust Bowl Brewing Company

http://www.dustbowlbrewing.com/

 

Merced County

City of Merced

BJ's Brewhouse

http://www.bjsbrewhouse.com

Firehouse Brewpub

www.firehousebrewpub.com

 

Fresno County

Clovis

BC's Pizza and Beer

http://bcspizzaandbeer.com/

Cty of Fresno

BJ's Brewhouse

http://www.bjsrestaurants.com/

Full Circle Brewing Co

www.fullcirclebrewing.com

Sequoia Brewing Company

http://sequoiabrewing.com

Viisalia

Brewbakers Brewing Company

http://www.brewbakersbrewingco.com/

Howie and Son's Pizza Parlor

http://www.howieandsonspizzaparlor.com/

 

Kern County

Bakersfield

BJ's Brewery

http://www.bjsrestaurants.com/

Lengthwise Brewery

http://www.lengthwise.com/

Sandrini's

http://www.sandrinis.com/

Wednesday, 07 November 2012 20:22

Sacramento Named America's Farm-to-Fork Capital

In an effort to foster community pride, celebrate regional farming, and to create further demand for the region as a culinary tourism destination, the Sacramento Region is laying claim to being "America's Farm-to-Fork Capital" and made the announcement at a press conference on October 31, 2012.

Sacramento is positioned to claim this identity because no major city in America is more centrally located amid such a diverse range of high-quality farms, ranches and vineyards.Sacto Farm to Fork Announcement PicmonkeyMayor Kevin Johnson and Sacramento area chefs announce Farm-to-Fork program.

"This recognition as America's Farm-to-Fork Capital isn't something that this region needs to grow into because we've been walking this walk for decades," said Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson. "It is part of who we are and this is our opportunity to embrace that identity, celebrate it locally, and champion it to the rest of the world."

Sacramento is the capital city of the largest producing state of agriculture in the nation and, locally, 70 percent of the region's land is agricultural, forest or other open space. Additionally, the region contains 7,000 to 8,000 acres of boutique farms and provides numerous public sales platforms at more than 50 regional farmers markets, many of which are year-round fixtures.

In fact, Sacramento is home to the largest "Certified Farmers' Market" in California and offers the most ethnically diversified market in both produce offerings and customer demographics.

Local restaurants utilize the abundance of regionally-grown products to create a Farm-to-Fork freshness that's unparalleled in this country. While many local farms ship their products across the country — a process that can take days — regional restaurants can pick up fresh product in the morning and serve it to patrons for lunch and dinner.

"We buy blueberries from Stockton, lamb from Dixon, lavender from Placerville, fresh fish from Sloughhouse and broccoli and cauliflower from Sacramento," said Randall Selland, owner of The Kitchen, Ella and Selland's Market. "There is no other place in the United States that grows and distributes more food for consumers than the Sacramento region does."

Aside from local restaurants, regional farmers provide products to establishments across the United States. Superior Farms in Dixon provides product to restaurants in California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Wisconsin. Snake River Farms beef, which is raised at VanVleck Ranch in eastern Sacramento County, is distributed locally at Corti Bros. Market and nationally in San Francisco, New York, Denver, Chicago, and Los Angeles. Silva Family Farms, located in Yuba City, ships walnuts to New Jersey, Tennessee, Washington, Philadelphia, Dubai, Turkey, China, Korea and Spain.

On the heels of this proclamation is an announcement from Sacramento Convention & Visitors Bureau (SCVB) President & CEO Steve Hammond that Sacramento will host a culinary week in the fall of 2013.The week-long celebration will include events at local farms, at restaurants across the region, and will be anchored by a major festival on Capitol Mall. High-end dinners, wine tastings, other culinary-focused events—and even a cattle drive in downtown Sacramento—will be scheduled throughout the week.

"In 1992, Austin, Texas, became known as the Live Music Capital of the world because the city had more live music venues per capita than any other city. Since then, Austin has embraced this identity and used it to positively brand the city and draw in visitors," said Hammond. "Similarly, Sacramento is being named the America's Farm-to-Fork Capital because we have thousands of acres of boutique farms and year-round local sustainability. This region literally provides tons of food to the rest of the country and it will be the job of the SCVB to market that identity to the rest of the world."

The SCVB is currently in the planning stages for the 2013 event and is collaborating with the regional restaurant and farming community, The California Farm Bureau, The Certified Farmers' Markets, and the Downtown Sacramento Partnership, among others. The branding campaign will be on-going, and the culinary promotions will be an annual celebration.

