Playland-Not-at-the-Beach is a 9000-square foot building chock-full of amazing things to see and do. There are 30+ pinball machines set on Free Play, arcade games, videogames, carnival games of skills where you can win prizes, penny arcades full of antique amusement devices, live magic shows. We are truly The Museum of Fun!
It's not just that they don't mind?visitors to Omescape actually want to be locked into a room for an hour. These, however, are no ordinary rooms, but tests of mental prowess. They're an online room escape come to life, chock-full of puzzles and mind benders that lead to the way out.
Teams of up to eight players scour the room for clues and then try to find their way out in just one hour. In Room Omega, they're working to uncover the reasons for time travel researcher Professor Stanley's mysterious disappearance; in Forgotten Treasure, the team must search for a pirate's secret stash of gold and blinged-out eye patches.
Because Omescape's staffers recognize the games are challenging, they allow teams to ask for help one time during the game, and they keep the entrance to the room open at all times in case anyone feels uncomfortable (each room has an entrance and an exit). The fastest teams to escape through the exit get their photos hung on the wall and an invitation to return to test new rooms.
For La Strada's owners, Martino and Adriano, food lies at the heart of their business and their friendship. They first met while working various Italian restaurants in North Beach and immediately hit it off. Through the years, they'd daydream about opening their own restaurant, until one day a vacant restaurant space changed everything. After taking a look inside, they decided to take the plunge?and the first La Strada location was on its way to opening.
Their first restaurant flourished and soon they opened a second location right next to City Hall. This time, they outfitted the new dining room with fireplace seating, Italian archways, and murals of rolling Tuscan countryside. But they didn't change the one thing that made their first restaurant successful: the food. At both locations, they continue to serve their classic Italian eats, such as skewers of salmon, scallops, and veggies in a white wine garlic sauce and tender veal stuffed with prosciutto, sage, olives, and mozzarella.
More than 80 stainless steel Italian fusti containers line the walls at Amphora Nueva, ready to dispense samples and full bottles of aged balsamic vinegar and single-varietal, extra-virgin olive oil harvested from farms in both hemispheres. The shop’s globe-spanning selection process isn’t just for variety—it also ensures freshness year-round, in accordance with the old saying “It’s always olive-oil season somewhere.” The curators of this bounty select Italian white and dark balsamic vinegar as well as unique specialty oils, including roasted butternut squash, pumpkin and Italian truffle.
Once they’ve added them to the casks, they post harvest dates, acidity levels, and polyphenol counts for each product to give an idea of its antioxidant content and flavor strength. Each staff member touts a comprehensive understanding of the chemistry and uses of olive oil and vinegar, always happy to share recipe ideas to jazz up everyday dinners or science fair volcanoes. They’ll also help put together gift sets and wrap any bottle for free.
The business, whose retail shop stands on a sloping street lined with trees and cottage-like storefronts across from the Claremont Hotel, has been in business for nearly a century. Beneath its high ceilings, however, the atmosphere harkens back to far more ancient times, with a marble tasting counter and oil containers balanced atop the rough clay of the giant, authentic amphorae that give the company its name. Guests stop in not just to do some shopping but to take in a laidback learning experience—the San Francisco Chronicle found a visit to the shop “as much fun as it is educational,” and manager Nate Bradley reported to Diablo Magazine that they’ve occasionally “had people spend two hours in here just exploring.”
Eudemonia, open seven days a week, serves as a beacon for button mashers and role players of all interests with an eye-catching array of retail collectibles and gaming opportunities. The entertainment emporium's 40 PCs become virtual portals where gamers dive mouse-first into the fantastical worlds of preinstalled games and use word processors to rewrite the Bill of Rights in pig Latin. Eudemonia's calendar details ongoing weekly events, including tournaments for popular titles such as Magic: The Gathering, World of Warcraft, and Vampire: The Eternal Struggle. Guests can also host their own gaming events and private parties inside Eudemonia’s play space, which remains open until 2 a.m. on Fridays for late-night gamers and owls addicted to Sims 3.
A single weathervane squeaks as it sways in the breeze atop a peaked roof. Below it, a building dating back to 1948 houses Montclair Bistro amid fieldstone and brick pathways created in french provincial style. At 7 years old, future chef and owner Henry Vortriede began his cooking career by thumbing through culinary magazines and preparing meals for his family of eight. After going on to earn diplomas in food and wine at Le Cordon Bleu and L'Académie du Vin in Paris, France, he honed his skills as a chef in several French restaurants and created chocolate art showpieces at the Hyatt Regency in San Francisco.
Today, as owner and chef at Montclair Bistro, Vortriede draws on his culinary background to create a rotating menu that includes organic chicken scaloppini sourced from Petaluma Farms, duck-and-wild-mushroom quesadillas with brown-butter chestnuts, and thick, double-cut pork chops with sweet-potato-apple pancakes. Another menu of brunch fare combines traditional favorites such as scrambled eggs with black truffle and eggs benedict with lobster cake.
Vortriede's taste is on display not only on plates but also on the restaurant’s walls, where elegant painted canvases hang. Two hundred bottles of wine stand nearby on storage racks inside walk-in glass covered with the pressed noses of oenophiles. The decor, which includes dark carpeting and dark chairs, white-linen-covered tables, and flickering candles, helped earn the restaurant OpenTable's 2012 Diners' Choice award for romantic restaurant in East Bay.