Friday

Los Angeles: The Edison Bar Downtown







Los Angeles has so much to offer. My new thing is discovering the downtown spots! Because there are so many and downtown LA is really trying to pull in the in young crowd! A must see and visit is The Edison at 108 West 2nd Street-right across from the Cal Trans building and the LA Times building. This bar sits in the Higgins building-the bar is downstairs-and what an amazing space it is! Two bars, ornate beautiful light bulbs-edison-are all over the place! We went on Thursday nite-specifically because on Thursday nites from 5-7 they serve a 35 cent Martini. We arrived right at 5-it was fairly empty and asked the bartender about the martini-he said it didn't taste too good...so we didn't order it since it was also happy hour ( about 40%-60% off for Happy Hour) and we were able to get other drinks at a cheap price. But as we sat there more and more people starting arriving-and yes alot of them were there for the 35 cent martini but onlyThursday nites from 5-7.

It's a huge place! and it got very busy! Alot of the downtown work crowd early but I'm sure the later it gets the clientèle changes! And it's an easy place to get to using public transportation. If you like the using the train take the Red Line toward Union Station, exit Civic Center and go towards 1st Street exit. You're just a couple of blocks from The Edison
http://www.edisondowntown.com/main.htm

Wednesday

Tres Hermanas Winery Santa Maria, California









If you venture up to the Santa Barbara Wine Country, you must stop, taste and take in the wonderful generosity of the owners and this young small beautiful vineyard! Tres Hermanas is a family owned and operated winery! The owners, Marvin and Paulette Teixeira, are wonderful people! You don't find them any better than this! They exude warmth and compassion and it shows in their wines and their winery! I met Marvin on my last trip to the area, what an amazing down to earth gentleman! Kind and compassionate as is his wife, Paulette! They have a beautiful winery-you can RV here if you are wine club members. Marvin is hoping to start showing movies in the summer....making it a superb wine destination! You'll be able to stay, taste delicious wines and enjoy yourself in one place! Hopefully camping sites will be coming soon! For I will be the first to camp here!

A stop is a must! Please call, visit or just stop by but you wont regret it!
Here is all the information:

9660 Foxen Canyon Road
Santa Maria
Between Zaca Mesa and Foxen Wineries
Tel: 805 937-8451
Fax: 805-937-8471

For Information: email info@treshermanaswinery.com

For Winemaker:
luke@treshermanaswinery.com

For Events Coordinator:
teresa@treshermanaswinery.com

The tasting room just opened in July of 2007 so it might not be on maps of the wine region! But you can find it on Foxen Canyon Road between Foxen Wineries and Zaca Mesa!

http://www.treshermanaswinery.com/

Tuesday

El Capitan Canyon/Ocean Mesa and El Capitan State Beach
























Ocean Mesa http://www.oceanmesa.com/....an RV and tent camping area which is part of El Capitan Canyon resort, http://www.elcapitancanyon.com/. This was unlike any camping I had ever done! First of all it's fairly new so not many campers were there-alot of RV's. The camp sites, in my opinion, are way to close together. Campsite #2 was the only one that had a tree. Now mind you it is brand new so the trees they've planted will grow, but tent sites were practically right on top of each other. So when it does get busy you'll be right next to another tent.....not my idea of fun tenting but it was ok for what I was doing.

Price: well here's where it gets "different" the prices for one night in a tent, $45...yes WOW! and you don't get any hook ups for that-well I lie you do get wi-fi...but is it worth the $45 price tag a night. The RV sites are $85 nite..now there is a store, nice clean bathrooms, a pool with a hot tub, wi-fi, nice showers-that are free-no quarters needed. Also...you can get a massage! Make sure you give them 3 hours notice but massages and tent camping-can't say I've ever run across that before!

This area is off the 101 just north of Santa Barbara, exit 117. One of the cool things I did do was run down to El Capitan State Beach, which is just west of the camping area. This is a wonderful place to camp..cheaper but obviously doesn't have the pool, hot tub, wi-fi etc.

From El Capitan State Beach camping area I ran north-they have a wonderful bike path that I never knew about. It takes you to Refugio State beach, yet another nice camping area. It's 2.5 miles from the sign just north of El Capitan to the sign at Refugio. I think I ran about 6.5 miles that morning. So if you want a little exercise and access to beautiful beaches in between El Capitan and Refugio take this path! My dog loved it as well. In November it wasn't very bust at all-and the beaches you come to were empty!

