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AFAR Explorer′s Wishlist
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19225 CA-1, Marshall, CA 94940, USA
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North of the little town of Point Reyes Station, the Marshall Store sits on the banks of Tomales Bay. I've been coming here for years after hiking or horseback riding or walking on the beach in Point Reyes National Seashore. The place is super...
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Weott, CA 95571, USA
A popular stop along the Avenue of the Giants, the Dyerville Giant rendered me speechless today. This ancient tree, which stood for 1,600 years and grew to be 362 feet tall, fell to the ground in 1991. Its sheer size--the tree was taller than...
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47540 CA-1, Big Sur, CA 93920, USA
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The view from the Big Sur Bakery is right on par with the food. In the morning, fuel up on breakfast scones and strong coffee. After a day exploring the Henry Miller Library and Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, return at dusk for baby lettuces,...
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3308 Grand Ave, Oakland, CA 94610, USA
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Boot and Shoe Service is the spinoff restaurant to Pizzaiolo, which has been my favorite spot in Oakland since it opened in 2006. Boot and Shoe, its slightly more casual little sister, serves the same pizza--a blistery and crisp crust topped with...
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Johnson Pier, Half Moon Bay, CA 94019, USA
You came all the way to San Francisco and you're going to let some stranger in a chef's hat cook your dungeness crab for you? Pshaw. There's a little-known alternative, even among locals, that's far more fun: Zip down the coast half an hour to...
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CA-1, Bodega Bay, CA 94923, USA
Many car commercials have been filmed along this stretch of the iconic California road. The hairpin turns and switchbacks make it a wild ride for some, but the views to the west (the ocean) and the east (Northern California's inimitable green...
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214 Healdsburg Ave, Healdsburg, CA 95448, USA
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After a day spent floating down the Russian River, happy hour at Mateo's hit the spot. We grabbed seats at the colorful bar and ordered tacones stuffed with olive oil guacamole and black bean puree with homemade chorizo. I paired the food with a...
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490 Pacific Ave, San Francisco, CA 94133, USA
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Cotogna is dangerously close to the AFAR Media offices. This rustic sister restaurant to Quince opened last year, and the roomy bar is a cozy place to sit mid-day with a double espresso served neat in a Heath Ceramics cup. The pastas are all...
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1245 Spring St, St Helena, CA 94574, USA
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In St. Helena, what was once Martini House is now a fun new restaurant called Goose & Gander. Go on a warm Friday night, ask for a table outside under the big oak tree, and order this Coastal Pimm's Cup cocktail, made with St. George Terroir...
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2601 Monarch St, Alameda, CA 94501, USA
At St. George Spirits, a liquor distiller located inside a huge hangar on the decommissioned Alameda Naval Base, you can learn all about alcohol production—and you can taste all-natural vodkas, gins, Eau de Vie, whiskeys, and more. The tour lasts...
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Los Feliz, Los Angeles, CA, USA
Our neighbors Peter Bahlawanian and his wife, Bronwen Tawse, import exotic ingredients and the freshest spices I’ve ever tasted: paprika, flavored salts, and black limes. They have an amazing store, and I see top chefs shopping here. We get...
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863 S Western Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90005, USA
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Palsaik Samgyupsal, which means, "Eight Colors of Pork," is a divine discovery for a bacon lover like myself. Seriously, what can be better than a restaurant that specializes in flavored bacon? You can't help but salivate as marinated slices of...
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8501 CA-128, Philo, CA 95466, USA
This unpretentious tasting room is set in gorgeous country. Stop for a picnic--and some sips of brut rose--if you're cutting across the Anderson Valley en route to the Mendocino Coast.
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701 E Palm Canyon Dr, Palm Springs, CA 92264, USA
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The trendy ACE hotel renovated a roadside Denny’s into a delicious farm-to-table diner with retro contemporary flair. Breakfast is served all day and no dish can go wrong with a side of parmesan hashbrowns, thick-cut pepper bacon, and French press...
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622 N Palm Canyon Dr, Palm Springs, CA 92262, USA
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Local restaurateurs, Tara Lazar and Marco Rosetti, have the brunch business on lock down with Cheeky’s and in 2011 expanded into dinner by opening the outdoor pizzeria Birba just next door. The wood-fired pizzas are a delicious combination of...
