April 3, 2014 -
We had the good fortune of traveling to both coasts in March – Northern California and Southern North Carolina. While we try to get away on short trips often, this was a 2-week “working vacation” with the specific purpose of gaining new perspectives on taste of place across fresh culinary cultures.
Here are some inspiring ideas we found in California that may find their way into some Spice venture somewhere, sometime…
Food is All Around Us. For a refreshing splash in our vodka tonics, our Pacific Grove hostess walked two houses down to grab a half dozen Meyer lemons from her neighbor’s tree. And every day, Ben couldn’t resist a little foraging on land and water. This makes local sourcing a breeze…and a given.
Farmers’ Markets are Well Stocked & Well Merchandised. Prepared and coordinated foods were a constant, making it easy to spend, spend, spend on dried fruits, pickled peppers, and foraged harvest baskets.
Good Bread is Everywhere. And also bakery.
Great Wine is All About Relationships. For us, it’s always been essential to know the people we’re doing business with. The wine producers we talked to told us about their own long-standing relationships with growers. There’s a lot of pride in the heritage of those connections, rooted in community.
Indoor + Outdoor Landscapes are Intertwined. Rooms transition seamlessly to outdoor gardens, patios and bars. And the landscaping is often built into the architecture.
Here are our top picks from our all-too-short two weeks of dining along the coast.
Special thanks to the following fine folks who supplied the many resources we needed to take this time away!
- Our oh-so-generous airfare sponsors
- Our host families, Brad & Jessica Bebenroth and John & Emily Haselbauer
- Dave our bar man and Diane from Euro for connecting with Bill Myers at White Oak Vineyards & Winery, who hooked us up with Haydon Street Inn
- Mr. Ryan Bennett for helping around the homestead
- The entire Spice staff for holding down the fort with class and panache