Happy Tuesday! It has been so so long since I got around to putting together a Travel Tuesday post – but I’m happy to say I finally sifted through a bunch of photos and have a really great dinner to share with you! I spent a lot of February traveling, and I was lucky enough to be able to visit some really great restaurants along the way. While I didn’t photograph all of them, I couldn’t help but try to get as many in as possible while still enjoying my vacation and time off. One of the first stops I had in California was in Solvang, a quaint, if not quirky, little town in the Santa Ynez Valley.
I found myself in Solvang on my oldest friend’s non-bachelorette bachelorette. A trip just three of us girls took together to have a bit of wine tasting and sunshine. The first night in Solvang we stumbled upon a super cute cafe called the Succulent Cafe. There wasn’t a ton on the menu that was geared toward a vegan – seeing as though a pig is their mascot. But there was such a cute outdoor spot to sit that we couldn’t pass up, and I’ve always found restaurants in California to be more accommodating than other places.
The Succulent Cafe was no exception. We looked at the menu, heard the specials, and I asked the waitress what they could do for me. They were so accommodating, offering to change the pasta special to suit my needs. It was a vegetable pasta with pesto sauce. Unfortunately for me, there was cheese in the pesto sauce. But they offered to toss it with some pine nuts and a little garlic and olive oil. And who am I to turn down fresh pasta? I had to try it.
The pasta was so tender and simply delicious. The veggies were cooked to perfection, not too firm but not too mushy. The pine nuts offered a good crunch and a little earthy flavor. While it wasn’t a fancy dish, it was so good. Some meals are like that – so simple, while at the same time being so darn delicious.
I am getting a bit ahead of myself though… we started the dinner with a delicious bruschetta (with the goat cheese on the side). It was the perfect mixture of garlic and tomato – full of flavor without being overpowering. It was so good, I even put a bit of it on my pasta to switch things up a bit at the end of the meal. Instead of being served with a baguette-type bread, this bruschetta came with toasted bread that was more like crackers. I loved them – they were light and crispy and the perfect pairing with the juicy tomatoes.
In addition to the delicious food, the Succulent Cafe was a total win on atmosphere too. The bistro lights are pretty much a given at an outdoor spot nowadays, especially in California. But what really got me was the firefly lights in mason jars on the table instead of candles. Have you ever heard of firefly lights? I hadn’t before this – and I was amazed by them. They were so beautiful! I have to figure out where I can get some of my own.
Once the waitress found out that we were in town for a special occasion, she sent out some creme brulee, which I couldn’t help but pull a bit of the candied sugar off the top to taste test. It was wonderful. The entire dinner was downright delicious, the service was good, and the atmosphere was terrific. If you find yourself in the Santa Ynez Valley any time soon, definitely make it a point to visit. You could sit beneath this adorable windmill! For real, remember up top when I said it was a quaint – yet quirky – little town? It’s heavily influenced by its Danish settlers. There’s a bit of trivia for you.