Blogs from California, United States, North America


North America » United States » California » San Francisco » North Beach November 23rd 2023

For those of you who have never visited the famous Buena Vista Cafe in North Beach/Fisherman's Wharf, this story ought to entertain you. Maybe San Francisco didn’t invent Irish coffee, per se, but the city by the Bay sure popularized this cozy, whipped-creamy, whiskey-spiked coffee drink. The story goes: one November evening in 1952, Pulitzer-Prize-winning travel writer Stanton Delaplane was sitting at the bar of the Buena Vista Café on Hyde Street when the café’s owner, Jack Koeppler, challenged Delaplane to help duplicate the original, which the writer had tasted at Ireland’s Shannon Airport. They tried one concoction after the next, not quite getting it right. Finally, Koeppler returned to Shannon to ask the original inventor, Chef Joe Sheridan, for advice. Eventually, the recipe was perfected. Turns out there are two secrets: The cream needs to ... read more
The BV view and cable car
BV bartender

North America » United States » California » Napa November 12th 2023

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North America » United States » California » Napa November 11th 2023

Have you ever noticed that most other wine regions compare themselves to the Napa Valley? For good reason, Napa Valley wines are still the gold standard. And while these other areas have excellent, even award-winning wines, Napa is the glamor name through the years. Having tasted wine in Europe, South America, Africa, and Australia, I always hear Napa as the "grand" comparison. I much prefer Napa Valley as well, just because of familiarity, and comfort. I know where to go, and what to eat. I have cycled through the Valley since the 70s. I love the vibe, despite the ridiculous prices of both wine and tasting options. Go online, and it is not unusual to find wine tasting options at some Napa wineries over $100!!!!! But best travel buddy, Mike and I were just talking this ... read more
4 sparklings at Domaine
Sunshine Cafe, Napa

For me, I would say the biggest change is using Uber instead of cabs and buses. I still prefer public transportation whenever it is efficient, timely, and convenient. I love using the metros/subways in places like NYC, DC, Chicago, Paris, Athens, Munich, Seattle, SF Bay Area, London. I also value time over money, in most cases. Why spend half a day or more to get somewhere, when an easy one-hour flight will work, for a reasonable price. I still enjoy the train, especially in Japan and Europe. Tour guides are valuable resources when hitting a new city. They seem to know enough inside information to help me get to the "next level" of enjoyment, food, and culture. Apartments and Air BnB allow for more room, washers and dryers, even decent kitchens for some easy meals. But ... read more

North America » United States » California » Los Angeles » LAX October 21st 2023

My dear husband, who is about turn 50 but was acting 5, woke me up this morning around 3:30am telling me he doesn’t want to go on this trip and he doesn’t want to see Hawaii and he isn’t going. I firmly reminded him that he basically forced me to go to China and I loved it so he’s going to Hawaii and he’s going to love it, too. He mumbled on and on about not going and I got tired of his nonsense and got-up and left the bedroom. I shut the door and finished packing our carry-ons. By the time I was finished, he was snoring and it was 5am. I got in the recliner in the living room and slept for an hour with the dog on my lap. I got up and ... read more
Two double doubles and fries

North America » United States » California » Berkeley October 7th 2023

Could this be my final Pac 12 football game? Could the famous Bill Walton phrase, "Conference of Champions" cease to exist? Will the epic battles against USC and UCLA come to an end? Saturday, I am in Berkeley for our Pac 12 game against the Oregon State Beavers, one of the last two schools left in the old Pac 12. I don't think it will be the same when we play North Carolina State, or Wake Forest in the future. I fondly remember attending several Big Games. And the Greatest Play in the history of college football (the 5 lateral, trombone player TD run). And I loved watching the UCLA Bruins basketball teams with Coach Wooden, and his many star players, like Walton, Jabbar, Marques, Lucius, Goodrich, and Wilkes. Yes, the big University money grab is ... read more
Bancroft Library
Me and Webb, Golden Bears
Sather Tower, aka The Campanile

North America » United States » California » San Francisco » Union Square September 23rd 2023

I wrote last week about the city, San Francisco, that many of us fell in love with during the 60s. Today, everything is much different, challenging, dangerous, filthy, politically divided, and in many areas, a quagmire. First some facts (from A Piece of Travel) to back me up: The rising cost of living and lack of new housing developments has led to an increase in the number of unhoused people on San Francisco’s streets. url= drug use among the unhoused population is commonly blamed for the uptick in city-wide property damage and petty theft. As of 2022, San Francisco has the third-highest rate of homelessness in the nation, after Oakland and Los Angeles. According to the url= read more
Dirty and sad SF
Our beautiful city

North America » United States » California September 22nd 2023

Dear Blog Readers, So begins our babymoon! Normally we'd try and get away in November (such as Barbados last year!) but brought it forward and decided to jet off to sunny California! Bookings were late but we had a rough idea of where we wanted to head out so let's take you on the journey with us! Firstly, the flight to LA was lovely, getting to experience BA's Club Suite was delightful - a fully flat bed and decent grub soothed the jet lag woes! Once at LA's airport, we found ourselves to the Avis rental car place, which had a queue nearly as long as the security/immigration, and our expected Ford Focus turned out to be a Dodge Charger! Quickly getting used to the automatic gearing and sheer size of the car, we found our ... read more

North America » United States » California » San Francisco » Union Square September 17th 2023

I started visiting San Francisco as a teenager in the Sixties. Our high school honor society rewarded us with a three-day weekend in the late winter/early spring. We took the yellow school bus to the City, often stopping at places like Cal, Stanford, IBM, and the Ford assembly plant. But the highlight was always the City itself. We stayed in an old hotel (Golden State Hotel) on Powell and Ellis Streets, near the cable car turntable, Woolworth's, and the famous John's Grill. I still recall sharing the bathroom with an adjoining room. I doubt anything like that exists any longer. But we enjoyed being on our own, away from our small town, and determined to act like sophisticated kids in the big City. The memories are too numerous to mention, but I will relay some of ... read more
Sears Fine Food on Powell

North America » United States » California » Napa Valley September 15th 2023

"I only drink champagne on two occasions, when I am in love, and when I am not" -Coco Chanel (how true!) Older article from Winespeed about champagne and sparkling wines. To celebrate today’s 234th anniversary of the storming of the Bastille (a turning point in the French Revolution), consider popping open one of the most beautiful Champagne bottles ever designed—Perrier-Jouët’s Art Nouveau-style “flower bottle.” Decorated with enameled anemones, the bottle was first designed in 1902 by glassmaker Emile Gallé as an homage to La Belle ... read more
Domaine Carneros spread
Love Taittinger

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