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October 2, 2011 / thenextmeal

California Dreamin’ (Part 1): Hermosa to SF

It is hard to believe that our most recent blog post is from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Since returning from SE Asia so much has happened. We spent time in Chicago, drove Highway 1 in California, moved into our apartment in New York, and with heavy hearts kissed our carefree days of exploring the world together goodbye as we reentered the working world. While the adjustment back to normal life has been, well, an adjustment, we are finally getting settled and feeling like we’re back in the swing of so-called regular life.

Our trip to California was spectacular, and a wonderful way to round out our travels, and we couldn’t miss this chance to document our travels here.

Our journey in California began with a perfect 72 hours based in Hermosa Beach with Mardi, and eating our way through LA. Other than spending quality time with the big sister, the highlight of these three bright, sunny, warm, spectacular days was eating two delicious meals at Farmshop. Our incredibly talented friend, Josh Drew, is the chef at this magnificent spot. We initially went for brunch, where Josh welcomed us to his open kitchen with delicious treats, and of course headed back the next day for an amazing lunch and some quality time with the chef himself. Congrats to Josh and the Farmshop team on recently opening for dinner. If you’re in LA, don’t miss this amazing place.

Farmshop french toast

Sisters in front of the pastry counter at Farmshop

Riding bikes down the strand in beautiful Hermosa/Manhattan Beach

Doing what tourists do and riding on roller coasters in Santa Monica

Happy Andrew eating pastrami at Farmshop

Chef Josh

We headed north up the 1, and in addition to taking in the beauty of So-Cal, we of course ate amazing food. In Santa Barbara, we were quick to dine on some smoothy-like deliciousness topped with granola, bananas, honey, and crunchy goodness at Backyard Bowls. Since one restaurant per location never quite seems to be enough, we rounded out our dining experience with the most amazing Mexican food ever at La Super-Rica Taqueria. There are no words to describe the the melted cheese, or the smoothest guacamole. YUM.

Backyard Bowls...yum

Ooooey Gooey Yummy Mexican Food

In beautiful (and windy) Santa Barbara

Continuing north, after weaving through the start of windy mountain roads, we made it to our first overnight destination: Pismo Beach. Sandra turned her back on true vegetarianism for one night to dine on crabs at the Cracked Crab. They were amazing, and the experience of cracking them, while not our first time, was very fun (sorry little crabbies). While waiting for our table at this popular restaurant, we ventured into a local wine shop and came across the most perfect wine: Baker & Brain. Sandra being the baker, and Andrew having the brain, it was a no-brainer for us that we had to give this bottle a whirl. We bought a bottle, took it home with us to NYC, and since, Andrew has developed a nice relationship with Mr. Baker himself, who sent us a case of their Pinot Noir just in time for Rosh Hashanah with the family.

He's ready to crack!

Beautiful Pismo Beach

After a restful night and morning in beautiful surroundings, we checked out nearby San Luis Obispo before driving further north. We had both been to California, and Sandra had even driven highway 1 with her family as a 6 year old (she only really remembers Patrick the horse, talking about “tinkling lights” and pretending to be nauseous so Mardi wouldn’t get all of the attention — sorry, Mard!), but nothing could have prepared us for the beauty we were about to see. Highway 1 is SPECTACULAR. Words won’t do it justice, so see for yourself the amazing images we were so fortunate to see. If only we could capture the smell of the air, sound of the waves, and feel of the chilly wind hitting our faces…

We worked our way up through the beauty, stopping every 5 minutes or so for a photo, and slowly made it to Monterey: our base for the next two nights. We spent two wonderful days in the area, where we headed back down to Big Sur to take in the beauty one more time and play in the purple sand at Pfeiffer Beach, ate delicious food at Carmel Belle in Carmel-by-the-Sea, drove through Pebble Beach, in honor of Big Lew, and explored the stunning atmosphere.

Pfeifer Beach

Thinking we couldn’t possible experience anything better than what we had just seen, we headed north again, with our next stop in Santa Cruz. We LOVED Santa Cruz. Fun vibe, great beach town, yummy food. What could be better? Hearing that we should stop at Swanton Berry Farms on our way to San Francisco, we headed out of town and did just that, picking and eating strawberries at this organic, road-side strawberry farm. Amazing. We soon saw more incredible natural beauty, before ultimately making it to our next stop for the next two nights: San Francisco!

Santa Cruz

Up next, we’ll fill you in on our six meals in one day in SF, fun (and buggy) experience in Paso Robles wine country and our drive back down to Hermosa Beach.

Until then,




Leave a Comment
  1. Mardi / Oct 7 2011 4:21 pm

    Love it! Love you!

  2. Mom/Barb / Oct 7 2011 10:21 pm

    Great post! So much fun to read about your trip and see your pictures! Love you!

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