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California's Ultimate Foodie Road Trip

California's Ultimate Foodie Road Trip
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Take a flavor-packed tour targeting some of the state’s most unforgettable wine-and-dine destinations.

Trip length: 8 days

Total distance: 596mi/960km

MENLO PARK. Visit Sunset Magazine’s headquarters to get a taste of the best in Western living. Stroll the gardens, representing climate zones stretching along North America’s Pacific coast. Time your visit for Sunset’s ultimate party, Sunset Celebration Weekend (first weekend in June), with chef demos, wine seminars, and hands-on fun. INFO Sunset Magazine ; 650/321-3600

OAKLAND (32mi/252km; 38min). Lunch on fresh oysters and pan-roasted salmon at Chef Michael Baker’s Lake Chalet Seafood Bar &Grill . Walk along the waterfront at Jack London Square, firing up your appetite for your next delicious meal: made-to-order tortillas and farm-to-table flavors from the coastal Mexican state of Nayarit, served at Nido . After dinner, check into the Waterfront Hotel , home to some of the best views in Oakland. INFO Visit Oakland ; 510/839-9000

OAKLAND. A lazy-morning wake-up call of 10 a.m. will allow you time to taste your way through the neighborhood on the Savor Oakland food tour, with a chance to sample Oakland-style soul food, Pan American cuisine, and award-winning wines. INFO ; 510/883-3287

CARMEL VALLEY (121mi/195km; 2hrs4min). Arrive at Chef Tim Wood’s Lodge Restaurant at Carmel Valley Ranch just in time for a swim or yoga class, followed by dinner, focusing on locally sourced, sustainable ingredients from the area’s farms, ranches, and fishermen. INFO Carmel Valley Ranch ; 831/626-2599

CARMEL-BY-THE-SEA (8mi/13km; 14min). Start with Italian coffee and pastries at Il Fornaio in the elegant Pine Inn . Work it off with a walk on Carmel’s expansive, followed by a Carmel Food Tasting Tour , with local finds including wood-fired pizza and artisan chocolate. INFO Monterey County Convention and Visitors Bureau ; 831/657-6401

PASO ROBLES (118mi/190km; 1hr56min). Try the abalone tostada with avocado and pork belly carnitas at Artisan . Now chill out in natural hot springs at Paso Robles Inn , built in 1891, where mineral hot springs are literally on tap in some of the suites. INFO Visit San Luis Obispo County ; 805/541-8000

SAN SIMEON (42mi/68km; 57min). Take a food-centric private tour of Hearst Castle : it includes a visit to the kitchen and wine cellar that once served Winston Churchill, Calvin Coolidge, and Hollywood legends. INFO Hearst San Simeon State Historical Monument ; 805/927-2020

PISMO BEACH (59mi/95km; 1hr12min). Get the latest scoop on where to stay in Pismo Beach at the California Welcome Center. The next morning, explore the beach on horseback, before heading to Chef Gregg Wangard’s stellar Marisol Restaurant for Pismo clam chowder and pan-seared halibut. INFO Visit San Luis Obispo County ; 805/541-8000

SANTA BARBARA (85mi/137km; 1hr28min). Enjoy an afternoon of food tasting and photo tips on the waterfront with Eat This, Shoot That . Then head over to legendary Olio e Limone , to order classic dishes from Chef Alberto Morello, like spaghetti alla bottarga (dried salted tuna or mullet roe), accompanied by one of the restaurant’s 230 types of wine. End the day with a night cap on the outdoor terrace at Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore San Barbara (splurge and spend the night too). INFO Santa Barbara Conference & Visitors Bureau and Film Commission ; 805/966-9222

OXNARD (34mi/55km; 42min). Cruise the Channel Islands national parklands with Island Packers , then enjoy a cachaça cocktail and rich shrimp stew at Moqueca Brazilian Cuisine , on the water in Channel Islands Harbor. INFO')">Oxnard Convention & Visitors Bureau ; 805/385-7545

PASADENA (71mi/115km; 1hr16min). Share artisan cheese and salumi or carefully crafted entrees at Vertical Wine Bistro . Then check into the Westin Pasadena Hotel , with a dip in the rooftop pool or afternoon shopping in Old Town before heading to Slater’s 50/50 for perfect burgers. INFO Pasadena Chamber of Commerce ; 626/795-3355

LOS ANGELES (12mi/19km; 17min). Go ultra-urban and catch a blockbuster show at L.A. LIVE then slip into the chic" onclick="'Partner_Referral','')">JW Marriot next door for a drink at the rooftop bar. Also downtown, try Ricardo Zarate’s distinctive take on Peruvian comfort food at Mo-Chica . INFO Los Angeles Tourism and Convention Board ; 323/467-6412

SANTA MONICA (14mi/23km; 18min). Spend the day playing on this town’s spectacular beach and classic pier. Take in the sunset on your last day with a window seat at Ocean and Vine Restaurant in Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel, with luscious comfort food including lobster mac ‘n’ cheese. INFO Ocean and Vine Restaurant ; 310/576-3180

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