WILL WANDER FOR FOOD: NORCAL

napa pano
Beautiful view from Judd’s Hill Winery in Napa, CA

This is the first blog post for my new travel section I’ve added to the blog called Will Wander for Food. Follow along on my journeys as I eat my way through everywhere I visit!

Zack and I went on our second trip to California in early March. On our previous visit, we visited Napa, Sacramento, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego.  This time, we stuck to Northern California; we flew into San Francisco, went to Napa, then to Sacramento, and back to San Francisco.

We love to wander, so I decided to create a section of the blog for documenting our travels, as they very much revolve around food and drink! I tried to attach links to all of the restaurants and bars that I name dropped, so feel free to check those out as well! I am a huge Trip Advisor user, so most of these places came from Trip Advisor research, so know that they all have excellent reviews there, too!

Day 1: San Francisco

We arrived on a Wednesday, and had big plans for San Francisco –  pretty much none of it happened on day one. Except we ate and drank beers.  And begun a conversation that followed us through our whole vacation which was “we should open a franchise location of this place in Atlanta.” That first came up at the place we had brunch on Thursday morning, which was INCREDIBLE! The place was called Honey Honey Café and Crepery. I got the daily special, it was a spicy Southwestern potato and egg scramble with jalepenos. Zack got a classic breakfast two eggs with bacon and pancakes type deal. Both were so so so yummy. We spent the rest of the day exploring, went to 21st Amendment brewery, and ended up at a pizza place called Slice House (amazing name) which was also really really great pizza by the slice.

Day 2: Napa

Let me start by saying that we are not super knowledgeable or avid wine drinkers, but this is our second time visiting Napa, and it’s a really fun trip that I would definitely recommend. Both times we have spent one day and night there, and that’s enough time for us, but I’m sure for big wine drinkers it’s a ton of fun to go for several days. But for us, we want to go, have some wine at a low key winery with a nice view, stay at a charming bed and breakfast, eat some good food, and that’s pretty much it. And that is exactly what we did. I would highly recommend visiting the winery that we selected this trip, which was Judd’s Hill Winery and Microcrush.  They were very friendly and accommodating, our host Bob was informative and completely receptive to the fact that we weren’t wine experts. We learned a few new things, sipped some very delicious wines, and brought home (maybe more than) a few bottles. I would love to return to this winery next time we go, and definitely recommend it to any who travel there!

We had dinner at a really great Italian restaurant in downtown called Ristorante Allegria.  The lighting was terrible in there, so please excuse these awful food photos! I had a wild mushroom ravioli with arugula and tomatoes, and Zack had the cappelini pomodoro with grilled chicken. The service was great, the food was amazing, and it was overall a very pleasant experience. As I love Italians and their food, I would definitely return to this place!

The B&B we stayed at was called Arbor Guest House – I wish we could’ve stayed more than one night, for sure. They had absolutely beautiful grounds with corn hole, bocce ball, and other yard games in the back yard but we didn’t have much free time to take advantage of them. That evening they had a little wine and cheese appetizer type thing around 5pm which was a nice little snack before dinner. Our room was wonderful and comfortable, as was the entire house. It was walking distance to downtown, which was really convenient. Our breakfast was definitely tasty, but if we’re being completely honest, was a bit underwhelming.  Part of the joy (in my opinion, at least) of staying at a B&B is that they serve some grand breakfast and they are just charming beyond all belief and it’s like I’m staying at my grandma’s house or something. My breakfast was definitely good and it was filling, but it wasn’t… grand. They served breakfast burritos, and kindly made a vegetarian version for me at my request. The burritos were served with salsa and guacamole, as well as with fruit. Like I said, it was good, but it was just lacking a certain star quality that I have come to expect from a B&B’s breakfast. I still consider it to be a wonderful place to stay and give it mostly high praise, I would say a B overall, but more like a C for breakfast.

Days 3 and 4: Sacramento

farm to fork

If you have ever met my husband for more than say, five minutes, then you know he’s a huge basketball fan, and an even bigger Sacramento Kings fan. So both times we’ve been to California we’ve definitely scheduled our trips to make sure we make it to a Kings game.  This time we were lucky to catch two! But in between games, we did some serious eating. Like serious eating.

The afternoon that we arrived there, we thought we would get some Mexican food before the game so we walked to a place downtown (Chando’s Tacos) that was near our hotel. Turns out, not only do Californians not serve queso dip at their Mexican restaurants…they don’t even know what it is!!! What kind of existence are they leading?!? We tried to order queso and a very long period of confusion followed where our server was trying to figure out why we wanted an order of cheese the moment we sat down, and we tried to explain, and she was totally clueless, and so we settled for chips and salsa. I will be honest, I don’t entirely remember what the dish I ordered was called. But it had black beans, cheese, lettuce, salsa, sour cream. Zack had the same thing but it had chicken instead of beans.

