Wine, sea and seafood, what more can I ask for? Let’s sit back, relax and enjoy a day trip from Moonstone Beach. If you are not allergic to shellfish, let’s go on the veritable rite of wining and dining like a true Californian. Dear wanderlusters, be inspired by a day packed with delicious adventure!
We were awestruck by the untouched nature paradise of the Paso Robles’s Adelaida district. How about visiting a pristine and tranquil farm and country store, Linn’s Original Farm Store, famous for its freshly baked fruit pies? Sitting down on the patio table, right underneath the shade of the orange trees indulging in piping hot Marionberry pie with a dollop of creamy vanilla ice cream, we watched the world go by countryside style. As we looked up, we can see dozens of juicy ripe oranges above our heads. The fresh air of the countryside felt soothing and inviting on our sun-tanned cheeks, awaking our senses to explore its beauty. Are you relaxed yet?
After having had our fill of country store vibes, we indulged in luxe wine tasting above the clouds at DAOU Vineyards and Winery. If you are a fellow oenophile, I’d recommend a visit to the Tablas Creek Vineyard. I’d tasted at least 10 different types of wine in the space of half an hour, but only one wine had captivated my tastebuds. Love its 2013 Esprit de Tablas blend of Mourvèdre, Grenache, Syrah and Counoise. Oozing with tremendous potential to improve with age, I will keep this friendly and approachable candidate in our wine cellar. Tablas Creek Vineyard is the joint venture between Robert Haas, a wine importer, and Château de Beaucastel (Rhône Valley). Congrats on winning second place in the The Daily Meal 101 Best Wineries in America 2017, a well-deserved accolade!
After Tablas Creek Vineyard, we headed 45 min’s drive away to Morro Bay for lunch. Along the way, I saw avocado trees for the first time in my life. I love avocados too much! Do you love avocados? On the Old Creek Road, the next scenic beauty that had passed before my eyes was the Whale Rock Reservoir. Wild grasses with its fluffy heads were dancing in the warm summer’s breeze.
It was fairly easy to find parking in front of the eye-catching Salt Water Taffy store. Have you had salt water taffy before? We were hungry when we sat down for lunch at the Tognazzini’s Dockside Restaurant. The enterprising commercial fishing family of Bonnie and Captain Mark Tognazzini owns 3 restaurants, a fish market. Captain Mark still sells whole salmon and albacore straight off his boat when he lands at Morro Bay. I always made a point to eat only local seafood, and seafood restauranteurs who catch what they serve are few and far between. The freshest seafood also tastes the sweetest. Whilst waiting for our order, we looked out of the windows, curiously observing the hustle and bustle of a working fishing port. A puddle of water, possibly from melted ice, was reflecting the machineries and fork lift trucks in action. The workers were busy loading up the Santa Monica Seafood truck.
Btw, have you tried a BBQ oysters picnic? Make your own BBQ oysters and then shuck them like a pro at the Hog Island Oyster Farm? I think it’s a marvellous idea for entertaining families or a fun inspiration for a weekend getaway with friends. It’s quite a way up north from Morro Bay but definitely another Californian foodie secret! Failing that, you can buy the BBQ oysters for $1.95 each at Tognazzini’s fish market.
We had root beer to accompany our meal, yup, just like Snoopy would! For appetizers, we shared 6 raw oysters on the half shell, decorated with lemon wedges and purple flowering kale. The huge oysters were served with cocktail sauce and horseradish. Would have loved to try its oyster chowder one day! Oysters always made my day. For main course, both of us ordered the same must-have dish, Captain’s Combo Platter & chips; a plate of deliciousness generously filled with fresh lightly breaded and deep fried shrimp, scallops, pacific cod, calamari, oyster strips, coleslaw, tartar sauce, ketchup and french fries. When we did not speak during the mealtime, it usually means that the food was really tasty. Nobody spoke a word until we’d polished off the plates. It was that tasty! I’ve let my secret out 😉 Don’t miss out on dining like a King and Queen on Californian seafood for a princely sum.
We walked off our meal by visiting the delights of Morro Bay. Many fishing boats and yachts were docked on its waterfront. My eyes were drawn to a yacht leaving the harbour, flanked against the landmark Morro Rock, and occasionally interrupted by the noise of the hungry cackling seagulls. The Morro Bay sceneries were quite the sight to behold.
Joining us on the beautiful summer’s day, a family of Californian ground squirrels were sunbathing on the rocks. I love photographing wild animals. I will start with Californian ground squirrels as they are simply the easiest and cutest targets, commonly found in the Californian coast. I was attracted to a particularly adorable squirrel. He had this facial expression of ‘What are you looking at??’ He’s so cute!!! What do you think? Is he a cutie? Chasing squirrels for photoshoot is one of my fav pastime on our American road trips.
Walking barefoot along the warm sandy beach of Morro bay, the pastel pretty as a postcard beach felt almost like a dream. Do visit the beautiful home of sand dollars and sand crabs. Watch the surfers ride the waves or just sit down and relax, enjoying every moment of your bespoke beach escapade. The turquoise coloured waters were calling out to swimmers who were just blissfully enjoying the time of their lives. Let’s go for a dip!
Can nature untie the thousand knots in the heart? Time with nature, particularly time with the sea is always a pleasure. What do you think?
These cuties, otherwise known as sea otters, were lounging belly-up and floating playfully, stretched out in a line. The gray fur balls love to eat sea urchins, clams and crabs and are a delightful surprise for visitors to Morro Bay. Sometimes if you are really lucky, you’d see sea otters banging clams on the houseboats, to crack open their meal. A giant sea lion led out several loud barks. What was in your mind dear sea lion? He was probably envious of our attention to the sea otters. Who is watching who? 😉
For further travel inspirations, do consult the official Morro Bay tourism website. It’s time to head home to Pelican Inn and Suites, a mere 29 min’s drive away along the classic and celebrated Californian Highway 1, and enjoy the romantic sunsets of Moonstone Beach.
La Vie est Belle … Fly Me A Dream! Until we meet again on another Californian adventure, do take care. Hope you’ve had fun catching a glimpse of beautiful Central Coast California. Have a nice day! Much love from charming Morro Bay and I, your storyteller. 😉
Restaurants and Farm Shops