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PCH drive from SF to Ventura

gijoeanne | Jan 13, 201108:08 AM

Hey! CHers were incredibly useful during my last trip to California and I’m hoping to pick your brains again :). In mid-February, my husband and I are going to drive down PCH from SF/SJ (not yet finalized), take a short hike in Big Sur on whichever trail hasn’t been closed from the 2008 fires (possibly the Salmon Creek trail?), and spend the night in Paso Robles. Next morning, we’ll try to fit in a bit of winery touring (it’s the weekend, so I believe it’s perfectly acceptable to drink before noon!) before we make our way down to Ventura, where I’ll have to spend the week eating buffet-style hotel food at a conference. I have a draft itinerary, but any suggested improvements are warmly welcomed!

- Have breakfast/brunch in Carmel (hubby says he knows a good place, so I’ll leave that to him)
- Grab food for the hike from Big Sur Bakery as we’ve done before.
- Any suggestions for San Simeon/Cambria area for a snack in case we get too hungry after the hike and before dinner?
- For dinner in Paso Robles, I’m considering Thomas Hill Organics. Farm-to-table is great, but unfortunately it’s not a viable concept for 2/3 of the year up here in Canada. As I’m not sure when we’ll get into town, would we have a good chance of being seated without a reservation on a Saturday?
- For breakfast the next morning in Paso Robles, I’m thinking of Panolivo .
- As for the wineries, I don’t want to pack in too many for the sake of time, plus I tend to get a little chatty. I like to visit smaller, more personal wineries and taste wines that would otherwise be impossible to find at a liquor store. The “Rhone Rangers” are very intriguing as I’m sure I’ve been drinking viognier before it started appearing by the glass on all the restaurant wine menus (at least up here in Canada). So far I’m thinking Adelaida, Dover Canyon and Tablas Creek. I would also like to hit up the Turley tasting room, because the bartender at Harry Caray’s in Chicago raved it’s the best wine she’s ever tasted, and I want to see what all this fuss is about!
- Still need a lunch suggestion between Paso Robles and Santa Barbara.
- We’ll try to have dinner in Santa Barbara. We’re both big uni freaks, so is there a good [moderately priced] spot for the famous Santa Barbara sea urchin? If it serves dinner early (at like 5pm), that’s even better!
- We are still obsessively searching for a North American source of those amazing strawberries we had in France. We’re looking for a consumer-accessible source of Mara des bois (or any of their crosses) without having to go to a ranch in the San Diego area. Can these strawberries be found in any farm/farmer’s market/gourmet grocery story along the Central Coast?

My hometown is Vancouver, transplanted to Toronto, and will be moving to New York soon, so we’re interested in things that we can’t get out East or during regular home visits. We eat all types of cuisine, have no dietary restrictions, and don’t have any allergies. Thank you in advance for your input!

Big Sur Bakery
47540 Highway 1, Big Sur, CA 93920

Thomas Hill Organics
1305 Park St, Paso Robles, CA

1344 Park St, Paso Robles, CA 93446

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