Coastal Weeds

Standard

Last Saturday, we went for a walk along the coast to cool down from the 100 degree weather in the valley. Several months earlier we had heard that we could walk to Alamere Falls on The Palomarin Trail (Point Reyes National Seashore) and that the walk was about eight miles long. We thought it would still be a good time to see the falls since we had lots of rainfall in the winter months and the falls would not be dry.

P1190493

Native Pacific Coast Plants

Fact is, we thought a lot of things that turned out to be untrue. This trail is not a gentle trail. It has a rut running through the middle of it that I could only presume was an active way for the water to run to the ocean during the wet months. It makes the walk…hike much more difficult.

P1190537

Cooling Pacific Ocean Fog Bank

 The hike to the waterfall is eight miles if you take a short-cut through the thickets of berry bushes and poison oak. You have to crouch down into a ball and walk your way through the thicket, only to find a cliff at the top of the falls that is made of shale. Many people took this route, thinking that there was no poison oak, and slowly made their way up and down the cliff. We went around, as I know that I am extremely allergic to poison oak.

P1190627

Morning Glory

We hiked for over 40,000 steps and totaled seventeen miles of hiking up and down and up and down and….you understand. Will I ever do it again? Nope! Imagine walking the entire seventeen mile drive unpaved, dry, dusty, without water refills or food trucks. If I’d come prepared with cash in hand, I would have offered it to the people riding horses to take me out of this place.

P1190592

Alamere Falls

The saddest part for me was that once we arrived at the waterfall, that falls to the beach, we only wanted to start our trek back to our car. Sitting on the beach watching the falls was not an option. Each step we took was one step closer to the end of our walking. I’ve got to tell you that the quaint little town of Bolinas had a restaurant that we were dying to get a table at. The menu was very limited but who wouldn’t want pizza and beer after walking seventeen miles? Ahh, pizza, beer, and a chair, divine!

 

 

Sunny Skagit Valley

Standard

We took a little tour of the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival in Washington State this last weekend. We were so lucky to find sunshine and acres upon acres of beautiful flowers. We began by crossing the Salish Sea on a twenty car ferry to Lummi Island for a short stay and a meal at The Willows Inn. The sun was setting and the evening was divine.

We took a couple of walks on Sunset Beach, where it occurred to me, that we had been on Sunset Beach in Hawaii just a couple of weeks prior. Both places are uniquely lovely and well worth spending extended time at. One has soft golden sand and tiny shells while the other has incredible stones from the San Juan Islands. We visited family at Lake Whatcom, ate at EATS in Bellingham, cruised down Chuckanut Dr. to view the oyster farms, walked to Whatcom Falls, and ate at Seeds while taking a short tour of La Conner. I shouldn’t forget the blueberry ice cream. I’m not a great lover of ice cream, it always makes me thirsty, but this was wonderful. Maybe because it’s made locally and is fresh. I always thought that I needed to go to The Netherlands to see the bulbs in bloom. I was wrong. This place is well worth seeing. I’m removing Holland from my list. 

Aloha

Standard

Last week we got away to the island of Oahu and spent three days at Turtle Bay Resort before embarking back to Honolulu and the Hilton Hawaiian Village. They should really call it the Hilton Hawaiian Zoo. It was so much more relaxing at Turtle Bay. There aren’t turtles in Turtle Bay, it’s got good snorkeling, and the atmosphere is something that makes you want to return, time and time again.

The food on site was wonderful. We were even able to share a rather nice showing of a green flash with the other people who were staying there. It was a bit like the reaction people have to fireworks. You could tell that everyone had seen it. 

I just wanted to share a little of the aloha spirit today as you all started your week. I know you weren’t there to share it with me but these photos depict the feeling well. Open them to a larger size and remember your fondest memories of any one of the islands. Do you think that it’s time that you return to Hawaii?

Corner Stone

Standard

A couple of weeks ago we seized the opportunity to go over to Sonoma with some family members and share a day in the sunshine, which was very hard to come by at that time. We went to Corner Stone right outside of Sonoma for lunch and a little wandering through the gardens on that lovely day. The place is rather new and is a really great place to go to relax. I’d say that they have a little bit of everything there with their shops, gardens, restaurants, distillery, etc. There really is something for everyone there.