Some great tent sites in El Capitan State beach are sites number: 31, 32, 33, 107 and 108 and the best sites: the hike and bike but you can only reserve these if you are biking or hiking into the park. But what amazing sites! They are furthest away from the majority of the campsites, they sit right at the far north end, overlooking the ocean! They were beautiful-but no driving allowed! And no you cant have someone drop off equipment there! To reserve a site try this website: http://www.reserveamerica.com/

Wednesday

San Pedro





















SanPedro http://www.sanpedro.com/, my hometown for now and home to the Los Angeles Port-one of the largest if not the largest (with Long Beach) in the world. In my opinion a little hidden gem at the end of the 110!

San Pedro has an amazing sense of community! Generation after generation have lived here, raised kids here, worked here making it a town with a very "small town feel." The downtown area itself is going thru a bit of revitalization similar to what Long Beach did with the Pine Av area. Many new condo's are sprouting up downtown, with rooftop penthouses with amazing views of the harbor lights! New Restaurants and upscale bars are opening because of the push to revitalize the downtown area.

The newest establishment is called Crimsin and is in the home of what all the locals now as Tommy's Yacht Club on 6th Street. I haven't yet made it to the newest bar but hopefully will soon!

The Copper Room at 589 9th street is one of the "new" establishments-actually it took over an existing bar but has brought an upscale feel to the downtown area. They have a great burger-if you like burgers!

Some of the other great places to eat that I have enjoyed:

Babouch Moroccan restaurant...now this is a fun place! Plan on spending a decent ampount of time here! I had a birthday party here-I would highlt recommend it! SO much fun! It's located at 810 S. Gaffey St

Papadakis Taverna...the greek restaurant in LA-it's worth the drive-301 W. 6th Street

Baja Fish Market has the BEST BAJA FISH TACOS i've had! They are great! And a wonderful bean and cheese burrito for you non-meateaters! Check it out at 611 S. Gaffey Street

Sorrento's is the best pizza in town! Dine-in or take-out....yummy. 2428 S Western Av

Rex's Cafe is my favorite breakfast place! Try the stuffed french toast! 2136 S. Pacific Av. But there are many breakfast places that are good and always busy: Pacific Diner, Lighthouse Deli and Cafe, Omlette and Waffle Shop.

For burgers and sandwiches you must try Utro's at the Wharf and The Busy Bee. Paired with an ice cold beer.... Utro's is down by Ports o'Call and The Busy Bee is at 2413 S. Walker Av

As for places to stay..well try the Doubletree Hotel around 22nd Street Marina and also The Crowne Plaza downtown.

Pedro, pronounced "pee-dro" is a great little city. Beloved by the locals! The developing waterfront is a wonderful addition to the downtown area. I go down there quite a bit to run and watch the numerous cargo ships arrive and drop off their containers.

There are numerous beaches, Cabrillo Beach is the closest and has the easiest access. There are others that face Catalina Island, but they are a steep climb down which makes them very quiet!

Remember-you can catch The Catalina Express and numerous cruise ships from San Pedro...take the Red Car before you leave or when you get back. It will take you as far as the 22nd Street Marina area and has a stop for the downtown area. It's fun but only runs when the cruise ships are in.

Have a beer for me when you visit San Pedro:
San Pedro Brewing Company
The Whale and Ale
Niko's Pizza

And if you are ever in the area the first thursday of the month, check out first thursday's downtown website: http://www.1stthursday.com/index.htm

Enjoy Pedro

Monday

Hermosa Beach












Hermosa Beach-one of the southbay beach cities. I lived here for about 10 years so I know it fairly well. Not that things haven't changed a bit, for they have, but all in all it's remained a beautiful beach town. The "main area" is Pier Av. With it's numerous restaurants/bars/shops etc this is where the main action happens. There are many great places to eat here-a must at sunset is to go upstairs to the outdoor terrace of Hennesseys and watch sunset. It sits right on the corner of The Strand and Pier Av. It's typical bar grub but the view from the terrace is beautiful! But it's a popular place. If you have your pooch with you, there are many seats outside and your dog can basically be sitting with you-outside of course. Another few places on Pier Av that are worth a stop are Cantina Real, mexican food and another pooch friendly establishment, The Hermosa Beach Fish Market-yummy fish tacos...but I have found better fish tacos somewhere else-your dog can also join you here! Wander east down Pier Av and you'll find numerous bars, The Lighthouse is very well known and they still have alot of live music most days! Mediteraneo is a tapas restaurant-not open on weekdays for lunch (well at least it wasn't when I went) they have a nice beer selection and some delicious tapas plates.

