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

Thursday, 01 December 2016 13:04

Christmas Day in San Francisco

By Tyer Cohn

December is a beautiful time to visit San Francisco—just don’t expect to see snow on the ground. No matter how cold California natives might find the weather, Dec. 25 in San Francisco is guaranteed to be warmer than at least 38 other states.

Monday, 15 August 2016 18:23

Best San Francisco Restaurants in Hotels

Chef Michael Rotondo at Parallel 37 PicmonkeyChef Michael Rotondo of Parallel 37

TASTE News Service, August 16, 2016 - You're headed to San Francisco for its iconic views and signature swagger. The rumors suggest there's nothing like an epic helicopter tour over the bay followed by drinks in Central Market . . . and the rumors are true.

Cable Car PicmonkeyCable car ride is a must for SF visit

By Patrick Rodgers

Just because the price of craft cocktails is steadily climbing doesn’t mean there’s no fun to be had for the budget-conscious traveler. Here are 10 fun ways to experience the city without breaking the bank.

Wednesday, 08 June 2016 17:10

See the Golden Gate Bridge From Every Angle

Golden Gate Bridge North Tower Night PicmonkeyThe North Tower by Night

TASTE News Service, June 9, 2016 - San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge is one of the most famous, photographed and beloved landmarks in the world. Yet as popular as it is, there are several things that most people don't know about the graceful span and all the ways to experience it.

By Dan Rosenbaum

Bay to Breakers crowd scene from Yelp PicmonkeyThere's a little congestion at the start

May 5, 2016 - Bay to Breakers is a race the entire city of San Francisco comes out for, even if people aren’t running. The race, to be run on Sunday morning, May 15, has been a tradition since 1912. It brings out some of the best people-watching opportunities, from centipede runners to off-the-wall costumes that people think up. You don’t want to miss them. Here are the best places to watch the best of Bay to Breakers.

Fort Point Natl Parks SvcBy David Armstrong

May 2, 2016 - Fort Point, a Civil War-era fortress straddled by the Golden Gate Bridge, rose in 1861 on the site of an abandoned Spanish fort beside the chokepoint of the Golden Gate Strait. Its mission: protect San Francisco from Confederate warships. The red brick fortress was formidable, bristling with 140 soldiers manning 65 cannons behind 7-foot-thick walls. All to no purpose; the Rebel raiders never came.

Perennial owners PicmonkeyKaren Leibowitz and Anthony Myint of Perennial

By Marcia Gagliardi

The restaurant scene in San Francisco continues to grow, with new openings happening faster than diners can keep up, making the “restaurants to try” list for locals ever-changing. 2016 is no exception to that list.

Here are nine restaurants to seek out in 2016:

Paella at Dashe Cellars PicmonkeyPreparing just a little paella at Dashe Cellars

TASTE News Service November 1, 2015 - Visit Oakland, the city's destination marketing organization, has announced the debut of the Oakland Urban Wine Trail, showcasing 10 wineries within the city's limits. The wineries cover a 10-mile radius throughout Oakland and the trail is walkable and easily accessible by public transportation.

What makes Oakland's trail unique? Variety in an already different location. Oakland's urban wineries are housed in renovated warehouses and offers visitors tasting rooms in industrial neighborhoods, artist community spaces, and even waterfront locations. Oakland vintners source their grapes from throughout California and bring a unique Oakland flavor to the trail, influenced by their different backgrounds and winemaking experiences.

Monday, 18 August 2014 19:19

Three Perfect Days in Pacifica

Pacifica scene PicmonkeyJust south of San Francisco, but a different scene

TASTE News Service August 18, 2014 – Located just 15 minutes from San Francisco, the beach-front town of Pacifica is an ideal destination for a quick three-day getaway.

While there are so many attractions and things to do in Pacifica, it's important to build in plenty of quiet time to unplug, unwind and chill. So, take it easy and understand that this list of suggestions for three perfect days in Pacifica is merely a summary of some of the visitors' favorite pastimes.

