In case you missed Part 1 of my west coast trip recap check it out here: WIAW West Coast Trip: Seattle and Portland
So I left off with our departure from Portland to head to the Oregon coast…. BTW most amazing drive ever- I never realize how beautiful Oregon was- trees, the ocean, rocks, everything was gorgeous! Unfortunately it rained for this entire day, but at least it was a day we were stuck in the car anyways.
We stopped in the Redwood area of northern California and enjoyed some fresh yellowtail and cod fish tacos before turning in for the night. The next day we were up bright and early for a hike! We visited Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park and did a short trail to explore before heading to a more intermediate trail- Trillium Falls. Lots of uphills and beautiful views…. It was so quite and you were completely lost in the wildness, we only passed one other group so we basically had the trail to ourselves.
After enjoying the hike and views we refueled with oysters, obviously, then headed to San Francisco! Driving up to the Golden Gate Bridge was pretty exciting! We found our Air BnB (ended up staying a few blocks from the Ferry Building which was an awesome location) unloaded the car and grabbed a quick Italian dinner.
The next morning we headed to the Ferry Building for breakfast, we went to the Cowgirl Creamery’s café and milk bar…. Yes we went back here for breakfast again because it was sooooo good! I had pancetta with an over easy egg and grits. After breakfast we walked up to the pier to board our ferry to Alcatraz.
Alcatraz was super cool- I love historic stuff like that and it just such a unique place. We were lucky enough to time our ferry with an “escapes” tour that explained in depth each attempted escape from Alcatraz. We did a self guided tour through the building after that and took in the scenes.
Once the ferry docked back on mainland we decided to walk up to the wharf and check out the area. We eventually made it to Ghiradelli Sqaure- home of the chocolate. Being from PA I know I’m supposed to stay true to local Hershey chocolate but I can’t, Ghiradelli chocolates are my favorite!
After splitting a pre-lunch sundae, we headed to our lunch destination: Greens I would be lying if I didn’t say I was a little disappointed in Greens. I was so psyched to visit bayside vegetarian restaurant that was nominated for a James Beard award…. But it just wasn’t anything fantastic. I had the sampler– Italian butter beans with meyer lemon and tarragon; spring pea and radish salad; warm artichokes with lemon oil and mint; pickled golden and chioggia beets; fromage blanc with chives; olives; grilled herb slab. And Pat had the Mesquite Grilled Brochettes – mushrooms, Mariquita Farm potatoes, peppers, sweet potatoes, fennel, red onions and Hodo Soy tofu with chimichurri, brown and red rice with pumpkin seeds, Mexican cabbage slaw. Both were good but not special- but the plates were gorgeous!
After lunch we ventured to the Golden Gate Bridge area! I had found a trail overlooking the bridge called Batteries to Bluffs that was a ton of steps leading all the way down to the water. We had made plans to meet a friend so we didn’t have time to go all the way down but we still got fantastic pictures- I honestly think this is the best lookout spot for the bridge!
We enjoyed happy hour with my friend and then walked along the park to Alamo Square to see the painted houses- aka the Full House home- cool but anticlimactic. We ubered it back to the room to get ready for our fancy dinner at Boulevard.
Also James Beard award nominated (I know I’m a food snob- I can’t help it!) restaurant Boulevard was definitely our fanciest dinner and most expensive meal of the trip. We shared an appetizer which I cant remember the exact details of and it’s not longer listed on the menu but it was very unique and delicious. Then Pat had duck and I had an abalone and mushroom dish. Everything was filling and fantastic.
The next morning we got up for a short run to Lombard Street which has like 8 curves in a one block radius- very cool. We had a little bit of cereal at the hotel before leaving and when we got back we were famished so we showered and got ready quickly before heading to the Ferry Building for The Slanted Door.
Probably the best Vietnamese food I’ve ever had! We shared daikon rice cakes (in love with these!), a spring roll, and noodles with dungeness crab. Definitely one of the top meals of the trip! Afterwards we did more exploring around the city including a stop at 21st Amendment Brewery. I’m going to take a timeout and say that I am a self-proclaimed beer snob and expert and I found this brewery to be the most disappointing one we visited on our trip. If you are ever taking a trip to the west coast and want brewery recommendations please email me 🙂
Anyways… for dinner I found this place I knew Pat would love in the Mission district. Apparently it has won a million awards for having the best burrito. So we split one and then we went and got more ice cream for Ghiradelli. Duh. The past 3 days were a lot of walking so we were exhausted! Crazy Friday night plans involved going to bed early, lame.
Saturday morning we went back to the Ferry Building for my favorite breakfast and a visited the Farmers Market! I enjoyed a green juice before our cable car ride. The ride was pretty overrated but obviously a must do. Check that off the bucket list. Finally it was time to leave San Francisco for our northern California craft beer tour!
We picked up another rental and shared flights and food at Bear Republic, Russian River Brewing, and finally Laguintas. All of these breweries were awesome but Russian River definitely takes the gold. Not only one of the top beers I’ve ever had but also had a top 5 pizza of my life. If we weren’t driving we could’ve shared a 21 beer tasting flight! Insane! But we had to finish at Sacramento so we kept the alcohol to a safe limit.
We arrived in Sacramento in time for dinner and went to Hock Farm. Apparently Sacramento is known for Farm to Table dining- so cool to see local ingredients on menus! We also visited the rose garden area, very pretty.
The next morning we had our DD lined up for our winery tour- highly recommend having a driver so you can drink freely, all those tastes really add up. We visited the Dry Creek area in Sonoma (many locals told us Sonoma was a much better place to go than Napa, FYI). First we started at Preston Vineyards- okay, nothing to write home about.
Next was Bella which was probably my favorite of the day, we ended up buying a couple bottles here and it was so cool because the winery was in a cave!
After that was Quivira- good and apparently had won some awards recently but not my favorite. I was pretty buzzed at this point though to be honest.
Finally we ended at Michel-Schlumberger which was fantastic. The outdoor drinking and tasting area was a beautiful courtyard. We were feeling fancy so we even upgraded to the fancier/more expensive tasting list. And shared a cheese plate to help balance out the alcohol. We were even taken behind the scenes into the barrel room where an employee siphoned wine that was currently being aged in barrels directly into our wine glass. So awesome and delicious! We got two more bottles (to bring back)here.
Four wineries is definitely the max I would recommend, I wouldn’t have been able to handle any more booze after that. We stopped for dinner at Herbivore in Berkeley for dinner. This menu was awesome! So many great vegan choices, it was difficult to decide what to have, but I ordered a phyllo dough pie filled with spinach, tofu, cheese, mushrooms, onions, capers, artichoke hearts with roasted red pepper sauce and sautéed greens. Perfect ending meal to our trip.
We took the red eye back to the east coast and landed Monday morning. Over 2000 miles, 3 states, several cities, awesome beer and wine, great friends, and delicious meals. West coast trip complete!