An afternoon getaway to Los Olivos sounds like the perfect break from working. We love this quaint little town! But we are starving! It’s now 2:30 and it’s way past feeding time at the zoo! Fortunately Los Olivos Wine Merchant and Cafe is still open and serving.
Wine Merchant Cafe for lunch is just the ticket! The wisteria-covered patio welcomes you at the Wine Merchant and Cafe. When you enter, a massive concrete fireplace and bar divides the wine shop from the cafe. Our chiropractor in San Diego, Jeanne Grant, highly recommends the mushroom raviolis and she is not wrong!
Michele has the Skirt Steak Cobb Salad and I can tell by the oh’s and ah’s she will be making this at home! Or some version of it.
There are a trio of mushrooms in the filling of each ravioli and they are smothered in a rich mushroom cream sauce. Decadent and oh so satisfying! The trio of mushroom ravioli is even better with focaccia bread to sop up the mushroom sauce! Super yummy!!
Now that we are fortified by our hearty lunch we have the strength to do a little wine tasting. Carhartt Vineyards has “the smallest tasting room in the “world”. What it lacks in size, it makes up for in personality and very good wines! Ground to Glass is their slogan and they feel it expresses their way of life. From the vineyard where the grapes are grown, to the wine making process on the ranch to the tasting room where the wine is poured, you will find the Carhartt families mark on every wine they serve. With so many wineries to choose from, you will definitely want to put this one on the top of your list!
Joe Ramos shares the history of Carhartt with great passion. The Carhartt philosophy is: “Sun, water, soil, climate – all integrated parts – all weather driven. Thus, the weather vanes featured on each label, are also found atop each of the structures located on the ranch and winery [property. The rich history, the family, the connection remain, all reflect the Carhartt’s passion and dedication to qualify wine.” In the 1940’s and ˜50’s, the ranch used to be the headquarters for a 2500-acre dairy/swine operation. In 1996, Mike and Brooke Carhartt planted 7 acres of Merlot and 3 acres of Syrah grapes. They soon figured out that selling the fruit from 10 acres of grapes were not going to pay the farming costs. The idea to make wine was born!
Oh, the good life! Wine tasting in chairs made from wine barrels in a tropical setting. Even the foot rests are made from the staves of wine barrels. We are in the mood!
Los Olivos embraces you from the minutes you turn onto the main street. In fact, the main street with little crossing side streets is the whole town. Probably why we love the quaint small town feeling. The General Store features an impressive selection of imported as well as organic items both packaged and fresh , and a large selection of California wines and cheeses from around the region. You can order a hand crafted sandwich from the deli and relax in the glass enclosed atrium with a glass of wine from one of the local vineyards. The General Store also is a gift shop with an eclectic assortment of items from candles, to jewelry to garden art. A delightful place to visit!
Mattei’s Tavern, one of the oldest rustic wood structures in California, was once a stagecoach stop run by Swiss-American Felix Mattei. In 1886 it welcomed dust laden and weary travelers who appreciated eating something other than stale biscuits. The two-story building served as a bar, dining room, an inn, and even a brothel for travelers making their way through California. The sound of the wind rustling the wisteria that hangs over the trellised entrance is a reminder of days gone by. Today, classically trained Executive Chef and partner Robbie Wilson (of Maison Troisgros, Craft, and The French Laundry) treats guests to something they would have eaten back in the day updated with modern inspiration.
Anyone for Chocolates and Coffee? How perfectly convenient that they are right next door to each other. A great way to wrap up the day with some sweets and caffeine for the drive back to our home sweet home on wheels!