After the adventure
that was Madonna, we headed north on Highway 1 … driving right along the
Pacific Ocean coast. Our destination: Sideways Country. “Sideways“, which was
nominated for 5 Academy Awards, revolves around characters Jack and Miles and
their adventures in eating and drinking through the central coast wine country.

G and I are oenophiles and wanted to
relive some of the movie by visiting the various locations where it was shot,
namely: Buellton, Solvang and Los Olivos. On route, we stopped in Malibu and
Pepperdine University to take in gorgeous views of the Pacific.

LA - Brent at PepperdineSideways - Santa BarbaraSideways - Champagne
1) Brent at
Pepperdine U; 2) G wanders through Santa Barbara; 3) our excellent
In oh-so-beautiful
Santa Barbara (a place I could retire in for sure) we discovered great shopping
and a place called “World Markets” where you could get our favourite beverage –
Champagne – dirt cheap. At least compared to here. In World Markets we picked up
yummy Veuve Clicquot and a 1998 Dom Perignon (the Dom was $100 cheaper than here!
…. gotta love a deal like that).
Arriving in
Buellton, we stayed at the Days Inn “Windmill” – the same hotel you’ll see in
the movie. It was fun/weird to be in the same place you saw in the movie. Well
worth a visit. The “hokey-ness” factor was high but so much

Sideways - Days InnSideways - Days Inn bedroom
4) the Days Inn
windmill; 5) our clean and basic room
Days Inn
(all ratings are 0-5 where 0 is ‘horrible-avoid’; 3 ‘good’; 5 ‘exceptional’):
Check-in: 3 –
efficient, almost rote I’d say
View: 1 – how do you
score a view of a parking lot and trees with a freeway behind
Value: 5 – two
nights for a $US130 is a good deal I think.
Uniqueness: 5 – what
other hotels used as film locations can you stay at? Alright, granted there is
the Hyatt in Tokyo from “Lost in Translation” but gawd, that’d be $US400/night
easy. Pool area was nice; great buffet breakfast included in room price; free
USA Today each morning and best of all … the hotel is walking (read:
staggering) distance from The Hitching Post restaurant (also featured in the
movie and serving the best freaking pinot noir you’ll drink along with the best
freaking bbq-ed steaks you’ll ever eat, period)
Overall – solid
3 (I’d never stay there again, but I would tell folks to spend one night there
…. Solvang is far more charming and probably far more

Sideways - Solvang townSideways - Solvang windmill 2Sideways - Solvang windmill
6 & 7 & 8) windmills
We started our
touring day in the picturesque Danish town of Sovlang, three miles from
Buellton,  to shop and sample Danish pastries. The danishes there are lighter, fluffier, flakier and tastier than the glazed suger coated ones here. Solvang is so neat. A little
piece of Denmark trapped in Southern California. From there we headed to the
Gainey Winery. We did a full tour here with only two other folks … a
semi-private tour which was cool. Afterwards and still before noon we tasted 8
wines, poured by a tipsy retired lawyer who managed to get Gainey’s wines
saleable online. She was a hoot and kept wanting to give us more!

Sideways - Gainey signSideways - Gainey big barrelsSideways - Gainey bottle room

9) Gainey Winery;
10) the barrel room where wine ages in oak; 11) the bottling room (5000 bottles
mature here)


Sideways - Gainey Winery vinesSideways - Brent harvesting 2
12) vines starting
to flower; 13) Brent tends the crop

From Gainey we
headed to Los Olivos for lunch at the Los Olivos Wine Merchant (another film
location shoot: it’s at this restaurant that Jack and Miles take the two ladies
and where Jack makes his drunken call back to his ex-wife). We lunched out on
the patio under the wisteria … it was lovely (sigh). 

Sideways - Los Olivos winesSideways - Los Olivos
14) the huge selection of wines
at Los Olivos; 15) the wisteria covered patio
After lunch we
wandered lost looking for Carina Wines (and we had a map!), eventually
realizing it was back in town! Doh! We sampled 6 wines at their tasting bar,
none of which were memorable. 
Heading back into
Buellton for dinner we stopped at Ostrich Land (another filming
location) and bought California mutant strawberries, the size of tennis balls. Why is everything in America so much BIGGER! Penises aside.

Afterwards, we walked down to The Hitching Post for another tasting
(a rose, followed by a flight of three oh-my-gawd-fabulous pinot noirs and then
two syrahs). The Hitching Post is famous (not only for being a filming location
but even more so for its outstanding, brilliant wines and for its National
Geographic Top Ten placing as THE place to go for the best bbq-ed steaks in the
entire world [fyi: it sits at number 2 of 10 after

Sideways - Ostrich LandSideways - OstrichSideways - ostrich fields
16) Ostrich Land;
17) baby ostrich; 18) ostriches out on the savannah

As part of the meal, we were served a vegetable tray that included whole radishes, celery and carrot sticks, and enitre whole stalks of green onions.  Green onions??? 

G inquired of our waitress, Stacey, “what are we supposed to do with the green onions??”
Stacey’s reply, “you eat them”. 
“Just like that?,” G asked.
‘Yep, it’s not good for your breath though.”

So, when in Rome, do as the Romans and green onions all around it was. Hence, no french kissing after dinner!

 Sideways - Hitching Post signSideways - Hitching Post barSideways - Hitching Post Pinot Noir
19) The Hitching
Post; 20) the wine tasting bar; 21) the oh-my-gawd-fabulous

 Sideways - Hitching Post bbqSideways - Hitching Post dinner
22) the bbq where my
filet mignon was cooked; 23) my succulent steak

Frankly, the highlight of these 2 days was the second day when we essentially drank from 11:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m.  Now that’s a fabulous way to spend the day: as a happy drunk!! 

Tomorrow’s post- lost in the desert following an inaccurate map……..

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7 Responses to Sideways

  1. Anonymous says:

    yeah lol but it’s more fun when you go into confused and dazed.. that’s how great advantures int eh dining expreience fullfill it’s moments of a lifetime.

  2. dang it…why cant you live in SF =[anyways…mm…wine…

  3. Anonymous says:

    i love the picture with wines. im beginning to seriously seriously love my wines hahahaha.

  4. enRoute says:

    wow…the vineyard looks so nice and peaceful.I was out late last night that’s why I was up at 3am…but obviously, I got caught by you… =P

  5. Were you driving a red convertible Saab?? hope your weren’t drinking any f**king merlot!!!  hehehe.  Great tips on those “Sideways” sites.  I must go some day as well. 

  6. YNOTswim says:

    were you drinking when you were driving like in Sideways? :)

  7. bennykan says:

    I think I would drop up after an hour of the wine tour or so because I am such a cheap drunk. HAHAHHA Love the pics you posted and they make me think of vacations even more. :)

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