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  • Manny Crisostomo / mcrisostomo@sacbee.com

    Pedestrians walk along Hayes Street, home to trendy restaurants and shopping, in the Hayes Valley neighborhood of San Francisco.

  • Manny Crisostomo / The Sacramento Bee

    Bakesale Betty owner Alison Barakat pulls out cookies for the lunch crowd at Oakland's Temescal neighborhood.

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  • Weird, wild, wonderful Southern California
  • On the North Coast, get really mellow – or adventuresome
  • In Marin and Sonoma, quaint towns, unique spots
  • Napa Valley: Wine, yes, but also music, ghosts and a castle
  • Head to Tahoe for high-elevation hiking
  • Gold Country offers history, views, wine
  • Hayes Street neighborhood, San Francisco

    Information on Hayes Valley: http://hayeswire.com/

     

    SELECTED BOUTIQUES AND STORES

    Bibliohead Bookstore, 334 Gough St.; (415) 621-6772

    Fiddlesticks, 540 Hayes St.; (415) 565-0508

    Flight 001, 525 Hayes St.; (415) 487-1001

    Gimme Shoes, 416 Hayes St.; (415) 864-0691

    Lava 9, 542 Hayes St.; (415) 552-6468

    Lavish, 508 Hayes St.; (415) 565-0540

    RAG, 541 Octavia Blvd.; (415) 621-7718

    Timbuk2, 506 Hayes St.; (415) 252-9860

    True Sake, 560 Hayes St.; (415) 355-9555

    Zonal, 568 Hayes St.; (415) 255-9307

     

    SELECTED RESTAURANTS

    Absinthe, 398 Hayes St.; (415) 551-1590

    Arlequin, 384 Hayes St.; (415) 626-1211

    Biergarten, 424 Octavia Blvd.; (415) 252-9289

    Blue Bottle Coffee, 315 Linden St.; (415) 252-7535

    Canto Do Brasil, 41 Franklin St.; (415) 626-8727

    Chez Maman, 401 Gough St.; (415) 355-9067

    Domo, 511 Laguna St.; (415) 861-8887

    Hayes Street Grill, 320 Hayes St.; (415) 863-5545

    Jardiniere, 300 Grove - St.; (415) 861-5555

    Lers Ros Thai, 307 Hayes St.; (415) 874-9661

    Nojo, 231 Franklin St.; (415) 896-4587

    Sebo, 517 Hayes St.; (415) 864-2122

    Suppenkuche, 525 Laguna St.; (415) 252-9289

  • OAKLAND

    PIEDMONT AVENUE

    Between 38th and 44th streets

    RESTAURANTS

    BayWolf: 3853 Piedmont (www.baywolf.com)

    Dopo: 4293 Piedmont (www.dopoadesso.com/dopo)

    Commis: 3959 Piedmont (www.commisrestaurant.com)

    Baja: 4070 Piedmont (www.bajaonpiedmont.com)

    Fenton's Creamery: 4226 Piedmont (www.fentonscreamery.com)

    SHOPS

    Black Swan Books: 4236 Piedmont; (510) 428-2881

    Issues: 20 Glen Ave., at Piedmont Avenue (issuesshop.com)

    Rare Bird: 3883 Piedmont (therarebird.com)

    Nathan & Co.: 4025 Piedmont (www.nathanandco.com)

    Dr.Comics and Mr. Games: 4014 Piedmont (drcomicsmrgames.tumblr.com)

    Piedmont Lane Antiques: 4121 Piedmont; (510) 654-4706

    ENTERTAINMENT

    Piedmont Theater: 4186 Piedmont; (www.landmarktheatres.com/market/.../PiedmontTheatre.htm)

    TEMESCAL

    Telegraph Avenue, between 51st and 42nd streets

    RESTAURANTS

    Bakesale Betty: 5098 Telegraph (www.bakesalebetty.com)

    Asmara: 5020 Telegraph (www.asmararestaurant.com)

    Dona Tomas: 5004 Telegraph (donatomas.com)

    Pizzaiolo: 5008 Telegraph (www.pizzaiolooakland.com)

    Genova Deli: 5095 Telegraph (www.genovadeli.net)

    Lanesplitter Pizza: 4799 Telegraph (www.lanesplitterpizza.com)

    Arbor Cafe: 4210 Telegraph (http://oaklandarbor.com)

    SHOPS

    Article Pract (knitting): 5010 Telegraph (www.articlepract.com)

    Sagrada (spiritual gifts): 4926 Telegraph (www.sagrada.com)

