Paso Robles, CA - trip report

Nov 6th, 2007, 02:03 PM
  #1  
MD4
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Join Date: Feb 2003
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Paso Robles, CA - trip report

We recently had the pleasure of returning to the Paso Robles wine country on the central coast of California, about half way between LA and San Francisco. We flew into San Luis Obispo, and drove about 30 minutes north to stay in Paso Robles. Our hotel was the Adelaide Inn (not our choice- this was part of a package deal we purchased at an auction). Good base location for visiting wineries, as it is right at 101 and 46. It had a motor lodge feel to it, but the rooms were very nice, as was the pool and hot tub area. We discovered two other hotels we’d like to check out on the next trip, mostly based on their location of being right on the town square where most of the restaurants and shops are, but also because they had more of a boutique hotel look and feel to them. Those are the Hotel Cheval and the Paso Robles Inn.

Since I mentioned the square (and it probably has a more official name, but forgive me I don’t know what it is), this is a really charming area, with, as I mentioned great local restaurants and shops. We ate most every meal in this area and enjoyed a nice walk afterwards. A park is in the middle with a great playground, if you have little ones.

Arriving on a rainy Saturday afternoon, we decided we had time to hit at least a couple of wineries before they closed, as this was the main purpose of our trip. We first visited Doce Robles, a friendly family owned winery, as many of them are, then Midnight Cellars. The staff at Doce Robles recommended Yanagi for sushi in Paso Robles, so we tried that for dinner. The sushi was very good, atmosphere, just OK. All the sushi chefs behind the bar drop what they are doing when someone walks in the door to greet them, somewhat loudly. I’m sure it’s meant to be friendly, but comes off kind of cheesy. Then the music was reminiscent of something you’d hear in a Japanese karaoke bar. We had better luck with a concert we heard about from the staff at Midnight Cellars, a band playing at Castoro Cellars that night. We made our way there, purchased a bottle of wine and a couple of snacks and found a place to sit in their nice and intimate event room. We seemed to be mostly among locals, which was nice. Many wineries there do have various events going on, so be sure to check their websites before you go or the local paper while there.

Sunday morning we had breakfast at Vic’s Café, a block off the square. Pretty standard breakfast fare, but well made and a friendly staff started our day off well. From there, we made our way to Justin Winery for their tour at 10:30am ($15). We had an excellent tour and really learned a lot about their process (we seem to learn something new about winemaking with every tour). From there, we went to Cambria, where we stayed on our previous visit (for a friend’s wedding). This is about a 30 minute drive through beautiful hills and countryside leading you to the coast. Cambria is known as an artists’ colony and has a great Main Street to wander through with fun shops, galleries and restaurants. We ate lunch at the West End Grill, as my husband remembered them having some of the best steamers he’s had. He had them again, proclaimed them still excellent, and we drove over on Moonstone Drive along the coast, which has seen some development since we were there last.

Early afternoon, we began making our way back to Paso Robles, stopping at a couple of wineries along the way. The first was Four Vines. A small place, with not much being grown in their own vineyard just yet, but nice people and they have fun wine glasses with biker themes. From there, we went to Wild Horse, a favorite from our last visit. Dinner that night was at the Steakhouse at the Paso Robles Inn. I would give it a B overall for food, service and atmosphere.

Monday morning we had breakfast at the Good Times Café, a 50s themed place on the square. Again, good standard breakfast food. Our first winery of the day was EOS, where we had a personal tour although it appeared that self-guided tours were also available. After that we visited Tobin James (fun tasting room); Vino Robles and Robert Hall, two relatively new wineries with nice new buildings; Summerwood, Windward (pinot noir only) and Hunt. Although we bought wine at every one we visited, our definite favorite was Justin. Other top ones would be Tobin James, Wild Horse, Summerwood and Hunt. Besides good wine, what makes all of these and the whole area fun to visit is the people. They are so very friendly and hospitable. This area is just more low-key and casual than Napa/Sonoma, which we enjoy. At every stop, we had a really nice conversation with the staff and/or other visitors.

