We just returned from a lovely vacation up in Northern California. There is always so much to like up there: the landscapes are gorgeous, the food is amazing, the culture always feels somewhat more progressive…I feel like I must have left my heart in San Francisco at some point in this life (or another). I would move there in a heartbeat, so every now and then I drag my family up there for a holiday.
Because our internet connection was somewhat flimsical, we truly savored the slowing down and mild disconnection of what a real holiday should feel like. Remember those days where there was no cell phone, or dare I say even Internet (yes, I’m old enough and lucky enough to have experienced this.) Of course, there were also moments where not being able to connect to anything were hell.
Nevertheless, now that we have returned to our normal paced, highly digital lives, I decided I would pay a little tribute to the end of summer and Northern California and share with you my favorite moments, places and of course, meals!
It’s a long drive to drive from L.A. to San Francisco, especially with a child, so we decided to stop in Paso Robles. We stayed at the lovely Summerwood Winery Inn. And boy, we loved the place. Incredibly atmospheric and peaceful views, amazing rooms and great home cooked breakfast. We would definitely go back!
We had dinner at Artisan that night.
We rented a house in Guerneville. Such a special place that combines so many attractions: the river, the magnificent redwoods, the ocean nearby. I love coming here. It was so great to wake up every morning and have a cup of coffee on the deck sitting in the middle of a redwood forest.
While staying at the house, I also enjoyed cooking (a little), still looking at the trees from time to time.
The easiest breakfast when you travel is to make oatmeal. For a long time, I used to eat mine with berries and a little bit of brown sugar. But I now enjoy a more savory version. I add a little bit of olive oil and sea salt, mix some nuts or dried fruits. I learned this one from Giada De Laurentiis and it is surprisingly good!
This Tomato Jam was delicious on some grilled sourdough bread and provolone cheese.
These Spinach Artichoke Lasagna were a hit and easy to reheat on a second day.
We also loved those Sweet Corn & Black Bean Tacos
One day, we stopped by the Wild Flour Bread Bakery in Freestone for a morning coffee and some scones. I also bought a fougasse and a sticky bun. It was great to peruse the gardens and the orchard after that. Our daughter had fun playing hide and seek among the raspberry bushes.
A fun place we enjoyed there too was the Gold Coast Coffee & Bakery in Duncan Mills. They have great coffee and fresh baked goods, such as bear claws, savory croissants, etc… There is also a lovely deck where you get the enjoy the beautiful surroundings.
“If you are going to San Francisco…”
On our way home, I had to stop in San Francisco. My favorite place is the Ferry Building Marketplace. I thought I was in heaven the first time I went there a couple of years ago and I still feel this way. It is a food lover’s true paradise.
We picked up foods from different shops and restaurants:
-A Margherita pizza from Boulette’s Larder
-Sushi from DELICA
-An Avocado Toast from Frog Hollow Farm Market Cafe. Possibly the best avo toast I ever had. Impossibly creamy and tasty.
-some bread from Acme Bread company
-Some Ice cream from Humphry Slocombe. My husband who is a true coffee ice cream aficionado swears it was the best coffee ice cream he ever had.
I also couldn’t resist the urge of buying two ceramics at Heath Ceramics, just for fun.
And then, it was time to go home…our belly full and our head full of sweet memories. So long Northern California! Until next time…