Enjoying the drive from Sacramento to Escondido

The plan was to leave Sacramento early since we had a long drive ahead. Breakfast was part of our hotel stay and wasn't bad all things considered. Coffee, eggs, bacon and toast. Couldn't ask for more really.  Plus, the gal running the show making sure everything was full and fresh was so friendly and seemed to truly enjoy her job. Not always found in the hospitality business it seems. We'd wait to get a real coffee in Modesto.

Preservation Coffee & Tea was next on the list all thanks to Alton Brown and his tour stopping there. I didn't know what to expect but what we got was perfect. Definitely a California hipster spot with great offerings. Go figure that one of the beans they use comes from Olympia Coffee Roasting Co.

Preservation Coffee & Tea in Modesto

Preservation Coffee & Tea in Modesto

Since we got them "to go" I didn't get a photo of the crema but it was there and it was glorious.  I chose the Havana coffee. Maybe my new favorite indulgence. Cuban coffee with some cream and sugar. So so good! 

Early pick me up-Havana Coffee

Early pick me up-Havana Coffee

Nothing very exciting on this stretch. Tuna from the cooler for lunch at a Starbucks parking lot in Fowler. A pit stop at one of CA-99's few rest areas (beautiful though). A detour just off the highway in hopes of finding fresh California dates at California Fruit Depot. Which turned out to be a working orange orchard with a small fruit stand. Super friendly staff and the smell of oranges was intoxicating.

Orange grove and farm stand in Bakersfield

Orange grove and farm stand in Bakersfield

CA-99 rest area/interpretation center

CA-99 rest area/interpretation center

I'm glad we opted to take the more eastern route to Escondido rather than I-5. It was a nice change of scenery as well as cooler temperatures. Wind farms, trains, rolling hills, amazing rock formations and even some Joshua trees.

Near Tehachapi

Near Tehachapi

Somewhere near Mohave

Somewhere near Mohave

The dinner stop ended up being in Riverside. So glad we have friends and Facebook to help us find the good spots. Thanks Sketch! I doubt we would have found it ourselves although the name alone was why we had to go there. When you come across a place called The Salted Pig....you stop. Well, at least if your name ends in Schwab as ours does. Needless to say, we were not disappointed. It was a bit dark inside (hence the grainy photos) but since it was a cool, old building that was understandable. Great local beer selection, creative food and they make their own ice cream. Super sweet waitress too.

Paul chose the Boulevard Tank 7 Farmhouse Ale and me, the never heard of till now, Smog City Sabre-Toothed Squirrel. Both very nice beers and fun to have Tank 7 on tap.

Paul opted for the boar tamale in molé, Ellie the baby octopus and I couldn't pass up the lamb stew with pumpkin puree, roasted lamb, pickled pumpkin, fried lentils and herbed lebneh. It was good enough that Ellie wanted to help me finish it off. 

Part of the beer selection at The Salted Pig

Part of the beer selection at The Salted Pig

The Salted Pig

The Salted Pig

How The Salted Pig draws you in

How The Salted Pig draws you in

Last indulgence for the night. Sharing a scoop of their homemade ice cream. Candied bacon and vanilla.  Yes please.

Nothing left of the homemade candied bacon vanilla ice cream

Nothing left of the homemade candied bacon vanilla ice cream

We rolled into Escondido just after 9pm. Not too tired but glad to be here and spread out on a comfy couch. All in all, this day of the trip proved to be quite enjoyable. As an added bonus, we hit no crazy California traffic!!