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 Goodie 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 Goodie 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. ūüôā

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…..

Washington… you my jam

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Monday was particularly hard today because we spent the weekend away in Washington and had such a good time!¬†Our friends Morgan and Joe (celebrity name: MoJo) moved to Bellevue last year and because life is so busy, Mike and I were finally able to make it up there for a visit (10 months later). We flew out¬†Friday evening¬†and, to tide us over for the flight,¬†split a beer and a small order of potato skins at the airport. Yum, airport food…………..

We arrived in¬†Seattle¬†around 9pm, a little cold (California is in a serious drought and I haven’t experienced life under 70 degrees in a while…) but mostly just really excited to be there! MoJo got engaged this year (!) and Morgan just started¬†a new job so there was a lot to catch up on our drive to where they live in Bellevue.

Bellevue is this perfect little city (that amazingly isn’t too crowded or dirty) about 10 minutes from Seattle. We stopped at one of Morgan and Joe’s favorite restaurant Lot No. 3¬†before going back to their apartment. We started the night with drinks (wine for the ladies and beer for the men) while we waited for our table. I expected to be starving by this point but wasn’t actually too hungry when we sat down for dinner. Instead of ordering a full meal I stuck with one veggie slider (which were sold individually) and a side of fries.¬†I’m not sure if it’s more of a mental thing or an actual physical reaction but sometimes eating meat (like the bacon pieces on our potato skins) makes me feel nauseous so I thought it was best to go vegetarian at dinner.¬†Washington has all of these amazing local, organic,¬†vegetarian/vegan¬†options when dining out. Heaven!

After dinner we headed to MoJo’s for a few brews and glasses of wine before bed. Which was after 2am… Which is really late for us now… ( Or, at least for me!)

The next morning was pretty lazy with a late wake up call and a decadent brunch. (My favorite kind of morning!) We went to the Hyatt for unlimited fresh squeezed orange juice(!), eggs Benedict and apple + almond waffles. The food was delicious even in the midst of a reverse hangover…. (I have no idea why but I woke up feeling fine and then progressively started showing signs of a hangover…!?!?)

After brunch we drove around Lake Washington¬†to look at all of the nice houses that ¬†surround the area. (Bill Gates lives here, to give you an idea of the houses there…. $$$$$$$$$$$) After a short tour, I was in some serious need of caffeine so we made a pit stop at Cafe Cesura,¬†a “hip” (do people still say that?) cafe¬†where I really wanted to try a latte but¬†was¬†feeling nauseous again so ordered an organic black English breakfast tea to-go instead.

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I’m in the middle of a 30 day yoga challenge so before we headed out again Morgan and I did a quick yoga sesh.¬†After we namaste’d, it was time to go WINE TASTING. We drove a few miles from Bellevue to Woodinville, which is a super cute little town with a lot¬†different places to wine taste. Our first stop was a smaller place where we snagged a corner table and sipped on ros√©s, whites and reds. Next we went to Mark Ryan, a trendy, open tasting room recommended to Morgan by a friend. This place had cool high ceilings and a more trendier vibe than our first tasting. I’m not a wine expert by any means (I order the cheapest glass on the menu!) but Morgan knows a lot about different flavors, grapes, etc. Slightly buzzed we decided it was time for some quick appetizers at Purple Cafe.¬†The menu here was amazing and, if it was later, I would have loved to eat dinner here. But since it was barely five, we stuck to small plates to share. We ordered a fig and goat cheese flat bread and an order of spicy prawns and frites. After we chowed down (and sobered up), we recognized this combination was a little strange but does it really matter when you’re on vacation? #no

IMG_1175When we got back to Bellevue, we headed to Earls for dinner. Mike and I had been to¬†Earls a few years ago when we did a trip to B.C. and since most of the locations are in Canada, we were happy to be able to go back! I ordered the chicken tacos with a side Cesar salad and a too-sweet peach cocktail that I couldn’t finish. (Like most of the trip, I forgot to snap a picture until midway through my meal but I can promise, the food tasted a lot better than it looks in my crappy picture…) After dinner we went back to MoJo’s where we were planning on calling it a night until we googled a bar recommended to us from some frequent Seattle visitors and realized it wouldn’t be open the next day before our flight. So we headed back out for a nightcap at ¬†Zigzag,¬†¬†a speakeasy type bar with old school cocktails. I was already showered and in my pajamas when we decided to go and, typically, I would have wanted to stay in but since Sunday was our last day, I figured why not?! You can sleep on the weekdays, after all.

12063018_424036884458587_671607061_nOn Sundy, our flight wasn’t until 8pm so we still had an entire day left to explore the PNW. After another late-start morning,¬†we walked to a nearby cafe for croissants and lattes. Mike and I split the chocolate + almond and ham + cheese¬†croissants. One savory and one sweet to satisfy both of our cravings. And then we were off to explore Pike Place Market, a major tourist spot in¬†Seattle. We walked around the farmer’s market while sampling chocolates and sipping on organic apple cider. Since California ¬†hasn’t gotten the memo that it’s fall now, it was nice to¬†enjoy¬†some cooler weather and cozier activities. (We’re still swimming on the weekends¬†at home.) After Pike Place we went to Capitol Hill, which is the equivalent to the Castro in San Francisco for Seattle. It was fun to explore another new neighborhood and proves that visiting locals in the best way to¬†travel. In sticking with the theme of local-favorites, we headed to Paseo¬†next. Mike’s old roommate moved up to WA and told usIMG_1184 about this sandwich shop-gem. Word to the wise?¬†IF YOU EVER VISIT SEATTLE YOU¬†NEED TO GO TO PASEO! Mike and I split a Caribbean Roast and Paseo Press while¬†Morgan and Joe stuck to veggie options and got the Onion Obsessed Sandwich and Tofu Delight. In¬†between big bites, messy hands, and giant sauteed onion slices, the four of us raved about Paseo’s food the entire meal.

After our massive, marvelous,¬†sandwiches, it was time to go to the airport. Washington was so much fun with some of the best food I’ve had this year! (Which reminded me of¬†how underwhelmed I was with the food when I was in New York a few months ago… Stay tuned for the post!)

#VegOut

‚ô° Ashley