The Latest From San Francisco for Foodies and Wine Lovers

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Foodies and wine lovers are in luck, there are plenty of new venues for them in San Francisco and its surrounding wine country.

San Francisco Bay’s winter visitors will be among the first to experience an olive oil tasting in Napa Valley. This winter is shaping up to be an exciting season for California as the state enjoys a variety of restaurant openings, luxury hotels and new attractions.

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Most notable is California’s Restaurant Month in January, an event that brings California’s top chefs to center stage and allows travelers to try gourmet meals at a fraction of the typical price.

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Below is a list of new offerings in the San Francisco Bay area to provide an inside scoop on where to check in and what to check out:

San Francisco’s Russian Hill Welcomes Verbena Restaurant – The restaurant will open in the city’s Russian Hill neighborhood by mid-December. The 2,200-square-foot restaurant will include a menu of seasonal California cuisine designed by awarding-winning Chef Sean Baker and a wine program overseen by Sommelier Michael Ireland. 

Oakland Welcomes New Brew Pub and Restaurant – Chef James Syhabout and Linden Street Brewery’s Adam Lamoreaux will team up to open The Dock, a new brew pub and restaurant. Located next door to Linden Street Brewery, The Dock will have a bar-bites menu designed to accompany the pub’s craft beer selection. Syhabout, an Oakland native, is the owner of Hawker Fare, Commis and Box and Bells in Oakland, and is considered a pioneer of the city’s dining scene. 

New Hall Wines Center in St. Helena – Hall Wines has opened a new, state-of-the-art center in Napa’s St. Helena where it will offer tastings beginning Jan. 1, 2014. The new LEED Gold Certified space will be filled with rotating art exhibits and installations to complement the center’s wine tasting programs. In addition, guided tours of area wineries will be offered, and an exhibition kitchen will host culinary programs. 

New Tastings and Tours at Sonoma County Distilleries – Sebastopol’s Spirit Works Distillery, an artisan micro distillery in the grain-to-glass tradition, is now open for tastings and guided tours. Right on the heels of Spirit Works, fellow Sonoma micro distilleries Prohibition Spirits, HelloCello and Indigenous Spirits Lab also plan to launch tastings and guided tours in early 2014. 

Santa Rosa Welcomes Expert Diving School – Elite Scuba Diver is now open in Santa Rosa, offering near-personalized diving instruction with a student-to-dive leader ratio of two-to-one. 

New Santa Cruz Trail Open For Hiking, Biking and Horseback Riding – The Emma McCrary Trail, a new 1.5-mile, multi-use dirt trail through Pogonip Park, is now open and connected to the trail network inside the 620-acre city park. The new 3-foot-wide path was created by more than 300 volunteers and took a year to complete.

Santa Cruz Wharf Celebrates 100 Years – One of the oldest piers in the state, it will be celebrating its 100th birthday in 2014. The wharf serves as its own business district, complete with shops and restaurants, and is the gateway to the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. At nearly a century old, it continues to flourish as both a working and recreational wharf with 1.5 million annual visitors.

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Lucero Olive Oil Tasting Room Debuts in Napa – In addition to the more than 25 wine tasting rooms in downtown Napa, travelers now have the opportunity to taste award-winning olive oil at the new Lucero Olive Oil Tasting Room. Lucero Olive Oil is the fruition of three generations of olive farming and olive oil production in Northern California. 

New Hotels, Restaurants and Wineries in Calistoga – Napa Valley’s Calistoga is debuting new lodging and epicurean offerings. The town welcomes the Sunburst Hotel, a 50-room boutique property in the heart of downtown, and the newly remodeled Calistoga Inn and Brewery, which is reopening following extensive renovations. Also newly opened are the artisanal Italian eatery D’Amici Ristorante and the Tamber Bey Winery at Sundance Ranch. 

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