Dine With Your Sign -- A Cosmic Birthday Party
Sierra Lodestar 01/04/12

1690 words


I have a confession to make. Oh, gosh! Oh, Golly! Here goes! I lead a double life. Many of you know me as Antoinette May Herndon, author, columnist, conference leader, wife of Charles, “mother” of Chloe, Mambo and Rajah, etc. But there’s another me, a sort of Whoo! Whoo! person who dabbles with the occult. If you chance to buy the SF Chron on Sunday, you’ve reached for the pink first thing. Everyone knows the pink section. It has all the upcoming events, like what happening to the planets, signs and houses. Under the pseudonym “MINERVA,” I’ve written a weekly astrology column for more years than I care to confide. Now, as 2012 dawns, a new wave of birthday plans surface. Every astrological sign expects not only to be celebrated, but with an extra dollop of flavor and innovation. Haven’t you secretly thought your birthday should be declared a national holiday? Of course, you have. And why stop there, maybe a month-long festival, or perhaps something on an international level. Am I right? Honest now, ‘fess up. In order give every birthday kid something to special to look forward to, I’ve suggested a celebration tailored to every sign. Happy Birthday, Ho! Ho! Ho!

ARIES (March 19-April 18)—Since action oriented Aries thrives on nothing more than excitement, what’s more appropriate than a ski adventure at the Bear Valley Inn? Legendary terrain, amazing snow. As the first sign in the astrological chart, the “baby” of the Cosmos, Aries represents birth and rebirth. So surely you won’t want to miss the interdenominational spring service a top the Bear Valley summit. Celebrants ride up on the chair lift, then have a choice of riding or skiing back down. Additionally, snow bunnies can look forward to an Easter egg hunt. For a brunch time treat, look forward to the eggs benedict.

VITALS: Bear Valley Lodge, 3 Bear Valley Rd., Bear Valley. Phone: 753-6421. stay@bearvalleylodge.com

TAURUS (April 19-May 19) Did you ever stop to think that the Taurus symbol of the bull is just another form of Dionysus, the wine loving fertility god? Such a fun association and you Tauruses do delight in making the most of it. You’re foodies from way back and do enjoy the good life and all the bounties of nature. So, what better place to indulge yourselves than Taste? It’s a given that there really is no better restaurant around than tiny Plymouth’s secret treasure, Taste. Tracey and Mark Berkner, backed by a splendid staff, offer the polished food and wine service that could as well be found on Union Square, in Mayfair, or on the Champs Elysees. Try the seared Duck Breast with grilled prosciutto wrapped treviso, red wine risotto cake, and goat cheese stuffed figs with Del Rio honey. Food presentations, always gorgeous, are cooked to perfection.

VITALS: Taste, 9402 Main St., Plymouth, 245-3463.

GEMINI (May 20-June 20) Drop by Clark’s Corner in Ione and there’s always something to do. Plenty of somethings. While texting, pursuing a good book, scanning a magazine, or more likely tuning into wifi, you can also enjoy a snack, sip a glass of wine, or gulp a mug of coffee. Best of all, you’ll catch up with friends. That’s what being a Gemini is all about. The astro “Twins” are people persons who belong to the world of ideas and need most of all to see and be seen. What better place than a coffee

house? And what better choice than Clark’s? While you’re at it, try the beef pot pie with a side salad and a glass of house red.

VITALS: Clark’s Corner, 12 West Main St. Ione. Phone: 274-2233.

CANCER (June 20-July 21) As the classic “roots” sign, Cancers are mothers at heart—all of them, including the hairy chested guys. The Yankee Doodle baby, born on the fourth of July, knows exactly what’s how to celebrate a birthday. Where else would this sign go but Jeff Tuttle’s Union House in Mokelumne Hill? The bistro is a kind of community center with a variety of food and entertainment—everything from rag time piano to belly dancing. This is what warm summer nights are all about. It’s all served under the stars. Check the specials, there’s always something new and good.

VITALS: Jeff Tuttle’s Union House, corner of Main and Center in Mokelumne Hill. Phone: 286-1102.

LEO (July 22-Aug. 21) An evening of theater? Dahling, how too, too divine! Leos, the grand divas of the cosmos, know that the Volcano Theatre Company, headquartered at the St. George Hotel, has dinner theatre productions that are to die for. (Try the lamb shanks.) Leos love matching wits with the actors and, will hopefully solve the mystery by dessert time. Or, consider this: The Volcano Theatre is a “have crime, will travel” company. The players will come to you. Consider a mystery drama performed around your dinner table.

VITALS: St. George, Volcano 16104 Main St., Volcano. Phone: 296-4458.

VIRGO (Aug. 22-Sept. 21) Those oh, so discriminating Virgos definitely do occasionally need down time. And what better place to relax than Kit Carson Lodge at Silver Lake? Think granite peaks, tall pines and a pristine lake, but most of all think quiet. Kit Carson Lodge is the opposite of the busy Virgo’s day-to-day world. They will actually be able to hear themselves think. Kit Carson Lodge offers excellent food and glorious “do nothing” option. Don’t forget to try the lodge’s excellent tri tips.

