2014 Roadtrip: Big Sur, CA to San Simeon, CA

Our North American explorations required the obligatory tour of Hearst Castle which Audre had never done. After our workshop and brunch at Esalen was over, we headed south on Route 1 to San Simeon. The drive along the Californian coast was absolutely gorgeous--just as promised. Audre, in the passenger's side, had the best views and loved it.
The California coast between Monterey and Big Sur
Dimitri had made a reservation for 2 nights in San Simeon. The Sea Breeze Inn was a very good option at about $100 a night, senior rate (Sea Breeze, 9065 Hearst Dr., San Simeon, CA 93452, tel. 805-927-3284, e-mail: seabreezeinn@cablerocket.com, www.seabreezeinnsansimeon.com). The room had one king bed, a table with two comfortable chairs, two bedside tables, with storage. There was a piece of furniture with the TV on top that had drawers, a microwave and mini frig in it. There was enough space so that we did’t feel cramped. The bonus of climbing a flight of stairs was the excellent ocean view from our room. We wanted to walk the beach in front of Sea Breeze but in the afternoon (first and second) it was incredibly windy. The room was quiet enough in the middle of the night, although we could hear voices and TV next to us when we went to bed. 

For dinner the first night we went to Manta Rey Restaurant (9240 Castillo Dr., San Simeon, CA 93452, tel. 805-924-1032, e-mail:mantaraeysansimeon@yahoo.com). It had a nice room. There was one server for all of the tables, with one helper. The service was less than perfect. We started with the Morro Bay oysters and they were delicious—the right size, the right texture and the taste was intense. The daily special soup did not taste of crab; it actually tasted only like cream. It was not a hit. The blackened sea bass was nicely cooked and the rice and vegetables were good. We enjoyed part of the bottle of Salmon Creek Pinot Grigio ($22) and took the rest with us. It was a good meal. We spent $72.99 plus tip—a little pricey but that was San Simeon.

For our first breakfast we went to the breakfast room at Sea Breeze for our complimentary continental breakfast. It had outdoor seating. In the morning it was 55° and way too cold for us to sit outside. We went to Cavalier Restaurant (Best Western Plus, 9415 Hearst Dr., San Simeon, CA 9452, tel. 805-927-4688, www.cavalierresort.com) a nearby restaurant for breakfast. Our waitress, Gretchen, allowed Audre to bring her own breakfast to the restaurant so she ordered nothing. Dimitri had the “Greek scramble” with feta and that came with hash browns and sourdough toast. He also had coffee. He was happy. It cost $13.38 plus tip. After breakfast we went to our 11 a.m. Hearst Castle Grand Room tour ($50). We were under-whelmed by the castle and the grounds. 
We liked the indoor pool room the best at Hearst Castle
After our Hearst Castle visit, we went to Cambria for lunch to Wild Ginger (2380 Main St., Cambria, CA 93428, tel. 805-927-1001, www.wildgingercambria.com). Cambria is a cute town. At Wild Ginger, we had a lovely Singaporean server who had lived in Cambria for 4 years. We had one green papaya salad with shrimp (a daily special) and one large ($8.50/ 16 oz.) soup of the day which was curried butternut squash. The salad had nice tasting fresh herbs and was very good. The soup was very tasty and spicy to the correct degree. We had one homemade watermelon sorbet (that actually tasted of watermelon). We were happy. Deborah Mok, the owner and chef, came in while we were there and she was very personable. It was a lovely experience. We spent $29.03 plus tip.

For our dinner on our second night we went back to Cambria to Indigo Moon Cafe (1980 Main St., Cambria, CA 93428, tel. 805-927-2911, web: indigomooncafe.com). Our server, Carmen, was nice but she got busy so others helped us. We had one half bottle of Honig Sauvignon Blanc ($18) that was good but over-priced. We had one appetizer of crab cakes ($12) and one Fettuccine, Jumbo White Shrimp with tomatoes, artichoke hearts, white wine lemon sauce and parmesan ($20). We both liked our meals. We did not order water ($.30 a glass) or bread. We were kind of put off by the extras. We spent $52.50 plus tip and were happy enough.

For our second breakfast we cleared our table of our laptops and ate our cereal, fruit, and cheese (their banana, milk and toast) in our room. Then off we went to San Francisco for dim sum at Yank Sing before heading to Novanto.