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California Adventure

After several months of non-stop working on purely elizabeth, it was time for a few days of R&R.  The best way to recharge…take a few days and get out of your daily routine. For me, that could simply mean staying nearby and getting out in nature for the weekend or in this case leaving NYC for a California adventure.  The focus of our trip (aside from my boyfriends Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon, I know crazy!) was to visit the most delicious organic eateries and vineyards and just relax.  This was not a hard task. San Francisco, Napa and Big Sur are loaded with fresh, local, organic restaurants with plenty of vegan and gluten free options.  In fact, it seems to be the norm there. Here are a few of our trip highlights that I would highly recommend visiting…

San Francisco:
Chez Panisse Cafe – Started in 1971 by Alice Walters, the pioneer of the local foods movement. A must stop for any organic foodie.  Unfortunately, we actually didn’t love our meal here, but I’m hoping it was just an off night. 

The Planet Cafe–  Located minutes from the farmers market, this was a great spot to meet friends for lunch. Plenty of vegetarian and non vegetarian options. 
Il Fornaio – We went here for a pre-race dinner, plenty of gluten free pasta options to carb up on before the big race. 
Ferry Building Farmers Market–  I could not believe the size of the market. The farmers market on Saturday is about three times the size of the Union Square Greenmarket in NYC and loaded with a variety of vendors. They even had a booth from La Cocina, a local Food Entrepreneur kitchen. How cool is that?  

…From San Francisco we departed for Napa via highway 1. If you have never driven the coast of California, this is an absolute must.

Stopping on Highway 1 for Oysters at Marshall Store

A few of our favorite farm to table, organic restaurants in Napa area:

Brix– Loved the garden in the back of the restaurant providing fresh produce. 

Farmstead: Located in St. Helena, this American farmhouse offers a seasonal menu with ingredients sourced from their Long Meadow Ranch, including all-natural grass-fed beef, vegetables, extra virgin olive oil, and honey. They had the best kale salad EVER. Well maybe not as good as Sun In Bloom in Brooklyn, but a close second. 

C Casa at Oxbow Market Napa – Several gluten free options at this fresh, sustainable Taqueria.  

Ubuntu Napa – Housed in a 19th century building with a yoga studio, this vegetarian restaurant serves creative dishes from their organic and biodynamic garden.  

Favorite Organic Vineyards in Napa Valley and Beyond:

Cade Vineyards– The first organically farmed, LEED gold certified vineyard in Napa. This was the most beautiful vineyard we visited, not to mention they had fabulous wines. 

Robert Sinskey– Offering organic and biodynamic wines. The vineyard has a wonderful farm to table tour.

Hall Vineyards – Hall Vineyards is certified organic by CCOF and LEED certified. They have a beautiful garden/sitting area in the back.

…One of the best ways to see the vineyards is by bike. We rented a tandem bike fromWine Country Bikes, definitely one of the best in the area.

Quivira– Located in Headlsburg along our bike route, this vineyard and winery is organic and biodynamic. We loved all the chickens, cows, and fresh produce welcoming us to the tasting room. Local restaurants source their veggies from the garden.  

Preston Dry Creek– Located down a dirt road in Headlsburg, Preston offers organic wine, olive oil and fresh produce. The wine is great, but the olive oil is out of this world. 

Medlock Ames – I read about this vineyard in a recent Food and Wine article and knew it was a must visit when it was described as “Nirvana in Sonoma”. The wines and the restored modern tasting room did not disappoint. 

…After a few too many meals and wine tastings, we headed down highway 1, to arrive in breathtaking Big Sur.

9 mile hike at Andrew Molera State Park

Glen Oaks Cabin on Big Sur River with our own campfire

Best/Last meal of the trip at Sierra Mar, Post Ranch Inn. Located on the edge of the world, serving local, organic eats. This was a feast not to be forgotten. 

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  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    June 17, 2011

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