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Chez Panisse restaurant in Berkeley

After more than a month long hiatus, we’re back from a wonderful vacation to California and Las Vegas!

We flew award-winning Air New Zealand to San Francisco, where we stayed at the W Hotel.  Part of the Starwood Group, this hotel ticks all the boxes. Our corner room was bright, spacious and quiet with an Asian-influenced decor.  The king-size bed was comfortable and the complimentary Bliss Spa toiletries (brainchild of Canadian, Marcia Kilgore) were amazing. The bottled water was Fiji Water (founded by another Canadian, David Gilmour) and the selection of in-room magazines was a delightful surprise. The hotel had a lovely swimming pool and hot tub near the spa and a very buzzy bar, the Living Room, just off the main lobby.

During our stay, we did all the touristy things – Saturday morning farmers’ market, Chinatown, Little Italy and a city bus tour. We sampled delicious chocolate at the original Ghiradelli headquarters and ascended and descended neighbouring Lombard St. (the world’s crookedest street). We ate yummy sourdough sandwiches from the Boudin bakery (Fisherman’s Wharf), drank beautiful coffee in Little Italy and browsed the shelves of the nearby City Lights Bookstore.  We ate in some excellent restaurants too – One Market Street, Yank Sing (for dim sum on Sunday morning) and Alice Water’s famous Chez Panisse in Berkeley.  We kept our food costs down and our vegetable and fruit consumption up by frequenting a Whole Foods Market and a Bristol Farms Market for breakfast fixins and prepared salads/soups. We rode cable cars, trams, the Bart (rapid transit) and city buses to get around, when we weren’t aboard the double-decker tour bus. Public transportation is widely utilized by residents and is very efficient and green. The W Hotel has won awards for its green practices as have several city restaurants and bars.  The Salt House gastro pub (near the hotel) brings in some of their wine by the cask to avoid using so many bottles – very innovative!

We loved San Francisco, but on Day 5 it was time to head south. Join us next time as we drive the Pacific Coast highway south to the Monterey Penninsula.

Until next time,

Your Boomer Life Partners

Disclosure:  Products or services mentioned in this Boomer Life Today blog were not paid for or solicited by companies in New Zealand or abroad.