Day One

- Check into one of six hotels, there's something for everyone's taste and budget.

- Enjoy lunch at Nick's and be sure to order the signature grilled crab sandwiches or one of the hand-cut steaks..

- Take a guided Silicon Segway tour around the town and along the ocean bluffs to get your bearings and background of the area.

- To rejuvenate, take a brief power nap or leisurely walk along Rockaway Beach.

- Have a pre-dinner glass of wine, complemented by live music at A Grape in the Fog.

- Book a table with a spectacular, panoramic view for the sunset and dinner at Moonraker Restaurant, Pacifica's find dining restaurant.

Day Two

-First thing in the morning, head out to the Pacifica Pier with fishing gear, crab trap, tackle and bait, which are all available for rent at Coastside Bait & Tackle. They also provide instruction about set-up needs to catch fish and crab (in season). As a public pier, a fishing license isn't required.

-For a hearty breakfast, check out the menu at Valamar Station, which features large portions of the best, freshest fare.-Hike/walk the gentle path of the new Devils Slide Trail. Interpretive signage and stunning views of the Pacific are the focus.

-Enjoy a spot of tea and light snack at Lovey's Tea Shop where the mismatched china and quirky décor are easy on the eyes. The options for tea are out of this world and the menu features everything from hearty pub fare to gluten-free options…and all the tea you can drink.

Bar Craneshot Front PicmonkeyPisco Bar at Puerto 27 offers great beach view -Rest up with a quick nap or read a book on the beach.

-For dinner, head to the new Puerto 27 Peruvian Kitchen and Pisco Bar and be sure to sample a variety of menu items, tapas style.

-Check out who's performing in town at www.pacificaperformances.org. The theatre features everything from opera to tango, blues and folk.

Day Three

-Enjoy breakfast at the Salada Beach Café where choices range from healthy to hearty.

-Take a private art class with Janet Barker on one of Pacifica's dramatic beaches. Be sure to set up your appointment with this “art-trepreneur” ahead of time. This is an ideal activity for those that want to bring home their painting as a memento from their Pacifica getaway.

-Lunch al fresco at the Surf Spot and enjoy fresh seafood dishes and salads.

-Then, as the getaway winds down, take a pick from the several adventure options…a leisurely hike at Mori Point; powering up and down some of the most intriguing mountain bike terrain in California; paddle boarding at Linda Mar Beach; hitting the links at the Alister MacKenzie-designed Sharp Park Golf Course; or surfing the popular beaches of Pacifica (surf lessons are available for those that need a refresher).

Pacifica Lodging

Pacifica offers six lodging options in the budget to moderate price range and all are within walking distance to Pacifica's beaches. Four are located at Rockaway Beach. The largest with 97 guest rooms is the Best Western Plus Lighthouse Hotel, a full-service hotel situated on Rockaway Beach with spacious accommodations, beautiful ocean views, a swimming pool and the upscale Moonraker restaurant. The Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites Pacifica provides very comfortable accommodations with ocean views and a complimentary hot Express Start Breakfast Bar. Offering a dash of Victorian charm is the pet-friendly Pacifica Motor Inn and adjacent to Nick's Restaurant is the Sea Breeze Motel, which is very convenient for those looking to dance the night away at Nick's.  Situated across from Linda Mar Beach is another full service hotel called the Pacifica Beach Hotel. Under new ownership, the hotel now includes several remodeled rooms, offering spectacular ocean view rooms, Jacuzzi tubs, indoor swimming pool and the new Peruvian Restaurant, Puerto 27. Further north near Sharp Park is Americas Best Value Inn, which is a short walk from Pacifica Pier and the golf course.

Editor's note: More information about Pacifica is available at visitpacifica.com If you're thinking of visiting this coastside area, visit the San Francisco & Bay Area listings in Taste California Travel's Resource Directory. There you'll find links to the websites of hundreds of Lodging and Dining options, as well as links to craft beer specialists in the area and to nearby wineries.

