My driver license is about to expire. So we want to utilize the borrowed time well, explore US west coast counties at summer time. We have 5 days to spend, including July 4th which is a national holiday. We don’t expect to plan any specific wonder land for children, but focus on celebrating free time for those adults in the family. You know parenting is hard, so we want to enjoy another family trip but we will lean on my wife’s and my feeling this time. We spend about 1 hour talking about where we should visit, and didn’t get a conclusion. And I think we should just follow the compass and go south or north. We visited south California twice last year, so the choice is simply go north.
We live in San Jose, California. Going north, along the coast, we can visit the wine country and Oregon. We don’t want to hit the Washington state, because it’s too north for us. And we visited Olympic NP + Seattle, so this time we will visit cities in between our home and that.
We have a mini-van, so there’s enough room for lots of supplies. We even put a children mattress into the back of van. So if they want to take a nap, we can.
The first “planned” stop is Petaluma, California – Wikipedia, but the actual first stop is somewhere in Fremont , CA. Because my wife want to visit bathroom. Then I found the clock is about noon. You know, with kids you never leave home early. You have more than enough ambition every time, but the reality is you never act as planned. Because it’s about noon, so the priority is to find a place for lunch. I ditch the rather annoying Yelp and using Foursquare for recommendation this time . And I found Cheese board in Berkeley, a city with good brewer is always top on my list. Berkeley have Fieldwork is my new favorite CA brewer.
We saw Berkeley flea market near Berkeley downtown, and planned to visit after lunch.
Cheese board is not at heart of downtown Berkeley, so it’s easy to find parking lot. But unfortunately I didn’t check the “open now” filter on Foursquare, and Cheese board is closed “until next Tuesday” :=)
Then we found Gregoire Restaurant is not far from the place we park. This is a small sandwich shop and highly rated. It’s pretty small shop with quality materials used in sandwich wraps. The wooden table is simple, greasy, but work. The climate is quite cool, but super warm under sunshine. The contrast of sunshine’s heat and super cool breeze is funny. We ordered:
- Fried buttermilk chicken filet with spicy cole slaw on French roll (H) -> $11
- Tombo tuna melt with Havarti cheese & caramelized onions on granary bread (H) -> $14
- Roasted eggplant with cucumber & tomato salad, mint vinaigrette in grilled lavash (Ve) -> $9
And Hannah grabbed a organic peach juice at about $3. Juice contains a lot of sugar, so we normally don’t order that for kids. But for a road trip, why not. But $3 for a juice is quite funny, because it both bad for your body and wallet 🙂
The sandwich is great. Chicken sandwich is hearty, crispy, citrusy and sweet, that’s lovely for kids. Younger toddler love tuna melt, Flora love it too, but she wasted quite a lot of them. A crispy bread is too chewy for kids maybe. I love the eggplant vegetarian sandwich. There’s quite a lot of vegetable oil used in this sandwich, which make it delicious. But I start to doubt about vegetarian comfort food idea, are all oil equally bad/good for our health?
Hannah spent a week in cooking summer camp. And now she is really into cooking. She crawled to the window, and checked out how the chef preparing sandwiches. That’s a priority game, in real life.
A meal of 3 sandwich is $40+ (Sorry that I paid a rather mean tip about 13%, because this place is between dine-in and to-go, it’s seats provided but not other service) make Berkeley feels expensive. I’m not complaining, just thinking about everyone who didn’t make a high-tech industry standard salary here.
To comply with parking rule. We visited Safeway and bought some kids milk, along with cake pop (chocolate cake which looks like lolipop) and some India Alphanso Mango smoothy. Alphanso Mango is the key ingredient of Mango Lassi, which is one of the reason I lure by Indian restaurant.
We hit the road again. And this time we target Santa Rosa. This is the heart of California brewing, Russian River Brewing Company. Before we arrive the brewer, we found a real gem Treehorn Books. It’s a used book store with deep love of books. Hannah enjoys her time in the book store. And both my wife and I are super exciting, and immediately decide this place worth a second visit soon. We bought $137 worth of books here, and we just can’t spend enough.
When we arrive at RRBC, we found super long queue. I saw this before, that’s normally a queue for special released beers. But this time it’s not. I guess they just got more spotlight than before after waves of craft beer fan out. Those long queues are for dine-in and bottle beers. The bar is super crowded too. So it means no RRBC for me tonight.
Then I decide to head Bear Republic for dinner. So my restless heart can settle with good beers.
Before we see BRBC, we found another amazing food venue of Healdsburg , CA, it’s called SHED. The mixture of gift shop, fruit stand, curated meets and fine restaurant + bar is something I never see before. Or I should say I see grocery store Whoel Foods like that, people who love their life and food gathering there to show off their wealth (no offensive). But the SHED is more “Whole Foods” than “Whole Foods”. It feels like real life “Offscreen magazine”, “Cereal”, “Kinfolk (old issues)”. I didn’t take too much photos, because it feels dummy to take too much photo here. That’s actually not the real reason, my wife love this place and she start to roaming and then I need to take care of 2 curious monkeys in a fancy store full of fragile goodies.
SHED: Apricot $8/lb, Peach $2/each.
The SHED is so awesome. And in contrast Bear’s republic brewing company is a bit disappointing. The beer is good, as good as their bottled beers. Their barrel aged beers are quite classic, not disappointing at all. But what make me feels meh is their experimental spirit, not as keen as RRBC which is the king brewer of this area. Those classical west coast brewer have deep root of UK pub style ales, strong malty backbone with good use of citrusy/pine hops to show off the good agriculture in this wine county. Some wild ale also shows their believe in Brussels’s wild ale tradition, and the wild yeast here are strong indicator of a wine county (strong wine yeast aroma). The food here is decent amount, OK quality. But the menu doesn’t feels like a gastropub who cares about their quality and connection with local farmers. Maybe they are, but I’was blunt.
Have a walk in Healdsburg, this city is lovely. Small and full of quality, people must love their live here.
We choose a last stop at Clear Lake, California. The road is really winded, it’s a food throwing out drive. You will get carsick after a good amount of food. It’s dark when we arrive, so I’m not sure how the lake looks like. But we can see the dark space near where we live. It’s a cheap hotel, but this area doesn’t have too much hotels competing. So having a place to stay is good, after a long day with monkeys. Tomorrow will be another day.