Starrs' California coast trip report

Mar 24th, 2008, 02:26 PM
  #41  
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Wow, thanks, socialworker! That's a HUGE compliment. You just made my day.

More from the Viogniers after dinner tonight.
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Mar 24th, 2008, 02:42 PM
  #42  
 
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Great report. I'm so glad to know that the Tuck Box is still there in Carmel. I used to go there with my grand parents and my mom and dad oh so many years ago. We always went for breakfast...the scones, the scones!!!!! I guess you found out the air is quite "rare" in Carmel. LOL

I love tea or dish towels too. I pick them up everywhere. Some I use, but some I just display in my armoire.

Boy, you sure packed a lot into your trip. I was thinking about you at Barrel Tasting..I kept wondering if maybe you were in the same tasting room and I didn't even know it. I just finally got all my wine stashed away in my frige on Saturday.
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Mar 24th, 2008, 02:56 PM
  #43  
 
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Are you related to THEEEEE Voigners? You know the Kentucky Voigneirs...very old money, horse people, all vedy vedy, you know.
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Mar 24th, 2008, 03:02 PM
  #44  
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I don't KNOW!
I have to ask Didier. :-?
I'm sure that if we ARE, we are the black sheep of the family
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Mar 24th, 2008, 03:20 PM
  #45  
 
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Tell Didier that this is the POINDEXTER Voigniers branch of the family. Perhaps you may be distant cousins or something. Dripping money and thorobreds ya' know.
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Mar 24th, 2008, 03:47 PM
  #46  
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"...Dripping money and thorobreds ya' know. "

Oh, this sounds sooooo ME!

But, I do have a stallion in the back yard - and a pretty nice quarter horse. Alas, no throughbreds
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Mar 24th, 2008, 03:50 PM
  #47  
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"...Dripping money and thorobreds ya' know. "

Oh, this sounds sooooo ME!

But, I do have a Appaloosa stallion in the back yard - and a pretty nice quarter horse. Alas, no throughbreds

But, a friend in Texas owned a real life racehorse! I still get those damn race email update. Mine just race to the feed bucket

Anyhoo, I'll ask Didier.
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Mar 24th, 2008, 03:52 PM
  #48  
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So much for editing talent
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Mar 24th, 2008, 05:31 PM
  #49  
 
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I know you have horses...envy envy...I'm partial to Arabians myself, but I'd take anything at this point. Problem is, I'd need a winch to get me on it!!!!!!
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Mar 25th, 2008, 12:25 AM
  #50  
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Back to the trip report -

One bad thing about our stay at Moonstone Beach = virtually no cell service by my carrier
One good thing about our stay at Moonstone Beach = virtually no cell service by my carrier



So, imagine my surprise at being awoken by my cell phone ringing at 8:30 am "our time". It was a work call. I opened the sliding door, tried the patio and found a small window of good reception in the parking lot. Conducted a bit of work listening to the music of the waves.

Back in the room Didier stirred enough to ask "Are we getting up now?" My response - "Not unless you want to". The next time we woke up was almost noon. Ahhhh! Full relaxation mood had finally overtaken the Type A's.

Lunch in Cambria and then meandering to a vague destination - Paso Robles wineries.

The desk clerk had recommended a brochure with a few wineries listed. I also picked up the brochure that listed about 200 of them. Even so, the "follow your nose" was still the plan.

The drive into Paso Robles was beautiful. I was surprised by the topography. The green hills reminded me of Ireland. When they got craggier, they reminded Didier of the Waipi'o valley. Beautiful. The California cows did indeed look happy. It was a gorgeous sunshine-y day. We drove happily toward Paso Robles with no real plan and passed several wineries that intrigued us.

When I saw the sign for Peachy Canyon, we turned in quickly. We loved this place. The house reminded me of my farmhouse. The land was gorgeous. The tasting was very nice. We loved the wines. The only white available for tasting was... a Viognier. I'm tellin' ya, this trip is magical! The wine was wonderful! My choices were the Viognier (of course) and the Snow Zinfandel. I also left with a free Peachy Canyon poster. Didier was entranced by the Meyers Lemon Oil and the DeVine Cabernet.

www.peachycanyon.com

As we left, we asked about sparkling wines. He pointed out the window, up the hill and JanKris was our next stop.

http://www.jankriswinery.com/cgi-bin...age=index.html

We didn't like the sparkling wines (they offered a raspberry flavored one and an almond.) A big disappointment. Their Viognier was watery. We really didn't find one that wow'd us. But, they had an amazing port. Amazing. It was wonderful! Strangely, they didn't have labels for it, so she wrote the name on the bottle - and Didier asked her to add a message for me at the same time. Awwwwww... It was so sweet. I do smile when I see the bottle They also had a barrel full of unlabelled wines. Their story was that Jan and Kris' dad found some bottles that somehow went without labels. It was a grab-bag/ mystery approach - but at a great price. I bought a couple of bottles and enjoyed the sense of adventure (and the price).

