Beach getaway

Where are my Big Little Lies fans at?!? Sadly I binged season 2 long ago but still felt a twinge of excitement spending this past weekend in the sleepy little beach town where it was filmed: Monterey, California. Meryl Streep walked those streets!

We arrived on Friday evening within minutes of our friends Jessica and Neil. Starving, we quickly said hello and made our way down the street to Googie Grill, a funky retro spot with way better food than it’s name leads you to believe. The girls went for the “Man’s meatloaf” with mashed potatoes and veggies, while the boys ordered fish. We all splurged for decadent housemate desserts; the apple crumble with ice cream and berries being my favorite.

Jessica and I went to high school and college together so we have some late-night party stories under our belts, but this weekend was not about reliving the past. After dinner and some light channel surfing back at our Airbnb, we were in bed by 11pm.


I was excited to try Acme Coffee the next morning, just a few minutes drive from where we were staying. It didn’t disappoint but I was confused because there wasn’t any bread there. (For those who don’t know, Acme bread is a Bay Area favorite and so, so good.) I guess they are different companies?

Instead of bread, we opted for pastries and donuts so no real complaints there… (and still all of the carbs!)

We spent the rest of the day navigating cute shops, cafes, and eateries between the wharf and Cannery Row. We lucked out with beautiful weather and great views of the ocean.

Jessica and I did some yoga back at the Airbnb before dinner and, after 10,000+ steps it was much needed.

For dinner, we decided to take multiple people’s recommendations and try Monterey Fish House. Maybe it was just too hyped up – or maybe Googie Grill is just the real deal hidden gem – but we were all underwhelmed with our meals and the restaurant in general. The place was cozy but a little too bustling for our taste. The food was good but didn’t leave a lasting impression. I would say it’s worth going once (if you go early and the wait isn’t hours long, which apparently happens!) but not a repeat place.

After it was game time! We broke out Sheriff of Nottingham, which is one of my all time favorite games, and had fun trying to smuggle contraband through the market (play the game and you’ll know!).

We went to sleep again at a reasonable time because 1. none of us are in college anymore and 2., Mike had a race the next morning that we were getting up early for.


Before the sun came out, we bundled up and trekked down to Lover’s Point (a filming location from BLL) where Mike was participating in an aqua-bike (just the swim and bike portion of a triathlon). It was cold, dark, and foggy. I typically go with Mike to his races and will hangout with him until the start and then go grab coffee somewhere are read a book. It was a luxury having Jessica and Neil there this time to go on a coffee run, while I waited with Mike on the beach. It’s amazing what a hot cup of coffee and a fresh blueberry muffin can do for you at 7am. 🙂

In the end the fog didn’t dissipate and the race coordinators canceled the swim portion. Bummer! Mike still did the bike part of the race while Jessica and Neil headed home. I found a sunny spot and read a book until Mike finished and then we were like BRUNCH! We found a local spot called Crema that was the perfect end to our beach get away.

Thinking about Reese and Meryl…..

Beach town weekend

In classic California fashion, we spent the weekend exploring beach towns here in the Bay Area. We visited both Half Moon Bay and Santa Cruz, exploring a mix of touristy and local things.

Mike’s parents arrived from Toronto on Friday and before beach bumming it, we kicked things off at B Street and Vine in downtown San Mateo. This place is a local Bay Area gem with the best bruschetta around.

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On Saturday, after coffee and a light breakfast, we drove to Half Moon Bay. Our first stop was back to Dad’s Lunchonette for burgers, beers, and mac n’ cheese. Just like the last time Mike and I went to Dad’s, we took it to-go and ate on the beach across the street at Half Moon Bay State Beach. True to NorCal weather, it was a windy but the sun stayed shinning throughout the afternoon; making for a nice day!

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After we ate, we played a few rounds of Kubb (Barb and Dan beating us 2/3 games). Next up? A nice beach stroll where we found a flock of baby seagulls, proving that everything is cute when it is a baby and small!

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The boys setting things up

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They were so tiny!

After our walk, we drove to Half Moon Bay Distillery for a FREE tour. HMB Distillery is a small craft distillery run by a husband and wife. Ulli gave our tour and she was great! Now thinking about it though, the tour was actually more of a talk. It started with a introduction video explaining how her and her husband started the distillery. Then she told us all about vodka and gin – how they were made and the key differences between them – following it up with tastes of each.

I was a big fan of their gin so we ended up going home with a bottle. I also just love to support local and small businesses. Plus, since the whole thing was free, I’m glad we bought something at the end. If you’re ever in Half Moon Bay, I recommend checking it out.

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Those gorgeous Cali. beaches 👌

We ended the night back in the south bay at one of mine and Mike’s favorite restaurants, Orchard City Kitchen.

On Sunday we started the day at The Mystery Spot in Santa Cruz. This place is a little touristy but at $8 a ticket (and $5 to park), it’s a fun, reasonably priced thing to do. Plus, the drive there is beautiful under all of the California redwoods.

The Mystery Spot claims to be “a gravitational anomaly.” You’re able to do all of these weird things like stand a table and lean off of it without falling (pictures below). It is only a 45 minute tour – that’s pretty cheesy with a lot of punny jokes – but I think it was worth it.

