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Honeymooning along the coast


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Hey west coasters,

My fiance (husband) and I will be flying out to Cali from DC in little over a week for our honeymoon! We'll be spending 3 nights in San Diego, then driving up the coast (along Rt. 1, I believe) to San Francisco, where we'll stay for about 3 nights. We're planning on stopping along the way (maybe LA, Monterey, Big Sur... we really should have a more concrete itinerary, given that we're 10 days from leaving...)

I would LOVE some dining suggestions (of all price ranges, though we can only splurge once or twice). I know I'm too late for French Laundry reservations (by a few months), but I'd really appreciate anything else you can throw at us. We're open to all types of cuisine.

And if anyone has any must-do day trip ideas, we'd love to hear those, too!

Thank you ever so much,



edited to add: romantic is a plus, but not a necessity, and we really would like some lower-priced restaurants, too... and we can't get good Mexican out here, so that's one cuisine we're super excited to dive into! Oh- and at least one good Chinese meal in S.F.

Edited by littlechinagirl (log)
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Near Hearst castle, is a resturant called Robin's that we've gone to a number of times and have really liked.

The great eastern resturant in china town in SF is great.


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First off, Mazel Tov on your wedding!

It's been forever since I last drove the Big Sur, so I don't know how Nepenthe is currently doing foodwise, but you can't beat the view with a stick. (Plus there aren't a helluva lot of other dining options on the Big Sur Highway, if I recall correctly.)

There's a whole assortment of threads on San Diego here on the boards--here's one that has focuses (though far from exclusively) on ocean-view dining:


And another whose focus is cheap-but-good eats (including taquerias):


Again, as I said on a previous thread, I second everything in the immediately-above link about Point Loma Seafood, Hillcrest, and the bazillions of Asian eateries in and around Convoy Ave.

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Congratulations to you & your fiance/husband!

You might want to click on this link to a discussion thread by Susan in FL.

edited to add: romantic is a plus, but not a necessity, and we really would like some lower-priced restaurants, too... and we can't get good Mexican out here, so that's one cuisine we're super excited to dive into! Oh- and at least one good Chinese meal in S.F.

How about at least one good Chinese meal in Los Angeles? Downtown LA has more of the traditional Cantonese Chinese restaurants. Monterey Park, Alhambra, Rosemead, the whole San Gabriel Valley has a greater variety of Chinese places. Definitely more competitive, more cutting-edge ...

As for Mexican, you should have no problems in San Diego. In L.A., there's so many Latin American places to eat, not just Mexican. You can try Cuban, Peruvian, Salvadorean, Brazilian, Argentinian, among others. Were you all planning to pass by LA or stay over for a day or two?

In Santa Barbara, go to: La Super-Rica ; 622 N. Milpas St. (Alphonse St.) ; (805) 963-4940. Drive along the 101 northbound to Santa Barbara, take the Milpas exit & drive straight up to La Super-Rica (on the right side of Milpas). It's a cash-only place with a few tables.

As for lower-priced places, you & your fiance/husband can stop at any In-N-Out Burgers. Planning a quick picnic? Trader Joe's are all over California. There are some in the East Coast, even one in Silver Springs, Maryland, near DC.

If the Madonna Inn is not to your taste (I don't know why), you might want to consider Sycamore Springs near Avila Beach. Outdoor mineral water hot tubs. You'll smell like sulphur afterwards.

Do try to get to the farmers' market in San Luis Obispo on Thursday night. The other discussion thread talks about it.

Gotta go. I'll be back.

Edited to add: I'm back ... Had to take care of an errand.

As for San Francisco, take a walk through Chinatown, if you're really into Chinese things. Sometimes, half the fun is discovering places for yourselves. Several years ago, my mother & I drove up to SF to meet my cousin & one of her friends who teaches Chinese cooking classes. For one afternoon, we would walk to various Chinese delis, buy one char siu bow (BBQ pork bun), divide it into four pieces, taste it, and evaluate. Whatever store had the best based on our taste test, we would buy a whole bunch from that store to take back home. That's what I call research ...

I hope this helps. If you want to see and do LA, please specify a time frame. The LA area is really spread out. I only mentioned Downtown LA & the San Gabriel Valley. There are other major sections of LA.


Edited by rjwong (log)

Russell J. Wong aka "rjwong"

Food and I, we go way back ...

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Congrats and best wishes. We did basically this same trip on our honeymoon 30 summers ago and have done it 5 or 6 times since. We stayed in Pismo Beach and Carmel on the way up on the orginal trip, but we have changed the stops about every time.