As we left, I played around with the new camera and realized (using my 12x zoom) that the recommended winery was right there too.

http://www.castorocellars.com/

We really enjoyed this place. Great, FREE wine tasting. Good gift shop. Informative pourer. Oh, and they have some dam fine wines too.

Now, off to Paso Robles for our dinner reservation - and perhaps the best meal of the trip.




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Mar 25th, 2008, 01:22 AM
  #51  
 
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I am new on Fodor's. Enjoyed your report Stars. I knew I liked you when you told us you had horses. I am a horse lover as well.
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Mar 25th, 2008, 05:34 AM
  #52  
 
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I love going to CA when the hills are still green, just beautiful. Isn't it great when you finally "let go" and just relax. It's kind of shocking to wake up at noon but so great when you realize how good you feel and you don't have to worry about being anywhere at any particular time. That's what a vacation is all about.
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Apr 4th, 2008, 06:37 PM
  #53  
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Travel Tip # something - www.foodandwine.com

Travel Tip # something+ - www.opentable.com

FF had a brainstorm - "Let's eat at Babs' favorite restaurant!" He had heard the last time he was in Paso Robles that one of Barbra Streisand's favorite restaurants was in Paso Robles.

I was googling trying to figure out which restaurant it might be, and FF told me to use www.foodandwine.com. Only 1 restaurant showed up, and it was too early to call to make reservations, so I used NeoPatrick's hint and used www.opentable.com to make a reservation.

We arrived at Villa Creek early for our reservation - and it turned out NOT to be the restaurant he remembered. But, 15 minutes later we were thrilled at the "mistake".

I'm really not a foodie. I like good food, love comfort food, believe in the slow food/ organic food concept, but don't call myself a foodie. The menu looked good -
http://www.villacreek.com/restaurant/dinner.html -
but I wasn't expecting what was to come.

I ordered the asparagus soup and FF ordered the spinach salad. We shared.

Our reaction to the soup was the same - "OMG! OMG! OMG!". It was INCREDIBLE. I can't believe the server described it as less "interesting" than the other appetizers.

FF's spinach sald was like no other I've had before. The spinach was "Bloomsdale spinach" and the server said it would be crunchier than we are used to. It was...AMAZING. Simple amazing. I still go back in time to the crunch and the texture of that spinach. The pecans, cranberries and mustard bacon vinaigrette were great additions, but the spinach itself was wonderful.

When I saw the "Charcuterie Plate" I thought of this board and smiled

Our entrees were good. FF enjoyed the lamb and I ordered the Hearst Ranch Flat-iron steak served with the mashed potatoes rather than the wild mushroom bread pudding. They brought asparagus instead of the haricot vert and it was a pleasant surprise.

The dessert was baked pear something...can't remember. FF wanted it and I tried a bite. I couldn't wait to get back to Cambria to get pie from Linn's!
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Apr 4th, 2008, 06:41 PM
  #54  
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We rolled ourselves to the car and out of the little town of PR, back through the green hills and toward Moonstone Beach. We stopped at Linn's and I got a slice of the famous Ollalieberry pie to go.

The whole day was magical. The hotel offers a pool in warmer weather but the hot tub was open. We were going to walk the boardwalk, soak in the tub, or SOMETHING. We crashed. Barely had time to share the wonderful slice of pie before sleep took over.
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Apr 4th, 2008, 07:03 PM
  #55  
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Dang, for someone that isn't a foodie, I sure am describing food a lot.

The free breakfast at the Best Western was good. For me "good" is when they have a hard boiled egg (for morning protein) and make-your-own-waffles (as a treat because I only have them at hotels or in the mountains). Bagels, danish, cereal, etc. A couple of juice choices. THREE coffee choices. We carried our goodies across the parking lot and enjoyed a breakfast in the sunshine looking at the ocean. The line of birds on the rooftop enjoyed watching US.

