As my previous post mentioned, my goal for this trip was to enjoy the journey as much as the destination and it was remarkably easy to do on the PCH. Despite the hours upon hours of driving, it seemed like there was constant beautiful scenery and an eye-opening stop each hour, which made the long trip welcomed.
Los Pinos Mexican Food Stop
Our first stop was at a hole in the wall Mexican restaurant in Lebec. Directly off the 5, I wasn’t expecting much but trusted the Yelp reviews. I’ve had a LOT of Mexican food so believe me when I say this place is ridiculously good. You’ll be craving seconds the rest of your trip.
After a few more hours we finally arrived in the charming city of Paso Robles. I wished we had more time to try out the many creative dinner menus seen online previously but as we had a lot of ground to cover, we stayed at the Adelaide Inn for just one night. I was incredibly excited to make good use of their “miniature golf course,” but unfortunately the course was a little too miniature to be considered seriously. It was still a nice little inn, but I felt like it was slightly over-priced. Then again, most hotels in the area seemed to be anyway.
What I loved most about wine country was that wine seemed to be a prerequisite for everything, even breakfast. If I saw wine tastings offered at Paso Robles pre-schools, hospitals, ballet class, and gas stations, I wouldn’t be all that surprised. It made perfect sense that these worthy labors of love were poured and respected by all. If I spent months to a year creating a product with all my heart and soul, I’d want to show it off too. So, come to Paso Robles and drink as much wine as you can because you’re just insulting someone if you don’t, and that’s rude. Don’t be rude.
We passed the lovely garden entrance to Springside Restaurant and was welcomed by a fireplace and an impressive wine bar, as 80s backwards skate ballads played in the background. Here you we found apricot french toast, danish ableskivers, and linguisa omelets, all of course accompanied by your favorite glass of wine. And why not? Mimosas are a thing. Who really needs that extra sugared-orange juice?
Paso Robles Wine Country
My amazing wino friend made me a map of all the wineries she liked here. Out of all the wine countries I had visited in California, which I think was all of them now, this area seemed to be most eclectic. There were wineries that were western themed, one wear you could wear wigs for bachelorette parties, intimate tasting rooms, and of course wineries with stunning scenery and even a lake. She asked, “What do you value more? The quality of wine or the aesthetics of the vineyard?” It felt like she was asking me to chose my fate, not a light decision to make. I opted for both and found myself at Bianchi Winery and Robert Hall Winery.
Someone said that the zinfandel here tasted like “root water” and that it was “wet.” I personally didn’t foresee the winery winning any awards but since they gave me free tastings on my birthday I’ll just go ahead and say the wine was fantastic! The “lake” wasn’t as dramatic as I had hoped for. It was nice and relaxing but just didn’t live up to its description for me. Regardless, I enjoyed my visit. The cheerful bartenders and colorful fall foliage were nice enhancements.
Robert Hall Winery
In comparison to the bubbly Sommelier at Bianchi, the ones found at this gorgeous tasting room were kind of snobby, giving off an I-hate-my-life vibe. Wine doesn’t solve all problems but phenomenal tastings complimented by sounds from brick water fountains just might. It’s definitely worth visiting for the wine alone, but didn’t invite me to stay awhile. Next time I’d like to check out Tobin James western themed cellars and the west side of town.
The Brown Butter Cookie Company
What happens when you follow a rainbow to the end? Do you find a pot of gold or maybe something better? Maybe, just maybe, you follow your heart and land at the Brown Butter Cookie Company in Cayucos. This oceanside town was small but packed spunk. I imagined its saloon card room held many gun duels back in the day. In all honesty, if this city today had gun duels, hungry zombies, or boring simple quiet streets, I’d still take my chances to get some of these delicious cookies. It was well worth the detour.
I didn’t realize seeing the Hearst Castle meant taking a bus ride from the visitor center and paying $25 for a two hour tour of PART of the castle. I’m the kind of person that likes to explore on my own. I hadn’t prepared for the lecture, so I’m sorry to tell you I just wasn’t up for it and walked away castle-less. The courtyard was pretty though. We decided to keep following the rainbow all the way to Big Sur which was free, gorgeous, and didn’t come with a lecture of any kind – a solid win in my book.
© Faith’s True Tales 2016. All original words and images by Faith Brady.