Santa Ynez and Paso Robles
Hello friends. Going up to Santa Ynez for a few days and then from there to Paso Robles to drive through the rambling green hills and peek at some wineries. Looking to hear about any and eateries/wineries that you think should not be missed. Thoughts on Guadalupe, Santa Maria, Los Alamos etc. Also, any recommendations for sleeping in or around Paso that is not a antiseptic hotel. Thanks. Petra
It is VERY green right now, in both places- and the poppies are everywhere!!
Wednesday is the Farmers Market in Solvang- yum.
Santa Ynez- Red Barn for lunch or dinner. Volare is a new deli, and also in the Rio Market- there is a guy doing "organic mexican"...I hear it is pretty good. Quite a few wineries ply their wares at Santa Ynez Inn now.
Solvang- there are 15 wineries/tastings in town now. Epicurian Picnic is doing pretty good business. I love the Solvang Bakery- great sandwiches there. El Rancho has a huge deli/to go bar- IMO expensive. Panino has a great beer selection- great sandwiches.
Los Olivos- Matteis is a must. The bar has a great menu, as does the restaurant- we prefer the bar- great atmosphere and vibe. JC is the bartender - AWESOME martinis. Los Olivos Grocery- anything you need and then some- I prefer the paninis to their sandwiches.
Wineries in SYV- Beckman/great picnic area. Kalyra has great views and a fun vibe. Cold Heaven in Los Alamos/Viognier and Pinots- in cahoots with ABC Winery(good sign)...Avoid Sanford and try ALMA ROSA, the Sanfords new winery. The old place has been purchased and stripped of its soul and winemaker. Alma Rosa is in Buellton, on Industrial Way.
For a nice drive- check your map for DRUM CANYON...it goes from HWY 246 W of Buellton over the hill in to Los Alamos- it'll take about 15 extra minutes- but will make you feel miles ahead!!
They have a great Farmers Market on Fridays- at 3pm or so. Lots of vendors and food too. The Mission is awesome there! As far as good food goes..well Taco Loco on W Ocean is my all time favorite mexican food. Sushi Teri on E Ocean is very good, I had a calamari marinated salad there, which was outstanding. Toms Burgers on E College, they have A thru Z Burgers. The agriculture on the W end of Ocean is awesome- probably full of stock and delphiniums- the beach is "closed" for the most part, both surf and Ocean Beach- due to the plovers.
I'd be remiss if I let this response go by without mentioning Sissy's Uptown Cafe - on south I street - without a doubt the best wine list in Lompoc and probably one of the best within 50 miles. All the hard to get local stuff is available, both in their wine shop and in the dining room. And it's well priced, too. Great lunches and dinners in a neat atmosphere - true wine country dining.
I highly recommend it.
There's a terrific place in Los Alamos called "American Flatbread." It's only open on the weekends, so get there really early. Just flatbreak pizzas, salads and desserts....also wine & beer.
In Los Olivos, Patrick's Side Street Cafe is always good. And for Italian, in Santa Ynez, Grappolo is excellent.
Lots of great wineries--are you looking for smaller, lesser known places or bigger ones?
In Paso, check out Justin winery--they've got a very small inn (three suites?) and a lovely little restaurant. Nice people, very good wines.
Thanks Elaine for the good tips - we have heard about American Flatbread and perhaps this visit we will stop in. Interested in smaller, lesser known places....any other tips for Paso? Have you stayed at Justin?
What did you have at Grappolo? The last time we were there our waiter recommended the 'ek', we couldn't understand what he was saying. He then started describing a hunting expedition he had taken with his buddies and we realized the 'ek' was elk...a really good 'ek' bolognese.
Haven't had the "ek", but will try it when I go up there later this week! They do lovely thin crusted pizzas, very good pastas. Actually, I've been happy with everything I've had at Grappolo.
Don't know as much about Paso, though I love zins and need to explore that area more. I haven't stayed at Justin, but I've tasted there and belonged to their wine club. It's a lovely setting and the owners and staff are very nice. It's more of an "out of the way" place to stay, certainly not within walking distance to anything but vines!
My personal faves in SYV:
2nd the reco for Brothers at Mattei's in Los Olivos
Ballard Store in Ballard: Haven't been in years but they used to have amazing brunches on weekends.
Au Bon Climat: Winery is not open to the public but you can taste at Santa Ynez Inn Wine Cellar in SY
Foxen: On Foxen Canyon. My favorite Pinots in the world!
Rancho Sisquoc: Off Foxen Canyon
Andrew Murray: I think the Tasting Room is in Los Olivos, but the last time I was there, the winery was open (on Foxen Canyon), and the the grounds are spectacular.
Ballard Store, has been out of business for several years- and had been NU UVA, a off shoot of Restaurant NU in SB. Shuttered.
Thanks for bringing up Ballard- it's the new Ballard Inn, that you need to visit- a VERY excellant choice, had my annivesary dinner there- intimate and wonderful- thoughfull menu and awesome desserts- at the price you'd pay for lesser fare elsewhere. I recommend this HIGHLY.
Andrew Murray is indeed in Los Olivos with a tasting room- the winery itself has been sold- to a greek winemaker and his family. The Murray family have been in the hospitality business for a long time, do not let this fool you into thinking the are over- it is a new direction.
Foxen and further N on Foxen Canyon- Rancho Sisquoc- both worth the visit, if you like rustic buildings, rural roads and great wines in fantastic settings. Chenin Blanc is a personal Foxen favorite!
I like Rombauer Winery in Santa Ynez.
I found Foxen to be really awful wine last time I was there.
I second kalyra, especially the prot and any muscat they have available.