Wednesday, 13 August 2014 10:53

Santa Clara Valley Wine Trail To Be Unveiled

Santa Clara poster - wine trail weekend Picmonkey

TASTE News Service August 13, 2014 - Santa Clara Valley’s 20-plus wineries will soon benefit from the visibility of a new signage program directing visitors throughout one of the state’s oldest viticultural regions.

Earlier this year, the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to adopt the Santa Clara Valley Wine Trail Route. It will feature 70-plus directional signs bearing the logo of the Wineries of Santa Clara Valley that will guide visitors to South County wineries.

Supervisor Mike Wasserman, President of the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors, commented, "I believe strongly in promoting our County's assets, including our agricultural heritage. After hearing from our wine community that there was a strong desire to establish a wine route, we worked together to make it happen."

According to Greg Richtarek, president of the Wineries of Santa Clara Valley, a 21-member organization, “Many other wine regions already enjoy the significant boost in tourism enhanced by clear, attractive signage. As the ‘forgotten AVA’ that is often omitted from maps depicting the state’s viticulture regions, it’s gratifying to have long overdue and proper recognition for the Santa Clara Valley.”

The official unveiling of the Santa Clara Valley Wine Trail will take place on Friday, August 22, 2014, with a ribbon cutting and news conference, to be held at 10am at Guglielmo Winery, the oldest continuously family owned and operated wineries in the region, dating back to 1925.

This will be followed by a media bus tour to Morgan Hill Cellars, Thomas Kruse, Fortino Winery and Kirigin Cellars, where additional signs will be unveiled. All are among the original wineries in the region.

The public will have an opportunity to cruise the new Wine Trail on August 23 and 24, when an official “Santa Clara Valley Wine Trail Celebration” will be held at participating wineries. Tickets are $40 and can be purchased at participating wineries and the Gilroy Welcome Center. See santaclarawines.com for more information.

Santa Clara County’s Valley’s wine trail signage is the result of combined efforts by the County of Santa Clara, the cities of Morgan Hill and Gilroy, along with the Wineries of Santa Clara Valley Wine association, whose members brainstormed the wine trail idea and will pay for the installation and maintenance of any replacement or new signs needed along the SCV Wine Trail route in the future.

Jane Howard, Executive Director of the Gilroy Welcome Center, said, “Our local wineries are truly ‘hidden gems,’ so we are thrilled that these new signs will help make it easier for out-of-town visitors to find them! The wineries are a huge boost to tourism, bringing more people to discover the world-class dining, lodging, and other outstanding recreation opportunities that the entire area has to offer.”

Morgan Hill Mayor, Steve Tate, concurred, saying, "The wine trail is an important component of our tourism effort to promote South Santa Clara County as a weekend destination for residents all along the Peninsula from San Francisco south to King City. We want people to think of us as the closest get-away."

Wine trail signage will guide motorists in a loop through South County, along Watsonville Road, Hecker Pass Highway and the east sides of Gilroy, San Martin and Morgan Hill. Branches off the main trail will direct vehicles to more remote wineries, and signs reminding motorists “Don’t Drink and Drive” will be installed at key locations along the route.

Visitors will also discover a wealth of farms in the region offering a variety of produce for sale on a seasonal basis. www.countrycrossroadsmap.com

About the Santa Clara AVAIt has been documented that the Santa Clara Valley was the first planting of premium vines in California, from European cuttings, dating back to 1852. This makes Santa Clara Valley the oldest premium wine growing region in the state. For more information on the region, visit santaclarawines.com

Editor's note: Planning to discover Santa Clara's wine country firsthand? In the SF & Bay Area listings at Taste California Travel's Resource Directory you will find links to the websites of hundreds of Lodging and Dining options, as well as links to wineries and craft beer purveryors.

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