Road Trip!

If you were going to take the scenic route (PCH/101) from Los Angeles to San Francisco and wanted to spend the night and explore only one town/city in between, which would it be? I’m more of nature person than dear husband. So preferably a less rustic (hiking, camping, beach) type place. Of course, food & wine are important. Thanks!

P.S. If we pull the trigger I’ll be asking for SF dining recs later. :wink:

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I’ve been wanting to go here, been hearing good things.

http://thebearandstar.com/

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I’d vote to book a room at the incredible Madonna Inn in San Luis Obispo. My mom likes staying at the Apple Farm in SLO, which is quaint (and they have complimentary wine in the afternoon for guests). Lovely town and close proximity to the beach.

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We LOVE SLO! Also Morro Bay, Carmel/Monterey.

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Paso Robles. Almost the half way point but I’m coming from the OC.
Good laid back wine scene and a few good restaurants like Hatch

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The Madonna Inn is a laugh to stay at once. Eat in the campy restaurant and dance to live music.

Cambria or Big Sur though there’s not much to explore except nature.

I like Asilomar in Monterey. Carmel is hyper-touristy, like Mendocino or Solvang.

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passionfish in pacific grove. really good food and huge wine list with only a 50% markup.

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Had one of my best worst dinners there. Brought my 1 year old who was at the time normally well behaved for the first seating with barely anybody at the restaurant. Had a lovely dry old world Riesling. My kid was tired and throwing a fit. My wife and I took turns eating/drinking while the other one was in the bathroom keeping our kid behaved with the hand dryer. The fish was perfectly cooked and had a great spaetzle as well. We haven’t been back since but it would have tasted better if I didn’t inhale the plate of food.

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I like Carmel cause you can walk everywhere. And thanks to Doris Day it’s very friendly.

Ooops, “it’s very PET friendly.”

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Passion Fish is one of my favorite movies. :blush:

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Funny!

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Cambria seems perfect. Lots of nature, kind of a two-part small town atmosphere, and numerous restaurants. Morro Bay is also nice.

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Cambria is very close to Paso. you could stay in Cambria for some mellow beach time, then head over to Paso for wine tasting. If I recall, it’s maybe a 15-20 minute drive inland.

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IMHO:

Santa Barbara is probably a little too close, but honestly that might be one of the better options. Paso is great if you like wine (or beer or cider or brandy) and if it isn’t too hot (the above mentioned Cambria is a good option too). Big Sur is gorgeous and funky and you can stay in any price/natural state from camping to cabins to super luxury, and the Big Sur Bakery is pretty awesome. Carmel is cute and turbo-touristy but nice if you want to stroll the boulevard and window shop.

Whatever you decide, I highly recommend Jocko’s in Nipomo.

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Carmel may be touristy but its beautiful!!! I understand the draconian city codes help preserve the quaintness. My favorite destination along the coast for a romantic getaway. I’ve had good meals (it’s been a while) at L’auberge Carmel where Manzke first made his mark before moving to LA.

Big Sur is also beautiful but a bit remote. Great choice if you want to avoid the crowds and seeking a quiet getaway. .

Also enjoyed dining at the Hitching post in Solvang.

Avoid the restaurant at the Madonna Inn if you decide to stay there.

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Have been meaning to check them out. Is this the best choice along the coast for SM style bbq?

Not sure if it quite fits the SM-BBQ archetype perfectly. It does have one of those giant hand-crank grills, but it’s more of an old-school steakhouse, I’d say. Big cuts of beef and baked potatoes and sort of tangentially SM-BBQ sides and stuff, though not the pure tri-tip experience. It is a hell of a place though, and I’d say definitely worth a visit.

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I recommend going once just for the sort of Pee-wee’s Playhouse atmosphere. I can’t remember the food but it was campy fun.

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We really enjoyed Cambria when we stayed for 1-2 nights. We’re not rustic at all, and it just the kind of peaceful we wanted…

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I would say stop by Paso Robles (and the surrounding areas) to visit some wineries at the very least for tasting and/or tour (e.g. Turley though 15 mins away), and take a look if there is anything else worth exploring in the area in addition to food. Otherwise ending the drive in the afternoon/evening and spending a night in Carmel/Monterey/Pacific Grove should be good, laid back, and relaxing.

In terms of drive times: ~ 3 to 4 hours from LA to Paso Robles (a good break to relax and wine tour/taste) and when you are done with the area, another 2 ish hours to Monterey/Carmel.

Or if there are more wineries you want to check out in PR, maybe just spend the night there. Here’s a big list of the wineries just in PR alone

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