Saturday, June 30, 2012

Norcal Anniversary Trip Part 4

Our last stop on our adventure was Cambria, CA, where we had another hotel reservation, a tour of Hearst Castle, and a fancy dinner planned.

Our next check-in time wasn't until 3PM, so we had some time to kill.

We had two more breakfast vouchers, and although we could have gone to one of three places in the area, we opted for Frankie and Lola's again, since it was so good the first time. This time, I got a Sasquatch sandwich, which was "two eggs broken, served on grilled sourdough with herbed cream cheese, ortega, sausage, and caramelized onions," and boyfriend got the Andouille and Prawn, "Andouille sausage sauteed with large prawns the holy trinity and asparagus tips.  Folded into lovely eggs and topped with tangy hollandaise." Both were definitely not disappointing and Toby, who was able to sit out on the patio with us, thoroughly enjoyed his table scraps.

We took a walk on the bay itself and checked out a few shops, and boyfriend really, really wanted to see the Morro Bay rock up close, so we drove over there, too. I had decided that I wanted a really good cupcake, so we did some research and found a bakery on the bay with really good reviews, called Suns N' Buns. Now the cupcake I got certainly wasn't bad, but it wasn't anything special. In fact, they didn't have much that was unique at all. A bit of a bust, but I'm sure it's better if you aren't a picky foodie baker! =P

On our way up to our next hotel in Cambria, we still had a little time, so we did a little aimless driving around the neighborhoods and came across Lampton Cliffs County Park on accident. I had been wanting to see some tide pools so badly, but it was looking like we didn't have time. And you now what? Lampton cliffs has tide pools. And it was low tide! Unfortunately, there wasn't much in the way of sea life, except for some little crabs, but it was still super cool! Toby had never seen anything like it, and was jumping from rock to rock and swimming in ocean pools and scaring the crap out of me the whole time, since I know how excited and reckless he can get. We spent some time just climbing the rocks and checking stuff out before we headed out.

Our last night was spent in a motel in San Simeon called the Silver Surf Motel. It was definitely not as nice as the Beach Bungalow in Morro Bay, but it was nice for a motel and it was dog friendly and cheap. We paid $66, plus a $15 pet fee for the night. The motel had a huge grassy field in the center, which Toby loved running around, in addition to a pool and a sun deck (Which, unfortunately, we didn't have time for!). It was also located right across the highway from the beach. The woman at the front desk was super nice, and overall it was pretty legit for a motel.

We spent a little time in the room before heading to our tour of Hearst Castle at 4PM. We had to doggie drug Toby so he wouldn't get to antsy in the room by himself for a while, and he fell asleep pretty immediately. I drank a little before we left, and we headed out. We got to Hearst about 3:45PM, and we were both starving. Luckily there was a little restaurant with Hearst Ranch beef burgers!! I was so excited to give them a second try!!

Again, I was slightly disappointed in the overcooking of such a sacred meat, especially with the fact that were were so close to the ranch for which the beef is named. Oh, well. I was a little drunk and really hungry, so it hit the spot just fine.

We were ushered onto a bus that took us up through the hills to the expansive castle. We rode through fields where zebras (Left over ancestors from William Hearst's on-site zoo) are rumored to be, and saw herds of European white fallow deer still roaming the hills that were once populated with a number of exotic animals. The bus ride itself was cool on its own.

When we got to the top, we followed our tour guide around the premises. There are a number of tours to choose from, since the property is so large. We took the Upstairs Suites Museum Tour.

Of course the tour was really cool and really interesting....but remember how I mentioned having had a few drinks before we left?


Well, those drinks caught up with me during the tour. I have never had to pee so badly in my life. My vision was blurry, my legs were shaking, I could hardly hear or stand. But, dammnit, I was determined to finish the tour. By the end of it, I was literally tripping to the bathroom (which, of course, was ridiculously far!). I had been holding it for so long that once I actually sat down, my body wouldn't let me pee. My pee muscles were frozen in the position I had been holding them in for over an hour. And when they finally released, I swear I almost cried it felt so awesome.

TMI? Sorry, these are details I want to remember someday!

Anyway, when the tour was over, we were allowed to explore the outside grounds, which we took full advantage of. And damn does that place make me feel like a peasant from the middle ages. So cool, though. I definitely want to go on the rest of the tours someday.

After Hearst, we went back to the room and got ready for our fancy dinner. I had done some research and made reservations at Black Cat Bistro. this place has bomb reviews and the food selection looked amazing, so I had been waiting for this dinner all week and was super excited for it.

The restaurant itself is situated on the main strip in Cambria, in a little place that looks like it was formerly a home. It definitely has a romantic vibe, and man was it packed. 

We started off the meal with some bread and rosemary butter. We also ordered stuffed green olives and a cheese plate. In addition, we got the beer that the menu suggested to pair for the cheese plate and the wine that was suggested to pair with the olives. The olives were good, but nothing special. The cheese plate was heavenly. I was so excited while I was eating and pairing it with the beer that I was almost crying. The pairing was nothing short of magical. The plate had a soft cheese, a rosemary biscotti, a tomato jam, and some spiced nuts. Trying different combinations of these things with the beer was literally making me tear up. It was probably the most exciting and exceptional cheese plate pairing I have ever had.

For dinner, we shared the Chipotle Shrimp Fettuccini and the Pan Roasted Maple Leaf Duck Breast, both of which were truly unique and delicious. I wanted to try a dessert, but I was way too full.

When we left, I was completely satisfied. It's really sad how happy good food makes me. 

After dinner, we went back to the motel and our drugged up little pup. We stayed up for a while, walking around the hotel grounds and hanging out before watching a little tv and heading to bed to get some rest for our long drive home.

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