Really Warm Feelings

What’s making us happy this week. We love anything that radiates heat. redsquare-spa-facebookPhoto courtesy Red Square via Facebook Blintzed out. Time Out describes Red Square as “borscht in a bathrobe,” and we’d have to agree. The oddly intriguing concept behind this Wicker Park bathhouse of Russian and Turkish descent is that it also serves full-on food and alcoholic bevs while you’re untethered, save the bathrobe. The Schvitz1 is our choice until it’s time for a venik (aka plaitza).2 Follow up with caviar blintzes, or, for hearty appetites, Ukrainian salo.3 1A hot room; boulders are thrown into a brick oven and heated to the extreme. Not as dry as Finnish saunas but dryer than common saunas. 2Dry body rub with an oak-leaf (what else?) broom 3Your average Ukraine meal of back fat served with black bread, always appetizing in a bathrobe. redsquare-via-facebookPhoto courtesy Red Square via Facebook A true wet bar. At South Lake Tahoe’s Nepheles Restaurant, cocktail hour is paired with soaks in private hot tubs. If you want dinner, too, know that they will not serve you in the tub. You’ll have to do that après. It’s a great end to a day of muscle fatigue. nepheles hot tubPhoto courtesy Nepheles Restaurant via Facebook From hearth to table. The first feature one notices upon walking into Oakland’s Camino Restaurant is the giant limestone and brick fireplace, overseen by chef Russell Moore. The Chez Panisse alum is a whiz with locally sourced meats, fish, and vegetables. You may notice that the dining chairs are a little … familiar. Yes, they are pews. caminoPhoto John Jo via Flickr West Coast all fired up. The bonfire on the beach is a California tradition. But you need to check regulations before firing up. On Santa Cruz’s Seabright Beach are 10 fire pits first come first served. Another special place nearby, and a local favorite, is Panther Beach. Farther south, in Orange County’s Laguna Beach, carry on the tradition at the scenic Picnic Beach at Heisler Park. panther firePhoto Ian Collins via Flickr   panther beachPhoto Ian Collins via Flickr