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Tahquitz Falls, Palm Springs, CA 92264, USA
Tahquitz Canyon loop is a short but spiritual two-mile loop along the peaceful Tahquitz River to the 60-foot Tahquitz Falls. Whether it’s rushing in spring or trickling in fall, the setting is stunning with sheer white cliffs contrasting with the...
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1 Tram Way, Palm Springs, CA 92262, USA
Golf and sunshine are the main magnets that draw visitors to Palm Springs, but a 10-minute ride will take you up into a snowy evergreen forest. The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway climbs up to a mountain wilderness at 8,500 feet (2,590 meters). The...
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101 N Museum Dr, Palm Springs, CA 92262, USA
I got a preview of the new Palm Springs Art Museum in Palm Desert, California. In addition to the influential collection of art, the garden around the museum is beautifully designed and showcases the frailty of the desert.
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622 N Palm Canyon Dr, Palm Springs, CA 92262, USA
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Escape the hotels and resorts for city style dining at Cheeky’s in Palm Springs. Serving a fresh menu each week and breakfast all day, it’s the best spot around for quality, price and vibe. Only open Thursday through Monday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.,...
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SunLine Transit Bus Stop, 190 N Indian Canyon Dr, Palm Springs, CA 92262, USA
Gorgeous hike at Indian Canyon. After ~2 hours, we encountered quite the temperature drop, and snow. Not very noticeable though when you have a view like this!
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47900 California 1, Big Sur, CA 93920, USA
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Described by devotees as the most luxurious, one-of-a-kind lodging experience in all of California, the Post Ranch Inn was purpose-built to blend in with the Santa Lucia Mountains. Opened in 1992, and designed by famed Big Sur architect Mickey...
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4001 Judah St, San Francisco, CA 94122, USA
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Outerlands is an Outer Sunset institution. The small restaurant near Ocean Beach serves local, organic cuisine in a rustic-chic setting. Covered floor-to-ceiling in warm, rough-hewn wood, the interior invites lingering over an artisan cocktail or...
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California, USA
“We wanted to go to Yosemite, but didn’t have time.” I’ve heard this refrain from several San Francisco visitors and they all have said it with regret. Yes, the reverent national park is outside of a short-drive comfort...
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20215 Shoreline Hwy, Marshall, CA 94940, USA
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Stop at Scribe Winery and pick up a bottle of their newly released rosé to pair with oysters at Hog Island in Marshall, CA. Picnic tables overlook Tomales Bay and must be reserved in advance. Throw the oysters on the grill or eat them raw and don’...
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219 Healdsburg Ave, Healdsburg, CA 95448, USA
The 36-room h2 Hotel in Healdsburg is the perfect Sonoma base. Guests can explore the green roof, lounge by the creekside pool, or rent bikes for cycling to nearby wineries.
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17000 Armstrong Woods Rd, Guerneville, CA 95446, USA
Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve in Guerneville offers easy one-mile hikes and strenuous nine-miles climbs. No matter which you choose, the scenery is spectacular. Look for Parson Jones, the tallest tree in the grove, which measures more...
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2100 Denmark St, Sonoma, CA 95476, USA
Scribe winery founded by 2 young brothers is making Sonoma hip. Appointment only tasting under the trees, 20 ft swings, outdoor dinners with some of the best SF chefs, prohibition era hacienda to become the new tasting room, and just pure hipness...
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20 Healdsburg Ave, Healdsburg, CA 95448, USA
The Russian River Valley in Sonoma County is a wonderful day trip from San Francisco. Pack a picnic and reserve a raft from SOAR Inflatables, and spend a summer day moseying down the river. Go early or late in the season to avoid crowds and have...
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7800 Eastside Rd, Healdsburg, CA 95448, USA
Last year Copain Winery in Sonoma started hosting guest chef dinners at its tasting room as part of a Supper Club Series. Copain's winemaker, Wells Guthrie, reaches out to some of his favorite chefs and sommeliers, like Bobby Stuckey and Lachlan...
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Fitch Mountain, California 95448, USA
Explore nearby Fitch Mountain and you can find a quiet little stretch of the river, a warm and mellow ribbon that runs 110 miles from all the way up near Willits down to the Pacific, near Jenner. Its name comes from Ivan Aleksandrovich Kuskov of...
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Metes & Bounds starts hosting farm-to-table dinners in Sonoma and Marin counties on May 1. The multi course meals are prepared in a yellow school bus retrofitted with a kitchen and grill. This appeared in the May 2014 issue.