Cakebread Cellars

Just down the road from Rubicon Estate is Cakebread Cellars, makers of red and white wines that we often drink back home. The vineyard was started 30 years ago by a man named Jack Cakebread who visited the area to photograph Napa Valley for a book, and ended up buying a friend's ranch and becoming a vintner.

Back then, Jack's wife Dolores would prepare lunch for visitors to the ranch. Today, Cakebread sees thousands of visitors come through for tours of its garden, vineyards, kitchen, and wine making. They even have a "Healthy Eating" cooking workshop in Dolores' organic kitchen garden.

We joined a small group out in the field to taste wines amongst the vines (where I learned that they don't trim the rows so that the heavy foliage can protect the delicate white grapes from the blazing sun).

And where did that famous surname come from? Jack's ancestors were bakers in England who specialized in a dense, round loaf called "cakebrede."

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Rubicon Estate

Rubicon Estate is owned by producer Francis Ford Coppola, who purchased the Inglenook Winery in 1975 using his proceeds from The Godfather, and renamed it after its flagship wine.

It's a magnificent property with a long, tree-lined drive and a great house covered in ivy (that had turned a bright red for the Fall foliage season).

Besides the tasting room, bar and picnic area, there is a small museum there dedicated to Coppola's fascination with optics, the result of being confined to his bed with polio as a child and occupying himself with prisms, telescopes and a toy movie projector. Here, they have his collection of zoetropes (an early device for moving pictures) on display, as well as information on his now-famous movie career. You may recall from my earlier post that Coppola named his San Francisco-based production company American Zoetrope, and that he serves Rubicon wines in the ground floor cafe of the same building.

Here's a brief tour of the Estate:

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Peter, Paul and Grace

Grace Cathedral (see first photo, below) borders Little Italy and the Red Light District. It's an Episcopal cathedral known for its open-mindedness, and has one of only 7 remaining men & boys cathedral choirs. It is also known for its stained glass windows, mosaics by Polish painter Jan Henryk de Rosen, and an altarpiece designed by Keith Haring for the AIDS Interfaith Chapel here.

Further down the road, on the edge of Washington Square Park (host to an art show the day we visited) is Saints Peter and Paul Church. This one is Roman Catholic and serves as the home church and community center for the city's Italian American population. It was prominently featured in Clint Eastwood's Dirty Harry, and is also the site of Joe DiMaggio's wedding (to his first wife, not Marilyn Monroe - although she posed for photos with him on the front steps) and his funeral. This church is pictured in the last 3 photos below, including the final one in which I was walking up the steep road to Coit Tower, which I'll feature next.

Grace, Peter, and Paul

Grace, Peter, and Paul

Grace, Peter, and Paul

Grace, Peter, and Paul


North Beach

North Beach is sort of an edgy neighborhood sandwiched between Chinatown and Fisherman's Wharf. It's home to the city's Little Italy and headquarters to the Beat Generation (Alan Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac) in the 1960s, but today also hosts the red light district. Here are some pictures to give you an idea; the bathtub is from the Beat Museum, which we visited.

North Beach

North Beach

North Beach

North Beach

North Beach


Fisherman's Wharf

After visiting Lombard Street we walked down the hill to Fisherman's Wharf, a rather tacky waterfront area reminiscent if the streets surrounding Niagara Falls: lots of t-shirt & souvenir shops, wax museums, and bad food. But we did discover the World Famous Bushman, a homeless man that has been scaring passersby since 1980. He started out dressing up as a robot but found there were too many of those, so now crouches down behind some eucalyptus branches which he shakes at people as they past. He cajoles tips out of them afterward and is reported to have made $60k in a good year! That's him in the last shot.

Fisherman's Wharf

Fisherman's Wharf

Fisherman's Wharf

Fisherman's Wharf

Fisherman's Wharf