Mar 29, 2011

California Part 3

I have to say when you are passing these really don't mind the driving.  In North Carolina our beaches and our mountains are about 4 hours apart...not in California!
Oh and this was our ride for the week...I think this could be a real Jeep commercial! 
First stop today: San Luis Obispo.  We spent time driving around and found the perfect lunch spot!  Big Sky Cafe.  Ryan had a BLT with smoked salmon and avocado and I got a chicken salad with creme brulee goat cheese and hazelnuts.  They also had gluten free chocolate cake with poached kumquats and whipped cream.
We finally made it to Santa Barbra mid day.  Santa Barbra was what I visioned a Southern California town to look and feel like.  We loved the palm trees that lined the beach.
 There was a farmers market in the middle of town.  We enjoyed seeing some of the locals, people watched at happy hour and did some more shopping! 

We had the perfect view of the sun setting at the end of the pier while we had crab legs and oyster shooters!  Oh and they are known for their Bloody Marys which I loved even though they were super spicy.
 The next morning we headed to Los Angelas, California.  Of course our first stop was Rodeo Drive.  Prada, Hermes, Chanel...Oh My!
Although I couldn't afford anything, I truly enjoyed window shopping.

We enjoyed driving through Beverly Hills, seeing the Hollywood sign and driving down Hollywood Blvd.  Although I didn't see any celebrities, all in all it was a fun day.
Next stop La Jolla (pronounced La Hoya), California.  This city is very close to San Diego.  If Ryan didn't have so many meetings to attend in San Diego I wish we could have stayed in La Jolla and just gone to San Diego during the day.  Some of my friends have visited La Jolla and suggested we go on a hike at Torrey Pines.  This hike is well worth the workout to get there!
So finally we made it to San Diego, California.  Our final destination.  The main reason for this trip was because Ryan had meetings and had to attend the International Dental Research Convention....thats right **NERD ALERT**

While he was gone during the day I ventured out on my own.  I went to the zoo and did some more shopping!  This zoo is like no other.  They have several levels and even have these things you can ride on to see the overview of the entire zoo...kinda like a ski lift.
My favorite animal was the Panda.  I spent a while watching funny!

One afternoon and most nights we got to be tourists together:)  There are many different sections of San Diego, but the two we spent the most time in were Little Italy and Gas Lamp Quarter.
On our final day of vacation we took a ferry to Coronado Island.  Loved everything about this little Island!  We had some of the best Mexican food at Miquels(I could have bathed in their white cheese dip), walked along the beach and ate Coronado Crunch! (I have a huge weakness for local candy stores...I think we hit up about 3 of them during our trip.

This blog post is getting long and I am losing steam....Overall I would highly recommend renting a car and driving down the coast of California.  We saw amazing views, ate amazing food and got to spend quality time together!  I am looking forward to recreating some of these meals soon!

Mar 27, 2011

California Part 2

The second Part of our California trip started by driving through San Fransisco.  Although we have both been here a couple of times (to visit The Lee's) we wanted to hit up one of our favorite bargain stores and drive down Lombard Street. 

Next stop Monterrey, California.  We didn't stay here for long...just long enough to walk around the pier and have lunch.
We then drove to Carmel, California and went through 17 mile drive where you can see huge waves, beautiful scenery, sea animals, The Lone Cypress, and several (apparently incredible) golf courses.
Ryan enjoyed walking out on Pebble Beach Golf Course.
After driving for a while we were happy to reach Carmel, California.  This is a very small and quaint town...would definitely go back and stay longer.  After shopping and walking around downtown we went to dinner at Toast in Carmel Valley.  Although it does not rain a lot in the Valley they get these huge clouds and fog and we got to see some "roll in" while we ate mussels and french fries outside.  The clouds are kind of magical.
The next morning we stopped at Big Sur to have breakfast.  I have to say this is the best view to wake up to...
We stopped at Cafe Kevah in Big Sur for breakfast.  Ryan said his Eggs Benedict with blue crab and avocado was the best breakfast he has ever had!  I could eat here everyday and still not get sick of the view.  The seating was all outside and overlooking the cliffs and ocean...truly some of Gods best work.  This was one of our favorite days on our trip!
If it is lunch/dinner time you can go upstairs and eat at Nepenthe...they are known for having great burgers.  Next up more of our drive down the coast and several towns in Southern California!

Mar 25, 2011

California Part 1

We are back in our routine after our much needed long vacation!  We went on an 8-day trip through California and were blessed to see some of our amazing countryside. Ryan had a Dental Convention in San Diego so we flew into San Fransisco and made our way down the coast and ended the week in San Diego.  I have to say it was honestly the prettiest part of our country I have EVER seen! 
The first city we stopped at was Berkley...right outside of San Fran.  We stopped and had breakfast at La Note where Ryan had French Toast with lavendar honey and I got yogurt with raspberry coulis.  They also are known for their lemon-ginger bread pancakes...yummo!  We also got to drive through Cal at Berkley which was a beautiful campus!
Next on our stop...Napa, CA.
First stop (courtesy of The Lee's)  was Spring Mountain Vineyard.  Ryan and I got the red carpet treatment!  We enjoyed a 2 hour private tasting and tour of the entire vineyard.  We not only got to taste amazing wine, see lots of pretty scenery, but learned so much through our tour guide.
We then got a quick bite to eat at V Sattui.  This winery was very commercialized and crowded, but a great place to stop for a snack or lunch.
The final winery we stopped at was Peju.  We met the Napa Rappa here and he rapped about all the wines and what to look for and pair them with.  Hilarious.
Peju was very corky and upbeat!  I would highly recommend this place too!
For dinner we tried out Tyler Florence's new restaurant Rotissere & Wine.  We split collards and an entire rotissere chicken with potatoes.  The atmosphere and decor was perfect for a Napa restaurant.
We finished the night off with dessert from Bouchon.  We split the TLC cookie, a homemade Peanut Butter cup and several macroons (these were our favorite).
Although the wine and food was amazing...the view of the rolling vineyards were our favorite part.
Stay tuned for the next stop on our tour of The Golden State...

Mar 12, 2011

Cruise Control

After two CRAZY weeks and a lot of stuff going on...we are happily setting the cruise control and coasting to May!  Most importantly Ryan took his boards two weeks ago and he found out yesterday that HE PASSED!!!  This is a huge relief and of course accomplishment.  Now he just has to show up a few days a week for clinic and wait for graduation:)  We are officially moved into our new "home" in Charlotte.
On top of all that exciting news, we leave tonight for a week long vacation in California (part vacation, part Dental Convention).  So to start our vacation we drove back to my parents house to celebrate a special little boys 3rd Birthday!

Zach is really into costumes right now and got this one from his mom.

We heard how much he liked it and decided to also go with the theme and get him some new dress up clothes.
Here is Super Hero Zach!

And Dr. Zachary DDS!

Alice at Needleworks did all the monogramming and the Super Hero Cape.  I think they turned out great and most importantly Zach loves them:)  Thanks Alice!!  What a great start to a week long vacation...Happy Birthday Zach!  Ok off to back soon!