Wednesday…We arrived after dark after wine tasting and feasting, settling in for the night. I was anxious to walk downtown in the morning for breakfast even though my belly was still full from dinner. Sleep called…
Thursday…Daylight began to fill the room…promising sunshine and warmth. It was a perfect morning for a walk. Full of promise of a Seattle summer day, yet was February. Our walk meandered through downtown, zigzaging across the creek. Most businesses were closed, yet smells of breakfast fillled the air. Of course, McClintocks Saloon was our destination. It was fun to sit among the local old timers and order my home fries. With a side of French toast. My companion went straight for the huevos rancheros. Eating the fries (my plate) and baked beans (his plate) tasted exactly like I remember them. Just thinking about it will make my water water for months. As we made our way back to the hotel to relax in the hot tub (on our own private deck), I stumbled across a coffee stop in a little gallery. It would be the spot for my daily tea run – serving a locally brewer chai. Yum.
By mid-morning, the sun was promising a warm day, so we dropped the top and headed south with the wind in our hair. Should have packed a hat! Let the wine tasting begin. After a wonderful stop at Laetitia, I pointed the car to Avila Beach, my favorite beach from the Cal Poly days. Very surprised to see how much the beachfront stores have upgraded. Sadly, it was due to a bad oil spill in the late 90’s that closed the beachfront for a few years. Today, we got the benefit, dining with the sun in our face and the waves crashing on the beach in our ears. Delicious fish tacos at the Custom House. Followed by a walk down the beach, a trip out to the end of the pier and a few moments in shops.
Time to get back to wine tasting…then prepare for a night at the SLO Farmer’s Market. The smells of a full street fair already filled the air when we arrived back in town! An evening feast of tri-tip awaits! We also indulged in a round at the Creek Brewery. I slurped down a banana nutella crepe. Bill had tri-tip for dessert, too. Now, what to eat tomorrow. Scents of fresh strawberries. Glowing vine ripe tomatoes. We bought both, along with handmade cheese, watermelon radishes, arugula and more. Enjoyed learning about the cheese goddesses journey to making cheese and watching a radish farmer tease the college students into inviting her to their party.
Friday…started with an attempt to work, but wireless didn’t cooperate. Quickly gave up and headed north to Hearst Castle. While making our tour reservations on the drive, we realized we would be rather early. Jumped off the path in Cayucos where we discovered a few treats including wine, brown butter cookies and the Cass House.
We arrived at the Hearst Castle, ready for our kitchen and cottages tour. Familar with the Hearst publishing story, is was interesting to weave that into the personal life – dreams and failures. The architecture, the grounds and the sweeping views were like no other! Post tour, we took a detour in Cambria (yeah, the farmer’s market sign caught our eye). Another round of tri-tip. More bread. Some homemade salsa. Late lunch for us! Lucky us, there are also three wineries on the main street. Although we closed Moonstone and missed the other two.
Saturday…started with more wine (thanks to our Moonstone friends, we had a list of places to start). After a few stops, it was time to wander into town for lunch. Wait. Detour. Firestone Walker Brewing Co. was right on our path. We must stop! And wow, I found there is a totally different world to beer. We tasted:
- Merkin – A Merlin that is aged in bourbon barrels. Not for sale. Only to be drank in their tasting room. Totally don’t taste remotely close to any beer I have ever had.
- Sucaba – This one was even more fun, drawing on my Vegas experience. Another great beer. But I loved the story more. Originally, is was named Abacus. However, the winemaker didn’t like it. Turn it around : Sucaba.
Finally, lunch. Papi’s Tacos. Carne Asada goodness. Best tacos on the central coast according to Sunset magazine. I am NOT going to disagree. After a stop at Di Raimondo’s Italian Market to pick up some cheese, we were back on the winery tour. One washed in wine, the other laced with Humbolt Fog. And the evening finished with a trip back to Cayucos for dinner at the Cass House.
Sunday…what better way to start the day than a brunch? (After a quick stop on campus to pick up my favorite Olliaberry Jam.) And we feasted at Thomas Hill Organics. First round, tacos with squash purée, beluga (black) lentils, cashews and coconut. Next round, pumpkin bread French toast with creme fresh. And a side of his chorizo frittata. Next we spent a little time in town, finding a great pair of ballet flats for me, more cheese for our afternoon travels and gazed at local art projects. A few more wineries…and its time to head north for our flight home. Until next time…