Cali Road Trip–”Best of” Recap

It was a whirl wind 11 day trip across 8 states with over 6000 kms driven, 6 different hotels, countless restaurants enjoyed, lots of shopping, many tourist attractions visited and one half marathon ran that left us with many great memoires but also very tired! Here is our best of series for our road trip that took us from our home in Alberta, Canada to Portland, San Francisco, Carmel, Anaheim, Las Vegas and Idaho Falls.

Best Hotel – Lamplighter Inn – Carmel, CA

LL Inn

Carmel room

Carmel patio

This was a easy one, this little “Inn” was adorable, quaint and just perfect. The room was large but cozy, and we had our own patio (pictured above). We were greeted by the friendly staff and a wine and cheese reception enjoyed by the fire outside 🙂 I really hope we can make it back here one day, as one night was not enough here.

Best Meal –   California pizza at Patxis Chicago Pizza, San Francisco, CA Honourable Mention – Planet Cafe – San Francisco, CA

We mainly tried to only eat out for one paid meal a day. Most of our hotels had free breakfasts so between those and groceries bought we only ate suppers out most days. Our supper at Patxis was easily our favourite supper. Located just off Chestnut street  in San Francisco we had walked by this restaurants a few times, so when it came turn for Chad’s supper pick with his love for pizza his choice was obvious. After seeing all the pizzas come out we decided to share one. Only problem – when it comes to pizza we have different “likes”, I like thin crust with lots of veggies and Chad thick crust and meat! Our compromise – the California pizza (spinach, red onions and feta) on their regular crust – but whole wheat. Chad also added Chorizo sausage to his half.

BEST pizza ever!

SF Pizza

 It was 110% amazing and the best crust ever, all the ingredients worked together perfectly too. Enjoyed with a glass of white wine made it even better.

Planet Cafe came in at a close second with its unique menu, even with vegan options! I had the pumpkin crusted tempeh and coconut sweet potatoes:

Planet Cafe

While Chad had a Pho type soup:

Chad Planet Cake meal

They also made fresh fruit and veggie juices that I was excited to try the next morning after our run, but sadly they didn’t open till 11am and we had to hit the road 🙁

Best Dessert – Tutti-Frutti Fro-Yo, San Francisco and Anaheim, CA

Going into this trip I had never had self serve frozen yogurt, so our first night in San Francisco when we walked by Tutti-Frutti I begged Chad to stop. Neither of us were disappointed. After that we visited that location one more time and one in Anaheim too. I knew it was going to be good, but it was better than that. Chad had no idea and did not understand my excitement, until his first bite. He is now addicted I think 😉

Fro Yo 1

My favorite fro-yo flavor was the mango for sure (third trip flavor!). Best topping – mochi. Now we just have to wait till our next trip south to enjoy it all again!

Best Shopping – Coach, Carmel, CA. Honourable mention – Citadel Outlets, Anaheim, CA.

When we saw the Coach store in Carmel I was instantly excited, after all I had been eying up a certain bag and was hinting to Chad to buy it as my anniversary gift 🙂 However with a good price tag on it, I was not too hopeful. As soon as we entered the store we were told the entire store was 30% off, and I might have squealed at this point!.Walking around the store I immediately spotted the bag I wanted on a clearance table for 50% off!! I asked the sales lady for the price, and to my surprise she told it was the 50% off plus the 30% off! 80% off!? Chad could not say no, and he didn’t. I also needed a new wallet, and at 70% off couldn’t say no.

The Citadel Outlets in Anaheim were very impressive with many great deals. Think the entire Banana Republic 50% off, brand name shirts (Volcom, Hurley etc) 3 for $25. I bought a few birthday and Christmas gifts for people and then a couple cardigans and dress pants for myself. This would be the ultimate back to school shopping spot!

Best Tourist Activity – Riding the San Francisco cable cars

I find many tourist type activities or attractions to be over rated but this one was not for either of us. It was a lot of fun, but sadly we only got to ride them one time. As long as you did not wait at the main turn around station the wait was not bad either.

