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California travel

WANDERING THE NAPA VALLEY IN CALIFORNIA – I often tell folks in Canada that I vastly prefer Sonoma Valley to Napa Valley when it comes to wine tasting and generally tooling around. But I think I have to them back on pretty even ground. I spent a lovely day in Sonoma a week or so ago. We then drove over to Napa for a night at the Napa Valley Marriott Hotel and Spa, which doesn’t look like a chain hotel. There are lovely flowers and a really nice-looking, free-form pool in a courtyard surrounded by large trees. They had an ... continue reading →

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Quite the week here in Toronto for tourism/travel types. And I haven’t even attended a Christmas party yet! Things kicked off nicely – very nicely – on Thursday when the folks at California Tourism put on a ridiculously tasty lunch at a cooking showcase spot downtown. Southern California chef Suzanne Goin, who owns four restaurants and also has a chef husband who runs a few of his own, made some of the tastiest treats I’ve tried anywhere. Just amazing. Mind you, California has incredible, year-round produce to work with. And Goin used it; luscious red grapes she pounded with a ... continue reading →

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SONOMA, CALIFORNIA – It started out weak, but ended strong. I was in Sonoma County, California the other day for a far-too-brief visit to the town of Sonoma and then to check out a couple wineries. After a short stop for lunch at a bakery/sandwich place in the pretty town of Sonoma, with its old-time square and sturdy City Hall, we headed up the road to check out the Eric Ross Winery. Of course, I was driving my Dad’s new Hyundai and the GPS took us on the most circuitous route imaginable; up and over steep hills and through canyons ... continue reading →

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SANTA BARBARA, CALIFORNIA – This drop-dead-gorgeous city in southern California already has endless beaches, bountiful sunshine, urban wineries selling delicious local wines and killer restaurants featuring a huge array of local cuisine. Now they’re working on a permanent, new market complex that should open next year, one that could rival Toronto’s St. Lawrence Market or the wild and wonderful Pike’s Place in Seattle. It’s just not fair that an area that already has such natural beauty and can probably make almost everything except maple syrup is kicking it up a notch like that, but nobody ever said tourism was fair. ... continue reading →

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