 

TravMedia.com sources contributed to this article.

 

Planning a visit to the Sacramento area? In Taste California Travel's Resource Directory you'll find links to the websites of hundreds of Lodging and Dining options. Also in the directory arelinks to many "beer-centric" pubs and restaurants, as well as links to nearby wineries.

Old Sugar Mill PicmonkeyEarly fall visitors taste at the Sugar Mill.The Old Sugar Mill wine mall has added two area wineries -- Due Vigne di Famiglia and The Dragon & Chicken, home of Draconis Wines by Matt Powell -- making a total of ten tasting rooms. "This makes us a major U.S. wine destination," according to John Beckman, General Manager of the Mill and president of the Clarksburg Wine Company. They join Carvalho Family Winery, Clarksburg Wine Company, Elevation Ten, Heringer Estates, Merlo Family Vineyards, Rendezvous Winery, Three Wine Company and Todd Taylor Wines.

Beckman said, “When Sacramentans think of wine and wine country, we want them to think of the Old Sugar Mill first. The addition of these two fine wineries just adds to the breadth and depth of our existing and outstanding offerings for our guests. And while we love when folks come out here to spend the day, we are so close to downtown and midtown, you can come out here at the spur of the moment – no advance planning required!”

Due Vigne di Famiglia wines are produced by two area families: the Mussos with a generation of growing Italian varietals in El Dorado County; and the Houle family, which uses Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, and Malbec for classic Cabernet and Meritage bottlings. Musso family wines include the rare Dolcetto and Nebbiolo varieties, plus Primitivo, Barbera and Petite Syrah, a Clarksburg area specialty.Draconis Winery barrell sample Picmonkey Taking Draconis barrel sample.

Draconis by Matt Powell has its first public sales site at the Mill. According to Powell, Draconis has been an "underground winery -- known only to its mailing list -- and for its crafted, handmade wines in the old style" by its Burgundian-trained winemaker. Known for intense and silky smoothness, the wines are made in the "Reductionist" style, specializing in 100 percent Zinfandel, Petite Syrah and Syrah.Beckman added, "Matt Powell is pioneering the use of our large attractive campus by new wineries who will be moving in; it's the first winery not in the Gallery itself. We're seeing the kind of strolling that you find downtown."

The Old Sugar Mill has seen three years of increased traffic for events and winery sales, Beckman said. "We're a go-to site for everyone in the Sacramento area and are drawing from the Bay Area and throughout the state."

The Old Sugar Mill is located at 35265 Willow Avenue in the historic town of Clarksburg, fifteen minutes southwest of the Capitol building in Sacramento. Open seven days a week; individual wineries' hours vary. For further information on wineries and events visit www.oldsugarmill.com.

 

Sources at PRWeb contributed to this article.

 

Editor's note: Visiting wineries in California? Taste California Travel's Resource Directory contains links to the websites of all of the state's wineries, as well as links to thousands of Lodging and Dining options.

Wednesday, 22 August 2012 18:34

Quady Winery Earns Accolades

Life is certainly sweet for one Madera Wine Trail winery known for their sweet dessert wines and their vermouth. Quady Winery earned several accolades recently for their Vya Vermouth and several of their wines.

Vya Vermouth impressed the people at Made in America so much that Quady Winery was nominated for and received an American Treasures Award.

Since its inception in 2008, Made in America has recognized, promoted, and provided assistance to Quady Asst Winemaker Darin Petersen  PicmonkeyDarin Peterson, assistant winemaker at Quady Winery, accepts the American Treasure award at Washington DC reception. American businesses committed to production in the United States. Key to this effort has been providing companies access to resources and expertise outside those traditionally available within their industries.

The American Treasures Awards are presented annually at the American Treasures Cullinary Experience to individuals and small producers in recognition of a singular and significant contribution to our Nation that both preserves and fosters a unique All American craft and tradition. This year’s awards are presented to organic growers and craft producers. The winners were carefully selected and vetted through a deliberative process by a National Advisory Committee consisting of individuals with relevant subject matter expertise. A special Congressional Honorary Steering Committee supports the initiative.

“We’re very proud to be recognized nationally as a unique all-American craft producer,” said Andrew Quady.

Andrew credited the ideal conditions of Madera and his staff with the creation of a product deemed an American Treasure.

“Our part of California, the San Joaquin Valley, is noted for its especially warm climate and rich soils. Certain grape varieties do especially well here. Our business is built on the development, production, and marketing of new wine styles especially suited to grapes from our region. This sets us apart and creates a unique spirit amongst our employees because our business is like no other.”

