Travel Journal

Cali Roadtrippin’ (LA-> SF)

This past weekend, Josh and I took a little road trip up to the Bay area, so that I could attend a book signing at Keplers Books in Menlo Park.  Since the event was on a Friday evening, and the following Monday was MLK day, we decided to make a four-day weekend out of it.  We’ve done this trip before, and greatly enjoyed it, so we were excited to hit the road again & explore the area some more.  We stayed in Palo Alto, near Stanford, at our favorite little gem of a hotel; Dinah’s Garden Inn.  We love everything about this hotel, from the friendly staff, to the tasty room service, and especially the ambiance!

The view from our hotel balcony:



& The tranquil garden gazebo:


On Saturday morning, Josh and I walked the 1.4 miles to The Sweet Shop; an adorable little hole in the wall coffee & candy shop that we found on Yelp.  We ordered our pastries and drinks and then sat on the porch while we fueled ourselves with caffeine and sugar.  My cafe latte and berry pastry were delicious and I had to restrain myself from buying up all the sweet treats in the place.


On the walk home, we found a bike path that we followed for about a mile.  The path was tucked within a quiet neighborhood, and concealed by an impressive tree canopy.  We sat on a bench and finished the last luke-warm sips of  our lattes, while day dreaming out loud about building our dream home in this neighborhood.


On Saturday evening we took an uber to down town Palo Alto and visited a few of the local establishments.  As I said before, we have done this trip before, and last time we were in town we visited the same three places that we went to on Saturday: Cal Ave (the wine bar), Antonio’s Nut House (a dive bar), and Le Pastis (a French restaurant).  We wanted to visit these same three places again, for two reasons; first, because we knew we liked them, and secondly, because we wanted to get better pictures this time around.

Cal Ave is my favorite of the three locations, because I’m a wino, and because of this cheese & charcuterie board:


Antonios Nut House (or The Nut House), is a fun not-so-little dive bar, complete with pool tables, graffiti in the bathrooms, and, my personal favorite-  an air hockey table!  If you ever find yourself in need of a cold beer, and no-shits-given crowd, get yourself to the Nut House.


Here is the part where I fall short, as a blogger.  I don’t actually have any photos from our third, and final, stop of the night, because by this point I was worried about conserving my cell phone battery (since uber was our lifeline on this trip).  We ate dinner at Pastis, which is a tiny, French Bistro.  We both ordered the flank steak, and it was every bit as delicious as I had remembered it from our previous visit.   The following day we ate lunch at a place called Bradley’s Fine Dining, in Menlo Park.  Again, I have no pictures of this place and again, I am bummed about it, because it really is a neat (and yummy) place to eat.  Bradley’s is directly across the street from the Menlo Park train station, so Josh and I grabbed a bite to eat and a couple of Moscow Mules while we waited for the train.  We took the caltrain from Menlo Park to the end of the line in San Fransisco, where we spent a rainy evening on pier 39, being touristy and taking tons of photos with my new GoPro!

Here are a few of my favorite pictures from our rainy Sunday on the pier: 




We checked out of our hotel on Monday, around noon, and then began our drive home.  We made a few fun stops along the way.  First of all, I cannot stress enough how highly I recommend driving home on the 153 instead of the 101.  Yes- it’s a bit out of the way.  BUT.  You get to drive through Gilroy (the garlic capitol of the world!) where you can see and smell all the gorgeous surrounding farm towns.


We stopped halfway between Gilroy & Santa Nella at a place called Casa de Fruta.  We saw this place on our way home from SF last year, and this time curiosity demanded that we check it out.  I’m pretty happy we did because it was a pretty neat/strange place (which is my favorite kind of place).  When we pulled off the highway and parked we found ourselves in the middle of an old-timey barn/theme park, complete with a restaurant, candy & ice cream parlor, train ride & carousal, a bunch of antique tractor & railroad artifacts and a barn filled with preserves, candied nuts, wines, and more garlic than I’ve ever seen in my life.  There are also tons of wild peacocks roaming the property.  Directly behind the property there is a creek, and just down the road there is an RV campground.

 Here are some of my favorite pictures from Casa de Fruta:




After we left Casa de Fruta we headed into Santa Nella and grabbed a quick bite to eat at Anderson’s Pea Soup.  Then it was 4 hours of straight-on-through and we were back home with another successful road trip under our belts.

Places Mentioned in this post (linked to yelp):

Dinah’s Garden Hotel

The Sweet Shop 

Cal Ave (wine bar)

Antonio’s Nut House

Pastis Bistro

Bradley’s Fine Dining

Pier 39

Casa de la Fruta



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