Sports your thing?? Well Sharks Cove is the sports bar-mind you most of the restaurants/bars in Hermosa have numeous tv's! Sharks Cove-it's a Pittsburgh Steelers bar, loads of pool tables, they've revamped their menus numerous times, FFF's otherwise known as Fat Face Fenners-this upstairs bar is a Boston hangout-so you Yankee fans go there having been warned! This is it's 2nd location-it moved to Pier Av about 6 or 7 years ago after spending many years on Hermosa Av. Sharkeez-which was one of my favorite places to watch sports burned down about 2 years ago-and there is still an empty space. They have a location in Manhattan Beach.

Breakfast places are so numeous here I cant tell you all of them: for cheap eats try Scotty's on the Strand. They are just south of Pier Av and have loads of windows so you can watch all the runners, bikers, rollerbladers etc pass on The Strand-great people watching place! It can be very busy on the weekends. La Playita is one of my favorites. I used to go here every weekend for breakfast. they have a small courtyard out back-mexican/caribbean breakfast-yummy. It's just north of Pier Av right beside Noble Park-you can see it from the Strand. Also for healthy breakfast try Good Stuff on The Strand. And then there is Martha's 22nd Street Grill-go have breakfast and a glass of champagne, it's always a pretty busy place so go early or plan on waiting! Also try the Cap'n Crunch French toast at Hennesseys-one of my favorites! And The Beach Hut on Hermosa Av near Pier Av has wonderful Hawaiian food-we used to call it the best hangover place in Hermosa!

Staying in Hermosa is a little harder-not many places especially down by the beach. The posh Beach House sits right on The Strand and is lovely if not a little pricey and just a few blocks south is The Sea Sprite Motel also on The Strand. These places book up fast and far in advance especially for summer and holidays!

If it's just a cup of coffee or a nice tea you want head to Java Man which sits on the corner of Pier Av and Manhattan Av. They have delicious drinks and food and wireless internet! I used to go there and study! There is also a Starbucks and Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf on Hermosa Av.

The nightlife has really developed in Hermosa-new bars and established bars are all over the place and during the summer they pull in young people from all over the southbay and elsewhere in LA. Long lines sometimes greet a bar goer....The three oldest bar establishments are The Lighthouse, The Mermaid and The Poopdeck. Please be careful walking around drunk-the cops love to throw non-locals in the very nice Hermosa jail!

You know Hermosa has so much to offer everyone! The beach, restaurants, bars, eclectic shops you name it they have it! I personally love it during the winter months! It's quiet and cooler but that's me! The holidays are always busy in Hermosa-the city puts on huge outdoor events for 4th July and New Years and on Memorial Day and Labor Day Hermosa Av is closed down for the crafts fairs! I loved living here! It's a great place! Loads to do...The Strand is great for running and biking and the greenbelt between Ardmore and Valley is a city trail runners delight and one of my dogs favorite places to run and sniff! It's a great city worth visiting! bring your hat, sunglasses and have fun!

Sunday

Palm Springs

Palm Springs-the desert Oasis for the rich and not so rich! First of all let me tell you my two favorite places to stay: La Quinta Golf, Spa and Tennis resort in La Quinta, California (it's just down the road from palm Springs don't fret!) http://www.laquintaresort.com/
and the San Guiliano Hotel in Palm Springs http://www.palmsprings.com/san_giuliano/index.html -both of these places I might add are pet friendly! I took my dog to both and they were wonderful and she had a great time! There are numerous pet friendly places in Palm Springs including The Westin Mission Hills Resort and Spa http://www.starwoodhotels.com/westin/property/overview/index.html?propertyID=1008 where I've also stayed. like everyplace in the Palm Springs area-there is golf, tennis and spas! Hope you like golf or tennis and a dry heat because you'll get it here!

Now in the summer it's HOT! It can get up to 110 degrees-I went in the summer and thought I must be losing my mind! I was able to take my dog for a run early in the morning and then it was pool time or bar time! All the restaurants have outdoor seating usually with the fine misters and of course AC inside!

It's lovely in the winter! Well nicer temp wise than the summer but also a little more crowded. I've been a couple of times: both in the summer and at Thanksgiving. thanksgiving was wonderful. i had a great dinner at a restaurant called Copley's of Palm Canyon http://www.copleyspalmsprings.com/ .They have a nice wine list and martinis and for thanksgiving a delicious menu. I actually called them the day before Thanksgiving and was able to get a reservation at a very nice table outside!

The Aerial Tramway is a pretty cool thing.... http://www.pstramway.com/ unfortunately when I went it was very busy and I didn't want to stand in line. i recommend going early! Yet again, it's at a higher elevation and can get quite cool!

And yes they have gambling in Palm Springs-so if you like to play cards, play the machines, whatever there is something for you at the numerous casinos in the Palm Springs area. Wheel of Fortune is my favorite but I've never won in Palm Springs! Morongo is a different story! I've won there! http://www.morongocasinoresort.com/

And it's right next door to the Desert Hills Premium Outlet Stores http://www.premiumoutlets.com/outlets/outlet.asp?id=6 which always seems to be packed!

