Homeroom Mac + Cheese in Oakland

By Jessica Willis

Some of the best restaurants begin with the simplest of dreams and menus, wouldn’t you agree? Such is the case for Homeroom Mac + Cheese in Oakland, CA. Founded by a former lawyer-turned-restaurateur, Homeroom is the women-owned, schoolhouse-themed macaroni and cheese restaurant you never knew you needed in your life. Every meal begins with the…

Fine Dining in Yosemite National Park

By Jessica Willis

Venturing to Yosemite National Park in the Sierra Nevada mountains of east-central California is an all-day event, well-worth the drive from the Central Coast. We visited on a whim one Wednesday in the early fall, marveling at the sheer size of everything – the giant sequoia trees, towering granite cliffs, and delicate misty waterfalls. After…

NightLife – California Academy of Sciences

By Jessica Willis

Our mission is to explore, explain, and sustain life on earth. (calacademy.org) Strolling through Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, you’ll recognize the typical neighborhood public green space – large grassy lawns, squirrels and geese, quiet tree groves, maybe a rabbit peaking out from under a bush. But turn the next corner and a different…

In-N-Out Burger – A California Icon

By Jessica Willis

Yes, this is a blog post about a fast food restaurant. No, this isn’t just any fast food place. It’s In-N-Out Burger! I love all the palm trees here in California. They represent the breezy, sunny lifestyle we live everyday, which is probably why they are In-N-Out Burger’s symbol of choice for its iconic yellow,…

Mt. Hermon Christian Retreat Center

By Jessica Willis

Situated among the ancient redwoods of the Santa Cruz mountains, Mount Hermon has served as a peaceful retreat for more than 100 years. Anyone and everyone are welcome to reconnect with creation and the Creator through fellowship with friends and family, great food, and beautiful greenery. I visit Mount Hermon every fall with my church’s…

Tasty Tapas at Prova California Table

By Jessica Willis

“Prova” – Italian word meaning “to try” or “to taste” (provamorganhill.com) From the same Michelin star chef who brought you elevated Mediterranean soul food cuisine at Odeum comes Prova California Table in the heart of downtown Morgan Hill, California. Brandon and I visited this airy spot on our wedding anniversary this year, on a quiet Tuesday…

Take the Jelly Belly Factory Tour

By Jessica Willis

Welcome to the Jelly Belly factory in Fairfield, California! On this self-guided tour, you’ll learn all about Jelly Belly’s four-generation candy-making history, the company’s love for former president Ronald Reagan, and the secret behind how those tasty beans are made. Jelly Belly history in brief, 1869 – 2016 (Click here to see photos matching each…

Vertigo Coffee Roasters – Local Delight

By Jessica Willis

As residents of San Juan Bautista, we’re often asked “Do you like living in a small town? Isn’t it quiet and uneventful? What do you do to have fun there?” Yes, no, and Vertigo. Named for Albert Hitchcock’s famous movie of the same name, Vertigo Coffee Roasters is just down the street from the bell…

Tricycle Pizza’s Food Truck Journey

By Jessica Willis

Wood-fired oven inside the original food truck that started it all. Of all the food truck meals I’ve eaten in my life (countless, I assure you), I’ve never witnessed a wood-fired pizza oven in a vehicle. It just sounds dangerous! But Tricycle Pizza in Monterey, California has it figured out. Their oven can safely get…

Sunny Family Fun At Boomers!

By Jessica Willis

One thing I love about California is that so much of our entertainment is outdoors, thanks to the perpetually sunny weather. I’ve seen entertainment complexes like Boomers! before in the Midwest, but usually they’re cramped and sweaty because everything is indoors, allowing them to remain open year round. Not Boomers. This place knows how to…