Here I am again in Governor Schwartzenager's little fifedom. It seems like I was only just here...
Anyway, I'm back again and this has been a whirlwind trip! Saturday started with a fabulous breakfast at a place called A Good Morning. I had something called a "scramble"--essentially a messed up omlette--with chicken apple sausage, mushrooms and cheese and some yummy seasoned roasted potatoes and My Honey had an egg, avocado and bacon sandwich on rye with hashbrowns.
After that we were off to Santa Cruz where we met Austin who runs the Santa Cruz Experience. He took us and 4 other people on a terrific wine tour which started at Soquel Vinyards where we tasted several wines both white and red. My favourite was a 2007 Pinot Noir and my second favourite a buttery Chardonnay that was surpisingly refreshing on what was turning out to be a gorgeous, sunny day. We wandered around the grounds a little, exploring a small garden and tasting some grapes right off the vine. The winery's architecture is inspired by Tuscany complete with red tile roof and wooden beams and it has a spectacular view of a lush valley. Definitely the prettiest of the wineries we went to.
Our next stop was Hunter Hill, a small estate winery with a morbid story--the winery takes its name from the owner's beloved Chesapeake Bay retriever "Hunter", now deceased and buried on the property. I liked this place because it was unpretentious and the staff were very knowledgeable and friendly. We ended up buying a Sauvignon Blanc for me to take home and a Cabernet Sauvignon for Honey to keep. We had a picnic lunch under a shady tree and then we were off to the town of Santa Cruz proper to visit a couple of small places whose names I can't remember (wasn't a fan of the wines, so I didn't bother noting the names) and then we took a brief detour to Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing where we did a "flight" of beer--about 8 beers at about 2 ounces each. My favourites were the Dread Brown Ale and the Wilder Wheat.
By this point I was pretty intoxicated and my palate pretty much shot, but we went on to one final spot, Storrs Winery where the wine was so good it even got through to my thoroughly abused taste buds! We bought a Petite Syrah for me to take home and a Chardonnay for Honey to keep. Austin dropped us off at our car but I was in no shape to drive, so we walked around downtown Santa Cruz until we sobered up and then had dinner at the same Greek place we visited last time we were in town where Honey had Moussaka and I had a lamb dish, the name of which escapes me, and just like last time it was fantastic.
Sunday we spent in San Francisco (after another delicious breakfast at A Good Morning) and this time we stuck to the west end of the city. A scenic drive up Great Highway brought us to Sutro Heights Park where we took some pictures of the ocean and beach view, then we headed off to the far east end of Golden Gate Park because I wanted to go to the Strybing Arboretum and Hagiwara Tea Garden. Well after circling Golden Gate Park twice we finally found a spot to park. Did I mention the park is 1017 acres big? Central Park in New York is 174 acres smaller! Anyway, we had a lovely walk through the botanical gardens and the Japanese gardens, took lots of pictures, then eventually headed back to Mountain View. Dinner Sunday was at Frankie, Johnnie & Luigi Too! where I had scampi sauteed with garlic, shallots and mushrooms served in a white cream sauce and Honey had the special which was shrimp and clams served with a cream and tomato sauce over linguini. Dee-lish!
Monday we decided to go to Monterey. We parked near Fisherman's Wharf and walked down Cannery Row to the aquarium. On the way I spotted a Dippin' Dots which neither of us had ever tried. The Smores flavour made us instant fans. The insane cold also helped me avert heat stroke because more than a half hour of walking in the crazy heat had me nearly passing out! Happily the aquarium was mere steps away and we spent the next few hours taking in the exhibits. Honey could have watched the sea otters all day, but I made him come see the jelly fish which were my favourite. We headed back toward Fisherman's Wharf around 5:30 or so, wandering in and out of the little shops and watching kids on the beach. We had dinner at Abalonetti Seafood Trattoria which specializes in calamari--the reason I picked it--where we had an appetizer of 2 roasted giant garlic bulbs with toasted French bread and then I had the Siciliano which is calamari sauteed in garlic and white wine and Honey had combination plate of 3 different calamari: the Abalonetti which is cutlets French fried and served with a light buerre blanc; Marty's Special which is the same French fried cutlets but served on grilled eggplant and topped with Marinara sauce, Paremesan and Mozzarella cheeses; and the third was calamari cutlets in garlic, Parmesan and seasoned bread crumbs grilled with lemon. His favourite was Marty's Special. We somehow waddled back to the car and I managed to keep the food coma at bay long enough to drive us home.
Today Honey had to go back to work and I had to return the rental car but before we did that we had breakfast at a place around the corner where I had their signature French Toast with a fried banana and toasted sliced almonds. It was more like dessert than breakfast, but fortunately it came with two eggs and fruit so it didn't kill me. Honey had a fabulous omlette salsa and cheese and all sorts on wonderfulness on it and some really good home fries on the side. Yet another successfull breakfast! After returning the rental car I hit Mervyns and Target at the San Antonio Mall in an attempt to find some fall clothes for work. I did pick up two pairs of dress pants for $20 each and a bra and underwear so it wasn't a complete failure. Tonight's tentative plan is to take the Caltrain to Palo Alto and hit a gourmet burger joint called The Counter. I can't wait--I'm already trying to figure out what I'm gonna create. We might take in a movie and maybe finish off with some Haagen-Dazs before taking the train back to Mountain View. Tomorrow it's home again to hot and humid Southwestern Ontario and back to my beloved pets. I'm sure Jax will be equal parts pissed off with me and happy to see me. I'm bringing him some fancy organic treats from Whole Foods, so I doubt he'll be mad for long.