Kitchenability Blog


Dining & Drinking in Napa Valley, SF, Big Sur & San Luis Obispo

Napa Valley vineyard | @kitchenability

So, I am back from my trip to California! Man, do I love the West Coast! The food, the wine, the wine, the food…and the weather!! Did I mention the wine?

I know this post may be a little late. My apologies if you all have been following my Instagram feed. I have decided to go back to school and, well, I am back in class, and managing a full time job and a blog — fun stuff!!

So, here it goes…

I recently visited San Francisco, San Luis Obispo and Napa Valley. All were absolutely spectacular and overwhelmingly amazing.

I was able to experience food like a queen in San Francisco at Commonwealth, a progressive American restaurant located in the Mission District.

Chef Nisa Burns Cochran at Commonwealth SF | @kitchenability

We tried their 6-course wine pairing menu. It is not something I get to do every day, so it was so worth checking it out! The food was out of this world.

Commonwealth SF tasting menu | @kitchenability

The lamb dish was my favorite. The lamb was cooked perfectly and melted in your mouth, and it was served with a sensational red wine that had wonderful, earthy notes. Fabulous!

Another place that really stuck out to me was a cute little bubble tea place that my husband and I visited while out and about one day. It was called Boba Guys. I personally was never a huge fan of bubble tea because it was always too sweet. I decided to be open minded and check this cool little place out and man did my perspective change!! I absolutely loved it — the texture of the tapioca balls and the fact that they could adjust the sweetness for you. I am officially in love with their traditional milk tea with tapioca balls…. Now, when can they open one in Virginia Beach?!

There was a lot of drinking, laughing, and exploring that happened while visiting my aunt and uncle in San Francisco. We visited St. George Spirits, an artisan distillery that opened in 1982. It’s a pretty cool place if you are into gin, vodka and absinthe. I will say I was educated quite well on absinthe and of course my husband had to pick up a bottle to take home!

St. George Spirits absinthe | @kitchenability

St. George Spirits is one of the few domestic distilleries that makes absinthe since the ban was lifted in 2007.

Next, we ventured off down the Pacific Coast Highway toward San Luis Obispo, and on our travels we stopped at Big Sur Bakery and Nepenthe for some yummy eats!

Kitchenability at Big Sur Bakery | @kitchenabilityThe views were spectacular and it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I truly can say the drive down the Pacific Coast Highway offered some of the best views I have ever seen.

PCH views in Big Sur, CA | @kitchenability

San Luis Obispo was a fun little town. I enjoyed meeting Billy’s family that I hadn’t met before, and also eating at a wonderful little place called Novo.

Novo Restaurant SLO | @kitchenability

The scenery and the food were both outstanding. I loved the Asian fusion flair. And, really, the small town, fun feel that San Luis gave off.

Our last stop was Napa Valley. We always save the best for last. It was a short little stay in Napa before heading back home, but I can tell you it was truly amazing. We made every bit of our two days there count.

Napa Valley, CA | @kitchenability

When we arrived, we dropped our bags and headed out to explore! The wonderful place we stayed at — the River Terrace Inn — provided complimentary bikes you could use to ride around, and believe me we did just that!

We ventured to the market, and stopped off at Napa Valley Distillery to do a tasting. Billy even joined the distillery club!

Napa Valley Distillery | @kitchenabilityThen, we grabbed a bite to eat at Gott’s Roadside for lunch. Man, what a fun little place! Their heirloom salad was sensational and so yummy.

Gott's Roadside | @kitchenability

We also ate at the Kitchen Door, which was recommend by Bon Appétit magazine, and I can without a doubt see why! The service was awesome, the food was so good, and the price point was wonderful too!!! The wood fire-grilled wings were so juicy and flavorful and the chipotle mayo — just, wow!!!

We, of course, did a fabulous wine tour by Platypus Tours. I will tell you, our tour guide Mike was absolutely phenomenal. His knowledge of the Napa Valley was excellent.

The lunch was out of this world, too. The quinoa salad was to die for. I helped myself to two servings of that!

I was in awe by the whole day, and so impressed by the wineries chosen. My favorite was one on the tour that was tacked on at the end — The Hess Collection.

Napa Valley wine tour | @kitchenability

We got to taste wine in their 1903 tasting room — talk about a true treat! Plus, Larry at The Hess Collection was so wonderful. He showed us around and had such a big personality. He showed us the vineyards, and talked about the wine so in depth. I couldn’t get over it and truly wanted to take a case home with me… Unfortunately, I could only get one. I chose wisely and decided on the Orange Muscat!

Napa Valley wines | @kitchenability

We dined at Oenotri on our last night in Napa and shared their delicious wood fire pizzas, arugula salad and pesto. I sipped on wine and realized it was the last night in paradise.

Truly a great trip! Wouldn’t trade it for anything. So, when can I move to Napa and make wine?!?!


Photos: Nisa Burns Cochran

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