Auction Napa Valley 2014

Had a great time at Auction Napa Valley over the weekend. Lots of money raised for local charities, a record-setting…

Remembering Donna Scala

The last time I saw Donna Scala, coowner with husband Giovanni of Napa’s popular Bistro Don Giovanni, she was full…


United Airlines crackdown on oversize carry-ons


Here’s something that I heartily endorse. United Airlines is cracking down on carry-on size. There’s no change in the policy, just stricter enforcement of the old one which is that you can have one bag 22″ by 14″ by 9″ that goes in the overhead bin and one bag 10″ by 9″ by 17″ that…

Traveling with Global Entry and TSA Precheck


Even though I am British by birth, I am not found of queues, aka standing in line. So when I heard about Global Entry, the preclearance program that sends you to the front of the U.S. Customs line when you return from abroad, I signed up right away. And now that you can use your…

Snowpocalypse, Southern Style


Sometimes travel doesn’t work out just the way you’d like, which is why I found myself stranded in Raleigh, North Carolina recently. An unusually fierce winter storm hit, dumping a few inches of snow followed by sleet and ice that brought the area to its knees. In just a few hours, the freeways turned into…

Euro Shop: Getting your tax rebate with Global Blue

Louis Vuitton flagship on Champs Elysees, aka Heaven. /Photo Michelle Locke

Louis Vuitton flagship on Champs Elysees, aka Heaven. /Photo Michelle Locke

Let’s face it, as fabulous as sightseeing can be, there are times when you want to look at something a little more portable. Leaning Tower of Pisa: great example of distinctive Italian style. Over-the-knee scrunchy Prada leather boots: ditto.

I’m talking a serious Euroshopping spree here.

Luckily for you

Food & Drink

Remembering Donna Scala


The last time I saw Donna Scala, coowner with husband Giovanni of Napa’s popular Bistro Don Giovanni, she was full of plans to renovate the restaurant. Which is notable mainly because she’d been diagnosed with a brain tumor and given just months to live. That was earlier this year and as it turned out the…

Adventures in Clam Chowder Judging

A booth at the Santa Cruz 2014 Clam Chowder Cookoff /Photo Michelle Locke

“We’ve got the amateur table, so I’ll give you some advice: Take small sips. If it’s green avoid it. But don’t worry, it’s great fun!” And with that sage advice my adventures as a judge at the 33rd annual  Santa Cruz Clam Chowder Cookoff began. The contest, which took place last weekend, was my first…

Brewdog’s Olympic anti-Putin Beer

vlad beer

Just in time for the Sochi Olympics, Scottish beer maker BrewDog is introducing a craft beer protesting the recent Russian law banning  “homosexual propaganda.” The beer is called “Hello My Name is Vladimir” and includes the slogan “not for gays” on the label. Also on the label, an image of Russian President Vladimir Putin wearing…

Happy New Year of the (Wine) Horse

SF Chinatown ready for the Year of the Dragon /Photo Michelle Locke

Gung Hay Fat Choy! Which is to say Happy New Year of the Lunar Calendar, which begins Jan. 31, the Year of the Horse. And what better way to celebrate than with one of the many excellent wines that celebrate our equine friends. Let’s start with a bit of bubbly from Iron Horse Vineyards, a reliably…

Downton Abbey Wine

poster_season1What pairs well with an upper crusty dinner party at fabulous Downton Abbey? Chateau Coutet wine, of course.

That was on the table for the big bash thrown by the Granthams in Episode 2, Season 4, and the crew at Coutet were tickled to be featured on the British period drama.

You know you’re doing well when Carson, the Butler With Impeccable Taste,