    Shaver and Cutlery Shop: 4930 Telegraph (www.shavecutstore.com)

    Crimson Horticultural Rarities: 470A 49th St. (crimsonhort.com)

    Ruby's Garden (children's clothes): 5095 Telegraph (www.rubysgarden.com)

    ROCKRIDGE

    College Avenue, between the BART station and Manilia Avenue

    RESTAURANTS

    Oliveto: 5655 College (www.oliveto.com)

    Rockridge Market Hall: 5655 College (rockridgemarkethall.com)

    Rockridge Cafe: 5492 College (www.rockridgecafe.com)

    Crepevine: 5600 College (www.crepevine.com)

    Cactus Taqueria: 5642 College (cactustaqueria.com)

    SHOPS

    Bittersweet Chocolate: 5427 College (www.bittersweetcafe.com)

    Maison d' Etre: 5640 College (maisondetre.com)

    Diesel, A Bookstore: 5433 College (www.dieselbook store.com/oakland-info)

    Pegasus Books: 5560 College (www.pegasusbookstore.com)

    Who's Your Betty?: 5517 College (whosyourbetty.com)

    GRAND LAKE

    Grand Avenue, between I-580 and Boulevard Way

    RESTAURANTS

    Camino: 3917 Grand (www.caminorestaurant.com)

    Boot and Shoe Service: 3308 Grand (bootandshoeservice.com)

    Day of the Dead Coffee Shop: 3208 Grand (510-868-8705)

    Lynn & Lu's Cafe: 3353 Grand (510 835-5705)

    SHOPS

    Walden Pond Books: Michael Mischer Chocolates: 3352 Grand (michaelmischerchocolates.com)

    Grand Bakery: 3264 Grand; (510) 465-1110

    Monkey Forest Road: 3265 Grand Avenue (www.monketforestroad.com)

    ENTERTAINMENT

    Grand Lake Theater: 3200 Grand (www.renaissancerialto.com)

  • ALAMEDA

    Directions to the Alameda Point Antiques and Collectibles Faire: After crossing the Park Street Bridge, turn right on Lincoln and travel two miles until it ends at the formal Naval Air Station. Continue through the station, following signs to Alameda Point.

    Alameda Point Antiques and Collectibles Faire: 2900 Navy Way, Alameda. www. alamedapointantiquesfaire.com. First Sunday of each month. 6 a.m.-3 p.m. Cost: 6-7 a.m. $15; 7:30-9 a.m. $10; 9 a.m.- 2 p.m., $5; 2-3 p.m., free. Children 15 and under free.

    Ole's Waffle Shop: 507 Park St., Alameda. 5:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. (open later on Friday and Saturday) (510) 522-8108.

    Robert W. Crown Memorial State Beach: www.ebparks. org/parks/crown_beach. Eighth Street and Otis Drive, Alameda.

    Alameda Museum: 2324 Alameda Ave., Alameda. Hours: Wednesday-Friday: 1:30-4 p.m.; Saturday: 11 a.m.-4 p.m.; Sun: 1:30-4 p.m.. Cost: Free.

    Hangar One Vodka/St. George Spirits Tours: 2601 Monarch St., Alameda. www.stgeorgespirits.com/tours-and-tastings. Tours: Wednesday-Saturday: Noon-7 p.m.; Sunday: noon- 5 p.m.

    Wilmot's Books: 478 Central Ave., Alameda. Specializes in good-quality used books. Open daily. (510) 865-1443; www.wilmotsbooks.com.

Less obvious spots worth visiting in Bay Area

Published: Monday, May. 26, 2014 - 12:00 am
Last Modified: Tuesday, Jun. 10, 2014 - 8:11 pm

Multi-volume books have been written about all the things to do in San Francisco and elsewhere in the Bay Area. Winnowing to just a few, then, can be a daunting task.

But since Sacramentans probably have already been to all the usual tourist spots – or try mightily to avoid them – we’ve chosen several less obvious options than Alcatraz, Fisherman’s Wharf and Jack London Square.

Hayes Valley Neighborhood,

San Francisco

The tragedy of the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake resulted in 63 deaths and $6 billion in property damages. But, as the old macabre joke goes about natural disasters befalling blighted areas, it actually caused millions in improvements to a sector of San Francisco that once rivaled the notorious Tenderloin as areas to avoid. Once the intrusive commuter artery known as the Central Freeway came down and the rubble cleared, up sprouted a real neighborhood – Hayes Valley.

