5 favorite restaurants in Saratoga CA

bella saratoga

pictured: Fettuccine Blanco from Bella Saratoga

Saratoga is a bedroom community nestled in the foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains and adjacent to San Jose and Los Gatos. It is filled with families, and mainly home to people who work in the tech industry. The town originated as both a farming community and a destination for San Franciscans to go to in order to escape the city. There used to be springs here, which reminded people of Saratoga Springs in New York; hence the name, Saratoga.

In present day, Saratoga is a flourishing town with a quaint downtown known as the “The Village.” This small area is made up of local shops and restaurants. There are so many good restaurants, which are all family owned. No chains! In writing this post, I feel like I am excluding so many good places to eat, but please know, these are just my five favorite restautants in Saratoga, the other restaurants are also delicious! There are no bad places to eat in town, Saratoga is very fortunate. Love that!

So, next time you are in Saratoga, here are five of my favorite places to eat; of course, all of the restaurants downtown are delicious! Please note, these are in no particular order.

Darla Cafe

Darla Cafe is new restaurant which recently opened in Saratoga. They serve breakfast and lunch. I am in love with how they prepare their potatoes! If you are looking for a good brunch place, check out Darla Cafe!

Mint Leaf Saratoga

Mint Leaf Cuisine is my favorite Thai restaurant. The food there is delicious! All of their appetizers are not only delicious, but they are also presented in an artful manner. This is a feast for both your eyes and your palate. Yum! Bring your appetite to Mint Leaf Cuisine! The pineapple fried rice and the scallops are my favorites.

Bella Saratoga

Bella Saratoga is a delicious Italian restaurant. This is where I like to go for special occasions, such as an anniversary. Everything they make is delicious, but my favorite dish is the Fettucine Blanco. It is to-die-for!


How in the world do I not have a photo to share? We have been eating at Florentine’s since before we lived in the South Bay. My great aunt loved this restaurant, and we had many family celebrations there for graduations, religious sacraments, birthdays, and more. This is a casual, everyday Italian restaurant and it is a family favorite of my immediate family, as well as my cousins. I am kicking myself for not having a photo! How did that even happen? We eat here frequently! Everything on the menu is amazing. My favorite is the ravioli, and the Bolognese is a big hit too. The triangle shaped, herb bread served while you wait is also a big winner. Yum!

Masu Sushi

Well, you know I love sushi! Masu is my favorite sushi restaurant. The fish is always fresh, and the sushi is always made just right. They have a few outdoor tables here, which are ideal in the spring, summer, and early fall. They even have one large table which is perfect for our family of five. Love that!

Well, there you have it. All of these restaurants are located in downtown Saratoga on Big Basin Way. In addition to these five restaurants, there are plenty of other fabulous places to eat. If you are in the mood for Indian cuisine, Mandala is delicious. If you are looking for an extra special experience, La Fondue or Plumed Horse are classic destinations. La Mere Michelle is also delicious. They offer casual French cuisine; I love how they prepare their carrots, yum!

Thanks for stopping by, Mangia!


3 California road trip ideas

It is the time of year when we all start to plan family vacations. Spring break is fast approaching, and summer vacation is on the horizon. Sometimes we have enough of a break in our schedule to plan a plane trip somewhere and enjoy it for a week, or possibly more, but other times, we have a small break in our schedule and a road trip is the best option for a family vacation.

If you are local to California, and looking for a road trip idea, here are a few, which may seem obvious, but hopefully will spark a road trip idea anyway. If you are from out of state, you can easily fly into one of our airports, rent a car, and enjoy one or more of these spots on your vacation. Feel free to leave your road trip ideas in the comments below!

Napa Valley

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One of the most popular road trips in California is heading up to wine country. That being said, you don’t have to go wine tasting to enjoy the Napa Valley. This can be a road trip you enjoy with the entire family, and also as someone who does not drink alcohol.

There are plenty of activities in the Napa Valley the entire family can enjoy such as hiking through the Petrified Forest. Here is my full post on this beautiful destination. Call before you go to ensure they have recovered from the recent storms.

