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Adventure Time

Bay Area Day Trip: Pescadero, CA

January 21, 2016

Pescadero Sign

Pescadero is a charming spot just two miles off Highway 1 between Santa Cruz and Half-Moon Bay. If you’re looking for an off-the-beaten-track activity to do in easy driving distance of San Francisco, look no further. Nestled amongst the farms and fields that dot the scenic Pacific Coast Highway from San Francisco to Monterey, it’s just a quick day trip from anywhere in the Bay Area. Though tiny– with a population of 643 at the 2010 census, it isn’t big enough to merit town designation– this census-designated place more than makes up for what it lacks in size with an excess of charm.

Market Cart

Strawberry Sign

Green Roof

Having heard delightful things about Pescadero’s famous artichoke bread, I decided to hop in the car and go check it out for myself.

Cat Sign

Getting There

There are three main routes to access Pescadero from Palo Alto, where I live and none of them are a particularly straight shot. Though it’s not far as the crow flies, there’s a stretch of mountains separating the coastal town from the main hubs of Silicon Valley. The best ways to reach it are to drive south on Highway 1 from Half-Moon Bay, or, if you’re starting farther south, head north up the PCH from Santa Cruz. Both routes offer some other fun stops along the way, like Bonny Doon Vineyard’s Tasting Room in Davenport, Highway 1 Brewery, and Highway 92 Succulents— for all your drought-and-neglect-tolerant plant needs.

Highway 92 Succulents

What to Eat

In all honesty, there are not a lot of options for food in Pescadero, but that’s fine because you can’t go wrong with a stop at Duarte’s Tavern. Duarte’s is one of those places that appears to have accidentally slipped forward in time, completely unchanged, from when it was originally opened in 1894.

Duarte's Sign

The menu offers a tasty cream of artichoke soup, as well as a cream of green chile, but the smart move is to get them swirled together where the light spice from the chiles nicely compliments the creaminess of the artichoke.

Half & Half Soup

And definitely don’t forget to order a slice of olallieberry pie before you go. Yumm!

Olallaberry Pie

 

What to Do

Need a post-pie coffee? Stop by the funky Chikken Revolution for a latte to go, and if you’re feeling particularly adventurous, try their Dandy Blend– a dandelion and chicory-based coffee substitute. I happen to think it tastes kind of like dirt, but who knows? Maybe you’re into that.

Chicken Revolution

Dandy Blend Coffee

Also be sure to check out their slightly manic and heavily nostalgic sense of decor, and, if you need a moment to recover from your food coma, duck into their movie nook and catch a flick.

Inside Chicken Revolution

Chicken Revolution Movie Nook

Then, after you’ve caffeinated be sure to walk down the town’s one main street, where you’ll find a handful of shops to peruse– ranging from kitschy antiques to made-on-the-spot pottery to for-a-cause retro and artisan finds.

Stage Road Shop

In Slow We Trust Sign

Slow Coast

 

Grab a Souvenir

In my humble opinion, the best kind of souvenir is an edible one. Before you leave Pescadero, make sure to stop by Arcangeli’s Grocery for their baked-fresh-by-the-hour Artichoke & Garlic Bread.

Arcangeli Bakery

Artichoke Bread

It’s best fresh out of the oven, but if you’re still stuffed from your lunch at Duarte’s, you can also get this partially baked version so that you can recreate the magic at home.

Arcangeli’s also offers hand-crafted goat cheeses from nearby Harvey Farms, which I’ve heard is a great place to visit, though they weren’t open to visitors in the middle of the week when I was passing through.

On the Way Out

As I mentioned earlier, Pescadero is a postage-stamp of a place, so you probably won’t need to spend more than an hour or two in town to feel like you’ve taken in the sights. But before you head back to your daily lives, wherever they may be, do yourself a favor and head just a couple more miles south to the Pigeon Point Lighthouse. Sit by the water a while and drink it in. Life really is beautiful.

Pigeon Point Lighthouse

Ocean

Pigeon Point Barrel

Succulents

Whale Skull

Adventure Time

5 of My Favorite Spots to Grab a Bite in Austin, TX

August 14, 2015

Austin

Paris may be for lovers, but Austin is for eaters. As someone who tends to plan my trips around my three main meals, that made it impossibly hard to pick just a handful of restaurants, taco trucks, and coffee shops from the hundreds of mouthwatering Yelp reviews I’d read in anticipation of my recent trip to Texas’s funky, food-forward capital city.

I didn’t get to visit even a fraction of the places that were recommended to me, but I still managed to walk (okay roll) away from the city feeling pretty satisfied with my choices.

Here are, in no particular order, 5 of my favorite spots to grab a bite or a brew in Austin, TX:

Freedmen’s BBQ

Freedman's

Holy mother of all things smoked! When it comes to BBQ, Freedmen’s does not mess around. Freedmen’s is different from many of the other Austin meat meccas in that it is primarily a bar, which just happens to serve tremendous BBQ brisket on the side, but don’t let its upscale appearance and small table count fool you– Freedmen’s BBQ is ridiculously tasty. I got the chopped brisket sandwich with potato salad, and a smoked banana pudding for dessert. I was a happy, happy camper.

But do you want to know the best thing about Freedmen’s? No line. That’s right, not only are the desserts smoked, but you can also be in and out in the time it took your buddies to Instagram their view of the line at Franklin’s.

So, next time you’re passing through Austin and don’t have an entire morning to devote to waiting for your BBQ fix, head on over to Freedmen’s. They’ll treat you right.

Uchiko

Uchiko

Uchiko is the sister restaurant to the ever popular Uchi. That’s me and my pops standing outside, getting ready to chow down on some serious deliciousness.

Between the ultra-fresh, cleverly plated sashimi and aptly, yet ridiculously names Jar Jar Duck (delightfully tender, melt-in-your-mouth morsels of duck marinated in an applewood smoke that poofs out of the jar when you open it) Uchiko has the hipster farmhouse Japanese cuisine niche on lock.

Uchiko Sashimi

Uchiko Jar Jar Duck

Go for the perfectly curated ambience and make sure to bring friends– you’re going to want to try it all.

Veracruz Taco Truck

I visited a couple of taco trucks on my sojourn through Austin, and the original Veracruz truck on E Cesar Chavez was by far my favorite. Order the migas tacos and a Mexico Lindo smoothie. You will not be disappointed.

Tacos Veracruz

Oh and the tortas are pretty bomb too.

Jacoby’s Mercantile

Jacoby's

Jacoby’s Restaurant and Mercantile is a gem of a place tucked along the Colorado River. The patio is where it’s at. With a whimsical yet homey vibe, it’s the perfect place to catch the sunset while snacking on upgraded Southern classics like pimento cheese and this divine pork chop, piled with peaches, and drizzled with a sweet and tart sorghum syrup.

Jacoby's Porkchop

Odd Duck

If I’m being really really honest with you, Odd Duck was probably my favorite restaurant of the trip. With a tapas-style menu full of small, funky dishes, there’s something to please most anyone who stops by this fine establishment.

Odd Duck Cocktail

Even my mother– who doesn’t care for most cocktails, and especially doesn’t like whiskey– swooned over their High Five cocktail. And as unappetizing as “pig face” sounds, their Parker house roll with pig face really hit the spot.

Odd Duck Buns

So did the crawfish boil. And the dessert. And pretty much everything we ate.

Odd Duck Crawfish

Odd Duck Crawfish Broil

Odd Duck Dessert

Yum!

Have you been to Austin? What were your favorites? I have to start compiling my must-eat list for my next visit!