Finally, I’ve gathered a bit of time to be able and sit down and go through some of the photos from our recent trip to California. Eric and I took this trip just the two of us. We flew into San Francisco, rented a car, drove down and camped in Big Sur for two nights, took two days to make our way back up the coast with stops along the way, and ended the trip with a 4 day stay in SF. We went through Airbnb for our lodging, which if you’ve never heard of it, you should definitely it check out- our experience was great. We saw stunning views, ate loads of food, and drank quite a bit of coffee. I didn’t take my camera with us everywhere- part of the trip I wanted to enjoy without the pressure of feeling the need to photograph everything around us, but I still came back with plenty of goodies to share. The food & coffee photos from the trip were the easiest to sit down and do some quick edits to, so here goes the first of the Cali postings.

The first of our many cafe stops was Verve Coffee, a roaster we get beans from now and again at the cafe Eric & I work at back home. Verve has three locations in Santa Cruz, and we hit up two of them during our trip. Both of the spaces were pretty darn sweet, and our favorite drink from the entire trip was made at Verve. Something you may already know about Eric and me is that we really enjoy coffee. We will go quite a bit out of our way for a good cup of jo, and since becoming baristas ourselves, we’ve learned way more than I ever thought we could know about the coffee bean. It was super fun for us to talk to other people who are a bit geeky about coffee and see what they were doing, and maybe drool a little over the amount of space some cafes have. (the cafe we work at is tiny- but we still love it)

I won’t even tell you how many scoops of ice cream we had on this trip. It may or may not have been my dinner a couple of nights. Our favorite was Bi-Rite Creamery’s ice cream, which I didn’t get any photos of- too excited to eat it I suppose. They have a scoop store, and a soft serve window as well. (soft serve window had almost no line- the scoops store always had at least 20 people) Seriously, Mexican chocolate soft serve? So stinkin’ good. Those folks know what they’re doing.

On the same block as Bi-Rite is Tartine, a bakery I knew we had to go to after perusing their beautiful cookbooks on multiple occasions. The line at this place was nuts. I’m glad we went, but we’re pretty spoiled here in Madison- if I may say, Batch Bakehouse rivals Tartine in our book, plus you never have to wait in a line going around the block. However, this place we found in Monterey had hands down the best croissants we’ve ever tasted. It’s called Parker-Lusseau Bakery, and if we could have, we would have gone here every day of our trip. As it was, we made two stops- one on the way down to Big Sur, and one on our way back up the coast. We were able to meet the owners, Yann & Anne, who were delightful and gave us ideas of places to go and where to find the best food.

Once we got into San Francisco, our goal was to make sure we hit up the other coffee shops on our list. It’s hard to say which one within the city was our favorite- it all depends on the reasoning. Blue Bottle was beautiful inside, minimalistic and very clean.

Two of the cafes we went to, Sightglass & Four Barrel, did their roasting in the same space as the cafe, so it was neat to be able to see a bit of that process while enjoying their brews at the same time.

Besides coffee & ice cream, we were looking forward to the food in SF. Eric was hoping for dungeness crab, but it turned out to be the wrong season. We did get a chance to go down to Fisherman’s Warf and grab a bowl of clam chowder in a sourdough bread bowl though. For us Wisconsinites, this clam chowder was worlds away from what’s normally served as “chowder” at home. The oysters were all great as well- fresher tasting than the ones at home.

The last place I’ll include was our favorite place we ate. We happen to get to Delfina’s Pizzaria just moments before they opened for lunch, so we were lucky enough to score our table right away. Everything we ate there was delicious- the fresh burrata served with arugula and bread was the best appetizer ever, and the croquettes weren’t only beautiful, they were delicious. The pizza was great, and we were glad to be taking home leftovers to munch on later.

I can’t imagine living in a city with so many options for amazing food. We feel overwhelmed sometimes at the amount of choices in little ol’ Madison, and that’s nothing in comparison to a big city full of foodies like San Francisco. We were glad for our recommendations from friends on where to go, and certainly had some great food. I’m still working on the rest of the photos from the trip; camping, the sights in Big Sur, the boardwalk in Santa Cruz, and a few other things from the trip will be posted eventually as well. The weather is changing here at home and it’s becoming a bit easier to sit inside with a blanket and work on the computer, and as much as I enjoy summer, that’s no complaint.