Sunday, February 17, 2008

A hangout is born.

St. Helena icon Taylor’s Refresher opened its first Napa outlet of the hamburger joint, and Napans did not waste time in claiming it for their own.

Locals have always flocked to the St. Helena post of this longtime valley business. But the family’s new restaurant next to the Oxbow market is it’s first venture into the city.

I say hamburger joint but this is no regular burger hut. Gourmet touches to burgers, fish and chips, fish tacos, ahi burgers, garlic fries, soups and salads, and hand-scooped milkshakes make this menu a winner all around. According to one website: “Daily specials include soft shell crab tacos, barbecued pulled pork sandwiches, duck confit tacos, and portabella Reuben sandwiches.”

Opening just Friday, on Saturday night the place was hopping. At one outdoor table (each with individually controlled heaters -LOVE that!) a trio of motorcycle boys scoped out the scene, carefully watching comers and goers. Families, a bunch from our kid’s school, came and went. Inside, chef side tables gave diners a glimpse of the kitchen action. For convenience, take-along beepers tell you when your order’s ready for pick up. Table side pick up of used trays is available, with carefully marked recycling bins available for the plastic cups, which are made from corn (!) and 100% compostable.

We ate our burgers and fries and took it all in. Cozy by the heaters, I felt like we were witnesses to a real happening, the night Napa’s newest hangout was born.

Photos of Taylor's opening

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Valentine's Day treats -- YUM !

Miss America earings.

Happy Valentines Day! DJ delights Planet Claire with long adored pair of Miss America crown earings. Awww.... He's a keeper.

Sunday, February 10, 2008


I’ve got a little collection of handbags, shoes and other accessory goodies, but there’s something else I love to collect. And while I don’t get to wear it much, I do love my furs.

Now before anyone gets their PETA-wearin’ panties in twist, I don’t buy fur. But only because I can’t afford to, ha ha. If someone handed me a gift certificate to a fabulous furrier, I would not say no to some new mink!

Fur is FIERCE. Fur feels so good. It’s so warm. And soft.

To wear a fur is to realize why they are decadent, luxurious and coveted (and hated) by so many. You feel like a million bucks. Or a movie star. Out here in California, there’s really not a big need to wear fur to keep warm. But as a fashion statement, there’s nothing finer than fur.

I have the luck of having been given several furs from good friends Larry and Linda. I believe one belonged to Linda’s mom and two belonged to Larry’s mom. Even though I love fur, I couldn’t tell you what kind of fur they actually are. Just deep dark brown. Short hair. Two are 1950s cape style and one a black wool coat with fur collar. Each has fine satin lining. One cape has the initials SG inside. Who are you SG? And where did you show off your fur?

When I wear the black wool coat, I think about Larry’s mom wearing the coat. Being basic black and nice wool, I’m sure it was a wardrobe staple. I should ask Larry if he has any pictures of her wearing it.

The labels on my furs just as interesting as the fur themselves.

-J. Schifano, The Furrier, Napa, Calif.
-Ted Marcuse Furs, San Francisco.
-Marcus, San Jose.

I googled all three and got nothing. Who were these furriers? Are they extinct like the fur business has almost become?

No matter. I’ve got my fur. And I will wear it well.