Highway 1 for much of the trip in the south is a main drag through town after town, and isn't practical or desirable for your kind of trip. If you are stopping only one night between San Diego and San Francisco, you need to take I-5 up from San Diego, and depending on when you are travelling, get through LA as fast as you can, ending up on the 101 heading out of LA county. There are nice places to make one stop anywhere beginning in Santa Barbara up to Carmel/Monterey, depending on how early you leave and how long you want to drive. You might consider two stops on the way up if you want to see more alond the way. Highway 1 gets interesting north of Santa Maria, but it is a slow road for the most part, so you need to plan your route well.

If you let me know where you are staying in San Diego and a little more about what you are looking for, I'll recommend some restaurants down here.

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When you get to the Carmel/Monterey area, go to the Inn at Spanish Bay. Try to time your visit for sunset. You don't have to eat, but you can sit near the golf course, on the cliffs of the Pacific, around the fire pits, have a few cocktails, and listen to the strolling bagpiper play. It's an unforgettable experience.

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Two good and cheap places to eat between Santa Cruz and SF:

(both mentioned on previous threads)

Duarte's Tavern

(old tavern/restaurant from logging days in Santa Cruz Mtns; beautiful old wooden bar from the late 1800's, my favorites are the green chile and the artichoke soups with their homemade bread; also good homemade pies and seafood). THis is right off of Hwy 1 in Pescadero; a little south of Half Moon Bay. Nice to stop in for a beer even if timing doesn't work out w/lunch--but you can always fit in a bowl of soup!

Tres Amigos (on Hwy 1 in Half Moon Bay, west side of the rd; a little before the junction w/Hwy 92) -- great carnitas burritos, tacos, horchata, etc.

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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Thanks all for the well wishes and wonderful-sounding suggestions! I'll have fun checking those other threads out (thank you mizducky and rjwong). They should keep me busy for a while.

Mizducky- your suggestion for Nepenthe isn't the first, so I think we'll now add that to our "must do" list for Big Sur.

rjwong- I hadn't realized LA was the place for Chinese food- thanks for the heads-up! All your suggestions sound great. Not sure how long we'll be in LA (no more than 2 days- probably only one), and we're certainly open to all types of Latin American places, but I think "Good Mexican" is what I've been missing all my life (according to every transplanted Californian). (My neighborhood has a huge Salvadoran population, but apparently NO good Mexican). :)

Carlsbad- Thanks for the I-5 advice! We'd been wavering on that- maybe now we'll do I-5 partway, then trek over to I-1 near Santa Maria (does that sound OK?)

I believe we're staying at the Mariott Courtyard in San Diego (haven't booked a San Fran room yet, but we've heard good things about the Kimpton Group...).

Thanks EVERYONE- you've been a tremendous help- I'm sure we'll eat well, thanks to you! I'll be sure to report back.


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I would take the I-5 from San Diego to LA and switch to the 101. The 101 is a freeway that travels close to the coast after Ventura and then cuts inland farther north. There is a lot more to see, I don't think cutting over from the I-5 at Santa Maria is going to save much time, and the drive up to where you cut over is really boring. Get a good road map and you will see several places where you can cut over from the 101 to Highway 1 and then come back. Remember Highway 1 is going to be much slower. Don't try to go through LA at rush hour, unless you want to go very slowly. Depending on when you leave and whether you are taking one or two nights going to SF, you should figure out where you want to stay on the way up and have reservations in advance this time of year. Either leave SD very early or wait so you hit LA after the (long) rush hour(s).

In San Diego, are you staying at the Mariott Courtyard in Old Town or the one they call Central on Spectrum Center Blvd.? (The latter is very near my current favorite taco shop- Harvest Taco Shop at the back of the little strip mall on the northwest corner of Clairemont Mesa Blvd. and Ruffin Road. Try it for a pretty authentic and cheap lunch.) You would also be close to Convoy, and its many Asian restaurants, which are the best in the area. Try Jasmine or Emerald for very good and fairly authentic Chinese food. It sounds like I'm a broken record, but the rooftop Ocean Terrace Bistro of George's at the Cove in La Jolla is a great place for lunch on a nice day or an early dinner on a warm night, and the food is very good and not expensive. The main dining room there is one of the best places in the area. It's also in a nice area to spend the day walking down by the water and/or shopping.

In SF, the Kimpton group has some good hotels. We also enjoyed staying at the Orchard Hotel. http://www.theorchardhotel.com/ Do some serious looking for a hotel bargain on various websites. There are a lot of them if you google. There are usually deals somewhere. I would get rid of the car as soon as you get to SF if possible. The parking is going to cost a lot, and you really don't need it. Take parking into consideration in choosing a hotel there if you have to keep the car. There are so many good places in San Francisco to eat, it's a hard choice. There are many good recommendations on egullet. My idea of romantic is Acquerello, and the food and service are wonderful. The Italian wines are exceptional and Giancarlo will make you feel special, especially if you tell him it's you honeymoon when you call to reserve. http://acquerello.com/

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