Posts Tagged ‘California’

Cadillac Bar and Grill, Market Square, 44 9th St, San Francisco, California, USA

I had not long arrived in San Francisco with friends when we realised we did not know of a good local restaurant to go to for dinner. So, did we google it? No, we are old school, so we asked for a recommendation from our hotel reception. It was a good one. We were recommended to the Mexican restaurant, the Cadillac Bar and Grill, Market Square, 44 9th St, San Francisco, California, USA.

cadillac outside

We arrived a bit early for dinner so atarted the evening with margaritas for the ladies and beers for the guys. We had taco chips and salsa and ordered guacamole too. Lovely!

cadillac inside

Access to the restaurant is easy for those with disabilities, although some of the tables may be too close together to get a wheelchair past. The restrooms were clean and the service was good, although the waiter did pressure us to order dinner earlier than we wanted to. We resisted the pressure.

cadillac waiter in

 

The restaurant filled up quickly so we decided to eat there and were pleased that we did. I had a vegetarian burrito. My husband had a combination platter while our friends shared a sea food sharing platter.

cadillac musicians in

The meal was delicious and very filling. Only my husband made it to desert for a chocolate brownie. We thoroughly enjoyed our meal and the atmosphere of the Cadillac Bar and Grill which included music  minstrels. I recommend it and will certainly be back.

The History

The San Francisco Cadillac Bar Restaurant is a legendary establishment. Its beginnings can be traced back to the original Mexican Cadillac Bar which opened in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico in 1926. Back in the early 80’s, several partners decided to bring this concept to San Francisco where they went to work and converted a warehouse into a restaurant in the South of Market neighborhood.  When they opened the doors in 1982, the partners made sure the restaurant had an authentic Mexican look including many features from the original Cadillac Bar such as the red painted ceilings, the high back bar, white linens on tables, and waiters and bartenders in white coats and bow ties. All these special touches were meant to make you feel like you were south of the border.  The partners ensured that the menu was authentic and house margaritas were always hand shaken. San Franciscans took notice and voted the Cadillac the best Mexican food restaurant in the city for many years. Unfortunately, in 1999 the restaurant was forced to close due to the expansion of the Moscone Convention Center. However, in 2012, one of the original founding partners decided to revive the Cadillac Bar and Grill in San Francisco with the goal of recreating that authentic Mexican restaurant with the same feel and look of its famous predecessor. 

Val Penny

Bei Hotel 50 8th St, San Francisco, California 94103, USA

bei hotel outOn a recent visit to SanFrancisco I booked to stay in the Bei Hotel at 50 8th Street, San Francisco, California, at the time of my visit there was a lot of work going on to the b uilding and I would not have booked it had I known, however, the work did not detract greatly from the enjoyment of my stay as it was carried out during the day when I was not there. The hotel will be immensely smart when the work is finished.bei hotel in

Bei Hotel is at 8th Street between Market and Mission is in a central part of the city (and near the terminal for cable cars) but there are many homeless people and drug addicts who congress around there. Going out and about alone can be unnerving.bei hotel pool

Having said that the hotel is extremely comfortable. The rooms are minimalist but spacious and comfortable. The beds are extremely comfortable. There is a pool on the roof, which I did not use. The restaurant serves breakfast, but compared to the local diners and coffee shops that is an expensive choice. The evening meals offered are varied and interesting but there are many bars and restaurants that provide interesting choices. (If you are eating out on a Saturday evening – book in advance!)bei hotel room.jpg

The staff at Bei Hotel are extremely helpful and courteous. Access for those with mobility issues is easy. I enjoyed my stay at Bei Hotel and would stay there again. It is an excellent base for visitng the fascinating city that is San Francisco.

bei hotel bathroom

Val Penny

Sam’s Diner, 1220 Market Street, San Francisco, California,

On a recent visit to California, My husband, my friends and I were staying in a central hotel on Eighth Street. On a couple of occassions we stopped into Sam’s Diner on Market Street, for breakfast. Sam's Diner out

Sam’s Diner was recommended to us by the recption at our hotel and it was a good call. The menu is varied and offers breakfast dishes from fruit or oatmeal to eggs benedict . On our first visit we were seated in the boothe commorating the service of a former Mayor of the city and there s a large TV on the wall to watch the news. It was really rather nice.