A note regarding winery location and varietals, the west side of 101 is very scenic- hilly, windy roads with wineries tucked away a bit off the road- and the climate change as it gets closer to the coast produces lighter wines, especially pinot noir. The east side of 101 is more of a straight highway, pretty country, but less hilly and scenic, and produces more of the heavier varietals.

Dinner that night, our last, was at our favorite restaurant from this trip, Matthew’s. Had we found it the first night, we may have eaten there every night! Quaint and charming, the food was excellent and their booths may be the most comfortable ever, with the seats resembling oversized antique couches. This is a really lovely place- apparently there are two locations, the other by the airport (?). But this one is on Spring St. by the square and not to be missed. Other restaurants that looked appealing but we did not try were Artisan (probably too “California” for us), Berry Hill Bistro, Panolivo (seemed to be only open for lunch, although ads said for dinner too) and an Italian place at the south end of the square.

Breakfast before we had to leave on Tuesday was at Chico’s, a Mexican place, with, again, fairly standard breakfast fare with a few Mexican touches thrown in. Very good and seemed locally popular.

A great area and great trip- we’ll have to go again when we run out of wine!
MD4 is offline  
Nov 6th, 2007, 06:01 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2006
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Thanks for the great trip report of Paso! I live just an hour south and we stayed there last month for the weekend. You did some of the same things so it was fun to read your report. We loved the Justin tour as well and enjoyed our meal at Matthews. Our service there wasn't great...not enough staff for the crowd but the food was outstanding. We ate at Artisan as well. Food and service were great. Panolivo is a wonderful place to have lunch if you ever come back to the area and they have the most amazing desserts!!!!

So glad you enjoyed our wineries and the low key atmosphere. I love that, too. There are some fine wines here!
laurenzo is offline  
Nov 8th, 2007, 08:30 AM
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Join Date: Nov 2003
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Great report! We were planning on doing the Paso Harvest Tour but ended up in the Oregon wine country picking Pinot Noir grapes!

You visited some of our favorite places, Summerwood, EOS, Tobin James, Robert Hall are all places we visited last Harvest Tour. Justin is great, we purchased the "Justification" which we took to a nice steak dinner, the restaurant there, Deborah's Room looks like a nice place for a meal. Artisan is supposed to be very good right now, in Paso Robles, it is first on our list next time we're in the area. ***kim***
kimamom is offline  
Nov 24th, 2007, 09:17 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2003
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My husband and I just returned from Paso Robles. We also stayed at Adelaide Inn. We have stayed at the Paso Robles Inn before and we like the Adelaide Inn better. The only thing better about the Paso Robles Inn is the location, but the rooms are nicer at Adelaide Inn. We'd rather save our money and stay at the Adelaide Inn since it isn't that far of a drive to downtown.

We ate dinner at Villa Creek and had a wonderful meal. We also enjoyed Buona Tavola for a great Italian meal (we ate dinner here but we've eaten lunch here, too). We saw Matthews and thought of going there but heard the service wasn't that good. But since it seems to get good reviews for the food, we may have to try it next time. We also got a recommendation for Artisan which we hope to try next time.

For breakfast we ate in Templeton at Hoovers. Great food and plenty of it. I especially enjoyed the eggs and chorizo, the thick bacon and the blueberry pancakes. My friends who were with me loved the biscuits and gravy.

We are members of Le Cuvier winery which only allows tastings for club members. We were there for a wine dinner which was catered by Bistro Laurant. The food was wonderful. I'm sure the restaurant is just as good.

That's my mini report for what it's worth. We always enjoy our time Paso Robles.
TerryLFred is offline  
Nov 25th, 2007, 11:03 AM
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Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 4,963
I'm another fan of the Adelaide Inn. A very well maintained motel. I like Big Bubba's Bad BBQ around the corner. I wouldn't ride the mechanical bull though! I also like Odyssey World cafe near the park, for a nice lunch.
trippinkpj is offline  
Nov 26th, 2007, 09:03 PM
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I love the Odyssey for lunch and Touch of Paso for breakfast.
pixierae99 is offline  
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