When an opportunity presented itself to allow J and I to go on a overnight to San Luis Obispo while Daisy stay with her paternal grandparents, we jumped at the chance. As well as being a sort of anniversary do-over, this trip was going to be our great escape from the never-ending diaper changing. A night to eat dinner out, sans high chair, to eat something spicy, drink copious amounts of wine, read uninterrupted, and most importantly, to sleep in. And, like all other first-time parents, I only called home a dozen or so times, and our conversation floated back to Daisy more than once.
So, a couple weekends ago, the grandparents drove down, we gave them a run-down of Daisy’s very complicated schedule: eat, play, sleep, cycle repeat. We set off, the weather was glorious, mid-to upper 80s, sun shine all day. It was one of those cliché California weather days.
One of our wine-tasting stops was Gainey Vineyard, just outside of Santa Barbara, a place that has delicious mustard, and decent wine. I had picked this specific winey BECAUSE of the mustard I had discovered at a friends house in which I restrained myself from licking the bowl clean. I politely partook in the wine tasting, and walked through the beautiful vineyard, and then I became nearly frantic when I realized that the mustard will not be ready until late June.
We also stopped at the Mission in Solvang. Some people love California beaches, or California’s selection on micro-breweries, and internet, I am obsessed with the missions. We wandered the grounds, took photos, sat on the benches watching a gaggle of teenage boys & girls pose for Quinceañera photos before making our way to our final destination.
We stayed at the Madonna Inn, a place we’ve seen many times off Hwy 101, heard rumors about their bathrooms, and crazy rock-floor rooms, and this put us only a mile from the middle of town. As we walked up and down the streets we decided that we’d stop for some drinks, have an appetizer, walk around, and find another stop for the main meal, before moving on for dessert. I mean, we were only in town for one night, so we had to make the most of our stay.
Our first stop was Mo Tav, a sports bar where J could watch the game (we were in Giants territory he explained) with plenty of locally produced wine and the best smelling sweet potato fries.
And then we walked, and walked, and walked, up and down streets, hunting down gum alley, sampling chocolate and peeping in restaurants. “What looks good?,” we’d asked. And we eventually found ourselves back at Mo Tav, to sample their Kobe burgers and micro-brews. I tell, you, nothing like ordering drinks and food at 5pm, and then waltzing right back to the same place only a few hours later.
On Sunday morning, the sun shining, I somehow convinced J to accompany me on my morning run, which ended up being a 7-mile, 2-hour walk instead. We walked through town, winding through the streets, and up to Cal Poly SLO and back. After quickly showering (we arrived back 10 minutes before check-out), our culinary tour not yet quite complete – some people go to the central coast for wine-tasting; we, however, seem to go for food-tasting- hit up Copper Cafe at Madonna Inn for an omelet, homemade biscuits, and steaming cups of coffee. I would have taken a picture, if I hadn't devoured my food. I salivated over freshly baked pies, and I nearly asked for a bite of my neighbor’s leftover strawberry waffles.
And now, we are back: happy, a little more in love, and perhaps, a half dress size larger than before we left. Tomorrow we leave for Boston, where it promises to have steady rain the whole weekend. I will be bringing my raincoat and sweat-shirts, leaving my sunglasses and tank-tops at home, a simple reminder as to why I live in California.