This is the official wrap up of our post-deployment California roadtrip. We've been dreaming of this vacation for months and planning for almost as long. It was sort of second honeymoon and so we were willing to spend a bit more than usual for fantastic accommodations. We picked our hotels in advance based mostly on yelp reviews and then decided where to eat the same way while we were in each city.
We left from Sacramento (where our families live) and headed to Napa on Sunday.
We stayed at the Rancho Caymus Inn. Which was awesome on the inside with comfy beds, rustic decor and a fireplace. We were purposely up on the St. Helena end of town because that's where the wineries we wanted to visit were located.
That first night we ate at Cook and it was wonderful. We shared melt in your mouth gnocchi, braised short-ribs, a great bottle of wine and an ice cream sundae made with balsamic vinegar - strange but awesome.
Monday morning we tasted at Flora Springs because it was associated with our hotel which meant it was free and Neal (my dad's favorite winery) and Viader. All were great. The view at Viader was fantastic (and that Dalmatian greeter was pretty cute).
Dinner Monday night was at the Rutherford Grill. It was good, but a little too over-hyped to make it a favorite.
Before we left Napa on Tuesday, we ate at La Luna Market which is basically a grocery store with a Mexican food kitchen in the back. Paul read about it months ago and had been looking forward to it since then. Thankfully, it did not disappoint.
We were coming from the north and got off the 101 at exit 442 to take a few pictures of the Golden Gate Bridge. It was a stunningly beautiful day and I'm glad we took the time to stop.
Our view of the ferry buidling and bay bridge was pretty fantatic.
The first day in San Francisco we ran down from our hotel (near Pier 2) to Fisherman's Wharf (Pier 39) along Embarcadero. It was a great run and quite popular because on the bay side there are no stoplights to hold you up.
We celebrated Happy Hour at 83 Proof and had dinner at Wexlers. Both are in downtown and walking distance from our hotel. Pretty small menu at Wexlers, but very good stuff. We had the BBQ scotch eggs for an appetizer because they were recommended on yelp. I can't even explain them (something about poaching, breading and frying), but so GOOD. And for dessert we had burbon banana cream pie.
The next morning we ran down to Pier 39 again and then had a small breakfast at The Plant. Just simple breakfast sandwiches and fantastic coffee. After deciding it wasn't enough coffee (Paul came home from deployment pretty addicted), we walked back to the ferry building for Blue Bottle Coffee.
Wednesday we walked and walked and walked. Paul estimated it was over 10 miles in total. Highlights were going through Chinatown and to the base of Coit Tower.
Lunch was burgers and fries at Super Duper - a local place with a few different SF locations. I so wanted a fresh piece of that liner paper, but I was too scared to ask.
And then that night we met up with some friends for Happy Hour at Rickhouse and dinner at a French place called Cafe Claude. I loved the bar and it's fancy cocktails, but other than the fantastic steak tartare, the restaurant wasn't too great - excellent company made up for it though.
Thursday we woke up and had a quick breakfast of oatmel and coffee at the ferry building before getting on the road for home.
In Big Sur, we stayed at Glen Oaks Motel (excuse those photos - I didn't grab any good ones - and don't mind the computer, it was just there so we could finish the final episode of Dexter season 5.) We had one of the Little Sur Cabins and it was little, basically just room for a bed and small bath. It was awesome though - a lot like camping except with a crazy comfortable bed and heated floors (so nothing like camping). Outside the door we had our own little fire pit where we roasted marshmellows and drank wine and talked about what's next for e&p.
We ate at Nepenthe. Yelp promised the view would be fantastic but that the food would only be decent. We loved the view. And actually loved the food. The entrees didn't look great so we ended up splitting a bunch of appetizers which I think must be the way to go. They cooked Brussels sprouts and then served them cold with bacon, dates and a great cream dressing. I was obviously excited.
We took a short hike on Friday morning before heading out - maybe just a couple miles. The trails in Big Sur are fantastic and it made me excited about getting on more weekend hikes in our area this spring.
After the hike we had breakfast at Deetjens. I had eggs benedict and it was fanastic.
And then it was just a five hour drive home. Lots of very curvy roads and beautiful views down the 101. I felt like I was in a Visit California commerical. We were so greatful for safe travel and beautiful weather.
It was a really, really good week.