Although Jessica James officially created Fluff Cupcakery in 2010, that wasn’t when she started baking. Having grown up with a mother who was a cake decorator, Jessica took to baking like a duck to water, and she’s been practicing the are since before she knew how to cook. This passion naturally grew into Fluff Cupcakery. There, she offers five unique flavors of cupcakes every day. She also keeps her menu extra fresh by rotating in two to three different cupcakes varieties every day. Fluff Cupcakery stays open until 5 p.m. during the week, and 3 p.m. on Saturdays, but has been known to close up shop early if their cupcakes have sold out or they’ve used all the flour in California to make one Rose Bowl-sized cupcake.
In high school, Tammy Hunziker was asked to describe the perfect man for a class assignment. Her answer—a gingerbread man—had little impact on her future personal life, but everything to do with her future career. Nowadays, Hunziker still bakes batches of gingerbread cookies, alongside oatmeal cookies, snickerdoodles, and meringues at her specialty bakery, Room for Dessert. Some cookies are frosted to resemble smiling faces, and others depict tasseled mortarboards, wedding dresses, and jack-o’-lanterns wondering if they’ll ever grow up to be a pie. An array of frosted cakes and cupcakes complement the cookies in flavors such as brown sugar, lemon, and dark chocolate.
At Famous Dave’s BBQ, hand-rubbed St. Louis-style spareribs smoke over a hickory fire for 3-4 hours. A generous helping of sweet and sassy sauce—made from Famous Dave’s secret recipe—seals in the ribs’ piquant flavor and also makes appearances on other barbeque specialties including country-roasted chicken and regular or boneless wings. Joining Famous Dave’s menu of barbecue staples are burgers and citrus shrimp fresh from the grill as well as sandwiches, southern sides, and desserts.
Superior Court Judge John M. Phillips spent his career witnessing the cycle of offending and incarceration in which local youth often became trapped. He founded Rancho Cielo Youth Campus to help prevent first-time offenders from getting stuck in this negative spiral by giving them educational and vocational alternatives to crime. After acquiring the Natividad Boys' Ranch, a long-dormant juvenile-incarceration facility, he transformed it into a comprehensive educational environment with classrooms, a wood shop, a ceramics room, and a natural setting.
Today, Rancho Cielo Youth Campus helps underserved youth in Monterey County find their place in society with educational programs and social services that range from healthful eating to drug diversion. The ranch also provides vocational training and job placement in the culinary-arts and construction fields. The sprawling 100-acre grounds contain two lakes, stables, and a cultivated garden, all of which host outdoor activities and recreational programs including fishing, dance classes, and sports leagues.
Bertha Campbell Cole stepped back and let out a satisfied sigh after making the final pink brushstrokes on the wooden siding of the 1856 hotel. She had traveled throughout Southeast Asia with her husband for years, but was now firmly planted back in her childhood territory on Northern California soil. The year was 1935, and Bertha's new stationary lifestyle meant that she could finally realize her dream of opening a teahouse. In forthcoming decades, the intimate space would sate the appetites of celebrities such as Alfred Hitchcock and Beverly Sills, as well as many noncelebrities who simply liked ornately papered walls. Today, owner Charlie Shockey continues La Casa Rosa Restaurant's tradition by serving luncheons fashioned from Mexican-inspired recipes, local herbs and produce, and seasonally changing red and white wines. Chefs bake corn, beef, and cheeses into california casseroles, following an original recipe given to Bertha's aunts by a local Mexican commandant. Chicken and seafood soufflés sail past antique dolls, pictures, and a gramophone to tables in the main dining room, or on their way to an outdoor courtyard among flowering shrubs and giraffes. Wines such as Ash Blonde—a French-Italian blended aperitif—chill glasses alongside domestic and imported beers, and a baby grand piano holds a row of sample jams and chutneys off to one side of the dining room. After tastings, visitors can order the local preserves, which staff members then pack into decorative pink boxes.
Designed by 1992 Masters champion Fred Couples, San Juan Oaks Golf Club showcases an 18-hole course that arches across 7,133 yards of San Juan Valley terrain. On the front nine, golfers test their mettle at one of Freddy's favorite holes, the 204-yard, par-3 sixth hole, where tee shots must speed through swirling winds and trees wielding catchers’ mitts to land on a green guarded by oak and eucalyptus trees. The back nine rolls through the valley’s foothills, regaling golfers with frequent elevation changes and back-to-back tees—at 16 and 17—that offer stunning views of the surrounding area. The course frequently draws top-flight golfers and is a Stage-One site of the PGA Tour's Qualifying School.
Before taking to the first tee, golfers can warm up at the club’s practice facilities, which include a 15-acre, all-grass driving range, a 10,000-square-foot putting green, and an area for chipping and bunker shots. Elegant, high-beamed ceilings and a wood-burning fireplace await golfers and underfed 9-irons at the restaurant, which serves breakfast and lunch.
Course at a Glance: