Half of the P+K crew recently journeyed west and experienced The Golden State top to bottom. Long regarded as America's wine capital, hilly Northern California enjoys ideal grape growing (and vacationing) conditions, and proudly showcases vast landscapes shaped by decades of vineyard development and hard-earned industry streetcred. No stranger to its own topographical peaks and valleys, Virginia's viticultural potential remains a captivating new world pursuit, and one that challenges even the most tenured winegrowers with strong, unpredictable seasons that demand skillful nimbleness of craft in vineyard and cellar. After our due diligence at some of Cali's finest purveyors of yum, we left with a newfound understanding and appreciation for both coasts—their similarities, differences, and the unique food and wine being inspired and created east to west.
We thought we'd let the pictures do (most) of the talking. Many are linked, so if you're curious, click!
Healdsburg, Napa, & Sonoma:
Eat: Dry Creek Kitchen (American contemporary fine dining, extensive Sonoma-centric wine program) - Bistro Jeanty (classic French fare in the heart of Napa) - SHED (it doesn't get any fresher or healthier, casual Sonoma lunch or dinner + marketplace) - Oakville Grocery (wine country sandwich masters, perfect for a grab-n-go picnic to accompany the fermented stuff).
Drink: Opus One Winery (Napa icon) - Rutherford Hill Winery (all the valley views) - Spring Mountain Vineyard (unique, secluded property with diverse selection of vineyards ranging 1200ft from the valley floor to top of the mountain) - Madrigal Family Winery (vineyard managers turned winery owners, three generations in the making) - Paul Hobbs Winery (industry pioneer, meticulously crafted wines and tour/tasting experience) - Reeve Wines (laid back, off-the-grid vibes and beautiful small batch wines).
San Francisco & Sausalito:
Eat & Drink: Belga (beer focused, Belgian-inspired brasserie perfect for shifting palate gears post wine country) - Cliff House (a San Fran classic with a billion dollar view of the Pacific) - Taqueria El Farolito (Mission District hole-in the-wall well worth the pilgrimage - once voted as having "America's most life-altering burrito" in an Esquire reader's poll).
San Diego, Coronado, La Jolla:
Eat & Drink: Sbicca (downtown Del Mar, American bistro with rooftop terrace + ocean views) - Sheerwater at Hotel Del Coronado (pricy for brunch, but delicious nonetheless and worth the beachside setting) - The Prado at Balboa Park (arrive an hour or two early and explore the nation's largest urban cultural park before dinner) - Donut Touch (best donuts in San Diego. Actually though, people voted.)