On December 30th, James and I took to the road for a quick visit to Hearst Castle waaaay up the Californian coast from LA.

The weather was comfortable in the high 60s, we filled the car with petrol and off we went.

This more a photo diary than a full on blog.

First stop was Santa Barbara, which is just stunning – clearly very wealthy – with easy parking and lots of nice restaurants. On our way to State & Fig, recommended by Yelp, we passed a gorgeous pizza place called Mizza and decided to stop there.

First up was an arugula (rocket) and fingerling potato salad, which was just stunning.

That pizza was amazing, featuring whole pieces of roast garlic mixed into the cheese.

The second pizza was meatball with caramelised onion. I’m not a huge onion fan so this was less interesting.

Janes very kindly drove alllll day!

Next stop was Solvang, an entirely Danish town (ish), sort of like a permanent Christmas market and very charming.

It was cold by now – sweaters needed in the early evening.

This olive oil shop had surprising flavours, like butter olive oil. I preferred the balsamic options, particularly the raspberry.

I’m not sure whether windmills are strictly Danish rather than Dutch but there ya go!

A little statue of Hans Christian Anderson, a museum was on offer for those interested.

Another 90 minutes drive was San Luis Obispo (SLO), James taking the wheel as dusk turned to dark and the Christmas tree felt appropriate to the cool evening.

The room was comfortable as James quickly discovered – La Cuesta Inn.

We had just a few moments rest before heading out to Sidecar, where James was excited to order Brussels Sprouts.

Surprisingly they were excellent, dressed with a thick balsamic glaze and a garlic aioli cream that James said he could eat with just about anything!

My cocktail cane with a burning piece of cinnamon – a nice idea, but what were you supposed to do with it?

On this store front, should I text the owners of this lingerie store to explain what this means?

Have a Happy New Year!

Patrick

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