“We are proud to be designated an American Treasure along with a small selection of craft and organic food producers across the U.S.,” he said.

Andrew said the unique history of the spirit, along with the experiential nature he strives for with the creation, captivated the Made in America judges.

“There are a few other American made vermouths on the market now, but ours appeared almost a decade earlier and the Vya has flavors and history like no other. I created Vya with the idea that vermouth could be appreciated in a similar manner to wine: as a full sensory experience, for me, it’s like aromatherapy.”

According to Made In America, The American Treasures Awards are presented annually in July at the American Treasures Cullinary Experience to individuals and small producers in recognition of a singular and significant contribution to our Nation that both preserves and fosters a unique All-American craft and tradition.

This year’s awards were presented to organic growers and craft producers. The winners were carefully selected and vetted through a deliberative process by a National Advisory Committee consisting of individuals with relevant subject matter expertise. A special Congressional Honorary Steering Committee supports the initiative.

Not to be out done, three of Quady’s wines received medals at the Lone Star International Wine Competition.

Quady’s 2010 Elysium won Best of Show/Grand Star and a Double Gold. The 2011 Red Electra took silver and the Flore de Moscato earned a bronze medal.

“It’s almost a double reward,” said Quady winemaker Michael Blaylock.

“Everybody here strives to make sure it’s the best quality we can achieve in a given year and we feel great about giving it our all. Then when we are recognized elsewhere and we see the quality on the shelf, we feel a sense of pride. All of this is made right here in our hometown, Madera California, and for me, the main thing is I’m still having fun,” he said.

To learn more about Vya Vermouth, visit www.vya.com. For more on Quady’s wines, visit www.QuadyWinery.com.

(TravMedia.com sources contributed to this article)

Editor's note: Readers interested in learning more about Quady and other Madera County wineries can find links to their websites in the Central Valley section of Taste California Travel's Resource Directory. Also listed are links to hundreds of lodging and dining options in that part of California.

 

Children have a new place to play and explore since the Sacramento Children's Museum (SCM) opened in August 2011. Located in Rancho Cordova, a Sacramento suburb, SCM's 7,000-square foot space includes a main exhibit area that showcases permanent and temporary exhibits, a special area for babies and toddlers, a creative art studio, a party room and a resource center.Sacramento Childrens Museum Logo Picmonkey

"This announcement symbolizes the beginning of a new and exciting asset for the community," said Alan Godlove, President of the SCM Board of Directors. Godlove went on to say that SCM is "a place where imaginations can roam, confidence can grow, and families can experience the power of play in a safe and welcoming environment."

SCM features various exhibit areas to encourage children's imaginations and prompt them to test, tinker, laugh, and wonder. Special shows, programs, and speakers will complement the exhibits. Although the Museum will appeal to visitors of all ages, it is designed primarily for children from birth to age eight and their families.

Museum components include:

Waterways promote wet activities such as building boats, creating whirlpools, and experimenting with water flow.

My Neighborhood has a produce stand so that children can learn the value of local produce and healthy eating. There's also a small house where children can "cook" and play dress up. This exhibit will rotate throughout the year (a mercado with Latin American food, a Russian market with Russian products, etc.) so that we can serve as a platform for cultural awareness of the incredible diversity of the Sacramento region.

World Market will help build cultural awareness and celebrate families and traditions as it relates to each individual family and child.

Raceways demonstrate the basic principles of objects in motion, such as why people don't fall out of a rollercoaster when riding upside down.

Airways include balls and scarves that swoosh through over 100 feet of large, clear tubing as children discover how objects move through the multiple pathways.

Studio of the Arts provides opportunities for self-expression and creativity, using a variety of materials.

Baby Bloomers offers safe exploration activities designed specifically for babies and toddlers.

Resource Center is a source of parenting and child development information for parents, childcare providers, and other caregivers.

Party Room is an area that can be rented for birthday and holiday celebrations.

The idea for a children's museum in Sacramento began with Kathleen Palley, a local mother and teacher, who saw a need for inspiring learning through interactivity. She started SCM, a non-profit corporation, and soon received support from local businesses, educators, librarians, professionals, children's advocates, and other family oriented organizations throughout the region. The Junior League of Sacramento, the City of Rancho Cordova and Roebbelen Construction are the three Founding Partners of the Children's Museum.

