Living in the desert, the ocean has a special draw for me especially at summer’s end when I feel I’m going to explode from the heat. Thus, I found myself in Cambria along with some good friends and the coolest, cleanest air that I had experienced in awhile.

While everyone piled on warmer jackets, I walked around in a light sweater. I swear that it felt good to feel cold.

Cambria is a small tourist town with not much to do but oggle the ocean view, walk, go shopping, eat, and have cocktails while enjoying a sunset. Not bad for a vacation.

Nearby is San Simeone and Hearst’s castle. To the east is Paso Robles, where some great pinot noir grapes grow and there’s 60 plus wineries (more about that later) and to the south is Morro Bay and Morro Rock, San Luis Obispo (techie college town), and Pismo Beach. The central coast is not nearly as crowded as southern Calif. beaches and that’s still a good thing.

We ate dinner at the Sow’s Ear which was so-so and had drinks at the Moonstone Beach Cafe. Here I learned to play Texas Hold ‘Em poker which will come in handy for a fundraiser that I plan to attend.

One of the best finds in Cambria is this unassuming Italian bakery called Allocco’s. We just peeked inside to pick up some coffee but then I noticed the anise pizzelles. I love pizzelles. When I was growing up, my neighbor Rose always gave us pizzelles. At Allocco’s, there were several flavors of pizzelles but I opted for anise.

Then there were all kinds of wonderful Italian pastries and none of them were too sweet. Sugar did not mask the cinnamon or the lemon or the walnut or pistachio. Everything was really fresh.

Bob — the proprietor was friendly and happy to tell us all about every cookie. Allocco’s has been around for 20 years and most likely one of the most important ingredient to its success is the passion of the proprietors and the friendliness.

Allocco’s also services many of the Italian retail stores in southern Calif as well as Roma Imports in Tucson. So amazingly enough, we had a connection as we both knew the proprietor of Roma by her first name.

So when you’re heading north on Highway 1, get off at Cambria and take the main road and be sure to stop at Allocco’s for coffee (Italian roast), the sandwich of the day, and some wonderful pastries that are worthy to travel the miles home or to the beach for a picnic.


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