On the Pacific

Mission Ranch, Joullian Winery & The Village Corner

on the patio at Mission Ranch
Enjoying some wine on the patio at Mission Ranch - Photo by Richard Ross

Part 4 of the Series: Pismo to Carmel: One Taste at a Time

Join us as we travel from Pismo Beach to Carmel-by-the-Sea tasting good food, wines and stopping at sights along the scenic California coast! In this leg of our journey, we’re exploring some of the the wineries, shops and restaurants of Carmel, including Mission Ranch!

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Following an easy drive north, we arrived in Carmel at around 3:30 pm.  We had just enough time for a bit of shopping, before getting cleaned up and ready for dinner. It had been way too long since we had the pleasure of a meal at one of my favorite all-time venues.

mission ranch restaurant
Mission Ranch Restaurant – Photo by Yvonne Carpenter-Ross

Exceptional Dinner; One Last Winery & Tasting

burger and fries
Blue Cheese Burger at Mission Ranch – Photo by Yvonne Carpenter-Ross

No stop in Carmel is complete without a dinner at Mission Ranch! Their Bleu Cheese-topped burger is likely one of the best I have had anywhere. This evening’s version was no exception! We were fortunate to score an outdoor table, where we could watch the sunset and enjoy the warmth of a propane patio heater.

After our long drive and a superior meal, we quickly started fading. Dinner was followed by an early-to-bed call. The day’s events had been many, and tomorrow’s plan required a full night’s rest.

We knew that our remaining time was quickly diminishing and we wanted to return to one last winery and tasting while we were here in Carmel. The location was about a twenty-minute drive west – out in Carmel Valley. We literally stumbled upon Joullian Vineyards almost ten years ago and have never regretted that incidental stop.


inside the Joullian tasting roomIt was literally the first time that I truly enjoyed every single one of the wines that we tasted – both whites and reds. And we now returned to Joullian, not only to sample but to re-join their wine club.

Today’s visit and tasting brought back fond memories… Tastings included:

  • a 2013 Roger Rose Chardonnay (a crisp, clean and oaky wine with a smooth, buttery feel on the palate), a 2013 Highland Chardonnay (with a hint of Granny Smith apple, green pear, and a hazelnut nose and includes a bright a crisp, long vanilla and mineral finish),
  • an excellent 2012 Sleepy Hollow Chardonnay, an awesome and earthy Retro Rouge NV that was big on tannins and flavors of black cherry with a hint of smoke,
  • an incredible 2012 Merlot and a Cabernet Sauvignon that was loaded with dark berries and a slight cedar nose with a long finish.

Wow! I love Joullian wines and was looking forward to a dinner that included a bottle of the Cabernet that we purchased just for that occasion! Our trip to the coast was almost complete…

The Village Corner

Brunch at the Village Corner
A family brunch at the Village Corner in Carmel

Only two things remained for us to do, prior to our heading back to a chilly Mid-West Spring… One was a dinner at the Baja Cantina. This dinner unfortunately was a bit of a disappointment and nothing even close to the quality of our last visit. Sorry, but no review will be written. The other was a reunion of sorts, with my sister and brother-in-law and my cousin (now living in CA). We all had some catching up to do and agreed upon a return to another of my favorite places in Carmel: The Village Corner.

Located on the corner of Delores and 6th Ave. in Carmel by the Sea, Village Corner is an awesome place for just about any meal, although we generally visit just for breakfast. Today was definitely a breakfast kind of day. The sun had finally broken through the clouds and fog, and we toasted our reunion with a glass of champagne. You can read my review here, but suffice it to say that our breakfast was – as it always has been – absolutely perfect! And so, by the way, was the service.

Saying goodbyes – especially to Patti & Bob, Cousin Jodie, Carmel-by-the-Sea and the west coast – is never easy. But at some point, it must be done. And so, without fanfare, we did. We returned our rental car, passed through security at Mineta and headed home once again.

Joullian Wine Club

The good news? Shortly after arriving back home, we received the wine we had ordered from Joullian while we were out in Carmel Valley. We quickly added one of the bottles to the refrigerator and, the very next day, toasted a successful trip with some most excellent Joullian Chardonnay!

Having sampled many new and different wines from the Central Coast region, and having re-joined the Joullian Wine Club, it will now be much easier to remember a great trip to the west. I hope you have enjoyed the journey, and I hope you have enjoyed the tasting. Until the next time, and in the words of my ancestors: skol!

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We launched this website in 2004 after getting married on a beautiful bluff just south of Carmel-by-the-Sea, on the patio of a small restaurant called Rocky Point. Since that time, we have returned to the West Coast as often as time and funds would allow, always seeking new restaurants, wineries, beaches, unforgettable memories…“


Yvonne & Richard