The urban rehabilitation came gradually, starting with upscale restaurants and bars joining the Hayes Street Grill to serve opera and symphony goers, continuing with a steady procession of local stores and boutiques, buoyed by city legislation that banned chain stores from the area, augmented by SoHo-style galleries and artisan craftworks, and lastly centered in 1999 by the greenbelt park that took the space where the Fell Street off ramp once stood.

Now, Hayes Valley has evolved into one of San Francisco’s trendiest neighborhoods – not as well known, perhaps, as outwardly affluent Nob Hill or Pacific Heights, or with the major hipster street cred of the Mission District, but emerging as the hot (haute?) spot to shop and sup for city dwellers and tourists weary of the throngs at Union Square. In fact, you know that Hayes Valley has arrived when it starts getting derided. In this case, the glossy magazine Travel + Leisure chose San Francisco as America’s snobbiest city, citing Hayes Valley as Exhibit A.

The Hayes Valley is an ideal day trip to see real-live newly wealthy young San Franciscans in their natural habitat. You can find them browsing the imported sake selections at True Sake, the first specialty sake store in America, getting fitted for a four-figure custom-made leather jacket at Lava 9, dining on Coffee-Crusted Liberty Duck Breast ($32) and sipping a Ginger Rogers ($9; gin, fresh mint, ginger syrup, lemon juice, ginger beer) at street-side tables at Absinthe, and purchasing an adorable Hannah Heart onesie ($95, pure merino wool) at Fiddlesticks. One thing you won’t find in the Hayes Valley, though, is chain stores. They’ve banned them.

There also may be more restaurants in Hayes Valley per square foot than at any place in the foodie-mad Bay Area, including Berkeley’s Gourmet Ghetto. Certainly, there is ethnic diversity in its cuisine choices. Within a few blocks, you could go German (Suppenküche), French (Chantal Guillon and Chez Mamon), Brazilian (Canto Do Brasil), Japanese (Domo and Nojo) and Thai (Lers Ros).

Information: Directions from Sacramento: Take Interstate 80 west over the Bay Bridge. Veer right on Highway 101 toward Van Ness. Exit on Market Street. Turn left on Franklin Street and then left on Hayes Street. Information on Hayes Valley: http://hayeswire.com.

Temescal Neighborhood, Oakland

How trendy is the Temescal neighborhood, located on Telegraph Avenue, between 51st and 42nd streets, in Oakland? People, 100 deep, line up weekday between noon and 1:30 to buy a chicken sandwich (buttermilk-breaded on a torpedo roll, garnished with jalapeno-flecked slaw from the uber-hip) at Bakesale Betty, run by blue-bewigged former chef at fancy Chez Panisse.

Yes, it sounds too precious, but it’s a darn good sandwich.

Culinary excellence abounds here. High-end restaurants such as Pizzaiolo (helmed by another Chez Panisse alum) and Dona Tomas, draw foodies from San Francisco. But perhaps Temescal’s most celebrated dining establishment is its most enduring, Asmara, an Eritrean restaurant owned by Kesete Yohannes since 1985. Asmara’s success has spawned a dozen other Eritrean eateries in the general area.

Information: Location: Telegraph Avenue, between 51st and 42nd streets. Bakesale Betty: 5098 Telegraph (www.bakesalebetty.com); Asmara: 5020 Telegraph (www.asmararestaurant.com); Dona Tomas: 5004 Telegraph (donatomas.com); Pizzaiolo: 5008 Telegraph (www.pizzaiolooakland.com).

Angel Island

How can you be in nature and still be (literally) in the middle of a great metropolis? Take a ferry to Angel Island, the largest, most woodsy of the islands dotting San Francisco Bay.

You can spend all day, taking the first ferry out from Tiburon (Marin side of the Golden Gate Bridge) in the morning and chilling until the last ferry back late in the afternoon. (You also can camp overnight, popular in warm-weather months – whenever those are, in the Bay Area).

For daytrippers, the main attraction of Angel Island is the U.S. Immigration Station, where as many as 175,000 Chinese immigrants were detained for weeks, sometimes months, in prisonlike conditions between 1910 and 1940 as part of the Chinese Exclusion Act, which was repealed in 1943. The 1 1/4-mile walk from Ayala Cove to the immigration station on the island’s northeast tip gives you your first taste of nature – eucalyptus and Monterey pine, planted by the Army more than a century ago, rubbing branches with native oak, madrone and bay trees reclaiming their space.

Docents at the immigration station explain the history of Chinese laborers in California, how they first arrived after the Gold Rush, later were put to work building the railroads and, by the time of the implementation of the Exclusion Act in 1882, were seen as taking jobs away from native-born citizens.

