“Marylle Koken is fantastic at performing major transformations with ease," says InStyle magazine. "Koken is one of the nation’s top performing media artists in hair making today," raves SalonCity. While most salon owners would revel in a single glowing review, The Harlot Salon’s owner, Marylle Koken, has had them rolling in since her career began at the tender age of 19. After growing up in Holland and training in France, she traveled to the United States to embark upon a storied career. Now, thanks to her reputation for spellbinding styles, she counts The Kardashians, Paris Hilton, Juliette Binoche, Claudia Schiffer, and Jack Nicholson as clients at her Parisian-themed salon.
Complimentary cookies, champagne, and cappuccino welcome guests into The Harlot, where they kick back in soft, leather chairs as they await treatments with Marylle or one of the salon’s other star stylists. Not to be outdone by their lauded leader, the staff also flaunts impressive resumés that include styling for LA Fashion Week and fitting the Hollywood sign for its new wig. With the help of Sebastian Professional and Moroccanoil products, they perform a traditional list of hair services with untraditional flair.
In 1927, after seven years of Prohibition, Vincent Rizzo had an idea. He would buy a winery. While this may have been an unconventional move, he knew he could get Bernardo Winery at a lower price and keep the business thriving with an unlikely product: olive oil. In a stroke of cunning and arguable genius, the first-generation Rizzo owner made use of the olive trees growing on his property, selling the cold-pressed virgin oil to many of the tuna canneries in downtown San Diego. He also continued production of sacramental wine and grape juice that was, according to the winery's website, "guaranteed to ferment by the end of the road."
The winery grew to be one of San Diego County's major wine suppliers in the late 1940s, and Vincent turned the family business over to his son, Ross, in 1962. Ross's passion and dedication fueled the winery's success until his passing in 2008. Ross Rizzo, Jr. now keeps his father and grandfather's legacies alive, adding new varietals and winemaking techniques to the company's repertoire while paying homage to the old ways. Ross still sources his grapes from local vineyards and produces and cellars his wine to develop each variety?s distinct flavor.
Guests can get a behind-the-scenes look at the historic winery during tours and tastings, and the scenic spot also hosts private parties at several outdoor venues and in the Barrel Room, where wooden rafters and huge redwood wine-storage vats create a rustic feel. Once they are done tasting, visitors can wander through a micro village of shops and studios or get a bite to eat at Cafe Merlot. The sprawling property features nods to its storied past with accents such as wagon wheels and an antique thresher machine and events such as grape stompings, otherwise known as do-it-yourself purple pedicures.
At 2,600 feet up in the Santa Cruz Mountains, one might expect to find sprawling views of the ocean and surrounding forest and not flourishing vineyards. Yet there are more than 70 wineries dappling the hills at various altitudes, privy to the dewy, cooling breezes of the sea and the richness of the rocky soil. The San Francisco Chronicle speaks to their scattered presence, deeming them "less a cohesive wine region than a patchwork of vineyards." Still, this characteristic isolation has resulted in "a perfect laboratory for winemaking not held hostage to fashion"—no one style dominates in this rustic setting.
Pinot noirs and chardonnays populate the western front, and the east yields cabernets, merlots, and zinfandels. The majority of the vineyards are small and family owned—a fact reflected in their meticulously bottled libations and the matching sweaters of their holiday photos—but though they exist in chosen hermitage, many of them welcome visitors to their scenic sites. They host weddings, festivals, and open events such as Pathway to Pinot Paradise, a self-guided tour of the pinot noir hotspots.
Noeteca‘s owners spent their lives looking forward to running their own restaurant, so it’s no surprise that the French-inspired tapas spot feels comfortable in its own skin from early morning meals until late into the night. During the day, Noeteca seems like a cafe, where patrons sip on international coffees from local roasters brewed by the cup or for personal-sized French presses. At brunch menu, familiar dishes share space with ambitious French-inspired offerings—the croque monsieur becomes a croque Napoleon with slices of bread pudding layered with black forest ham and emmantaler. When the weather is nice, guests can wander out to a patio colored by a flower and herb garden to learn the sun’s secret handshake.
As evening falls, candlelight fills the dining room and guests switch their focus to wine. The award-winning list includes more than 30 varieties, each available by the glass or half-glass. For dinner, patrons can build their own cheese plates or share a tarte flambèe, Alsatian flatbreads the San Francisco Bay Guardian said have “a lovely thin, blistered crust that was a bit softer and more luxurious than a typical pizza crust”.
On one side of the Wawona Tunnel, city life, with all its rush and bustle. On the other, the majestic natural splendor of Yosemite National Park's rock faces, waters, and flora. Crossroads Tours & Limo takes nature seekers to the park for one- and two-day trips. Tours can include Glacier Point, the Yosemite Valley, and the Cathedral Spires, and provide plenty of time to remember your day with photo ops and impromptu tattoos. Private tours and wine tours are also available. Crossroads Tours also offers limousine service for any occasion, from weddings to girls' nights out.
In a white converted home that looks like it belongs on the beach, the Sugar Plum posse churns out vegan baked goods and café fare made from local, fair-trade, and organic products whenever possible. A rotating cupcake menu includes standout flavors such as lemon lavender and mocha hazelnut, and head baker Melissa’s gluten-free and vegan carrot cake, as reported by the East Sacramento News, won a silver medal in a culinary contest where it was the only vegan entry. Sugar Plum renames its Sundays Donut Day in honor of its airy glazed donuts, served from 10 a.m. until stock runs out or the donuts stage a rebellion. Less sweet lunchtime eats often star the kitchen's house-made tempeh bacon, whether on an avocado club sandwich or atop a risotto-and-nut burger with a melty slice of Daiya “cheese.” The staff helpfully accommodates allergies and raw-food diets.