View from cable car:

Cable Car


Best Service – Spago, Las Vegas, NV

We had supper at this restaurant which is one of Wolfgang Puck’s restaurants, the food was really good (Chad had a pizza which rivalled the San Fran one) but what really stood out was the service we received from our waitress. She did everything right from serving us on the left side (one of my pet peeves), ensuring we had more than one bite before she asked how our meal was, and being very professional in general. It wasn’t one thing she did in particular that wowed us but the combination of everything.

Chad Spaggo

And my chopped vegetable salad which was awesome.

Spaggo salad

Highlight of the trip – Disneyland Half Marathon, Anaheim, CA

There was no thinking about this one! It was the reason for the trip and the highlight for sure. Disney puts on one heck of a race! The entry was $125 but totally worth it. The race package pick up went very smoothly and quick, despite a rather large line up before it opened in the morning. We even switched Chad to start in the same coral as me with no issues – he never submitted his previous time and was in the last coral and I was in the first! The race expo was well set up and we enjoyed a few free samples which are always a bonus 😉 Race day was an early day – had to be in our coral for 4:30am but despite having tired legs and minds we had an awesome race and the 21km flew by! The medals alone were enough for me to run another Disney race!

Race Medal

I won’t go any further since later this week I am going to do a whole post on our race recap! So stay tuned. But before that we need to make an executive decision on the race photos…

Here is the scoop – It is $35 for one high res digital photo or your whole gallery for $80. We can buy my gallery and basically have us both in all the pictures since we ran together. My thought is we either buy none or the whole gallery

Please give me your opinion!

Best Bed – Treasure Island, Las Vegas, NV

I am still tempted to call the hotel and ask them what mattresses, bed sheets, duvet cover and pillows they use! The bed and sheets were that amazing. I checked the tag on the sheets and they said 100% polyester. And we looked for a tag on the mattress but no luck.

TI room

Funniest Moment – Me biffing it on the Las Vegas strip…Yes this is a true story. I am a major klutz so it probably doesn’t come as a huge surprise to those that know me! I had a few drinks in me (hey – its Vegas!), including one $14 triple I am sure, and we were walking down the strip, we were about to step back on the sidewalk from the road when BAM I went flat out on my face! With a huge crowd of people behind me too! Turns out I didn’t lift my leg quite high enough for their gigantic curbs and tripped. Since I was holding a bunch of bags in one hand and my drink in another I could not catch myself either. But I got right back up and even managed not to spill my drinks and only one receipt fell from my bags. haha. We both laughed about it after and I am sure this is a typical occurrence on the Vegas strip, life goes on!

Best Drive – Redwoods Forest, CA

Even though this drive left me close to a panic attack it was beautiful. The winding roads, massive trees and the lingering fog made the drive picturesque and mysterious at the same time. I am a paranoid passenger and get car sick easily so you can imagine how this made my tummy feel though!


Fog Redwoods

NERD Alert: Now as some of may know I have a slight obsession with the Twilight movies/books, and the above photo reminded me of scenes in the book where Edwards plays baseball with his family and where they chase Victoria through the woods!

Anyone else a Twilight fan? Do you not agree with me?!

Best (Alcoholic) Drink – $2 Margaritas – Bill’s Gambling Hall, Las Vegas, NV

For $2 we had to pick these drinks. Really how can you go wrong with $2 drinks and they were yummy!

2 Margs

Best Coffee – Carmel Roasting Company, Carmel CA

Our goal for this trip was to find a local coffee shop that had better coffee than Starbucks, now I thought this would be easy but turns out it wasn’t! A lot of coffee shops were tried and nothing came close. Except this one. We both had large non fat coconut lattes which would rival Starbucks for sure. Not to mention the atmosphere was cozy, just like a coffee shop should be!

And that was our road trip to Cali! Like I said if anyone has any questions on places we went or if you want recommendations please ask me! I would love to fill you in on any details!

Have you ever taken a road trip anywhere?

This is our second long distance road trip, last summer we went to Seattle. I love road trips since it allows you to see so much more! And Chad is a great driver and doesn’t;t mind driving at all –which is a key part 🙂

Have a great Saturday!


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