Tag Archives: California

Huntington Beach, California, Surf City USA

Huntington Beach epitomizes the laid back California surfer lifestyle.  In a parking lot next to their vintage VW microbus, surfers get into their wetsuits and head for the waves.

For many, the 1959 Gidget movie was their first introduction to California’s vibrant surf culture.  The real life inspiration for Gidget, Kathy Kohner Zuckerman,  grew up surfing the waves in Malibu. She told her surfing stories to her father, a Hollywood writer, and the rest as they say, is history.

Surfer on Huntington Beach
Surfer on Huntington Beach

Surfboards have become smaller and lighter and there isn’t a beach in California that hasn’t been surfed.

Things to do

International Surfing Museum, Huntington Beach
Largest surfboard ever built at the International Surfing Museum

Get the fascinating history of surfing at The International Surfing Museum in Huntington Beach .  On display outside the museum is the world’s largest surfboard, used to break the Guinness World Record for the most people riding a surfboard (66). Should the record need to be defended, the giant board will come down.

Huntington Harbour Boat Rentals
Huntington Harbour Boat Rentals

For some time on water without waves, head to Huntington Harbour  Boat Rentals for a two-hour self-captained cruise of tranquil Huntington Harbour – also perfect for swimming or paddle boards.

Where to Stay in Huntington Beach

Pasea Hotel & Spa
Pasea Hotel & Spa

The Pasea Hotel & Spa is Huntington Beach’s newest luxury hotel, just a block away from the famous Pier.  All the incredible art work in the Pasea lobby has a beach theme.

"Wavelength 4" by Jorge Dubin, Pasea Hotel & Spa Lobby
“Wavelength 4” by Jorge Dubin, Pasea Hotel & Spa Lobby

The playful “Wavelength 4” by Jorge Dubin, made from 1400 flip flops, was created specifically for the Pasea Hotel & Spa.

Aarna Spa at The Pasea Hotel
Aarna Spa at The Pasea Hotel

You’re in good hands (pun intended) at the Balinese-inspired Aarna Spa in the Pasea Hotel & Spa. The skilled masseuses apply just the right amount of pressure. It’s rare to find a spa with salt water whirlpools.

Where to Eat

Tanner's Huntington Beach
Tanner’s Huntington Beach

The Acai (ah-sah-EE) Berry Bowl makes a great breakfast at Tanner’s Huntington Beach. A natural cholesterol controller, the acai  berry also has natural antioxidant properties. Head to the popular Watertable at the  nearby Hyatt Regency Hotel (reservations recommended)  for a more classic take on breakfast.

Red Table, Huntington Beach
Red Table, Huntington Beach

The Red Table has great specials for lunch. Try their pistachio-encrusted sole or the rich and tasty crab cakes  – just be sure to save room for their broken banana cream pie – best enjoyed with their caramel-flavored Kentucky bourbon draft beer.

The Signature dessert at Bluegold
The Signature dessert at Bluegold

When it’s time for dinner, it’s  a 5 minute walk to Bluegold in  the nearby Pacific City Mall. Try one of their inventive cocktails – like the “LA Confidential”  made with rye, bourbon and Pom molasses . The chef-driven California fusion menu offers a wide range of flavors. Try the wood -fired burrata pizza with fried rosemary, shaved pistachio and orange oil or the steam kettle shellfish pot in a spicy Vietnamese tomato curry (think tom yum) or even the salt-roasted beets and yellowtail sashimi.

SeaLegs Wine Bar on Beach Boulevard  also has a great selection of wine and California cuisine. Try their baked Alaskan halibut on pesto rice or salmon baked in parchment paper.

Bianchi Winery, Paso Robles, California

No newcomer to the party, Glenn Bianchi and his father Joseph ’s love affair with wine began with a vineyard and winery in the Central Valley of California in 1974. Their desire to create a boutique winery with an emphasis on premium varietals led them to Paso Robles. Impressed with Paso Robles natural beauty and reputation for wines with finesse and complexity, they purchased 40 acres of vineyards on Branch Road in January of 2000.

Bianchi Winery Paso Robles
Bianchi Winery Paso Robles

The Paso Robles terroir is best suited to red varietals. The winery’s sloping vineyards feature Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, Syrah and Merlot vines. These varietals make up their  Heritage Selection. The Italian red varietal Refosco is only available at the Winery Tasting Room.

Bianchi also has produced a great line of four whites: Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio and Moscato. All are made with grapes sourced from cool marine-influenced Santa Barbara and Monterey County vineyards. Their crisp Chardonnay follows the current trend, moving away from the buttery notes by splitting fermentation between stainless steel tanks and oak barrels.

Bianchi Winery Tasting Room
Bianchi Winery Tasting Room

Bianchi is a member of the Wineries of Paso Robles 46 East. Their Wine Club offers members 30% off any purchases on the day of sign up. With the purchase of a case of wine,  Club Members can earn a complimentary one night stay at the adjacent Vineyard House.

The Vineyard House at Bianchi Winery

Bianchi Vineyard House
Bianchi Vineyard House

The perfect spot for a wine country getaway, the Vineyard House is a 3 bedroom/2 bath house which can sleep up to three couples. The large house features a wood-burning fireplace, a fully equipped kitchen, a wine fridge, outdoor BBQ and ensuite laundry.

Bianchi Vineyard House front patio
Bianchi Vineyard House front patio

Guests can sit on the peaceful front patio overlooking the waterfall fed pond or the large back patio, enjoying the sun setting over the vineyard with a glass of wine. City dwellers beware – the silence of the peaceful countryside is deafening.