Saturday, August 23, 2008

Back at the grill

It seems like ages since I posted a recipe over on my food blog.

And when I looked, I realized it HAS been ages. Or more than a month anyway.

So here is something for all you carnivores:

I will try to get around to some less meat intensive things soon!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Pseudo camping

This past weekend (yeah, I know, almost a whole week ago by now!) a bunch of people went camping.

It was my mom's 60th birthday weekend and we had asked her what she wanted to do. Party? Mini-cruise? Weekend in the mountains?
She chose the weekend in the mountains. It was casual and fun and made it possible for more people to go.

It ended up being Mom, me, manfriend, my sister and her hubby plus their son, my aunt from Texas, my aunt and two cousins from here and my mom's best friend from childhood plus her manfriend.
All in all, a fairly big group.

We stayed at a place in the mountains near Santa Barbara called Rancho Oso.
Now really, this was not camping. Not like camping when I was a kid.
No one was sleeping in tents.

My sister and her husband have a trailer. It's not huge, but it comfy. They hosted my mom and my Texas aunt.
My mom's friend and her manfriend have a huge trailer that they used.
Manfriend and I rented what the campground calls a garden cottage. We stayed in that two nights. One of the nights my local aunt and her two kids stayed there with us.

So this garden cottage? It was a mini mobile home. Really not a trailer at all in the sense that this thing was not going on the road any time soon.

We sat, we talked, we swam, we did a little hike, we tasted a little wine.
Mostly it was just a nice relaxing weekend.

On the way home Sunday manfriend and I stopped at the Chumash Casino nearby.
I started with $40 at a $5 minimum blackjack table. In about 20 minutes I walked away with a $100 chip. Not bad.

We drove back to the L.A. area, stopping along the coast a couple times to take a look at the water.

On the way there manfriend and I stopped at a winery called Alma Rosa. It was very pretty. A rustic but lovely little building. I would put the setting toward the top of the list of my favorite wineries in that area.

It was the first time I had been there and I will go back next time.

Plus the wine was good. That picture above? My purchases.

After this we stopped at Firestone Walker Brewery in Buellton to get a beer and a snack.

This tractor near the entrance intrigued me. Machinery can be so pretty.

The beer sampler was pretty, too. Love that Double Barrel.

Here is the view driving up to our garden cottage thing. We had the one in the middle.

The living room...


dining room...

There also was a little hallway with two bunks and a bedroom area with a queen size bed. Plus a full bathroom. It was tight, but at least my tall manfriend could stand up in most parts of it. The doorways were a little short though.

This was the view from our back deck.

One afternoon we did a little hike to a nearby waterfall. The turn off onto the smaller trail from the horse trail featured the sign below. Plus a little protest by an equine visitor.

On Saturday night we feasted on a variety of grilled meats (pork tenderloin, chicken, brats), potato salad, corn, grilled squash, bread and salad. It was sooooooo good.

The main Saturday activity was wine tasting. We hit three wineries. I bought wine at two of them.

Ready to serve at Rideau Vineyards.
I bought a case of a wine called Fleur Blanche here. It is a lovely, crisp and light white. Not sweet, but still fruity.

Rideau had a beautiful, lush garden. This was just a snippet of it.

Next we went to Gainey Vineyards. We decided to take their guided tour.
They have a nice guest vineyard where they explain the various trellising techniques.
I was surprised that after all the winery tours I have done over the years, I learned new stuff here. I would recommend this tour.
Inside the tank room at Gainey. It was nice and chilly in there after coming in from the heat of the vineyard.
The cask room.
Those plugs in the barrels? They are called the bung. They go in the bung hole.

I liked this room. The light was low and the bottles glowed. The guide said there were about 12,000 bottles in here. All of them were Chardonnay.

Sunday on the way home we took in the view of the dam at Lake Cachuma.

We also stopped along the coast off Highway 101.

And finally, after lunch in Summerland, we headed home.

By early Sunday evening when we got home I was pretty exhausted. But in that good way. That way where you knew you had a good time.