The history of wine in the Livermore Valley spans 250 years. Spanish missionaries planted the region's first grapes in the 18th century, and Robert Livermore sowed the first commercial vines in the mid-19th. These early efforts led to America's first international gold medal for wine at the 1889 Paris Exposition, when California grapes beat out bordeaux in the annual race to the top of the Eiffel Tower.
The guides at Livermore Valley Wine & Cycle Tours lead cyclists into this historic, scenic valley in which some 40 wineries currently reside. Rides between them follow moderate routes, letting peddlers soak in views of the canyons and ridges that rise and fall between the clustered rows of vines.
Since 2004, Super Jet Limo's smartly dressed chauffeurs have transported clients in a fleet of stylish town cars. They drive travelers to and from San Francisco International Airport, Oakland International Airport, and Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport. In addition, they facilitate sightseeing tours and provide transportation for special events, such as proms and weddings. In the case of the latter, they'll even outfit limos with customized Just Married signs.
Clad in revealing outfits, Tokyo Playground's beautiful waitresses don't adhere to the quiet formalness normally associated with Japanese dining. Then again, at Tokyo Playground, neither does anything else. Helped by its scantily clad waitstaff, the restaurant instead throws on the mantle of a rowdy American sports bar, pairing Japanese cuisine with upbeat music and sports broadcast on HDTVs. Like a dolphin's toy box, the menu is predominantly filled with sushi—36 specialty rolls include the Fiesta roll with spicy tuna, sweet fried tofu, and avocado. Forgoing the roll, the nigiri and sashimi selection includes live giant clams and spanish mackerel. Bento boxes pair sushi or teriyaki entrees with rice and salad, and a chef's-choice sushi combo gives the chef license to pair rolls thought up on the spot. Of course, pockets of the menu highlight the sports-bar angle with snacks such as the japanese nachos covered in spicy ground tuna. To wash it all down, the bar slings sake bombs made from hot sake and Sapporo.
C.J. Easter understands the value of physical fitness. As a former defensive back who faced some of college football's most fearsome offenses during a four-year stint with the Stanford Cardinal, he could only be as effective as he was lean. With visions of sleek physiques in mind, Easter earned his personal-training certification from the American Council on Exercise, founded Performance Science Training Institute, and set to work devising a fitness system of his own.
The gym's exclusive Cardio Resistance Core (CRC) System is the result of all that hard work. Designed to torch calories and tone up muscles, the system combines the most effective aspects of three different training styles. Cardio sessions hikes heart rates and boosts stamina, strength training increases balance and posture, and resistance work builds muscles with the help of dumbbells, bands, and clients' own body weight.
The institute's team of instructors also augment CRC exercises with counseling on how to make responsible nutritional decisions and set goals that are both challenging and achievable. This all-over approach doesn't simply help people get fitter; it helps them remake their entire lives in a healthier, happier image.
The Day of Discovery Festival provides patrons with the opportunity to kick back in a lush winery setting, while knocking back estate-grown grapey goods to the melodious offerings of 18 bands, including some Bay Area acts, on three different stages. Headlined by Luce, the festival also features the Bacchus Brothers, The Ferocious Few, and seven acoustic acts. Food, wine, and beer will be available for purchase all day and doors open at noon, with music starting at 1 p.m. Wente Vineyards offers an intimate viewing environment by each stage, ensuring that any spot you set down your blanket will give you a good view of the stage action, allowing you to shut off your internal bionic opera glasses.
At Tamas Estates, sippers swish the vineyard's award-winning varietals fermented with sustainably grown grapes. Epicureans sit at the bar swirling four vintages in one of two different tasting flights. Bouquets range from the pinot grigio's citrus hints and the zinfandel's berry hints to the Double Decker red's plum and crossword-puzzle hints. Visitors are encouraged to pair their vino with a picnic lunch, brought from home and savored on a scenic outdoor patio. Tasting duos come away with a bottle of Tamas Estates' 2008 barbera, whose crisp, fruity finish and vanilla hints stimulate taste buds and distract the mind while the heart goes on an emotional rampage.