"A children's museum is about the future. When a community makes the commitment to create a children's museum, they are opening their hands to hold and care for their future. Those future leaders, artists, dreamers, scientists, farmers, parents, and explorers who are today's children," said Palley, SCM Founder.

Carl Sagan, the famed American astronomer and strong proponent of the children's museum movement, once said: "These exhibits do not replace instruction in school or at home, but they awaken and excite. A great science museum inspires a child to read a book, or take a course, or return to the museum again to engage in a process of discovery—and, most important, to learn the method of scientific discovery." (The Demon Haunted World-Science as a Candle in the Dark, 1996)

More information is available at www.sackids.org

(TravMedia.com sources contributed to this article.)

Friday, 10 August 2012 01:05

Memories on Fulton

by Dan Clarke

 

Cars used to be exciting. But that was a long time ago.

Automobiles have evolved since I first began noticing them. If reliability is the standard by which you judge, then the modern products are much better. They're reliable. They get better gas mileage. They might last for 200,000 miles—maybe longer. And, if truth be told, most of them are faster than cars that seemed pretty quick when I first started driving.

All that said, there isn't much produced these days that stirs the blood. You hardly ever see a convertible and all sedans tend to resemble the ubiquitous Toyota Camry (a solid and reliable vehicle, well worth its price, but essentially a soul-less conveyance). It wasn't always thus.P8042103 PicmonkeyNot a Toyota.

Reportedly, my first words,“car keys,” were spoken as the family was about to drive away from my grandmother's house in San Mateo. It's likely the car keys referenced were for the ignition of my father's blue 1947 Dodge, purchased shortly after the war when new cars were still in short supply. Later, we moved to Sacramento and my father traded in the Dodge on a '51 Oldsmobile Rocket 88 from Foulks Motors. It was another four-door sedan, uninspiring pale green in color. But it was a powerful-for-the-time V-8. And the automatic transmission had a passing gear, so that if you really stomped on the accelerator you'd get a surge of power that might be critical in overtaking a slower car on a two-lane highway. After a couple of Volkswagens purchased in the mid-50s, Dad returned to Detroit Iron in the form of a 1959 Chevy Bel Air. Once again, it was a stodgy four-door, but it was an unusual and attractive rose color and did have a lively 283-cubic inch V-8.

As an eighteen-year-old college student with a job and moving out on his own, I accepted my father's offer to tag along when I went to slightly seedy area to check out a '53 Ford Victoria, which was about to become my own first car. Wow, a two-door hardtop, with automatic transmission and a flat-head V-8. It had a sporty black roof over body of teal green and seemed in good shape for a 10-year-old car. For my $325 I was about to start living large.

50 Ford Conv Picmonkey1950 Ford Convertible.Hearing that California Automobile Museum was to sponsor its fourth annual Sacramento CarCruise, which would mean a parade up Fulton Avenue followed by an informal car show, I began to reminisce. Fulton Avenue was a major commercial street in the post-war suburbs of my youth. I grew up in the neighborhood and have many memories.

By the time I arrive, the Highway Patrol has actually closed a half-mile stretch of this busy, four-lane road. Participating cars are already parked along the sides of the road and in lots in front of businesses and offices.

It is an all-comers event which draws proud owners of cars of no narrow definition. There are antiques, low-riders, hot rods, classics, customs and muscle cars. It is an everyman's—and everywoman's—activity.

The first car I see is a '50 Ford, a classic body design in its most Volvo 544 PicmonkeyThe 544--more function than flash.exciting convertible form. Though my '53 was a sleeker and more modern body style, they are kin. Across the street is a white Volvo 544, a bulbous design for the late 1950's and early '60s. It resembled a '46 Ford, only smaller. I'd owned a white 444, the earlier model which was nearly identical except for a split windshield. After a couple of years of good service, I traded that Volvo in on a red Triumph TR-4 at Von Housen Motors, located in those days on Fulton Ave about a couple of miles to the south.

The event organizers have hired a live band to play music of the '50s and '60s. They sound pretty good, especially since none of the musicians was alive when the tunes they are playing were popular.

Ah yes, memories are coming back. Just across from the street from the Von Housen's dealership was the Gilded Cage, a bar where a young man could hear jazz musicians of the day like Vince Guaraldi, Les McCann and Bola Sete. Less than 100 yards to the north was a Lincoln-Mercury dealer where my Dad and I had gone to see the new Lincoln Continental Mark II. Not that we could afford it, of course. We were just window shopping. The car cost $10,000—a lot of money in 1956 when you could have a new Cadillac for something less than $6,000.