There wasn’t much of anything remarkable to report about the food at the Golden 1 Center, but that arena was incredibly technologically advanced and just super cool – we had the best time watching the Kings play! And… I got to meet Sign Lady! I guess you wouldn’t know her if you aren’t a Kings fan, but she’s famous around those parts! We also got to meet Bobby Jackson, a former Kings player, and he was super cool about posing for a picture with us, too.

sign lady

The next morning, we ventured out for brunch at a place called Iron Horse Tavern. You guys. It was something else. I will be completely honest, this may have been the first time in my life that I legitimately ate myself sick. I thought I may die after this incredible brunch and bottomless mimosas, I had to take a nap. For like two hours. It was serious. But that brunch was incredible, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t say that it was worth it!

Our server told us that we HAD to try the biscuits, so… say no more. We ordered biscuits.  They were buttery and soft on the inside but crisp on the outside, just like I like ’em! And they had all these homemade jams and butter to try, too! Zack was torn because he really wanted a Belgian waffle.  Our server (who in retrospect was incredible at upselling us –  well done, server lady!) recommended that he get a side of Belgian waffles because they make the mini kind. Done. Those were also incredible. Then we both ordered the two-egg breakfast type deal that came with eggs, potatoes ,and toast. I’m a potato girl, no debate there. And those were some of the best, if not THE best, breakfast potatoes I’ve ever had.

After I recovered from my nap, we decided to go out to this place called Coin Op that we had heard about from our hotel’s concierge and have some fun before the Kings game.  This place was SO MUCH FUN! It was way better than a certain video game bar that we have in Atlanta.  They had so many games, they were all working, and they actually had pretty good food too! We got an order of their pretzels with a beer cheese dip (the closest thing we could find to the mythical queso) and a slice of pizza. The pizza was ok – but those pretzels were to die for! And, of course I beat Zack at the arcade basketball game 🙂 pretzels

The next morning, my stomach was officially mad at me and tired of being on vacation (the dreaded vacation belly!), so I had to take a short-lived break from eating rich, delicious, garbage. I had a kale salad for breakfast at a place called Firestone Public House nearby the hotel as we were getting ready to head back to San Francisco. My stomach thanked me while my eyes were angry at me and at how delicious Zack’s waffles looked. But it was a much needed little break from vacation food. I am just realizing as I’m writing this that he had waffles twice in two days. #vacation

Day 5: San Francisco

While we were walking around San Francisco, we happened upon a grilled cheese restaurant – The American Grilled Cheese Kitchen – and had to eat there, because we are adults who very regularly eat grilled cheese and do not have any shame in it. This place was a small restaurant with a walk-up counter where you ordered your sandwich and then a small bar to sit at to eat, as well as a patio out front. They had a lot of sandwiches to choose from, but I went with the original three-cheese grilled cheese, and Zack got the macaroni and cheese grilled cheese. Both were really tasty, but I must say that I think I made the correct decision in getting the classic.

One of my #1 to-do’s in San Francisco was that I wanted to go to the Ghirardelli store in Fisherman’s Wharf. We didn’t make it over to Fisherman’s Wharf due to time constraints, but we did go to another Ghirardelli store closer by to where we were staying. It was everything that we hoped it would be. Luckily we made the smart decision to share a dessert, and we got this amazingly delicious salted caramel brownie sundae…it was heaven! You must go to Ghirardelli if you are in San Francisco. It’s not the touristy thing to do. It’s the right thing to do. You will thank me!

sundae

Last time we came to San Francisco, a friend of Zack’s had recommended we try a pizza place that he raved about. We loved it, so we came back on this trip, too! If you know anything about the two of us… you know we love us some pizza. Every single city we visit, we try to find their best pizza place. I would go as far as to say that we never go on vacation without eating pizza. At least once. And apparently three times on this trip. But this one is the best one of the trip, and probably top three best pizzas of all time. That is high praise, people. I eat A LOT of pizza. But anyways, this place is called Tony’s Pizza Napoletana. Take yourself here. No matter what. You must go. Do not be scared away by the long wait. It will take at least an hour to get a table. But I am telling you…. it is worth it!!

tony's pizza

As you can see, our travels are very food oriented! I will continue to update you all on further travels as they come along, and there will be many!

 

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