California Questionnaire: The Bryan Brothers VC_Questionnaire_BryanBrothers_Supplied_BryanM_ByranB_2177_1280x640x
Courtesy of ATP

California Questionnaire: The Bryan Brothers

California Questionnaire: The Bryan Brothers
The record-smashing tennis partners (and twins) share their favourite foods, views, and tunes

As the most dominant doubles team of all time, pro tennis players Bob and Mike Bryan have wowed fans worldwide. But the crowd-pleasing identical twins, known for their signature high-flying chest bump after each victory, echo that there’s no place like home—especially when that home is California’s Central Coast. Though they now live elsewhere, the pair often returns to Camarillo, in Ventura County, roughly halfway between L.A. and Santa Barbara. We sat down with the high-flying pair at the home of the BNP Paribas Open, Indian Wells Tennis Garden near Palm Springs, and asked them to serve up their views on everything from how they’d spend a perfect day in their home state to their favourite local place for soft tacos.

Where do you live?

Mike: We grew up in Camarillo, and I have a second home there, in Santa Rosa Valley. We live on a little five-acre horse farm; my wife’s a big horseback rider so we’ve got some land out there in the same development as Gary Sinise. He’s my neighbour.

Bob: I’m out of state, but I’m hoping to come to get back to California when my kids are older. Maybe when my daughter goes to Stanford, my alma mater, I’ll move out there.

Why there?

Mike: [My Santa Rosa Valley home is] close to my parents, close to where our roots are. We love the area—we’ve travelled the world and there’s no place like home. It's just beautiful: the mountains, the ocean five miles away. That’s gonna be the place we’ll stay once we’re done playing. We’ll probably die in that house.

Bob: I like the variety and diversity of California—mountains, oceans, deserts—there’s not really any place like it that has it all.

Who or what is your greatest California love?

Mike: It’s tough to beat the Ventura County and Santa Monica beaches. We grew up bodysurfing there. And we love the mountains too—up behind Ojai in the Santa Monica Mountains—my mom and wife go horseback riding there all the time. We love the Channel Islands too—on a clear day and you see them on the horizon. It's a great view.

Bob: The fact that you can escape into nature on a trail and see what the Native Americans saw hundreds of years ago—it’s cool.

What is the biggest misperception about California?

Mike: That it’s all about showbiz and Hollywood. You get a whole range of people here—even cowboy types. It’s so diverse.

Bob: Yeah, everyone sees the Hollywood sign and that’s what they attach to California—but that’s just a very small part of this place.

What is the stereotype that most holds true?

Mike: The language. “Dude”—it’s what we grew up saying. When people hear us talk they know we’re from California.

Bob: Yeah: “Chill out, dude.”

What is your favourite Golden State moment?

Mike: The sunsets on the beach. We always go to the huge sand hill on the way to Malibu. I go up that and watch the sunset and the waves crashing. Mornings are great too—the crystal-clear air, the blue sky, the crispness. You can wake up on Christmas and go outside to a 75º day.

Bob: The cool shade. The air’s a little thicker on the east coast. I like the freshness in California—just throw on a light sweater at night and a t-shirt during the day.

Time for a road trip—where are you going?

Bob: I’d go up Highway 1 and stop at Santa Barbara, Hearst Castle, Big Sur, then spend the night at Ventana Inn. Then go to Santa Cruz Boardwalk, and I’ve gotta stop at Stanford. Then go across the Golden Gate Bridge into Muir Woods and then keep going up to Napa to do some wine tasting. Then come back and do it all over again.

Mike: I'd hit the national parks. We’d go to Sequoia National Park—my wife has never been and I want her to see those big trees. Then we’d hit Yosemite, then Lake Tahoe and go out on a boat on the water. We’d drive around the lake—on the California side, of course—roll all the way up the state, then zoom down the I-5 to Joshua Tree National Park.

If you could decree an official state culinary experience, what would it be?

Bob: A carne asada soft taco or a chile verde burrito—they seem to get it right in Southern California. I’m always looking for authentic Mexican food.

Mike: We’d always go to Somis Market near Camarillo. It was in the middle of nowhere, and we hit it almost every day. It was pretty greasy and fattening, but it had the best flavour, and you couldn’t match those beans and rice and the sauces and salsas. To this day our favourite is Mexican food. A huevos rancheros breakfast—you can’t beat it.