As Spring approaches, we should step out and find those places that are unique and worthy of our wandering. You never know what you might find in your own backyard, so to speak. 

The next blog will show you the big reveal of the kitchen remodel. It is nearly finished and I am loving the new space. It reminds me of Santa Cruz. That’s a great way to begin and end every day.

 

 

Seasonal Cycles

Standard

I was pleasantly surprised last weekend to find one of my favorite places to photograph in a color that I had never seen there before. It had been quite a long time since I had taken the first two shots, so I couldn’t exactly remember how they had been setup. 

I was sad when I got home to see that the setup wasn’t the same, but it is clear that the silos are on the same property. The lush yellows of the fields were so brilliant and beautiful to look at as we sped by acres and acres of farmland. I love rice, so the look of it means so much more than just contrasting colors to me. Agriculture is one thing that we do really well in California. I am so blessed to live near an area where farming is revered and appreciated for all the goodness it yields us and the rest of the world. My favorite rice is Jasmine. What’s yours?  

 

Weekend Away

Standard

On Labor Day weekend we decided to go down to Monterey and Carmel. It was mostly overcast but extremely pleasant. We went to restaurants that we’d been longing to revisit and had a wonderful time.

While we were in Carmel we decided to go to Hog’s Breath. It was there that we had many very unusual experiences and I seriously doubt that we will ever return. There were many factors that will keep us from returning and I won’t go into all of the strange happenings as it might portray me as being politically incorrect and this blog is not about my little frustrations in life. It did make me feel quite uncomfortable and made me wonder who was in charge of the overall running of the restaurant. To make this long story short, we simply won’t return; problem solved.

We went to Monterey Fish House and had a delightful dinner. Everything there is delicious and works like clockwork. We tried Tarpy’s Roadhouse for the first time and had a delightful brunch in a very old stone house that has a lot of history to it. We had lunch at the West End in Santa Cruz and I found the perfect light, for my kitchen remodel, at Illuminations. It was hand blown by an artist who lives in Santa Cruz so it is the perfect complement to my house. We walked all over Point Lobos and found it beautiful but completely overgrown with poison oak. I am extremely allergic so I found myself having to be extra careful while hiking through a rather remote area of the park. We then had to return home to our very own patio where we had the padrone peppers that we purchased at the Santa Cruz Farmers Market. They were the best we have ever had, and in many ways, we felt a little like we had hardly even ventured far from our patio. Truth be told, some of my best experiences have been on my patio. I hope you have a patio like ours; full of fond memories. Have a grand weekend.

Winter Sunburst

Standard
My Backyard Mandarines

My Backyard Mandarins

We were shopping at Whole Foods last weekend and came upon this recipe that I just have to share with you.  It was a rainy day and the recipe looked like something refreshing.  It gave us a delightful taste of winter.

Satsuma Jicama Salad

serves 4

Ingredients

2 satsumas

1 medium jicama, peeled, cut into matchsticks (great place to get out the mandoline slicer)

1 bunch radishes, thinly sliced and cut into half moons

2 limes, zested and juiced

1/4 teaspoon chili powder

1 tablespoon minced cilantro

Directions

Segment the satsumas: cut enough off either end until you see orange flesh, not the white pith.  Cut the skin off around all sides.  Over a bowl with a small knife, go between each segment and gently cut them out.  Toss satsumas segments into a bowl with jicama, radishes, lime juice and zest.  Garnish with chili powder and cilantro.

Now, this is the part where I tell you how I handled this…..

I peeled the satsumas and cut each segment in half.  I added 1 avocado cut into small pieces and added fresh prawns (cooked and chilled) cut into quarters.  

There is no oil in this recipe and it is delightfully refreshing.  You could sprinkle toasted pumpkin seeds on the top as well.  You can change it up anyway that you would like, but it is really good just as it stands.  (Cuties, Mandarins, Cara Cara Oranges, all would work for the citrus.)

1 of 4 Remaining to Savor

1 of 4 Remaining to Savor

Have yourself a very Merry Christmas!