VITALS: Kit Carson Lodge, Highway 88 at Silver Lake, 32161 Kit Carson Rd. Phone 258-8500.

Libra (Sept. 22-Oct. 21) Does it come as any surprise to hear that Libra’s radiant ruler is Venus, planetary symbol of attraction? As past master/mistresses of the delicacies, nuances and sentiments of romance, they’ll take special pleasure in Amador City’s Imperial Hotel. Surely the most romantic eatery in three counties, the hotel is invariably intimate and inviting, seductive and opulent. The Imperial’s bar is a gem, straight from central casting. It doesn’t need much imagination to conjure up images. Kirk Douglas. Robert Mitchum. Slouchy hats, sexy grins, six guns at the ready. So much for ambience, but take my word there’s nothing day dreamy about the drinks. The Imperial’s martinis are lethal and delicious. The adjoining dining room is equally tempting. Call it frontier opulence. The wild white Mexican shrimp rubbed with chili and ginger in a lemon garlic sauce put me in a viognier kind of mood.

VITALS: The Imperial Hotel. 14202 Old Highway 49, Amador City. Phone: 267-9172.

SCORPIO (Oct. 22-Nov. 20) As everybody knows, Scorpios go where the ghosts go; and, as most know, Mok Hill’s Leger Hotel has a spectral resident. George Leger, a bon vivant Frenchman, was the inn’s founder, a colorful Gold Rush figure if there ever was one. Rumor has

it an irate husband gunned him down. Those Frenchues! George’s remains were interred in the Protestant Cemetery down the street. Some say that was the end of it. Some say not. Does George still walks the hotel halls? Such secrets are a Scorpio’s passion, the Hotel Leger their cup of spirits. Set up the Ouija board. What it spelling? W-E-I-R-D! W-I-L-D! W-O -N-D-E-R-F-U-L-L!

VITALS: The bar of the Hotel Leger (pronounced “lah-zay”) is the town living room. I’m a fish and chips regular. 105 Main, Mokelumne Hill. Phone: (209) 286-1401.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 21-Dec. 20) Shades of Sinatra! High rolling Sagittarians are right at home at the Jackson Rancheria. What else would you expect from the sign that spends most of its time in the fast lane? Sajs get high on the “rat pack” atmosphere and hope that luck will be a lady one more time. If an Archer can pull his or herself away from the gaming tables, breakfast, lunch or dinner awaits in the Raging River, an all you can eat buffet blissfully removed from the kerchunking slots. The buffet bar is “international.” You can find Mexican, Italian and Chinese food there as well as American standbys like roast beef and chicken. Just keep in mine the old firewater thing. No wine or cocktails. It’s another world, or at least another nation. There’s also a sweetner—no taxes

VITALS: Jackson Rancheria. 12222 New York Ranch Rd., Jackson. Phone: 822-WINN.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 21-Jan. 19) Tradition is a Capricorn thing. This sign relishes old fashioned customs like having tea at your auntie’s. Not your real aunt, of course, but some wonderful, fantasy person who lived at least 100 years ago, in England maybe. Think of tiny rose bouquets, exquisitely painted china and lacy tablecloths. Think Sutter Creek’s TeaEra and try a croissant filled with bacon, lettuce, tomato and cheddar cheese,

Guys go to TeaEra too, just in case you’re wondering. The china may look like fragile museum pieces, but there’s something solid and inviting about the exposed brick walls of the 1890s building.

VITALS: TeaEra 34 Main St., Sutter Creek. Phone: 267-0333.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 19-Feb. 17) The sign of Aquarius is ruled by the planet Uranus, harbinger of the unpredictable, department head of One Never Knows. They adore change, especially the sudden kind. Chinese New Year is always cause for celebration and this one—the Year of the Dragon—seems especially electrifying. What better place to party than the Thai House? Try the red curry duck—tender, savory and roasted with tomatoes, pineapple, bell pepper and basil leaves.

VITALS: Thai House. 200 Highway 12. Valley Springs. Phone: 722-8549

PISCES (Feb. 18-March 19) All Pisceans are closet mystics. We know that and they know we know it. Still, the time eventually comes when they’re ready to kick over the traces and pull the plug on that airy-fairy reputation. “We can do more than just read minds,” they insist. “We know all about this life—not just the past ones.” Naturally such an enchanted sign wants a dinner choice that’s out of this world. What could be more appropriate than Alchemy, a restaurant whose name alone offers a lure that goes beyond food. Here’s a promise of transformation, maybe even magic. Try the strawberry balsamic glazed salmon grilled with argula and pecans. Then decide.

VITALS: Alchemy. 191 Main St., Murphys. Phone: 728- 0700.