We headed down to the Central Coast last weekend to celebrate my good friend Sarah’s 30th Birthday. She and her other half, Nick, have recently gotten engaged so we may have clinked a glass or two for that as well! For those of you who don’t live in California, the Central Coast is absolutely the best! It’s not quite Northern California but not quite Southern California, and it’s chock full of wineries, hilly scenery, gorgeous ocean views and most importantly — fantastic weather in February! If you ever have the chance to visit: MAKE IT HAPPEN. We hung out for four days, which definitely wasn’t long enough and of course, we ate our way through the long weekend away because well…this is what we do when we go on vacation.
It’s a 5 hour road trip from Sacramento, so we got started fairly early with a good play list and brunch at In-n-Out. That brunch included some seriously delicious Protein-Style/Animal-Style Double Doubles which is really the only way to roll in my humble opinion. Then it was onto the drive.
We got into town with just a few minutes to spare and met up with Nick to do a workout over at CrossFit Five Cities.
Yes we did plan a WOD on our vacation because we are crazy like that! It was actually a total blast until I bit it doing a box jump and basically tore up my left shin. You’re welcome for not taking a picture of that. 10 days later it is still black and blue and mising a major chunk. Worst CrossFit injury to date and perhaps not the nicest way to start a vacation, but when we got home Sarah had made us the best looking Cobb Salads ever and I’ll tell you what, that *IS* a great way to start a vacation.
I feel like I should also mention that this entire weekend of eating and drinking and general debauchery? Sarah’s fiance Nick was only drinking juice. He is in the middle of a 60 day Juice Fast (SIXTY DAYS!!!!!) and his restraint is now officially something of legend. So throughout this entire post where I detail our ridiculous gorging, just imagine Nick drinking only this:
He is documenting his “Life Reboot” daily on You Tube so check out his channel if you are interested in that journey. Holy Heck he is one dedicated gentleman! You’re over halfway through Nick — you can see the finish line!
Saturday morning we were up bright and early to run a local 5K at the birthday girl’s request. And you know the rules: what the birthday girl wants, the birthday girl gets.
We laced up our shoes and set off on what was (for me) the most challenging 5K I have ever run. We ran about a mile through a residential area and then all of a sudden we were at the bottom of a little hilled trail and the only way to go was up. SUPER CHALLENGING, but it also made me want to start running more trails because it was so fun! I finished the 5K in just over 38 minutes which was a minute longer than my Thanksgiving 5K PR, but since it was about a mile up some steep ass hill, I’ll take it!
The we showered up and headed out for a day of wine tasting that we had most definitely earned! Our first stop was Tobin James Cellars and we left with a case of wine and good buzz, which is always a good sign.
If you ever find yourself in the Paso Robles Wine Country, definitely make this one of your first stops and try their signature cocktail, the Tobin-tini. It’s sparkling wine mixed with their one of their late harvest Zin’s and I wasn’t really sold on it just hearing about it, but once I tasted it? It was LOVE! If you have dessert at my house any time in the next few months it will surely be on the menu.
Next we headed to Penman Springs Vineyard, which is such a gem of a winery a little bit off the beaten path. I mean how can you not love a winery who has piano players, puzzles and homemade Grand Marnier Nutella? You just can’t.
We didn’t want to go crazy buying wine but we could not leave this artisan winery without a few bottles — we were very impressed! Plus they had all sorts of delicious little treats to sample so we may have also made it home with some garlic-basil grapeseed oil that I plan to use all summer long with the tomatoes from my garden. My mouth is watering just thinking about how amazing that’s going to be!
The third stop was Clautiere Vineyards, and while the grounds were delightful, their wines unfortunately were not. Also, they charge a tasting fee which isn’t too common down in the Paso area. We were mostly unimpressed. The only reason I would recommend this as a stop though is that they have crazy wigs in their tasting room and if there is anything more fun than hanging with your buzzed friends trying on different wigs, well I’m not sure what it is. Go for the wigs, not the wine and you won’t be disappointed.
Also, if you are lucky you will run into a gentleman like this one, which I was laughing about for most of the afternoon.
Finally it was time to eat, so we made our way to Sculpterra Winery & Sculpture Garden for a picnic and some tasting. They have all sorts of crazy sculptures on their grounds if you feel like taking some wacky pictures.
Plus a lovely patio for having some munchies with a big or small group. It also may be a great patio for shotgunning beers, or so I’ve heard. We kept it real classy that afternoon.
Their wines are on the pricey side, but the tasting was impressive so I would definitely recommend a stop there if you are looking for some investment wine or just a nice place to eat.
Our last stop of the day was at Veris Cellars who win the day because they not only have awesome sparkling wines but also a driving range on site.
We hung out while the sun was setting and then of course decided on the next place we would stop: To Eat. It was that kind of weekend. We ended up at Downtown Brew in Paso Robles and you will just have to use your imagination since I did not snap a photo of the Largest Plate of Carnitas Nachos Ever. You are full already with all this eating aren’t you? Don’t worry, our next stop involved only drinking when we grabbed a night cap at Dunbar Brewing Company in Santa Margarita — a tiny little hole in the wall craft brew pub that only serves 2 brews per night or a bottle of Miller High Life: Take your pick.
After all of that, it was time to call it a night.
Sunday we adventured all over San Luis Obispo County but food-wise the highlights were definitely the Breakfast Burritos at Rudy & Angie’s in Grover Beach.
We ran some errands (including checking out the Jason Wu for Target launch, which I was sadly unimpressed with) and then made our way to San Luis Obispo to try the SLO Donut Company, where I experienced the life changing event of eating a Nutella Donut. I will never be the same again.
I wish I could tell you this place was over-hyped, but man was it delicious. I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned but donuts are my personal kryptonite. The smell alone in that place was INTOXICATING. Kind of the theme of the weekend, methinks!
The following day it was time to get back on the road. While we were sad to leave good friends, it was time to get back to a little more normal and a little less indulging! I think if you are going to deviate from your routine, you might as well go hog wild, and go hog wild we did!
There have been lots of salads in my life lately, that is for sure!
Do you eat your way through a vacation, or are you more the sight seeing type?