The coastal town of Cambria lies about 6 miles south of San Simeon, midway between San Francisco and Los Angeles. Though the village is small, it has a host of attractions to keep vacationers occupied, including 30 art galleries in the charming downtown area, beachfront boardwalks at Moonstone Beach, and a cast of hulking seals at the elephant-seal rookery.Just a few miles away lies the famed Hearst Castle, the enormous, European-style palace built by newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst. The building took more than 25 years to complete and houses more than 100 elaborate rooms and an astounding collection of Spanish and Italian art and antiques. Numerous tours crisscross the 127-acre estate throughout the day, acquainting visitors with the grand rooms, cottages, kitchens, and fitness room wallpapered with Hearst's collection of Family Circle comic strips.
Chef Giancarlo Cucumo grew up amid the "lean cuisine" of Bari, Italy, where he learned to cook fresh seafood, chop veggies, and drizzle olive oil at a young age. When Giancarlo arrived in Morro Bay after a long, globe-trotting culinary career, it was like returning to the climate of his homeland, right down to the ample fishing and fresh produce. It proved the perfect locale for Giancarlo's Ristorante Italiano Mediterraneo.
That Mediterranean background can be tasted throughout Giancarlo's menu: ravioli stuffed with sea bass and smothered in a brandy-tomato cream sauce; racks of lamb encrusted with herb-honey and roasted over an oak-wood fire, pizzas crispy from a stint inside a wood-burning oven. The dessert lineup, meanwhile, is dominated by cheesecakes, pastries, and gelato. The restaurant's open-kitchen layout also adds a touch of culinary theatre to the meal.
Eighty-one-thousand vines grow across Malibu Family Wines' 90-acre vineyard, producing eight varietals in total, including cabernet sauvignon, sauvignon blanc, and malbec. Once bottled and corked, many of the vineyard's Semler and Saddlerock wines end up at the tasting room in Los Olivos, a homey space with indoor and outdoor seating, occasional live music, and a large wooden tasting bar where customers are free to smell, sample, and swirl away. Those who enjoy the wines can rejoice knowing there's more where that came from?the vineyard expects to increase its vine total to 100,000 in the near future.