Vino and Mendocino

Shortly after rupturing my Achilles and having surgery last month, Mo and I decided to post-pone our trip to Australia. We were bummed out about that, so we decided we would take advantage of having a long weekend and plan a relaxing getaway.  After considering a few options, we decided on Mendocino, a small town on the coast just a few hours north of San Francisco. We had never been there, but had heard great things. It did not disappoint!

Before leaving for the trip, we stopped at one of our favorite wineries nearby, Testarossa. After a few tastings, they talked us into becoming members. With our new winery membership, I feel like we are officially embracing the California lifestyle.

The next morning, I attended the launch for my running team. I joined Arete last year and have met so many incredible women through it. Even though I will not be doing much running myself this year, I am so excited to see what 2019 has in store for all of the ladies who joined!

Mo picked me up from the launch and we started our drive up to Mendocino. We decided to take the shorter route on the way there since the weather was rainy, and save the scenic drive along the Pacific Highway for our return trip. Shortly after crossing the Golden Gate Bridge, we stopped for a quick lunch at Sol Food. The line was outside of the door, but it moved fast and the Puerto Rican food was well worth it!

We arrived in Mendocino and checked into our Air BnB. We rented a cozy little studio with a gas burning fireplace, small kitchen and patio, and it could not have been more perfect for the weekend.

What we loved most about Mendo was how relaxing it was. The restaurants are small and have limited menus, but what they do serve is primarily locally sourced (everything from the kale to the wine to the seafood to the coffee), organic, and fresh. There are so many things you can do – hiking, tidepooling, going to the beach, walking around the little downtown, going out to eat, wine tasting, etc. but it is also completely acceptable to leisurely enjoy your breakfast, watch the sunset and drink a glass of wine by the fireplace.

How to get to Mendocino:

Option 1: take the fast route on 101

  • Sol Food in San Rafael – you won’t be disappointed by their Pollo Al Horno and plantains.

  • Philo Apple Farm for fresh apples and apple goodies.
  • Boonville for a quick leg stretch – browse locally made crafts at The Farmhouse Mercantile and get fresh organic ice cream at Paysanne (which sadly was closed for the season).
  • I also read about eating at Queenie’s Roadhouse Cafe in Elk, but we never made it there. Next time!

Option 2: take the scenic route on The Pacific Highway

  • Absolutely stunning views of the ocean along the entire way!
  • Take a winding detour towards the coast to Point Arena Lighthouse and make a stop to see one of the most picturesque spots along the Pacific Coast.
  • Stop for a quick stretch break and bite to eat at Trink’s Cafe in Gualala. I ordered a green smoothie (kale, spinach, pea protein, banana, pineapple, flax and ginger), and Mo and I split a double chocolate salted caramel cookie… it was as good as it sounds.

Where to Eat in Mendocino:

  • Circa 62 (The Inn at Schoolhouse Creek) was by far my favorite. The coffee was good, the mocha donuts were incredible, and the Kimchi Pancakes were one of the best savory breakfasts I’ve ever had. Kimchi Pancakes? You heard me right. Savoy cabbage, kimchi, scallions, NCB’s scrimshaw, bacon and rice flour batter with an avocado hollandaise and our sriracha sauce. Poached eggs on top. I pretty much wanted everything on the menu.
  • Wild Fish was a little place overlooking the ocean. And by small, I mean it! We counted a total of 10 tables. The menu was also small, but intentionally so. Everything was fresh caught, locally-sourced. I ordered the Sole cooked in parchment paper, a side of sautéed Swiss Chard, and paired it with a Yorkville Sav Blanc. Mo and I split the toffee date pudding for dessert and a decaf french press. The coffee was so good! Even Mo drank it black. Turns out it was from a local roaster, Thanksgiving Coffee, which we later purchased at the little grocery market in town to take home.
  • Frankie’s was a family-run pizzaria, bar, and ice cream stop, a perfect spot for lunch. The pizza was great, but the ice cream… WOW. I tried a mushroom flavor, but ended up going with Almond Joy and Mocha Almond Fudge. The sprinkles were made from edible plants and no synthetic dyes. I couldn’t say no to that!

  • Mendocino Cafe had an impressive selection of seafood and Thai dishes. I was tempted by the tequila shrimp, but ordered the Thai Firepot, which seemed to be a house favorite judging by how many people I saw ordered it! And for good reason – it was a big comforting bowl of glass noodles, a ton of organic vegetables, and shrimp in a coconut curry broth.
  • Goodlife Bakery was another breakfast place where I wanted one (or two) of everything! I decided on a their buckwheat toast with peanut butter and a piece of their veggie quiche. They served Thanksgiving coffee as well, which I was happy to try for a second time! Their homemade organic bagels, fresh baked cinnamon rolls and all the other baked goods all looked incredible as well.
  • Menocino Market is basically a grocery store, but if you’re looking for a cozy dinner in, then this is the place to go for the goods. Local mustards and jams, a big selection of beer and wine, good quality chocolates, crackers, meats, an aisle of cheese… you get the idea.

What to Do in Mendocino:

  • Hike and see the tide pools at the many beaches and state parks surrounding the town.
  • Venture up to Fort Bragg to walk around the harbor, drink a local beer at North Coast Brew Co., walk down to Glass Beach and watch the sunset.

  • Leisurely browse through the shops on Main Street. I don’t typically love shopping as a vacay activity, but this town was an exception. The shops sold locally-made food, wine, and other goodies, and no chain stores in sight. My favorite shops were the grocery market and the bookstore, but we had a fun time browsing them all!
  • Relax!! This was by far the best part of the trip. We caught up on sleep, spent time in front of the fireplace, walked around with no agenda, and enjoyed the incredible coastal views.

We are already looking forward to our next trip to Mendocino! We’ll definitely bring Sydney next time (it’s a very dog-friendly town) and we’re looking forward to exploring more by foot when I am out of my boot!

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