California Dreamin’: Wine Country and San Francisco

Last month, we headed to the West Coast to get our yearly dose of California. We snagged a super cheap one way to Los Angeles during Southwest’s summer sale, so we planned to fly in to LA to meet one of our besties, and then make the gorgeous trek up the coast to Napa and Sonoma valley, ending with a couple of nights in San Fran. Our plans were a little derailed by the tragic fires their region has recently been suffering from – prayers for everyone affected. Of course, California has no shortage of beauty (and wine), so we quickly found an alternative deciding to head to Paso Robles for two nights before venturing to SF.

First, we made a brief stop in Los Angeles to meet one of our best babes who made the switch from La to LA about two years ago. We checked out her adorable bungalow in Santa Monica, had lunch at Sonoma Wine Garden, the literal best sushi of our lives at Sugar Fish, and finished the night with cocktails at Shorebar.

santa monica travel

Sonoma Wine Garden
Tuscan Kale Salad at Sonoma Wine Garden

The next morning, we were headed about 3 and a half hours north to Paso Robles. Paso Robles is a smaller wine region located in San Luis Opisbo County in central Cali. It’s the perfect midway stop between LA and San Fran.

We absolutely had to make a quick stop in the adorable town of Los Olivos on the way. Located in the Santa Ynez Valley of Santa Barbara County, Los Olivos is the definition of small town charm.

We stopped on the town’s main avenue to visit one of their tasting rooms, Tessa Marie Wines. Everything we tasted was absolutely amazing, and we were of course enthralled to learn that the winemaker, Tessa, is (obvs) a woman and one of the youngest winemaker’s in the region. #Goals

Tessa Marie wine

Los Olivos

Then we stopped by the beautiful Fess Parker winery and vineyard on the Foxen Canyon Wine Trail in Los Olivos. We found out when we got there, that Fess Parker is actually Tessa’s grandfather! What a great family to be in 😉

Fess Parker Los Olivos

We tasted a variety of their wines, but of course our favorite  was a red blend called The Big Easy! The Parker family loves New Orleans, and created the wine following Hurricane Katrina. The art on the label was even done by a Katrina survivor. ❤️

Fess Parker Los Olivos

Fess Parker Los Olivos

After our stop in Los Olivos, we were off to Paso Robles. We headed straight to our Airbnb to get settled before venturing out to begin wine tasting. Ya’ll – the Airbnb, Coyote Tiny House, was the literal most adorable thing we had ever seen. We had the entire cabin to ourselves overlooking gorgeous views of the Paso countryside.

Paso Robles
We love you Coyote tiny house

The rustic vibe of our tiny cottage was perfect to set the mood for our adventure. We never wanted to leave!

Paso Robles

Paso Robles

We didn’t have too much time in Paso so we had to choose carefully which vineyards we would visit. There were a couple of big names we wanted to check off of our list, but we certainly didn’t want to ignore the smaller, family-owned wineries which can often be the most special.

We started with one of the most well-known, Justin Vineyards and Winery. We enjoyed live music and BBQ on their lawn overlooking the vineyard while making our way through the tasting. We loved their bordeaux-style blend, Isosceles.

Justin Winery

Then, we headed just down the road to Halter Ranch, known for its Rhone varietals, to do a tasting.

Halter Ranch

Our final vineyard in Paso had to be our favorite. Not only was the wine delicious, but the unbelievable setting overlooking the vineyard, was what made Daou Vineyards truly stand out. We opted for a bottle to split instead of a tasting so we could sit back, kick up our feet and take in the phenomenal views.


Daou Winery

Paso Robles is often overshadowed by Napa and Sonoma, but Paso is just as much of a gem! If you are looking for a more affordable, down to earth version of Napa that is just as stunning, and of course has amazing wines – Paso is it. We are so glad we got to visit.

Soon, we were on our way to San Francisco. This time, we were on a different mission than wine tasting. It was time to explore one of the best foodie scenes in the nation. Naturally, our first stop was at Mr. Holmes Bakehouse to try their famed cruffins (a croissant and muffin hybrid).

mr holmes bakehouse

Their cruffins are filled with a daily-rotating flavor of sweet cream. We got a taste of the blood orange filling surrounded by pastry that can only be described as, perfect. Someone please get on bringing Mr. Holmes to Nola ASAP!

san francisco mr holmes bakehouse

san francisco mr holmes bakehouse

Before our next eating adventure began, we needed to see the city. It was such a beautiful day, what better way to do so than on a sailboat around the bay?! We headed down to Fisherman’s Wharf where there are lots of boats available for booking, and were soon on a private hour and a half long sail for the reasonable price of $45/person.

We were able to see breathtaking views of the entire city from the bay, and got close up to the infamous former prison, Alcatraz.

alcatraz san francisco

After our sail, we caught the sunset at the Golden Gate Bridge.

golden gate bridge

After a couple of happy hour cocktails at The Tipsy Pig, which has a fun lively outdoor patio area, we were off to a late night dinner at NOPA. For the past decade, the urban restaurant has been specializing in organic wood-fired Californian cuisine, created with local, seasonal ingredients. The open 2-story floor plan and communal tables give way to the restaurant’s reputation as a gathering place. It’s always packed and known by locals as a late night staple. Such a fun environment!

Nopa san francisco

We started with some of their delicious seasonal vegetable dishes like the wood baked butter beans with feta, oregano pesto and breadcrumbs (drool), the fried broccoli with early girl tomatoes and pimento aïoli,  and a warm goat cheese served with pear slices and crostini.

Then, we decided to finish off with all the carbs:  a delicious flatbread and a Housemade Pappardelle with nine hour bolognese, butternut squash, arugula and parmesan 😵.
We were stuffed, but that didn’t stop us from hitting up the Boom Boom Room for post dinner dancing. Us New Orleans ladies, couldn’t help but to end up at this funky live music venue!

As usual California, you’ve been like a dream. ‘Till next time!


Babes & Beignets

Babes & Beignets is the go-to resource for the twenty-something babe livin’ la vida NOLA. For lovers of happy hour, entertaining, brunch, local shopping, the hottest events, the occasional venture outside of the city & more - it’s all here! Sharing our love of New Orleans, and connecting with those who share that love is what we are most passionate about.

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