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After The Mystery Spot we drove to downtown Santa Cruz. One of our favorite thing to do as a couple is go to the Tea House Spa, where you can enjoy a hour spa and a hour massage for only $180. Such a deal! We didn’t do this with Mike’s parents but there is a cool beer place nearby that we usually go to after the spa called Lúpulo Craft Beer House. We decided to stop there first for beers and a meat and cheese plate. It was a nice day out so we were able to sit on the patio and enjoy our brews and noshes.

After we walked to Mike’s favorite place in Santa Cruz to stock up on cookies at Pacific Cookie Company. Typically I rather go for something else indulgent (like a really good cheese or wine!) but even I have to admit, the cookies are delish here.

We ended the day at Pour Taproom on the main strip in downtown. Mike and I have been there before and think it’s a cool idea. There aren’t any bartenders here but, instead, you serve yourself with selections of different beer, mead, and wine to pick from. One huge wall is lined with all of the taps and you can do a “taste” (2 ounces), a “flight” (4 ounces), or a full glass. You’re given a bracelet to wear that tracks your pours to pay at the end.

I think we each tried about 4 different beers while playing a game of parcheesi, which is about the longest game ever. We actually ended up leaving before we finished. Then it was time to head back over the hill to go home.

Tired but happy from a good weekend, we curled up and watched Lady Gaga’s new special on Netflix, Five Foot Two, in our new spacious office!

I See You Morro Bay

Mike’s hobby is triathlons (cue the jokes about not running even if you were paid, let alone swimming and biking before…!) and through the sport he met Gary & April. After training together – the 3 of them scouting out different local trails and swimming pools – I finally got to meet them at a bar for drinks one night shortly after.

This was about four years ago. Since then, Gary and April have moved down to Southern California (waaaahhh!) but we still see each other as often as possible. We love to plan trips around triathlons (I spectate, they swim/bike/run) and either camp, share an airbnb, or – if we’re feeling really cheap – a hotel room with 2 beds and hopefully a hot tub. We’ve been all around California as a goofy foursome, hitting up different tris in Napa, SLO, and Tahoe.

This past weekend, along with Mike and Gary participating in a tri, we also celebrated my birthday in Morro Bay, exactly 3 hours in between us in the central coast. Morro Bay is your quintessential little beach town, with it’s salty air and ocean sound effects adding ambiance to the creaky, semi-worn down restaurants and shops lining the roads.

Upon arriving on Friday night, we went to the store to stock up on beer and breakfast noms for the next morning. I’m a big fan of IPAs and found a tangerine one that was nomnom. It was a perfect combination of citrus and hoppy; and a solid 6% – beer under 5% is a waste of time and calories! After a few beers and catching up a little bit, we all went to bed.

The next morning we drank coffee (tea for Mike!) and made a decadent breakfast. I’ve mentioned on the blog a few times that a splash of 1/2&1/2 in my morning coffee would be one of the hardest things to give up if I were ever to be a vegan. I’m surprised that this theory has been actually debunked… I now prefer almond milk in my coffee over cow’s milk. Now, if only cheese wasn’t part of the reason I live so delicious…

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Morning view of the Morro Bay Rock from our airbnb
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The digs

For breakfast we have waffles, eggs, bacon, and strawberries. Fuel for a fun day is downtown San Luis Obispo. There was a Dia De Los Muertos estival in that we explored before eating at Luna Red. A few years ago we went to the same place for breakfast after a camping trip nearby and all four of us still remembered how good it was. We had to go back! Like last time, it didn’t disappoint. We left filled up on cocktails and tacos.

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I’ve got almond milk clouds in my coffee…
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Me & April #a2

When we got back to our airbnb, Gary and April took a nap. Trying to resist napping myself, Mike and I started an episode of The West Wing but the allure of sleep beat out Aaron Sorkin’s witty banter and I quickly fell asleep.

For dinner we went Rose’s Bar and Grill and sat out by the water. Morro Bay is famous for this massive rock and we had a great view! April and I each ordered a glass of white wine, a house salad, and the lobster mac n’ cheese. Hooray for girlfriends to spilt dinners with! (Even though, to be fair, Mike does spilt things with me most of the time.)

As we were walking out, we spotted a small arcade room with air hockey. We stopped for a few rounds before heading back to the house where we finished the night off with a game of Love Letters, a house favorite.

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Dinner and a view!
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Mike holding my purse (thanks Life in Leggings for the recommendation!)  while I played air hockey
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Games and vino

The next morning, Gary and Mike woke up early to set up for the triathlon they were participating in! April and I spelt in and took our time getting down to the start. Added bonus: it was daylight savings (daylight saving?) and no one was complaining about the extra hour off sleep.

After we watched both Mike and Gary make it back from the swim, April and I headed to The Coffee Pot for some much needed BLACK MAGIC and breakfast. Here we spilt (again, I know) a breakfast croissant and home fries. Then it was back to the finish line to see our men come in from the run.

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Mike peeling off his wetsuit after the swim (the only picture I got, ek)
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“Now a silly one….”

Sweaty and tired, we went back to the house for the guys to shower and then packed up the cars, cleaned up the house, and were right back downtown ready to eat again!

Then it was time to head home and say goodbye 😦 but not without seeing a little otter family in the bay first!

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Until next time, Morro Bay!


** Note this blog went through a rebrand and is now veg vibes; which aligns better with the direction I organically gravitated towards. It’s all about your vibe.**