Monday March 10, 2014
For a chef, winning a James Beard award is like an actor getting an Oscar. In 2014, California has lots of entries in the annual competition: 6 of 30 in best new restaurants, 6 of 20 in outstanding chefs and 5 of 25 in rising star chef of the year.
- Best New Restaurant: The Cavalier, Coqueta, Tosca Cafe
- Outstanding Chef: Gary Danko (Gary Danko restaurant), Nancy Oakes (Boulevard), Michael Tusk (Quince) and David Kinch (Manresa in Los Gatos)
- Rising Chef: Matt McNamara and Teague Moriarty (Sons & Daughters) and Jessica Largey (Manresa in Los Gatos)
LA and Southern California:
- Best New Restaurant: Chi Spacca, Connie and Ted's (West Hollywood), Trois Mec
- Outstanding Chef: Suzanne Goin (Lucques), Nancy Silverton (Pizzeria Mozza)
- Rising Chef: Casey Lane (Tasting Kitchen, Venice), Ari Taymor (Alma), Eduardo Ruiz (Corazón y Miel in Bell, CA)
I'm rooting for Nancy Silverton, who is one of my all-time restaurant goddesses and the entrants from Manresa in Los Gatos, which is near my home - but hoping to get a meal there before they win and everyone flocks in.
Sunday March 9, 2014
It's starting to feel like spring around California, even though the winter rains are lingering a bit. These are a few of the things I'm looking forward to next month:
- Pebble Beach Food and Wine Festival: It's one of the best in a state filled with great food and wine opportunities.
- Despicable Me Opening at Universal Studios: Based on how exciting their last few new rides have been, I'm expecting this 3-D motion simulator to be great fun. After going on a training mission with the minions, I'm going to play at Super Silly Fun Land. Expect it to be similar to its cousin in Orlando, which was reviewed by my colleague Arthur at About.com Theme Parks.
- Photo Shoots: Outside of California Travel, I'm working on a new series of photos that will take me to a couple of unlikely places: Forest Lawn Cemetery in LA and Holy Cross in Colma, just south of San Francisco. Both are filled with beautiful statuary and other works of art.
Saturday March 8, 2014
If you plan to travel in California during the next year, you might be surprised by how early you need to make reservations for some campgrounds and by how fast some of the popular annual events sell out. To help you get ahead of the things you need to plan for, we've put together a monthly list. It's not the things can do this month, but the ones you need to make plans for now, even though they may not happen for months.
To find the things you should plan ahead for in March, see the California Travel Planning Guide.
Wednesday March 5, 2014
An interesting e-mail appeared in my inbox a few weeks ago from a new San Francisco tour company called Vantigo. That's their snazzy, class VW tour vehicle in the photo and her name is Lillie. I got a chance to meet her - and her owner Erik Hormann soon afterward and this budding company looks like it's going to be a winner.
My friend Monica and I got a chance to take their City Lights tour recently and it was a lot of fun, zipping around town and we covered a lot more ground than you could on a day tour when the streets are busier. In fact, it was so much fun that the tour went straight to the top of my list of Things to Do in San Francisco at Night.
Besides having the cutest tour vehicle in town, Vantigo offers not only a daytime cruise around San Francisco, but some unique tours that other companies don't, including an Oyster Experience on the Pacific Coast and a couple of beer tours. You can reserve your tour at the Vantigo website and tell them Betsy says hello.