It was time for both of us to go so we wouldn't get stuck in LA traffic - but we didn't want to go. So, we wandered over to the boardwalk and strolled for a while. We enjoyed the view, the tidal pools, a short stroll on the beach, a photo op with feet in the cold Pacific...but mostly just talking. But, the fears of LA traffic finally tore us away and it was time for Part 3 of my journey.
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Apr 4th, 2008, 07:19 PM
  #56  
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Santa Barbara - was just a drive thru...but LITERALLY a drive through along State Street to find "them".

A week before my departure, the youtube video of The Dog, The Cat and The Rat made its rounds via email. I jested with online friends that I would stop and find them. Even though I was short on time, I wanted to see if I COULD find them.

None of this trip was typical tourist fare, but Santa Barbara was especially strange. A drive to find three furry (are they really?) friends we saw on youtube.

I found them. Right there. Downtown in Santa Barbara. I took a right at the next light, found a parking space waiting for me, walked less than a block total...and there they were!

Lots of speculation about the animals being drugged or starving or unhealthy or mistreated. They looked great - and I'm not sure I expected them to. They kind of wandered around until someone got a camera ready, and then he would put the cat on the dog's back and the rat on top and they often would stay there for a while... and then "at ease" until the next photo op.

Now, for the really strange part. The owner had been chatting with a couple and then it was just me... and then he said he really needed to go to the bathroom...so I asked him if I wanted to baby-sit/ critter-sit/ stay with them?... and he said "yes".

So, here I am, sitting on a bench in downtown Santa Barbara with a rat on my lap, a dog at my feet, and a cat (on a leash) wandering around a bit watching bugs. Surreal!

The rat was in my lap because he cautioned me not to let the rat run off. There was nothing keeping the rat attached to anyone... and I had a vision of Rat making a run for it through traffic and then... well, I put Rat on my lap and talked and cooed and... filmed it all. Thank goodness that my new digital camera had the video feature. There's a not-so-great, but documentation-that-it-really-happened footage of Rat checking out the camera and a "behind the scenes" view of being the Dog/Cat/Rat handler in Santa Barbara

A women wandered up and started talking about seeing the video. I wondered if she wondered why this woman was here instead of the man. Then, the owner walked up and we all chatted for a while. I handed Rat off and relaxed to be relieved of Celebrity Safety Duty, and took a few more pics. I sent some via cellphone to my friends back home - and they were suitably amazed at my finding them - and a couple were truly jealous. I love my friends

One of them called immediately - and asked me to go to see a vet's office at the corner of streets X and Y. "Why?" I asked. "Okay, I'll do it". So, I found myself at said location, took a few pictures for my friend, and introduced myself as the friend of their webmaster. I DO think they looked at me quite strangely. I'm in their reception room, talking to friend while sick vet is on hold as she is home recuperating and I'm being told to look for a certain person, so I look up at a 4 people and asked correct person directly "Are you P?". "Um, yes" - and you could see them wondering if they should call security Friend wanted me to take a tour of the place. I just asked if I could use their restroom and then continued on my way down the coast.
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Apr 4th, 2008, 08:02 PM
  #57  
 
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Starrs, you've outdone yourself!
What fun to come back from our month long sojourn in Sarasota,to Fodorsville, and find your great trip report! Keep it going! It sounds wonderful.
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Apr 4th, 2008, 08:24 PM
  #58  
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Thanks, ccs. It was a fun trip!

Forgot to mention - I asked at the vet office about The Dog, The Cat and The Rat. The young lady agreed that they looked very happy and healthy. They haven't treated the trio, but have watched and visited with them. I agree fully.

And, of course, the wine at Villa Creek was the Viognier. It was the last evening in the Central Coast for the Viogniers.
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Apr 4th, 2008, 08:49 PM
  #59  
 
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Starrs,

I've enjoyed your trip report and your style of writing. Sounds like you had a fantastic time, and the Monaco and Moonstone Beach are my favorite parts. Sometimes its just fun to let things unfold.

like_2travel
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Apr 4th, 2008, 08:58 PM
  #60  
 
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Well it's about time you got back to telling the tale. I've been checking every day for a week now.

Has anyone seen the little man with the dog outside Galerie Lafayette in Paris? Same kind of thing, people think the dog is drugged. I'm trying to remember if he had a cat too...hmmm.

You're lucky that rat didn't crap all over you. You lead a charmed life.

On that note, I'm off to bed. It's almost 9, way past my bed time.
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