Friday, December 26, 2014

Happy Holidays!

Christmas Day at the Claremont Hotel & Spa in Oakland:

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Our Christmas Tree, 2014

I remember when I was little that my grandma had big, bright colorful lights on her tree.  Now, that I am an adult I prefer smaller white lights, though some day I think I'll probably go back to the big ones.  I got a few sets at Target that look beautiful in an old bungalow, they are called white pearl lights.

To be continued.....


white Pearl Lights, Target brand
from Target

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Hot Mulled Cider or Spiced Wine from Barsotti's in Camino,CA (Apple Hill)

Yummy hot apple cider can be made from Barsotti's hot cider mix.

The ingredients in the hot cider mix are cinnamon chips, orange peel, clove, allspice, and orange oil.  The ingredients are all natural with no preservatives, and no sugar added.

By 1/2 gallon, heat the apple juicer or mulled wine in crock pot or on stovetop until steamy hot (not boiling.)  Add 4 to 6 mulling tea bags and simmer to taste. Garnish with citrus or cinnamon sticks if desired.

Barsotti's Hot Mulled Cider or Spiced Wine
@ Barsotti's Apple Farm in Apple Hill
(530) 622-4629
Camino, CA

Holiday decorating at the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco, CA

Holiday Decorating at the Claremont Hotel, Berkeley,CA - Come sit in their Gingerbread house!

The Claremont Hotel is all decked out for the Holiday season this year, with a huge, life-size gingerbread house with couches and chairs for sitting and relaxing! 

This picture is taken inside the gingerbread house created by the Claremont  culinary team.

The Claremont Hotel
Berkeley, CA

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Saul's Deli

Saul's Deli on Shattuck Avenue in Berkeley is an excellent New York-style deli - pretty much as good as it gets for deli in Northern California.  Love the hot pastrami or corned beef sandwiches.  Outstanding latkes around Chanukah, too.

Image from

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Happy Chanukah!

Alameda's Park Street Bridge

The downside of taking Park Street into Alameda - sometimes the bridge is up...

San Leandro Model Train Museum

The San Leandro Model Train Museum has a fantastic model train set-up around an outdoor garden.  It is beautiful, and includes bonsai trees.

Chocolate Pudding

No instant pudding for us - we made real putting with corn starch!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Repairing rare, old, and antique books - Coriander Reisbord - Berkeley, CA - Family Book Lab, Book Arts

Coriander has taught workshops in book arts at the San Francisco Center for the book and the Kala Art Institute.  She also teaches letterpress printing at the California College of the Arts.  She used to be president of the Pacific Center for Book Arts.  She has been repairing rare books since 1990.


Coriander Reisbord, MFA in Book Arts
Family Book Lab
(510) 526-6332
1413 MLK @ Rose
Berkeley, CA

Friday, December 12, 2014

Holbrooke Hotel, Grass Valley, CA - decorated for the holidays

The Holbrooke Hotel in Grass Valley has room names like the "Mark Twain Room," has a lively bar with live music almost every night, and even has tales of a resident ghost in room 9!  We stayed in room 9 and a cabinet seemed to open and close on its own, so I think that room really is haunted!  Staying in this hotel, I could imagine living long ago during the Gold Rush era - a beautiful old hotel!

Grass Valley, California Cornish Christmas is tonight, Friday, December 12th, 2014 and next Friday night!

Tonight and next Friday night is the 47th annual Cornish Christmas celebrations in Grass Valley, California.  Last year was the first one that I've been to,  and it was delightful!

Imagine life in another era, where men and women worked hard, had little, but cherished  the simple pleasures of hearty food and drink, good song, and a warm fire, with family and friends.

This Grass Valley popular annual celebration has chestnuts actually roasting over an open fire on the street in front of the Holbrook Hotel, the Grass Valley Cornish Christmas Carol Choir singing, food, live music, crafts, and other merriment.

One highlight we saw last year was seeing a young boy playing the violin in period costume!

Picture from