Afterward, you can hike to the island’s summit along the North Ridge Trail, leading two miles up to Mount Livermore. Dense with vegetation and not too steep, it leads to the summit, where there are picnic tables. Return via the Sunset Trail, where nonnative trees have been removed to give hikers a great view of the bay. Back at Ayala Cove, picnic areas are plentiful, and the Cove Cafe has outdoor seating. On weekends, the Cove Cantina Oyster Bar opens and offers free live music.

Information: Angel Island State Park, east of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco Bay, is accessible by ferry or private boat. Ferry service runs from Tiburon (www.angelislandferry. com) to San Francisco (www.blueandgoldfleet. com). Hours vary; check the websites. Rules: Bicycles are allowed on Angel Island; riders must wear helmets. Bike rentals are available seasonally. Dogs are not allowed on the island; service animals excepted. Roller skates, rollerblades, skateboards and scooters are prohibited. Charcoal grills or camp stoves are permitted in campsites, but no wood fires are allowed. Travel after sunset on the island is prohibited in some areas for park security and public safety. Camping: To reserve overnight campsites, call (800) 444-7275 or visit www.parks.ca.gov.

Alameda

Speaking of islands, Alameda is an oasis attached to Oakland via a couple of bridges. The first Sunday of each month, it is overrun with bargain hunters and antique hounds attending the Alameda Point Antiques and Collectibles Faire, near the decommissioned naval air station.

On other days, though, the pace of Alameda is leisurely and timeless. Ole’s Waffle Shop, which features decor virtually unchanged since 1927, is a popular brunch spot. Antiques and vintage clothing stores that dot the island, as do dive bars and mom-and-pop shops on Park and Webster streets. Ole’s features waitresses with name tags reading “Dolores” and “Maribel” toting up your bill from memory, only occasionally checking with a laminated tax sheet over the soda machine, right next to the row of customers’ baby pictures.

There’s a beach, too, not as popular as Baker Beach in The City, but good enough. The sandy shoreline of Robert W. Crown Memorial State Beach teem with history. Once, it was called Neptune Beach, dubbed “Coney Island of the West.” It had an amusement park, bathhouses and bandstands, competitions such as greased-pole climbing, canoe tipping, beauty pageants and tug-o-war. Johnny Weissmuller swam there; fighters Jack Johnson and Jim Corbett boxed there. The place was all the rage in the 1920s. A combination of the Great Depression, construction of the Bay and Golden Gate bridges and the growing popularity of car travel sent Neptune Beach into bankruptcy by 1939.

History is also anchored aboard the USS Hornet, which gives tours and even overnight sleepovers.

Information: Take Interstate 80 west to Interstate 880. Take exit 39B toward 23rd Avenue. Continue straight, merging onto Kennedy Street. Veer right at the fork and go over the Park Street Bridge. That leads to the Park Street shopping area on the east side of the island.

Burlingame Museum of Pez Memorabilia

An entire museum dedicated to cubed, candy-coated sugary snacks? Puh-leeze. Why bother with such trivialities when the Bay Area is chock full of impressive and important museums?

Why? Because everyone needs a little whimsy in life. Besides, the museum is about Pez dispensers, more than the candy itself. Examples of every Pez dispenser ever manufactured, more than 900 in all, are represented within two small but tidy rooms, as well as Pez posters, vintage Pez-vending machines, Pez apparel and Pez literature and, of course, the candy itself.

Pez has long been an American pop-culture fascination, combining as it does two archetypal products: candy and toys. And, maybe because it is near San Francisco International Airport, owner Gary Doss’ museum has attracted visitors from Europe and Asia, as well as the large domestic Pez-head population. Even though the dispensers are seemingly made from the flimsiest of mass-produced plastic, they hold up well over time. That could be because most collectors don’t actively use them to deliver candy; rather, the dispensers become objets d’art.

“It’s the silliness of it,” Doss explains. “Pez is almost unequaled in its ability to license such a wide and diverse group of characters. I mean, from ‘Star Wars’ to ‘Hello Kitty’ to the three gentlemen from (the reality TV show) ‘Orange County Choppers, ‘ that’s pretty all-encompassing.”

Information: 214 California Drive, Burlingame. From Highway 101 south, take the Broadway exit and turn left onto California Drive. Hours: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday; closed Sunday and Monday Information: (650) 347-2301; www.burlingamepezmuseum.com


Call The Bee’s Sam McManis, (916) 321-1145. Follow him on Twitter @SamMcManis.

Read more articles by Sam McManis



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