March Travels Part Two

…Continued from Part One

We spent the night after the wedding back in Carpinteria as did Holly’s brother. That Sunday morning, we returned to Jack’s Bistro for breakfast again. This time, I had the Bagels Benedict, and Holly had the Green Chili Breakfast Burrito. Holly’s brother joined us, and then we left Carpinteria for the next part of our adventure.

Bagels Benedict

Green Chili Breakfast Burrito

We drove up to Buellton, where we had plans to stay that night at Pea Soup Andersen’s. It was too early to check-in, so Holly’s brother drove us out to a couple of wineries. We stopped first at Cambria Estate Vineyard & Winery which was pleasantly empty, and we had the full attention of the host who took the time to talk us through a tasting. After the tasting, we walked around to enjoy the lovely day and take some pictures.

Cambria Estate Vineyard and Winery

Cambria Estate Vineyard and Winery

Cambria Estate Vineyard and Winery

We then headed to Zaca Mesa Winery & Vineyards, which was busier, but we will still able to enjoy a tasting there. We likewise walked the grounds to take some pictures.

Zaca Mesa Winery and Vineyards

Zaca Mesa Winery and Vineyards

Zaca Mesa Winery and Vineyards

Despite having spent a fair amount of time in California while I lived in Las Vegas, this was actually the first time I went to any California wineries other than a quick lunch once when I was taking a long car trip from Vegas to Oregon. I have been to some wineries in Pennsylvania and New Jersey but, as nice as those were, they do not compare to the big, beautiful spaces of California.

After the wineries, we drove back toward Buellton and made a quick detour to Solvang, a small Danish village. Holly has been there several times before, but I had been only once. It’s a fun and unique place filled with authentic Danish bakeries and restaurants and a variety of shops, including some solely dedicated to Christmas year-round. We weren’t particularly hungry since we had a big breakfast and were saving our energy for a special dinner, but we could not resist sharing an order of Aebleskiver, a tasty treat that’s something like a combination of a pancake and donut.

Solvang

Solvang

Solvang

Aebleskivers in Solvang

We were all a bit tired from our long couple of days, so we went back to check in to our hotel. We rested for an hour or so before taking the walk from Pea Soup Andersen’s to The Hitching Post II. If you have seen Sideways, then you’re familiar with the walk. We cut through parking lots rather than walking on the side of the street as did the characters from the movie.

The Hitching Post II

The Hitching Post II features prominently in the film; however, it wasn’t the novelty of having seen it in a movie that brought us there. It was the Santa Maria Style BBQ we were interested in wherein meats are grilled over oak which imparts so much smokey flavor that it is served without any sauce.

We had quite a feast! The Hitching Post also makes its own wine, so the three of us shared a bottle of rose to start with and then a bottle of Pinot Noir with our main courses. Unfortunately, we didn’t have the best light for photos so I don’t think our pictures quite do the meal justice, but you’ll get the idea.

We started out with a couple of appetizers: Quail Hot Legs and Stuffed Pasilla Pepper. Our meals also included salad and soup, so this was serious business.

Quail Hot Legs

Stuffed Pasilla Pepper

Holly’s brother had the pork chop, Holly had the duck breast, and I had the natural pork baby back ribs. We all shared a bit of our orders, so we all got to try everything. It was my first time trying Santa Maria Style BBQ, and I loved each dish.

Duck Breast

Natural Pork Baby Back Ribs

We finished off with a round of Smokey Negronis and may or may not have had an additional drink at the bar.

Smokey Negronis (Mezcal, Campari, chocolate bitters, sweet vermouth, Luxardo syrup)

The trip to The Hitching Post II was an exceptional way to finish what was a fantastic California trip. Or so we thought. Little did we know, it was not yet over!

You can see more pictures from our trip in Holly’s Flickr album and in mine.



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