I woke up this morning with an urge to drive along the coast, so we headed north in the rental car on picturesque Highway 1 towards San Simeon.
On the way, we made a pit stop in Cayucos, a tiny beach town with virtually one beachy strip along the water. I’d heard good things about local beach shack cafe Ruddell’s Smokehouse, which serves an array of tacos and salads made from smoked fish.
We ordered the shrimp and ahi tacos, and this humble meal turned out to be one of my favorite of the entire trip.
A cookie fanatic, I also couldn’t resist a sign above a small building that read “Brown Butter Cookie Company”, and I quickly fell in love with the original shortbread like brown butter and sea salt cookie. (Resolution 1: must recreate these at home)
On a sugar high, we drove onwards until we reached Hearst Castle. This mediterranean style castle was built from 1919 to 1947 by California’s first licensed female architect. It sits high on a bluff and can only be reached by an official Hearst Museum bus on a windy mountain road. The bus plays old music from the 1940s, which really set the mood for the castle, which hosted Hollywood celebrities, business people, and friends of the newspaper titan Hearst.
There we admired art brought from all over the world, luxurious textiles, gardens, and a swimming pool, of course. Given the time period, Hearst Castle was a sort of Hollywood equivalent to Downton Abbey. That Hearst fellow had good taste!
Next stop was Piedras Blancas to view dozens of elephant seals camped out on the sand. (Resolution 2: must take a nap on the beach at some point during this trip).
Leaving San Simeon, we took Highway 46 this time towards Paso Robles. I can’t get over the distinctive terrain with it green and lush rolling hills.
Dinner that night was at Artisan in Paso Robles. I planned to include that meal in this post, but you know what? It was so good, it deserves a post of its own.
After a day of sightseeing and road tripping, it was time to call it a night and rest up for Day 3!