August 30, 2008

Novel Destinations book documents "Literary Landmarks from Jane Austen's Bath to Ernest Hemingway's Key West"

This subtitle of Novel Destinations is "Literary Landmarks from Jane Austen's Bath to Ernest Hemingway's Key West." It's the perfect tome to pore over for inspiration for a themed vacation--perhaps you'll want to visit Beatrix Potter's stomping grounds in England's Lake District, as I did last year (read my article)--or just to fantasize about where you wish your were. The book also lists related places to stay and dine, and with its guidance you can do as little or as much related to an author as you like. The delicious fact that it is a hard cover means you'll keep it on your reference shelf for a long, long time.

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August 24, 2008

Willits, California: Loose Caboose Cafe; restaurant review

Loose Caboose Cafe  10 Wood St./Hwy. 101, (707) 459-1434. M-Sat 10-4; $. Reservations advised. No cards.

 Folks sometimes get loose as a goose relaxing at this simple old-time cafe filled with locals. A collection of train memorabilia is displayed throughout. Seating is either indoors at tables and in tall-back wood booths or outside on an entrance patio. Service is casual--in Styrofoam cups and on paper plates--and food is simple--hot New York- and Kansas City-style subs made to order, dogs, salads, pizza, soup and chili, and milkshakes.

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updated August 3, 2015

Millbrae, California: Shanghai Dumpling Shop; restaurant review

Shanghai Dumpling Shop  455 Broadway, 1 blk. W of El Camino Real, (650) 697-0682. L-D daily; $. No reservations.

 Some people who visit this small cafe manage to snag one of the booths, which are particularly comfortable after the usual wait to get in. The specialty dumplings are made fresh in the small kitchen and include Shanghai steamed pork dumplings and Beijing-style boiled chives dumplings. Rice rolls, an assortment of rice and noodle dishes, and typical Chinese dishes round out the extensive menu.

A few doors down, Dean’s Produce (461 Broadway, (650) 692-1042.) displays colorful produce outside and offers plenty more inside along with exotic imported goods. More shops line the street.

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August 11, 2008

San Francisco, California: Baraka (CLOSED); restaurant review

Baraka  CLOSED  288 Connecticut St./18th St., Potrero Hill, (415) 255-0370; . D daily; $$$. Reservations advised.

Retaining remnants of its former life as a Moroccan restaurant, this popular spot features deep rose-rouge walls, red velvet banquettes, and copper-topped tables. The short-but-interesting menu includes a warm pistachio-crusted goat cheese appetizer that is a must along with a side of grilled flatbread and sesame zahatar sauce. Among the winning entrees are slow-baked local halibut atop a warm tomato and bread salad and braised beef cheeks with baby spinach. Esoteric items such as seared octopus and roasted beef bone marrow are also options, as is a vegetarian entrĂ©e—perhaps a wild mushroom-polenta dish. Cocktails include an array of martinis and a very good mojito, and among the housemade desserts are yummy cinnamon sugar-dusted bomboloni (dense donut holes), granitas, and an unusual Moroccan mint tea with floating pine nuts.

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Redwood City, California: Amelia's (CLOSED); restaurant review

Amelia’s  CLOSED  2042 Broadway St./Jefferson, downtown, (650) 368-1390. B-L-D daily; $. No cards.

 This casual spot offers an extensive menu that includes unusual Salvadoran pupusas with more than a dozen fillings (several are vegetarian) plus more familiar Mexican tacos and burritos. Flautas, sopitos, and fajitas are also among the choices. Agua fresca here is a blending of fresh fruits topped with chopped fruit and a snippet of watercress. Order at the window in back, then keep hunger at bay with complimentary chips and delicious housemade salsas. Seating is in a large, pleasant interior space and also outside on the sidewalk.

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Pescadero, California: Harley Farms; things to do

Harley Farms  205 North St., (800) 394–2939, (650) 879-0480. Tours Sat-Sun at 11 & 1, by reservation. $20, 6-10 $10.

This 9-acre dairy goat farmstead (this term means cheese is made only from milk produced on this farm) offers a 2-hour behind-the-scenes tour that includes meeting some of the 200-plus curious American Alpine goats, milking one, and learning how to make goat cheese. Cheese tasting occurs in a rustic hayloft. Spring is kidding season. Guide Ryan Andrus says, “Sheep are dumb. Goats are smarter, noticeably smarter.”

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image c2008 Carole Terwilliger Meyers