Bob: Yeah, if we had one last meal on this earth, it would be Mexican food from Somis Market.

Best California song?

Bob: “California Love” by Dr. Dre and Tupac.

Mike: And any songs by the Beach Boys—my dad went to high school with them. He taught us to play music at an early age, and he taught us all the Beach Boys songs—“Surfin’ USA,” “California Girls.”

How would your California dream day unfold?

Bob: We’d wake up early, drop the kids off at school. We’d go on a bike ride in Ojai, maybe take a boat out on Lake Casitas, then swing over to Carpinteria Beach—the so-called safest beach in the world—and do a little body-whomping. Come back down, pick up the kids, go to the Santa Barbara Zoo, maybe do some shopping at the outlets. Then bedtime with some good Mexican food.

Mike: I’d wake up early, go get some great breakfast down in Venice, then go roller-blading along the beach. Take off the blades and go into the ocean for a little dip. Then get some lunch in Bel Air, maybe catch a concert with friends at the Hollywood Bowl…

Bob: Which concert?

Mike: Maroon 5. Then I’d go watch the sunset…

Bob: Where?

Mike: In Yosemite.

Bob: You’d need a space ship. Sounds like a good day.

Mike: Then I’d come back and do some horseback riding with my wife, then shut it down. Yeah, that sounds like a good day. 

California Questionnaire: The Bryan Brothers Hero_CentralCoast_Hero_BixbyBridge_1280x642_Farnum_sized
Alex Farnum

Discover the Central Coast

Your next stop, San Luis Obispo, may just be the perfect embodiment of the Central Coast. With its nuanced food and wine scene, rich history, and a decidedly mellow vibe, SLO (as the locals call it) is a must-see. This college town also features a slice of ranch culture—thanks to the area’s Santa Maria-style barbecue—and has ranked in past surveys as one of the happiest cities in America.

The spirit of downtown SLO is captured in Mission Plaza and Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa, which dates back to 1772 and overlooks the plaza. Explore the mission and its museum or show up on summer Friday nights for live music on the plaza. Year-round the first Friday of the month offers Art After Dark, with downtown SLO galleries opening their doors for wine tastings, snacks, and chats with local artists. A few blocks away, every Thursday evenings, you can find the city’s farmers market, a showcase for San Luis Obispo’s culinary landscape, including local tri-tip, tamales, craft beer (sample those at The Libertine Brewing Company), and the acclaimed clam chowder from Splash Café. Enjoy the locally sourced scene more intimately at Novo Restaurant & Lounge, which pairs a globally inspired menu with an idyllic creek-side setting.

Be sure to pay a visit to the 110-room Madonna Inn when you are in town. You can finish the day with a slice of the famed pink champagne cake and then retire in one of its quirky themed rooms, such as the Caveman, the Love Birds, and the Fox & Hound.

SLO delivers the goods on the wine-tasting front. Bottles bearing the world-renowned Paso Robles appellation can be found only about 30 miles away. But don’t miss the nearby Edna Valley region, in particular the Chardonnays of Edna Valley Vineyard and the Pinot Noirs of Tolosa. Then, check out the under-the-radar wineries of Arroyo Grande Valley, including the sparkling wines at Laetitia Vineyard & Winery.

San Luis Obispo County—a.k.a. SLO CAL—is home to an array of cool small towns, too. On your way into SLO, try the epic tri-tip at Jocko’s steak house in Nipomo, explore the dunes at Pismo Beach, and then say hi to the lounging sea lions off the coast of Avila Beach. Other essential stops as you then head north toward Hearst Castle include the harbour village Morro Bay, beachy Cayucos, and picturesque Cambria, set on beautiful seaside bluffs.

California Questionnaire: The Bryan Brothers vc_highway1experiences_supplied_ventanabigsur_breakfastsurhouse_1280x640
Courtesy of Ventana Big Sur

5 Great Ways to Experience Highway 1

Discover your favourite way to take in this iconic drive through Big Sur and beyond

Now that repairs are complete, you can once again drive the legendarily scenic Highway 1 through Big Sur. With its redwood forests, towering...