Sam's Diner tv

The entrance to the diner is easy for those with mobility problems, but most of the seats were at booths or high seats at the counter so I am not sure that wheelchair access is realistic.

Service was courteous and our orders were taken quickly. I had a spinach and cheese omelette while my husband had a full breakfast of eggs, sausage, bacon and potatoes. One of our friends had eggs benedict while the other had a scambled eggs with vegetables through it. We all enjoyed our meals, although I could not finish mine, it was just too much food. The friend who had the eggs benedict would have preferred more hollandaise sauce. Sam's Diner booth

One thing that we all agreed on was that the blend of coffee served at Sam’s Diner was a very strong blend and not entirely to our taste. This was so much so that on our second visit, I took tea instead.Sam's diner in

Sam’s Diner was a great find during our visit to San Francisco and I would certainly recommend it, especially if you like very strong coffee.

Val Penny

Double Tree Hilton, 1 Doubletree, Rohnert Park, CA 94928, USA

Double Tree out.jpgWhen we went to visit family in Northern California there were too many of us to stay with our relatives, we were fortunate that the hotel nearest to their home was the Double Tree Hilton, 1 Doubletree, Rohnert Park, California, USA. It is a lovely hotel and reasonably priced. It is easy to get to as the Double Tree is only 2-minute drive from US Highway 101 and adjacent to two 18-hole golf courses. The hotel is in the Sonoma Wine Valley area.Double Tree room

Our room was spacious and ticked all the boxes for us. It had been freshly decorated, but was a little dated, although it did have a flat screen TV. There was wi-fi, but only available at a fee. Some rooms had a balcony, but ours did not. The en-suite facilities were spacious and everything was scrupulously clean. The staff were polite and friendly.

We enjoyed the meals we had in the hotel. The restaurant has far more space between the tables than in most dining Double tree diner 2rooms which made moving around easier and added to a sense of privacy when we were chatting. It has feature fireplaces and a patio that serves all-day meals and local wines. In addition there is a lobby bar and a Starbucks cafe.

We did not use the fitness center but we did enjoy swimming in the outdoor pool. The weather was warm enough to make it a pleasure to use. The hotel also has tennis courts within the grounds. The grounds are extensive and have lovely wooded areas.Double Tree pool

The situation of this Double Tree Hilton makes it easy to visit the surrounding area including Petaluma (‘the egg basket of the world’), Napa, Sonoma and San Raphael. I enjoyed my stay at this Double Tree Hilton and will use it again when I am in the area, if my relatives cannot put me up!

Valerie Penny

 

 

Visiting Old Jaffa, Israel by guest author Lesley Carter

Visiting Old Jaffa, Israel

I know, I know. Many of you are wondering when I’m going to write about the violent realities of a war-torn Israel but it’s simply not what I’m experiencing right now. Today, I toured Old Jaffa. Narrow streets and courtyards filled with markets, vendors, ancient buildings sometimes restored and sometimes not, museums, shops, and galleries make up the city of Jaffa, Israel. I wandered through the streets for hours today and this is what I enjoyed. 

Sea view from Old Jaffa

We first walked along Jaffa Port. Although it’s no longer used as a port, many sailing ships lined the dock. Here you can take sailing lessons or fish from the pier. Locals cast their long lines into the Mediterranean Sea with hopes of reeling in their catch for the day. A few small boats dotted the water and Tel Aviv lay in the background. I said hello to the fisherman as I walked by. Most greeted me with a smile or light, casual conversation.

Gallery in Jaffa, Israel

We weaved through the streets and up the mountainside. Small shops selling jewelry, clothing, paintings, and arts and crafts filled the narrow streets. I browsed in several stores without purchasing anything. It was like being in Laguna Beach with unique boutiques and original artwork.

Views of Old Jaffa from Ilana Goor Museum

Ilana Goor Museum features original sculptures and deigns of the artist Ilana Goor and other artists. It also serves as her private home. We explored the museum and admired her eclectic collection. Goor claims that  it is only if one touches, feels, and uses art that one can understand what it really is. Rather than being exhibited in a sacred space, the museum’s art is interlaced with life itself- an art form that is not out of reach, but easily accessible to the visitor. We even had the opportunity to meet Ilana. Regardless if art interests you or not, the views from the top floor of the museum are not to be missed.