You can also visit the geysers, check out the culinary institute, or enjoy a winery with or without drinking.

Pismo Beach

pismo beach sign pier

Pismo Beach is one of the less traveled beaches in California. It is in between Los Angeles and the Bay Area, so for those of us traveling between the two Metropolitain areas, Pismo Beach is a great rest stop for lunch or brunch. That being said, have you ever stayed overnight? If not, then you should! There are fabulous hotels on or near the beach and the beach itself is quite relaxing in the quiet morning hours before the tourists arrive. Even when the tourists arrive, it isn’t too overrun.

In addition to enjoying the beach, you can drive a few minutes to San Luis Obispo and enjoy the hiking trails at Cal Poly SLO. You can check out my post about it here. Poly Canyon Trail is a must-see in the Pismo Beach, SLO area.


Lake Tahoe might be an obvious choice, but it is a place you can visit again and again. So, even if you have already taken a road trip to Tahoe, you might think about going back to see something new. There are too many trails to count, so hiking is always new and exciting. The views from most hiking trails are beautiful and beyond belief, therefore, it is always a breathtaking experience; in addition to the thin air! haha

There are also silver mines close by. These are worth the drive to see in person. We always talk about the gold mining history in California, but the silver mines were here too.

This year, we had record snowfall. This means the Tahoe region may still have snow during spring break and early summer! Grab your sled and get ready to play in the snow! You can build a snowman, make snow angels, have a snowball fight, and just play!

Of course, these are only three ideas. You can always take a road trip to a more obscure location in the state, or head down to Disneyland or Universal Studios for some fun. It is also fun to play tourist and check out all the tourist areas and traps in Hollywood.

What are your favorite road trip ideas in California?

Thanks for stopping by!


Rio Del Mar beach day

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Wearing: hat (old, also love this one) / earrings / sunglasses / swimsuit cover-up dress (under $50) / swimsuit (not shown) / wedge espadrilles / straw tote bag / summer nail polish /

‘Tis the season to go to the beach! If you are local to the San Francisco Bay Area, when was the last time you took a beach day? Sometimes we think of the beach as a place to go to relax, but unfortunately, the summer months bring in a lot of people at the beaches, making them anything but relaxing.

Unless you want your beach day to be filled with activities, you might skip the beach and opt for a spa if you are looking for peace and quiet. Well, maybe that means you don’t know about Rio Del Mar Beach in Aptos!

I’m not trying to spoil the place, but I don’t think tourists will suddenly flood Rio Del Mar Beach if I post about it. Unless you live in the Bay Area and truck in your own picnic, there isn’t anything here for tourists to see. It’s just a beach.

Rio Del Mar Beach is a quiet yet large beach in Aptos, just south of Capitola. While many beach going locals talk about heading to Capitola in order to avoid crowds in Santa Cruz, an even better way to avoid crowds is to head a little further south on highway 1 and go to Rio Del Mar.

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This isn’t a beach made to handle a ton of people, despite having a ton of clean sand and space. Rio Del Mar Beach is set up like a local, neighborhood beach. The parking lot is small, and if you end up not finding a space, you will have to park in the neighborhood. If this happens, please oh please be respectful of the neighborhood! Park your car without blocking driveways and adhere to any parking signs that have been posted. It’s better to park a few minutes away than to block a driveway or break a parking rule.

Once you legally park, you can walk over to the beach and enjoy it’s peacefulness. There is a lot of sand, which equates to tons of space for spreading out your blanket. There are a few restaurants in town, but they are small, and you should dress in regular clothing to go. I recommend bringing a cooler with food from home to eat while on the beach.

There is also a really cool, cement boat off a small pier which has been sinking for years. Every time we go to Rio Del Mar Beach the boat is a little farther down in the sea. It’s pretty cool to see, and fun to walk over to and check out.

As always, I recommend going early! The earlier you go, the better chance you have of getting into the parking lot. I also recommend taking a day off work and going on a weekday. This will give you a more peaceful experience.

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Summer vacation is already halfway over! Enjoy it and go to the beach!

Thanks for stopping by,


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