By: Lauren Mowery
Malibu is a tiny coastal community with an outsize reputation. To the casual observer cruising the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH), this oceanfront zone known for surf boards, gliterrati, and now wine, might look like much to do about nothing. That’s because hot spots hide their glamorous guests out of sight from the road. Knowing where to go is paramount. So pack an overnight duffel and a few wine sleeves for boozy souvenirs, and print this 30-hour guide to wining and dining along this famous stretch of California.
11 AM Coming up from L.A., snack on crab cakes or fish tacos for lunch at Hawaiian-born Duke’s. Local draft beer and longboard and porpoise-sightings set the mood from the ocean-side patio.
12 PM Tasting and tour at Dolin Malibu Estate Vineyards. Founded by a Brooklyn-born musician, Elliott Dolin sought a change of pace from urban living. In the 1980s he moved to California. Catching the wine bug out West, in 2006, he and his wife Lynn decided to plant grapes at their Malibu property. With the help of local vineyard consultant Bob Tobias, they produced a Chardonnay. Today, they have a rose, Merlot, and Pinot Noir in the portfolio.
3 PM Check in to the Malibu Beach Inn. The property is a member of the Leading Hotels of the World and one of few hotels with direct beach access. After checking in to your cozy guest room, take an afternoon stroll along the beach to the Colony. This stretch of quirky homes, tightly packed on to a premium piece of sandy real estate, screams volumes about America’s questionable architectural legacy.
7 PM Drinks at Nobu. Catch the start of sunset from the upscale restaurant chain’s beachside deck.
8:30 PM. Return to the Malibu Beach Inn for dinner over the water. The wine list features classics from both the Old World and New World with several trendier, artisan, or off-beat selections rounding things out. For an appetizer, tuck into the ridiculously good Calabrese mozzarella with beets, hazelnut oil, crushed hazelnuts, thyme, with toasted sourdough to scoop it up. For an entrée, pastas come perfectly al dente while the striped bass a la plancha delivers focused umami flavor from a topping of black garlic and grape and Marcona almond gremolata.
8 AM Brew a Nespresso to sip on your balcony overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Take another languorous stroll on the beach.
9 AM Breakfast at Malibu Farm. This newcomer on the pier features organic farm-to-table fare, notably the excellent breakfast burrito and bacon pancakes. Head upstairs to watch the selfie-obsessed lose their eggs to seagulls as they fuss over lining up the perfect backdrop.
10 AM Pop into the adjacent home goods and lifestyle shop. If your budget allows, pick up a hat for $400 by milliner to the stars Gladys Tamez. Otherwise, snag throw blankets, organic cosmetics, or refresh your bathing gear with a new swimsuit.
11 AM Get the keys from the valet and drive ten minutes north to the shops at Malibu Country Mart and Lumber Yard. Next door to each other, these outdoor mini-malls offer 60 boutiques, from local clothing to brand name designer duds sold in Intermix and Alice + Olivia. Jewelers, home furnishing stores, and plant purveyors round-out the mix of offerings.
1 PM Check out and head for Malibu Wine Safaris. In 1996, the Semler family planted grapes in Malibu’s mountains, later combining estate-grown wine with wildlife rescue. It sounds corny, but visitors love exploring the 1,000 acre Saddlerock Ranch in custom-built open-air Safari vehicles. Spot zebras, camels, alpaca and giraffes while sipping Sauvignon Blanc or Syrah.
3 PM Visit Cornell Winery and Tasting Room, named after the historic town. Since they no longer make wine, Owner Tim Skogstrom operates the venue as a retail shop and wine bar, offering a variety of Malibu labels. The place has an Old West vibe accented with peacocks.
5 PM Grab one last seafood dinner at Malibu Seafood or Neptune’s Net, both beloved classics. At the former, you can BYOB with one of your vinous acquisitions to enjoy with tuna and shrimp. At Neptune’s, pop into either of two kitchens: one for casual fried fare and the other for fresh seafood and draft beer.
7 PM Return to the din of the city.