10 Best California B&Bs for Foodies

SACRAMENTO, CA [March 1, 2018]--No foodie worth her salt plans a trip without carefully considering the culinary offerings, and a well-known trait among bed and breakfast enthusiasts is their love of food. Fortunately, several California B&Bs rise to the occasion, showcasing exemplary culinary chops. The California Association of Boutique & Breakfast Inns (CABBI) has compiled a list of some of the best B&Bs where down-home hospitality is served with a side of world-class cuisine.

Chef John Cox, acclaimed for his micro-regional cuisine, is now the leading force behind the Bear and Star Restaurant at Fess Parker Wine Country Inn & Spa. The Bear and Star puts forth a refined Texas ranch cuisine that draws upon California’s bounty. The ranch at Fess Parker raises chickens, quail, rabbits, pigs, bees, and over 200 hundred acres of orchards and vineyards. The restaurant’s menu changes daily and is dictated by what’s fresh on the ranch. Chef Cox transforms humble favorites into greatness, like Wagyu meatloaf made with beef raised on the ranch, cast-iron cornbread with a delicate honey glaze, or smoky brined pork chop with cheesy grits and wine-braised cabbage.

The Restaurant at JUSTIN Winery and Just Inn, specializes in dishes that reflect the changing seasons and a wine list featuring selections from around the world and rarities from the cellar. Chef Paul Arangorin blends savory with sweet, nouveau with traditional, urban panache with down-home delicious. The restaurant’s seasonal five-course meal offers several options for each course and raises the art of wine-pairing to new heights, progressing from light fare paired with one of Justin winery’s crisp whites to hearty, to sophisticated dishes matched with a robust reds and sublime dessert pairings.

Fueled by ingredients from Joe and Catherine Bartolomei's ranch, or discovered by Chef Steve Litke on his daily farm stops en route to the inn, the menus at the Michelin-starred Farmhouse Inn rely exclusively on not only what is fresh and seasonal in Sonoma County, but on what is perfect, unexpected and delightful. The service is friendly, yet infinitely sophisticated and carefully orchestrated to the smallest detail. For an elevated experience, the restaurant has partnered with five local wineries for the 2018 Winemaker Dinner Series, an evening of handcrafted wines perfectly paired with Chef Litke’s locally-sourced fare.

At First & Oak at the Mirabelle Inn, Executive Chef Steven Snook and Sommelier Jonathan Rosenson have teamed up to create a restaurant dedicated to flavor and quality. Seasonal menus feature small plates and an opportunity to create a personalized tasting menu of three, four, or five courses. Although certainly not a requirement, diners are encouraged to choose one dish from each menu section to create a balanced culinary experience. For example, “To Begin” could include Osetra “Malossal” Caviar or Salt-Baked Beets with Toasted Hazelnut; “From the Ocean & Farm” could feature Lobster with Charred Sweet Corn or Roasted Pork Belly with a 63° Hens Egg; and “To Finish” could be a Caramel Apple Tiramisu.

Chef Budi Kazali, known for his French-Asian cuisine, refined his culinary skills at fine restaurants like Campton Place and Blue Ginger before returning to Santa Barbara County to purchase the Ballard Inn and Gathering Table with his wife, Chris. The menu features a variety of new and inventive shared plates and signature dishes highlighting local, seasonal produce and seafood. One standout dish is the Hamachi: melt-in-your-mouth fresh fish layered between slices of avocado, drizzled with a soy-yuzu vinaigrette, and topped with delicate watercress, crispy shallots, and porcini mushrooms. The newly-redesigned restaurant offers a cozy, convivial atmosphere, impeccable service, and an excellent wine list showcasing regional wines.

The imaginative menu at Sage Restaurant at the McCloud Hotel near Mt. Shasta changes with the seasons to include vegetables and herbs from their own garden. Local farmers and purveyors round out the menu with grass-fed beef, sustainable fish, handcrafted cheeses made from raw goat milk and thistle rennet, honey harvested from the base of Mt. Shasta and produce sourced from local CSAs.  The intimate restaurant, which is located off the lobby of the historic hotel, serves elevated American fare with California, French and Mediterranean flair in an intimate dining room.

On California’s redwood coast, Carter House Inns’ Restaurant 301 is considered a destination restaurant by many.  The cuisine showcases herbs, greens and vegetables from the inn’s own gardens as well as the region’s finest seasonal delicacies, such as Humboldt Bay’s Kumamoto oysters and fresh salmon from the Pacific.  The chefs source fresh, local produce daily to craft artful dishes pleasing to the eye as well as the palate.  In the dining room, guests may order a la carte, or enjoy the chef’s prix fixe menu:  a memorable five-course feast complete with wine pairings.  A Wine Spectator Grand Award winner since 1998, the restaurant’s wine list offers several thousand selections, including wines from Carter Cellars and Envy Wines, Carters’ own winery in Napa Valley.

Whether it’s the best of the farmer’s market, produce from the garden or even a wild mushroom foraged from the woods, Gillian Kite—chef, cookbook author and owner of Calistoga’s Wine Way and Craftsman Inns’ —takes the best local ingredients to produce a stunning breakfast for her guests. She playfully blends the best of her European heritage and her American home to produce delightful dishes that please the palate and the eye, and that elevate classic favorites into works of art. Everyone loves French toast, but when Chef Gillian kicks it up to produce her famous Bread and Butter Pudding: it’s French toast on steroids.

The Gables Wine Country Innin the heart of Sonoma Wine Country, provides guests with a truly extraordinary three-course breakfast, with made-from-scratch pastries that change daily. The inn sources most of its ingredients locally, with some—like blackberries, peaches, apples and tomatoes—grown on the property.  Entrees range from the inn’s signature Breakfast BLT—a luxe version of the classic that features a poached egg on grilled, house-made rosemary focaccia with balsamic roasted tomatoes, avocado aioli, spinach and Black Pig bacon—to the ever-popular Cloud Soufflé served with crusty bread for dipping. Throughout the year, the owners host multi-course wine-pairing dinners—complete with two-night stays at the inn—featuring wines from local Sonoma County wineries.

Brewery Gulch Inn honors the role exceptional food plays as part of a memorable travel experience by sourcing the best organic, regional produce, and by treating guests each morning to an outstanding cooked-to-order breakfast featuring the inn’s famous “Millionaire’s Bacon,” a sublime balance of salty, sweet, spicy, and umami flavors. The evening’s wine hour includes a light dinner buffet that might offer pepper-seared scallops, Moroccan lamb, halibut escabeche, Dungeness crab cakes, and carefully curated local wines and beers. More often than not, guests choose to cancel their dinner reservations elsewhere in favor of staying in to enjoy the inn’s dinner spread. 

For more information about these and other B&Bs in California, visit www.cabbi.com.

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Media Contact: Ranee Ruble, ranee@papermooncreative.net or 503-788-3938

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The California Association of Boutique & Breakfast Inns (CABBI) is the largest and most influential bed & breakfast and boutique inn association in the nation and is the only California bed & breakfast association affiliated with the California Hotel & Lodging Association. CABBI was formed in 1991 to promote the bed and breakfast experience to the traveling public and to educate, support and encourage CABBI members to provide a quality stay for inn travelers.