California 21 Days
Setting off for America, the West Coast, San Francisco to Los Angeles. An “all-American” trip, in other words, on the road. Twenty-one days are the right amount of time to make the sum of California. We were immediately whisked outside San Francisco to fall in love with the nature, pretty much untamed, of Bolinas, Mount Tamalpais, Point Reyes, the smaller towns in the north, in West Sonoma, and the farming communities in the south, as far as Pescadero, where we would cry eureka. Following the warmth of the southern sun, Los Alamos, Ojai, we forgot what time it was, what day it was, built friendships set to last more than a holiday. Until we got to Los Angeles, the city that always gets a smile from us, because there more than anywhere, something which can only belong to L.A. seems to happen every time. And this time it’s the buzzing and mysterious Arts District, a stone’s throw from downtown L.A. with its jade-coloured art deco skyscrapers. Plus the new street food – phenomenon that we should perhaps find a new name for, between one divine course and another – hidden in the kitchens of communities originating from more than one hundred countries all over the world, who have become one big family here.
Day by Day
DAY 1-3 San Francisco to Sonoma County
Fly to San Francisco International Airport (SFO). Rent your car at Alamo. Drive to the Marin Headlands (40 min). Visit Point Bonita Lighthouse and Muir Beach. Explore West Marin and Point Reyes National Seashore (Stinson Beach; Bolinas; Tomales). Check out Bolinas People’s Store. Stop at The Bovine Bakery, Point Reyes Station. Drive through Bohemian Hwy (Freestone to Occidental). Eat at Boon Eat + Drink. Sleep at BOON HOTELS & SPA, Guerneville (2 nights).
DAY 3-7 Sonoma County to San Francisco
Sunrise drive through Coleman Valley Road (Occidental to Cambria). Morning walk in the Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve. Drive to Dry Creek Valley Wine Region. Stop at Preston of Dry Creek Farm & Winery, West Dry Creek Rd. Eat at Shed, Healdsburg. Drive back to San Francisco (90 min). Sleep at INN AT THE PRESIDIO (4 nights).
Dinner at Saison (New American, 3 Star Michelin).
Lunch/Brunch/Dinner at Cotogna (Italian).
Visit Ferry Plaza Farmer’s Market (Saturdays).
GOLDEN GATE PARK
Visit San Francisco Botanical Garden.
LOWER PACIFIC HEIGHTS
Lunch/Dinner at Out the Door, Bush St (Vietnamese).
Four Barrell Coffee;
Lunch/Brunch/Dinner at Izakaya Rintaro (Japanese).
Lunch/Brunch/Dinner at Outerlands (New American).
SOUTH OF MARKET
Breakfast/Coffee at Blue Bottle Coffee, Mint Plaza.
DAY 7-8 San Francisco to Pescadero
Drive to Oakland (20 min). Brunch at Camino, Oakland. Visit Temescal Alleys. Visit The Fox Theatre, Oakland. Drive to Pescadero through Half Moon Bay (Hwy 1 - 90 min). Eat at Duarte’s Tavern. Sleep (1 night) at HISTORIC McCORMICK HOUSE INN; AIRSTREAM BED AND BICYCLE (Downtown Local, Pescadero).
DAY 8-9 Pescadero to Santa Cruz
Breakfast at the Downtown Local Café. Morning visit to Harley’s Farm Goat Dairy. Drive to Santa Cruz (40 min). Stop at Swanton Berry Farm Organic Strawberry U-Pick. Sleep at SANTA CRUZ DREAM INN (1 night).
DAY 9-10 Santa Cruz to Big Sur
Breakfast at Verve Coffee Roasters. Drive to Pacific Grove (50 min). Eat and shop at Happy Girl Kitchen Café + Shop. Drive to Big Sur (Hwy 1 - 60 min). Sleep at DEETJEN’S BIG SUR INN (1 night).
DAY 10-12 Big Sur to Los Alamos
Drive to Los Alamos (3 hours). Stop in the town of Guadalupe. Eat at Plenty on Bell (New American); Industrial Eats (Butcher Shop, Eatery-Pizza Café). Morning visit and U-Pick at The Farmstead. Drive and wine tasting in the Sant Inez Valley. Sunset visit to Oso Flaco Lake, Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes. Drink at Muni Wine at The Alamo. Sleep at THE ALAMO MOTEL (2 nights).
DAY 12-15 Los Alamos to Ojai
Breakfast at Bob’s Well Bread Bakery. Drive to Santa Barbara (50 min). Stop at Handlebar Coffee Roasters. Drive to Ojai (50 min). Eat at Farmer and the Cook (Mexican Vegetarian). Visit: Poco Farm in Meiners Oaks; Desert Images (Cactus and Succulents); Bart’s Book. Drink at Chief’s Peak. Practice yoga at Arrow Heart Yoga. Stop for the “Pink Moment”, Topa Topa Mountains. Sleep (3 nights) at OJAI RANCHO INN/HOUSE/LOFT; CARAVAN OUTPOST (Airstream).
DAY 15-21 Ojai to Los Angeles
Drive to Topanga (90 min). Visit/Shop at the Topanga Farmers’ Market (Fridays). Drive to Santa Monica Pier (30 min). Drive to Los Angeles (10 min). Sleep (6 nights) at ACE HOTEL DOWNTOWN L.A. (Historic Core); THE ROSE HOTEL (Venice); HOTEL COVELL (Los Feliz); BOUTIQUE-HOMES.COM (Home rentals).
Stumptown Coffee Roasters.
Café Gratitude Downtown L.A. (Vegetarian/Vegan);
Guerrilla Tacos Food Truck (Mexican);
Van Leeuwen Artisanal Ice Cream;
Visit Hauser Wirth & Schimmel (Arts Center).
Shop Hennessey + Ingalls (Bookstore).
Drink at Resident L.A. (Bar).
Breakfast at Proof Bakery.
Verve Coffee Roasters, 3rd St;
Il Caffè (Acne Studios Shop).
The Broad Museum;
The Theatre at ACE Hotel.
Eat at Little Sister Downtown (Vietnamese).
Eat at ChungSil-HongSil (Korean).
Visit The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA (Museum).
Sushi Gen (Japanese).
SILVER LAKE/LOS FELIZ/ECHO PARK
Sqirl (Bakery - Vegan friendly - New Californian);
Little Pine Restaurant (Vegan);
Eat at Night + Market Song (Thai).
Visit Silver Lake Farmers’ Market (Saturdays).
Drink at Tenants of the Trees.
Breakfast at Gjusta (Bakery).
Eat at The Dudley Market (New American).
Eat at Aburiya Raku (Japanese).
Visit Melrose Trading Post (Sundays) (Flea Market).