California Questionnaire: The Bryan Brothers VCW_D_SLO_Rachel_6984778856_a03252fd95_o_1280x642
San Luis Obispo’s Bubble Gum Alley is filled with more than 1.7 million pieces of bubble gum.
California Questionnaire: The Bryan Brothers vc_spotlight_santabarbara_hero_st_rm_529573764_1280x640_0
Harriot Manley/Sunset Publishing

Spotlight: Santa Barbara

California Questionnaire: The Bryan Brothers vca_maps_centralcoast
Mediterranean style magic and a perfect ocean breeze

Bougainvillea twining across red-tiled rooftops, birdsong mingling with the ocean breeze, islands and whale spouts on the horizon—...

SPECIAL FEATURE
See a few amazing wonders of the sea first-hand

Each year, about 20,000 gray whales make an epic 6,000-mile/9,656-km journey between Alaska and Mexico—and then back again. These whales travel from feeding grounds in the Bering Sea to mating and...

California Questionnaire: The Bryan Brothers Whale_MicheleW_preview_686x885
Michele W/Flickr
California Questionnaire: The Bryan Brothers VCW_D_CC_T2__BigSur_VCLCC_BigSur_PfeifferBeach_.jpg_KG-dark-1280x642
Kodiak Greenwood

Spotlight: Big Sur

California Questionnaire: The Bryan Brothers vca_maps_centralcoast
Art and nature merge on this rugged coast, one of California’s most spectacular settings

Welcome to one of the world’s most unforgettable stretches of coastline. This roughly 90-mile-long stretch of redwood- and fog-trimmed waterfront...

Apr 20 - Apr 23
April

Get ready for the Central Coast’s ultimate gathering of the culinary world. Now in its ninth year, this luxurious event is one of those star- and spectacle-studded experiences you simply have to...

California Questionnaire: The Bryan Brothers VC_PebbleBeachFoodWine_Supplied_SpringBreakCookingWithoutRules_GinaSinotte_22_686x885
Courtesy of Coastal Luxury Management
California Questionnaire: The Bryan Brothers vca_maps_centralcoast
California Questionnaire: The Bryan Brothers FF_Central_Coast
Castroville produces 95 percent of the nation's artichokes. In 1948, Marilyn Monroe was crowned the town's first "Artichoke Queen."
California Questionnaire: The Bryan Brothers VCW_D_SantaBarbara_T7_FLIPPEN_VG_SantaBarbara-9890_1280x642_0
Laura Flippen

Central Coast Wine Country

Miles of coastline, sunny hills, relaxing wineries

Historic ranch lands, a romantic coast, country roads, stay-a-while towns and grapes—lots and lots of grapes—make the Central Coast an outstanding...

SPECIAL FEATURE
Get the inside scoop on California's most celebrated commodity

With more than 3,000 wineries statewide, California lets you sample award-winning wines almost anywhere you go. These classic and up-and-coming wine roads—some too packed with wineries to tackle...

California Questionnaire: The Bryan Brothers Grapes_WineRoads_SpecialFeature_preview_686x885
Temecula Valley by Kodiak Greenwood
SPECIAL FEATURE
Kid-friendly fun zones, special kids' menus & amazing wine for the grownups

Sure wine country is romantic, but now it’s a surprisingly great destination for families too, with a growing number of vineyards trading in elegant tasting rooms for child-friendly fun zones that...

California Questionnaire: The Bryan Brothers VCW_SI_T5_John_preview_686x885
John/ Flickr
SPECIAL FEATURE
Farm-fresh produce, culinary adventures

Juicy heirloom tomatoes and just-picked strawberries. Super-sweet peaches shaped like mini UFOs. Artisan cheeses, emerald-green olive oils, local wildflower honey—California’s farmers’ markets are...

California Questionnaire: The Bryan Brothers VCW_SI_FarmersMarket_T4_CV_DavisFrmMkt1_Flippen_preview_686x885
Laura Flippen
California Questionnaire: The Bryan Brothers vcw_ti_6_hero_cc_bigsur_coast_ts_1280x642_0

Trip 5-7 days 10 stops

Highway One Classic

Take the trip that captures the heart and soul of the Golden State
SPECIAL FEATURE
Discover the awesome sports scene in the Golden State

With nearly twice as many professional teams as any other state, California is big league all the way. But the state’s sports scene goes far beyond football and baseball, with a diverse line-up of...