Ilana Goor Museum Artwork

Ilana Goor Museum Artwork

Views of Old Jaffa

My day continued with a visit to Carmel and Levinsky markets. When walking through the bustling streets, I was amazed by the long line of colorful fruit and vegetable stalls. Shopkeepers were wonderful for allowing us to taste their products. I tried several dates, nuts, dried fruit, bread and pastries, and spicy olives. The market offered the perfect combination of flavors, colors, tastes, aromas, and textures. I chatted with the shop keepers about the weather and my experiences in Israel so far. One man had been to California, USA before and he asked questions about Los Angeles and certain food areas. Another man asked about my flights and what brought me to Israel. Although I was obviously a tourist, I felt like I was getting a look at daily life in Jaffa.

Markets in Jaffa

Markets in Jaffa, Israel

The Grape Man, Israel

We finished up our tour of Jaffa with wine tasting at The Grape Man Wine and Spirit Center. I had no idea about the rich history of wine making in Israel. After trying a few glasses of local wine and listening to the history of wine in Israel, I was ready for the short walk back to the hotel.

Boardwalk in Tel Aviv

Beach in Israel

The sun was beginning to set again in Israel yet I saw the city in a whole new light. There is definitely violence in Israel and we’re not talking about petty theft in the streets. We’re talking about bomb shelters and Iron Dome missile defense systems, but I spent the day in a beautiful city wandering through the streets and interacting with locals. I spent the day taking photos and eating fresh foods. I spent the day looking at the stunning Mediterranean Sea and unique artwork. This is the only Israel I know so far.

I’m here thanks to the support of Israel Tourism, but all thoughts and opinions, like always, are my own.

Blue Rainbow Aparthotel, Manchester Central, 8 Commercial Street Manchester, England, M15 4PZ UK

blue outMy daughters now both live in London, England. They are in different parts of London, but London nevertheless. I do not. So a while ago we decided to have a girls weekend, just the 3 of us, somewhere different. The girls chose Manchester, England, UK. We wanted to have time to catch up properly, chat, gossip and relax so I suggested that, instead of booking into a hotel with separate rooms, we book accommodation in an apartment. This meant we had our own shared, private space as well as bedrooms. So I booked Blue Rainbow Aparthotel at Manchester Central. I blue room 2had used apartments before in London, England and San Francisco, California, USA. However, I had not used these particular apartments before.

There are two sites of Blue Rainbow Aparthotel in Manchester, we stayed at the one in Commercial Street. It is not far from Manchester Piccadilly, Train Station and is quite central. It would provide a terrific base to relax between an afternoon sightseeing and a night on the town. We chose a two bedroomed Saver apartment. It was spotlessly clean and well appointed. It gave us a real feeling of luxury at a great value price. We were all very impressed.

blue kitThe staff at the apartments were very helpful and courteous they go above and beyond the call of duty. We were pleased with the customer service levels and standards, which include 24 hour-staffed reception desks, resident gym facilities and laundries. The fully equipped kitchen included a washing machine, dish washer and fridge freezer.  This Blue Rainbow choice was perfect for our needs. blue internal

 

The accommodation gave us a small but fully equipped kitchen with good quality appliances. We also had a large, bright living dining room with 4 comfortable chairs, a comfy sofa and a large, flat-screen TV serviced by sky satellite. In addition to this we had 2 double bedrooms. One had an en-suite bathroom. There was also an additional bathroom with a lovely deep bath. The beds were comfortable, the sheets and towels were good quality and the furnishings were to a high standard. The serviced apartments are built around their own tranquil indoor Japanese Garden allowing guests to wind down in style. Set up for longer-term stays, but with no restrictions, Blue Rainbow ApartHotels accepts stays from one night to one year, or even longer if the need is there.

blue live 2We decided to spend a lot of time in our apartment as it was so pleasant and the gathering was specifically to relax and spend time together, although we were at the hub of everything in Manchester, even though the nine-floor, 79-ApartHotel building is located in a quiet corner of town, just off Deansgate. Secure underground parking for guests that pre-book was available, but we did not need that facility. We were not far from the buzzing Locks area and Manchester Central conference and music venue.

With so many of Manchester’s central tourist attractions just a short walk or tram ride away, I would highly recommend  Blue Rainbow Aparthotel. We felt we were staying somewhere extra special and would certainly stay there again.

Valerie Penny