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Jul 18, 2011 04:30 PM

Belated Honeymoon - First Week in October - California Coast from Sonoma to L.A. - Help!

My husband and I are finally getting around to taking our honeymoon (we were married last August) and will be travellling the California Coast from Oct 1 - 9th this fall. We're really into food and wine, but we're not pretentious, so we can do the super upscale and yet fully appreciate the hole-in-the-wall spots that we'd never know from our hotel.

Our itinerary includes Sonoma, Carmel/Monterey, Big Sur and L.A. Sadly, we're skipping Santa Barbara. I have put most of the itinerary together, but need some help on some restaurant recommendations. I'm trying to balance the evenings between foodie and casual so we don't end up having 8 nights of tasting menus.

So far I have the following:

Sonoma - Staying at Farmhouse Inn, Forestville
Dinner first night at Scopa, Barndiva or Willi's Wine Bar
Lunch at Spoonbar
Dinner second night at Farmhouse
*Do we splurge for Cyrus if we're doing tasting menu at Farmhouse?
*Someone else also recommended Kenwood Inn

Monterey/Carmel - Staying at Carmel Valley Ranch
Dinner first night at Pacific's Edge
Dinner second night at The Tap Room at Pebble Beach (my husband will be golfing that day)
*I have heard the restaurant at Carmel Valley Ranch is very good, but it looks like they changed chefs.
*Thoughts on Bernardus Lodge or L'Auberge Carmel?

Big Sur - Staying at Glen Oaks
Dinner first night at Detjeens?
Lunch at Nepenthe
Dinner second night at Ventana Inn?

L.A. - Staying at SLS Beverly Hills
Dinner first night at Katsuya Brentwood (we need some sushi somewhere on this trip!)
Drinks at Seven Grand
Dinner second night at The Bazaar by Jose Andres

I would be open to any alternate recommendations or swaying from my current selections. I have been reading review after review and am starting to lose my way.

Thanks in advance, you guys...


Farmhouse Inn
7871 River Rd, Forestville, CA 95436

Willi's Wine Bar
4404 Old Redwood Hwy, Santa Rosa, CA 95403

231 Center St, Healdsburg, CA 95448

109 Plaza St, Healdsburg, CA 95448

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  1. Tho I'm not able to respond to your restaurant choices, you will have to repost the Monterey/Carmel/Big Sur section on the California Board. And then, repost the Los Angeles section on that board. You'll get the right responses on those boards.

    And, enjoy your trip!

    1 Reply
    1. re: rednails

      Okay, thanks for the suggestion. I'll try to figure it out!

    2. in Healdsburg, we've gone back to Scopa several times, but Willi's and Barn Diva only rated one visit. we weren't impressed by the Farmhouse, and are probably in a small minority with that sentiment. enjoyed two splurges at Cyrus very much ; the second time was a spontaneous late night drop in for a night cap or espresso, found they had a good selection of champagnes by the glass, and ended up sharing some oysters and a great plate of pasta. if you're near Geyserville for winery visits, Diavola is very good in the Cal-Ital vein like Scopa and excellent for lunch. Mateo Granados should have his place open by October in Healdsburg, and no one surpasses him with the excellent locally grown foods. the produce will be spectacular in early Oct.

      the Big Sur Bakery has one of the best brunches on the coast, and we've also enjoyed dinner there. it does not have the spectacular views that other places in the area enjoy, if that is a consideration. they use many seasonal, local ingredients and it comes through in their food.

      had a great time at the Bazaar back when one of the Voltaggio brothers was running the kitchen.

      you could not pick a better time of year for your trip and you'll probably have more than a few memorable experiences along the way. cheers

      Mateo Granados
      399 Business Park Dr, Windsor, CA

      21021 Geyserville Ave, Geyserville, CA 95441

      109 Plaza St, Healdsburg, CA 95448

      2 Replies
      1. re: moto

        I appreciate the thoughts on Willi's and Barn Diva. I had a feeling that they might be a disappointment based on the menus/websites alone. What didn't you like about Farmhouse? We're staying there, so I thought it would be easy our second night after a long day of wine tasting/touring.

        Good idea on Big Sur Bakery. Thank you!!

        1. re: jessicaggh

          nothing to dislike about Farmhouse. we felt that we could have been eating in almost any fairly expensive place with a very competent, culinary academy trained chef. there's a kind of place intended to reassure fairly affluent folks and allow them to stay in their middle of the road comfort zone. one eats very well in these places, but they rarely have personality or quirkiness or originality. for travelers, all those qualities can be good things indeed , as one can spend $50-60 per person for mediocre disappointment, which won't be the case at Farmhouse at all. since we live in this area we don't mind risking disappointment (hope to avoid it of course in that price range) trying to find a place we can feel more a connection with.

          living in this area also can make one susceptible to getting spoiled by the great food and weather, and assisting visitors (allowing that possibility of interaction is a reason we like eating at the bar or chef's counter) reminds us that we should take nothing for granted. you're welcome. enjoy your plans.

      2. JC, I can't recommend the Kenwood Inn and Spa highly enough. We stayed there a year ago or so and had the most incredibly romantic and relaxing time. The restaurant is guests-only, but you can sample their great food at HKG Tasting Room in Glen Ellen nearby. Pastries to die for that can be taken to go for a snack on the road. Enjoy!