There's nothing quite like a bicycle ride over rolling hillsides for shaking up the doldrums of daily idling. The shuttle bus will pick up bikeseekers between 8 and 9 a.m. and head across the Golden Gate Bridge toward wine country. Upon arrival, the guided bike ride begins, and you'll hop from winery to winery like a king on a checkerboard. All the tour guides are trained sommeliers with craniums filled with wine knowledge—and possibly wine. Sample varietals aperitifs along the course of the journey and stop for a delightful picnic lunch among the vineyards. The shuttle bus will follow along to carry anything purchased at the wineries or to assist thoroughly tuckered trekkers. Daytrippers are returned to the city by 7 p.m., in time to share the sunset with a lucky loved one—a girlfriend, a husband, a bottle of wine wearing a wig, etc. Purchase up to four of today's deal and invite friends, family, or a group of beloved strangers to join the journey. If you want to bring a friend along who doesn't possess a Groupon, that person will get 20% off the tour.
Housed within the heart of Golden Gate Park, Park Chalet Garden Restaurant manages to simultaneously embrace its natural surroundings and its contemporary, urban setting. Glass walls and ceilings completely surround the diners, affording them pastoral views of Queen Wilhelmina's windmill and the dutch-tulip garden without sacrificing the comfort of an indoor environment. During warm, sunny days, natural light floods the space and the retractable glass doors slide open to admit warm breezes. The dining room's pendant lamps and immense stone fireplace become invaluable at night, keeping the restaurant brightly lit and the temperatures toasty throughout the evening.
To complement this elegantly cozy ambiance, Executive Chef Matthew Urban and his team devised a menu of familiar comfort foods with subtly refined touches. Smoked paprika oil adds an unfamiliar yet welcome burst of savory flavor to the fried chicken, and cornmeal-crusted trout arrives at tables with an aromatic saffron aioli. Occasionally, the chefs look for inspiration in other cuisines and fuse those flavors with Californian ingredients. Crushed avocados add to the ahi tuna tartare's richness, but the dish's ginger-sesame vinaigrette balances those flavors with a hint of zesty spice.
However, the chefs aren't the only culinary talent at Park Chalet Garden Restaurant. The staff also brews a variety of beers in-house, crafting everything from smoky, German-style märzens to refreshingly hoppy IPAs. As diners enjoy one of these brews with their meal, they can take in the views and applaud the local bands and extraterrestrial magicians that perform every Tuesday evening.
420 pounds of butter. 900 eggplants. 210 gallons of honey. This isn’t a recipe for a record-breaking dish, but rather, a portion of the ingredients that go into making this festival delicious. A crew of chefs and bakers spend the three-day event whipping these products and more into Greek dishes and pastries, employing the same recipes and culinary techniques that their forefathers used. This celebration of cultural history and traditions is the foundation on which the Belmont Greek Festival is built.
Hellenic enthusiasts of all ages and backgrounds descend upon the Greek Orthodox Church of the Holy Cross to enjoy food and festivities. A calendar of engaging events includes cooking demonstrations, performances by folk-dancing groups, and tours of the church’s Byzantine-style interior. The outdoor amphitheater hosts live plays, evoking the feel of an ancient theatre thanks to its open-air design and centaur ushers. Kids can take to the Fun Zone for games, rides, and bouncy castles, and shoppers visit the agora flea market to find Mediterranean books, artwork, jewelry, and clothing. The Church of the Holy Cross spreads cheer after the weekend is done by donating part of the festival’s proceeds to local charities, which in the past have included the Children’s Advocacy Council and Samaritan House.
750ml is a hybrid wine store and bar that regularly plays host to personal and corporate events and features the self-serve technology of Enomatic. With 24 different wines available to taste, the Enomatic wine dispenser pours samples by the ounce ($1.20-$6.80). The enological emporium boasts a collection of wines from California, the Pacific Northwest, South America, Australia, and an alternate, dystopian 1985. Sample a one-ounce taste of the Arneis Ponzi from Willamette Valley, Oregon ($2), a half-glass of the Californian Russian River Reds 2008 Pinot Noir ($5), or a full glass of French Vin du Bugey Sparkling Rose ($10). Libationists will also find microbrew beers ($5–$8) and non-alcoholic offerings. Pair potables with a charcuterie trio from Paul Bertolli's Fra'Mani ($15) or with a cheeseboard of Californian Humboldt Fog goat's milk cheese, Australian Seal Bay cow's milk cheese, and Italian Fiore Sardo pecorino sheep's milk cheese ($15). An olive medley ($5) and Marcona almonds ($5) round out the edible offerings, providing an ample array of sensual small bites to suit a romantic date with your significant other or new ficus tree.
In 1955, Dominick Chirichillo’s grandfather began teaching him the family pastime: winemaking. They worked on a wine press in the basement of his New York home, transforming bunches of grapes into nuanced reds and whites. Quickly finding that the hobby of his ancestors was his passion, Dominick entered his creations in amateur competitions around the East Coast. When he felt confident enough to open up his own winery, he moved to northern California, lured by the prospect of living and working right next door to the vineyards that grew his grapes. His winery—named Domenico to honor his Italian heritage—now produces boutique wines that have won more than 300 awards for their rich, complex palates and excellent scores in the swimsuit competition. Some varieties are made in batches of only 100 or 200 cases, allowing his staff to innovate fearlessly. Locals often drop by the winery’s spacious tasting room to sample these limited-edition flavors. Outfitted with a 24-foot mahogany bar and sweeping drapes, the tasting room recalls an elegant Tuscan café, complete with impeccable hospitality. The staff eagerly shares the undertones and flavors of every pour, suggesting potential food pairings or the best glass of red to throw at an offensive suitor.