The Food and Wine Hedonist

leave your inhibitions at the door

California Hedonizing – Up the Coast

Los Angeles was awesome and we could’ve stayed there for much longer,  but San Francisco was calling our names.  The fastest route would’ve been to take I-5 , which is only a five or six hour drive.  But it’s an inland highway and there are some awesome places on the coast.  So we took the Pacific Coast Highway, an often-winding scenic route that hugs the shore.

But first, another round of Boba….

coast-boba-to-go

 

Our only plan for the day was to drive until we saw something interesting or got hungry with the end goal of spending the night in Carmel, just north of Big Sur.  I’ve heard great things about Santa Barbara and thought that would be a good stop.   We were approaching the town when it started pouring, taking away most of its scenery and any willingness to get out of the car.   So we kept going north until we hit San Luis Obispo.

We were feeling indecisive so ended up at Blast Taproom for some pizza and wings.   The pizzas were good and the wings were about average,  but it was sustenance.   I was more interested in their beer selection, which featured over 40 beers and ciders on tap –

 

coast-taps

 

That’s a good amount,  but not that impressive.  But get this – YOU POUR YOUR OWN.   You get a bracelet with some kind of chip in it and you hold it up to the whatever beer interests you  (they also had wine).   Then just grab a glass and pour as much or as little as you want  – you’re charged by the ounce.   What an amazing idea…

Alas, we still had a couple hours to go until Carmel so I had to limit myself to 2-3 short pours.  It started raining hard so we decided to take an inland route to Carmel.  That turned out to be a good choice as we found out later there were some closures on the PCH due to mudslides.

When we got to Carmel, we walked round a little before settling on Affina, a “New American Fusion”  small plate restaurant.

Tea Brined Pork Belly - pickled mustard seeds, celery root remoulade, wasabi, grilled strawberry coulis

Tea Brined Pork Belly – pickled mustard seeds, celery root remoulade, wasabi, grilled strawberry coulis

Moules & Frites - white wine butter sauce, garlic, shallots, lemon verbena

Moules & Frites – white wine butter sauce, garlic, shallots, lemon verbena

Chef Kolby’s Pasta Carbonara - applewood bacon, shaved onions, local mushrooms, Parmigiano-Reggiano

Chef Kolby’s Pasta Carbonara – applewood bacon, shaved onions, local mushrooms, Parmigiano-Reggiano

Seared ahi tuna

Seared ahi tuna with risotto

 

The tuna was fantastic, the rest…it’s not that they were awful, just not exciting.   I had high hopes for the pork belly, especially since it was nice to look at, but it was served cold.    I have a feeling all that is pretty good for Carmel – the richest, oldest, WASP-iest place I’ve been to in a very long time.   #getmeout

Boom Boom and I saw Big Sur many years ago and knew it was something that couldn’t be missed…

 

coast-big-sur-copy

 

We had one place to go before getting to our final destination – University of California Santa Cruz.    My nephew is a grad student there and I’ve read many sources name it the most beautiful campus in the country.   I’ve been to many, many campuses and live thisclose to the University of Michigan.   Every one of them had the stereotypical standard brick and limestone buildings with large open spaces and grand trees  — some prettier than others, but generally all the same motif.

At UCSC, there weren’t that many open spaces and the buildings were no one’s idea of beautiful.  But damn, those trees were beyond grand –

 

ucsc-lot-2-copy

ucsc-up-trees-copy

 

That first picture was taken right after parking the car.   The second one  happened when we were walking around and my own personal nature called.

i.e. I took it while peeing.   I’m a multi-tasker like that. 

 

Next Stop: San Francisco

 

Previous Stop: Los Angeles Day 1, Los Angeles Day 2

 

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About thefoodandwinehedonist

I don't know everything about the world of food and wine, but I'm not going to let a small detail like that stop me from blogging about it.

2 comments on “California Hedonizing – Up the Coast

  1. dwdirwin
    February 7, 2017

    Haha-you’re right about Carmel. We have been just hammered with rain this year! Hope there was some sun in NorCal when you were here.

    • thefoodandwinehedonist
      February 8, 2017

      First day there was, the next day no. There was even flood watches the night before and morning of our departure.

      And one thing that kept going through my head in Carmel – I could see how Clint Eastwood was elected mayor.

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This entry was posted on February 7, 2017 by in Travel and tagged , , , , , , , .
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