WARNING: This post is all about food. I apologize ahead of time if you’re left drooling and hungry after reading. Quick, grab a snack and buckle in. You’ve been warned.
Drive about two and a half hours north outside of Los Angeles along the coast and you’ll stumble upon the strangely charming Danish-style village of Solvang. A few locals I met described it as a “Disney Denmark” and I can definitely see what they meant.
Having been to Denmark a couple of times, I can proudly say that it did remind me of a few small and colorful towns outside of Copenhagen. Danes are very friendly and that definitely wasn’t lost in Solvang. The only real thing missing were cobblestones but I can look past that and so can my feet. Surprisingly, there was one aspect I enjoyed more in Solvang than in Denmark… and that was the food. While there are some touristy restaurants in Solvang where you can sample traditional Danish cuisine, I have a few other delicious recommendations if you get tired of open faced sandwiches and red cabbage!
Breakfast: Paula’s Pancake House
Being in Solvang, we really couldn’t leave without trying a Danish Pancake which is basically dessert for breakfast. Sign me up! Paula’s was packed by the time we arrived at 9:00 AM on a Saturday but we were quickly seated since we didn’t mind sitting at the counter. This place is old fashioned in the best way with wonderful service, huge portions (seriously, share a dish), endless coffee refills, and probably the best damn freshly squeezed orange juice I’ve tasted. The pancake was delicious and that bacon strip was about as long as my arm. +10 points
Lunch: The Succulent Cafe
The Succulent Cafe is actually just down the street from Paula’s. I knew I’d love it as soon as I noticed they had an adorable thatched roof. You order at the counter, take your number, and they bring your food to you. They have a lovely outdoor seating section where we enjoyed our lunch. Stefanie, assistant to the GM, kindly suggested I try Dave’s BBQ meatloaf sandwich and ohhhhhh man, so glad I listened. Picture this: meatloaf, sourdough bread, cheese, bacon, and caramelized onions. I won’t torture you any longer, here’s a photo…
Wine Tasting: Dascomb Cellars
Again, loving these thatched roofs! If you walk around Solvang for about five minutes, you’ll quickly notice that there are about a million wine tasting rooms. The hardest part about this situation is choosing the right one. Almost all are pet and child friendly which is great for families visiting. Also, several hotels in Solvang provide visitors with 2 for 1 wine tasting vouchers at many different locations. After visiting a few (life is so hard), Dascomb Cellars was a clear winner for me. Located in the center of town on the corner of 1st and Copenhagen, Dascomb Cellars is a charming, family-run winery.
We had the pleasure of meeting Andy Scarffe who was beyond knowledgable when it came to introducing the wines to us. This was only my second wine tasting (ever) so I thoroughly enjoyed listening to Andy describe each wine, his passion clearly shining through. I won’t even try to go into detail about every wine because I simply wouldn’t do them justice. After sampling a few reds and whites, I discovered that I’m a big fan of white wine, the sweeter the better! However, concluding with their port and delicious raspberry chocolates was a highlight. Another thing that stood out at Dascomb Cellars were their cheese samples which, surprisingly, several other tasting rooms in Solvang didn’t offer. I would recommend Dascomb Cellars to anyone visiting Solvang and don’t forget to ask for Andy!
Dinner: Fitzpatrick’s Tavern
I promise I didn’t just pick where to eat based on how beautiful the buildings are. It doesn’t hurt though! After talking to a few locals, we heard that Fitzpatrick’s Tavern opened just a few months ago and is becoming extremely popular. This place is small and cozy which meant it was almost full by the time we arrived at 6:00 PM on a Friday! I was expecting standard pub food since it’s a tavern after all and the prices were very reasonable at about $12 for an entree. Fitzpatrick’s definitely exceeded my expectations. We went for their Shepherd’s Pie, Chicken Club, and Mac n Cheese with white truffle oil. The Shepherd’s Pie and pasta would’ve been more than enough for two people. The flavor and quality of the food went way beyond your usual pub grub. It was comfort food at its best. I’m a bit heartbroken I forgot to take a picture of the Mac n Cheese though.
Bakery: Olsen’s Bakery
Don’t worry! I didn’t forget dessert! Solvang is a Danish town after all so there’s a bakery on almost every corner. We heard great things about Olsen’s before we went and our hotel just happened to be across the street. Fate. I can’t vouch for their danishes because I didn’t even manage to try one! So embarrassing. I can, however, vouch for their butter cookies, Russian tea cakes, and apple pie squares. Whatever you do, please don’t leave Solvang without trying their apple pie squares. Also, they’re famous for their butter cookies and you can buy a giant tub to take home for $15. This thing will last you through the winter.
Solvang is the perfect escape outside of Los Angeles. Whether you go just for the day or stay the night, you’ll find plenty to do and more importantly, eat. We stayed at the lovely Hamlet Inn so look out for my review next week. Since I went to Solvang on the last day of January, it totally counts as my first trip for #take12trips! Find out more from Need Another Holiday!
I’ll be attending the Travel and Adventure Show in Long Beach on Saturday. Let me know if any of you will be there!