Last month we spent 10 days in California. Last time I was there I was reallllly little, so it was exciting to come back, this time as an adult. We started in Santa Monica, drove up the coast + landed in Napa Valley. Of course we ate (a lot!) so I wanted to share the best bites along the road.
First stop after checking in
Guacamole and watermelon agua frescas at Blue Star Taco.
Tacos al pastor and fish tacos
Tons of rice + beans as well.
Double cheeseburgers at Del Frisco's with the cutest squeeze bottles.
Stickhouse gelato. Chai dipped in dark chocolate + crushed almonds for me. Cherry vanilla dipped in dark chocolate for mom.
Next day breakfast at Cora's Coffee Shoppe
Cute spot with a great menu. I split the vegetable frittata w/ arugala salad and the orange pancakes w/ blueberries w/ my mom.
After walking along the beach and through Venice
Lunch at Gjelina. Starting with burrata + crazy juicy peaches.
Tons of pizza! Classic pomodoro with more burrata + a chorizo one too. They were exactly how pizzas should always be.
Also this beautiful sandwich
filled with sprouts, fennel + other delicious things.
Later that night, dinner at Nobu Malibu
Starting with spicy tuna on crispy rice w/ avocado + a thin slice of jalapeño.
Next, a classic
Rock shrimp tempura covered in creamy spicy sauce.
We let some vegetables get on the table
Really earthy: leeks, artichokes + a lemon/truffle vinagirette.
new style sashimi
delicate + layered. yuzu, chives, ginger, sesame. so good.
Black cod with miso. Always insane.
Next day dinner at Tar & Roses
Starting with burrata + tomato toast, toast slathered in bacon jam plus a few cheeses.
Then pasta time
Insanely good oxtail dumplings + spaghetti carbonara with a soft egg + tons of black pepper.
Beautiful summer squash
Tahini yogurt, harissa, za'atar + fried chickpeas.
Whole roasted branzino
served with meyer lemon risotto + salsa verde. I was completely smitten with this.
Always finish with dessert
Sticky toffee pudding.
On the road heading to Santa Barbarba
Had to stop for my first In-N-Out. The burger was killer, but the fries were disappointing to this New Yorker.
We arrived in Santa Barbara and had dinner at The Lark
Starting with some chili coated popcorn.
Insane brussels sprouts
with dates, garum, sesame + lime. don't be afraid to char food, these were incredible.
More burrata + stone fruit
on a platter with a nut praline + greens.
house made gnocchi with crab, orange, olives + lobster roe. Note! I absolutely hate olives, but I ate these up.
The sun set
and we dove into jidori chicken, with figs + tons of veg.
And we still had room for one sweet
So peach cobbler it was. With a biscuit topping, caramel, candied pecans + smoked vanilla ice cream!
Next day, a quick stop in San Luis Obispo
Lunch at SLO Provisions. Kale + roasted cauliflower salad with a grilled cheese. I couldn't help myself when I saw they use 3 cheeses for it!
A tour of Hearst Castle that afternoon
and dinner in Cambria later that evening. homey, wild prawn enchiladas.
Next day, driving through Big Sur
with a stop at Nepenthe. They serve a great burger, honestly one of our favorite bites during the trip.
Last stop, Santa Cruz
where we went to Laili for house made naan (larger than our heads!) + kebabs.
And because we need something sweet
vanilla ice cream with crushed walnuts, pomegranate seeds + pomegranate sauce. Tart + sweet!
Driving up the west coast + eating everything along the way was seriously a dream. I'll be back with the Napa part of the trip soon!