For more info: http://www.palmsprings.com/index.html

San Francisco






































San Francisco-one of my all time favorite cities. And quite do-able on a budget! I've been to the city many times for both work and play! And each time I've stayed in a different hotel of the Personality Hotel chain: http://www.personalityhotels.com/
The three I've stayed in are Hotel Diva, Hotel Union Square and The Maxwell Hotel. All three have their unique qualities. And all of the personality hotels accept pets! A big bonus for me! I was lucky to get upgraded to the penthouse at the Maxwell Hotel-what an amazing view of downtown San Fran! The Hotel Diva is ever so posh and sits in between a starbucks and a wonderful Mexican restaurant called Colibri Mexican Bistro: http://www.colibrimexicanbistro.com/.
First of all wow what a tequila selection they have!! Unbelievable! You must take a picture of the tequila wall-I did and sent it to everyone I knew so they'd get jealous! And there are theatres right across the street .The Maxwell Hotel is just down the street from Hotel Diva very near another wonderful place to eat and listen to music Biscuit and Blues: http://www.biscuitsandblues.com.

While in the area of Union Square you must head to the tenderloin area which just borders The Union Square area.There you'll find a restaurant called Farmerbrown-delicious soul food and a fried chicken that rivals a good southern recipe! worth a try! http://www.farmerbrownsf.com/location.html
It sits in the lobby of yet another Personality Hotels hotel, Hotel Metropolis.

You must see the sites of San Fran:

Chinatown-you can always find cheap eats here! And if you're looking for little nick nacks to take home with you this is the place! Tons of stores to browse!

Nob Hill-visit the Fairmont Hotel while on Knob Hill, have a cocktail in their bar and if you want head downstairs to the Tonga Room for dinner. http://www.fairmont.com/sanfrancisco/.

Coit Tower, Ghiradelli Square, http://www.ghirardellisq.com/ghirardellisq/ -it's touristy but fun and you can always have a caricature of yourself drawn!

Alcatraz is a must see at least once! It's a quick ferry ride over. We toured without the "tape tour. " It was cold and windy so take an extra jacket even if you go in the summer!! http://www.nps.gov/alca

And of course you must visit The Golden Gate Bridge,Fort Point and the Marin Headlands : http://www.nps.gov/goga/
http://www.nps.gov/fopo/
You can walk across the Golden Gate Bridge if you'd like-I've never done that. I've always driven across the bridge and exited at the first exit after the bridge. Follow the signs to the Marin Headlands-don't take the left back onto the bridge but head up the hill to the right. You will find yourself at a viewing area of the Golden Gate Bridge-it's the area where most of the postcards of the bridge and the city of San Francisco are taken! It's a stunning view-especially if you luck out and get a clear day!

If you can a quick jaunt into Berkley could be a fun. You don't have to get in a car at all-BART takes you over there. It's a beautiful college town-and the campus itself-stunning! And very hilly so put your walking shoes on!

Check out citysearch for a more detailed journey thru the nightlife, bars and restaurants of San Fran.....and enjoy the city! http://sanfrancisco.citysearch.com/

Big Sur






Travelling up Route 1 north of Cambria and south of Carmel you stumble upon the majestic Big Sur area! http://www.bigsurcalifornia.org/index.html You must love the outdoors to come here! And dogs are welcome too! The last time I was here I camped at the private campground Ventana Campgrounds http://ventanawildernesscampground.com/ . It was nestled amongst redwoods. It was amazing!

A must while you are in Big Sur is to head to Nepenthe restaurant, which is on the ocean side of Hwy 1. Sit outside on their terrace, order a bottle of wine and watch an amazing sunset! They have a wonderful wine list and great ambience! Everyone is very happy to be there!

A fun place to grab a beer is at the Maiden Publick House which is next door to the Big Sur River Inn in The Village Center Shops check out their website: http://www.themaidenpub.com/

There is one beach that is dog friendly-it's Pfeiffer Beach at Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park-as a matter of fact they love dogs there! My dog had a wonderful time even though the wind was blowing up tons of sand!

Since I was camping I didn't go out to eat much but the one place I did go was Cielo at Ventana Inn. It was right next to our campground. They have a wonderful bar, nice wine selection and delicious food. It's also a beautiful inn with a spa, check out the website: http://www.ventanainn.com/

All in all I had a wonderful time in Big Sur. One word of warning if you camp be mindful of ticks! Remember you are in a wooded area! Especially if you go in the summer which is when I was last there!