California Questionnaire: The Bryan Brothers PebbleBeachProAm_ChristinaLauren_preview_686x885
Christina Lauren/Flickr
California Questionnaire: The Bryan Brothers VenturaWineTrail_KenLund_Flickr_1280x642
Ken Lund/Flickr

Ventura County Wine Trail

California Questionnaire: The Bryan Brothers dummy-map_event_2
Visit vineyards in coastal hills and communities

Sip your way along the Ventura County Wine Trail, where you will find nearly 20 wineries and tasting rooms in settings ranging from urban...

Srrawberries in Oxnard, California
David McGlynn/Getty Images

Oxnard

California Questionnaire: The Bryan Brothers dummy-map_event_2
Discover California’s “Strawberry Coast”

Oxnard is where strawberries meet the sea. In this city 40 minutes south of Santa Barbara, you will find 7 miles of unspoiled beaches, plus farm...

SPECIAL FEATURE
Big-city-worthy events liven the sleepy Central Coast

Bookended by the big cities of Los Angeles and San Francisco, the Central Coast may be known for its mellow pace, but the closeness of those major gateways bring big names to relatively small...

California Questionnaire: The Bryan Brothers VCW_D_CC_T11-Mont Jazz Fest_trombone_shorty_garden Stage_MJF53_2010_141_cole_thompson_0_vertical_sized_0
Photo courtesy of Monterey Jazz Festival
SPECIAL FEATURE
Check these amazing experiences off your bucket list

Kiss a beluga, see cool movie props, and learn about Walt’s secret hideaway on exclusive and behind the scenes tours at California’s theme parks and attractions. Here’s a roundup of actvities...

California Questionnaire: The Bryan Brothers VCW_SI_VIP_T1_MichaelSaechang_preview_686x885
Photo by Michael Saechang/Flickr
SPECIAL FEATURE
Beautiful locations, luxurious comforts

Get the starry nights, the campfire stories, the cosy sleeping bag, and all the best parts of camping in some of California’s most beautiful settings—but without the hassle of hauling loads of...

California Questionnaire: The Bryan Brothers VCW_SI_T6_Glamping_ElCapitanCanyon_CabinExt1_preview_686x885
El Capitan Canyon
SPECIAL FEATURE
Old-fashioned fun in the Golden State

Historic oceanfront playgrounds, classic city park charmers and boisterous adventures - smaller theme parks and attractions offer an array of ways to play. These smaller parks offer...

Safari West
Tai Power Seeff
California Questionnaire: The Bryan Brothers VCW_D_CC_T8_Solvang_Manley_Sunset_sized
Harriot Manley/ Sunset Publishing

Solvang

A Danish stronghold makes a charming outpost surrounded by ranch lands and vineyards

Imagine a villagewhere fresh-cut flowers and warm-from-the-oven pastries scent the air. Add gingerbread architecture, twirling windmills and...

California Questionnaire: The Bryan Brothers Mission_Carmel_sized
Tai Power Seeff

Central Coast Missions

Visit some of California’s most beautiful missions to discover the state’s Spanish roots

Strung like Spanish pearls along an 824-mile trail from San Diego to Sonoma, California’s 21 historic missions offer a wealth of treasures, from...

California Questionnaire: The Bryan Brothers FunFact_SBMission_sized
Santa Barbara ranks in the nation’s top 20 counties for bicycle commuters, with nearly 5,000 residents commuting to work by bicycle.
California Questionnaire: The Bryan Brothers VC_Ventura_Ventura_Stock_RF_585358083_1280x640
Zachary Miller/Getty Images

Spotlight: Ventura County

California Questionnaire: The Bryan Brothers dummy-map_event_2
Absorb the relaxed vibe of this classic California destination on the coast

When it comes to places in California that feel like one big outdoor playground, Ventura County, on the south end of the Central Coast, stands out...

Ragged Point

Trip 3-4 days 8 stops

San Luis Obispo to Ragged Point

Venture from San Luis Obispo up Highway 1 to discover pristine coastline, small beach towns and a fabled landmark
California Questionnaire: The Bryan Brothers vc_casadefruta_supplied_cdffruitstand01_1280x640
Casa de Fruta Courtesy of Casa De Fruta

Casa de Fruta Orchard Resort

Part fruit stall, part theme park, this Central Coast stop is the perfect place to fill your belly

What started as a humble cherry stall in 1908 is now a huge roadside attraction, welcoming more than 3 million visitors each year. Located 40...