Almost daily, I am reminded of how glorious the East Bay is. As I take my quick drive to my office at Red Oak, (from Montclair Village down Moraga to Pleasant Valley Avenue) I capture photo perfect glimpses of the Bay and San Francisco. Our burgeoning restaurant scene is rivaling San Francisco's and New York and if you want to get away to the lush green terrain of the wine country you are only about an hour away. My good friend Claudia and I decided that a vacation doesn't have to be an airplane ride away, nor does it have to be for a length of time. As our lives seem more hectic than ever, and everyone is on a budget, try a weekend getaway to decompress from it all. Downtown Napa is only 15 minutes or so from Vallejo and downtown is drawing tourist and natives alike. The redeveloping waterfront where the Napa River and Napa River Trail meet includes Oxbow Market and the world-famous Chef Masahura Morimoto's restaurant, Morimoto. Old town Napa has Butter Cream Bakery and Diner. (My friend Monica turned me on to this donut heaven!)
If you head North, Yountville is a great place to stop and get fresh oysters or a a croque madame at Bouchon. Drive about 10 minutes longer and you are at one of my favorite standards, Rutherford Grill. The Nice salad and the grilled fish of the day is my go to meal. If your budget permits, stay at Solage Calistoga for an incredible overnight stay. Solage is the hip spa /resort located on 22 acres in the heart of Calistoga. Part of the Auberge Resort family, Solage is a bit more relaxed and affordable than Auberage Du Soleil in Napa. The Michelien rated Solbar on the property is a great place to eat in the bar, in the dining room or outside in the sun. The Lucky Pig is enough food for two and is super satisfying with slow roasted pork, sesame seed crepes, a myriad of topings including fresh mint, cilantro, lime, roasted peanuts and various sauces.
One of the amenities at Solage are the two cruisers that you can use during your stay. Ride all around Calistoga and there is no need to lock your bike, with the Solage license plates to identify them, lost bikes are returned back to the resort. Sometimes we forget that the Bay Area and Napa Valley is a worldwide vacation destination and it is in our backyard.