There are some young people oohing and aahing over the cars of their parents' and grandparents' eras, and it is good to see them, but most of the CarCruise crowd seems considerably older. And there are a lot of smiles on their faces.

56 Nash Ambassador PicmonkeyThe Ambassador comes equipped with a bed.A 1956 Nash Ambassador with the original white, grey and pink color scheme draws considerable attention. Even sporting trendy colors of that era, a Nash would never have been on any boy's wish list in the 1950's. Not even nerds would not want to be seen in one. However, a Nash had one practical application. For years, these cars had front seats that could recline all the way so that they'd be flat and flush with the back seat, thereby making a serviceable bed. The cruise night Ambassador has the passenger side folded down to demonstrate this feature. A fellow about 25 years old stares at it for a moment, then turns to his girlfriend and says, “Hey, this would be good at the drive in.” I scan the faces around us to see if there is any concurrence from the grey-hair crowd. There is no response at the moment; perhaps I'd been the only one to hear him. But I'd like to believe that before the evening is over, a grandmother will look in the window of that Nash, smile a wistful smile and remember that yes, it was good at a drive in.58 Impala PicmonkeyImpala looks stock, but for the wheels.

There is a gorgeous 1958 Impala just like the ones I gawked at in the showroom of the Lew Williams dealership at the corner of Fulton and El Camino. There is a '59 on display, also. While it shares the same oddly-horizontal fins of our family sedan of that vintage, being a convertible, it is way cooler.

A brown '70 or '71 Coupe de Ville is parked, top down, in front of the now-defunct Buggy Whip restaurant. Many years ago I had climbed into a brown '52 or '53 Cadillac sedan in front of the Coral Reef, a popular Polynesian place which used to occupy the now-vacant lot half a block away. The restaurant's owner was one of my father's more prosperous friends and we were on the way to the Memorial Auditorium to watch Gorgeous George wrestle. A luxurious ride, sports (of a sort) and flamboyant showmanship—it all contributed to a heady and memorable night for a nine-year-old.

Crossing back to the east side of Fulton I see a cluster of Studebakers, these of the “Orphan” category, apparently Car Museum-speak for companies no longer in existence. There is a 1915, which is about a decade younger than that manufacturer's Phaeton that my grandfather bought when the family moved “down the Peninsula” from San Francisco. There is a low-mileage example of the 1963 Avanti, a Raymond Loewy-designed car that combined high performance with really great looks. It's sad that this landmark automobile wasn't enough to save a manufacturer on its way out of existence.

Chrysler 300E MB 220SE PicmonkeyChrysler 300E and Mercedes Benz 220SE.Twenty-five yards to the north are a 1959 Chrysler 300 E and a 1960 Mercedes Benz 220 SE, both gorgeous convertibles. It's possible that either could have been parked in this same spot when they were new and I was working as a busboy at Scheidel's, a German restaurant whose former parking lot they were now occupying.

I spy a '55 Buick. It's a handsome sedan and I compliment the apparent owner, a man about my age, on its appearance. He tells me it's a Century—the Buick model with the lighter body, but the bigger engine of the Super and Roadmaster models. I smile and remember that's exactly the reason I really was interested in a '55 Buick Century convertible (white body and top, with red and white leather upholstery, as I recall). Test drove it and almost bought it, but not quite (probably called for a little more money than I had at age 19 or 20). It isn't the first time this Saturday night I say to myself, “wish I had that car now.”

Almost back to Town & Country Village where my own car is parked, I notice Chevy Camaros across the street. Well, one last stop to look at some things a bit more modern while I make the transition to 2012, I decide.

Among these beautifully maintained Camaros is a handsome example of the 1969 vintage in a metallic silver-gray that catches my eye. Or maybe it is the tall blonde woman who is standing next to it. It turns out she is the owner and she tells me all about her pride and joy, even pulling out a photo album to show pictures of various stages of its restoration. In this fine Camaro, the woman has a tangible reminder of some of her own great memories and I appreciate her sharing them with me.

Getting into my own car I remember when my boyhood pal Alan returned from the South with a new red and black Camaro. It was the debut year for this GM challenger to the well established Ford Mustang. But it was better looking than the Mustang and had gobs of power. And it had an 8-track stereo. How cool were we?

Everybody who sees cars such as those at the 2012 CarCruise, sees them through his own prism. Memories will differ, but most will be happy recollections. I'll look forward to the 2013 edition of this event, but in the meantime I'll return to the museum on Sacramento's Front Street. Further information can be had at the website www.calautomuseum.org.

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