Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Dad's Visit and Farms

My dad moved to Maui a few years ago and even though we are very close, it has been hard to get together due to the distance, price of plane tickets, etc. Well after a year and a half, my dad came to visit! He said my blog is becoming too focused on friends and family rather than food and yoga, so I tried to highlight his visit with lots of food and farming related activities. We went to many local farms, wine tasting in Temecula, out for some great dinners, and we cooked lots of vegetarian delights at home. I even got my dad to eat tofu! He went back for seconds. :) One of the dinners out deserves it's own post, but here is a summary of all the other stuff we did.

When Dad arrived, we poked around in Little Italy, having tea at Influx (well Dad had a latte, he is pretty much obsessed with them), and poking around this cute grocery store "The Market by Buon Appetito" on India street. What a great little store. They have everything packed in this tiny store front and lots of authentic Italian groceries.

We went home made a delicious greek salad for lunch with feta, tomatoes, cucumbers, fresh herbs, lettuce, balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Aaron has been working at home so he was able to join us. 

Then my dad and I went to a couple of local farms and my favorite nursery. 

First, Chino Farms

Chino Farms supplies produce to Alice Waters of Chez Panisse. I find this very funny, because that restaurant is in Berkeley and Alice Waters always talks about being green, etc. I think people call her the mother of slow food. Well, I find it surprising that she has produce driven in daily...from San Diego...500 miles away. It doesn't seem very green to me. 

In any case, Chino farms is right around the corner from where I live and needless to say they have wonderful produce. They get kind of weird about you touching stuff and they don't list prices, but everything I have ever bought there was amazing. We bought some little onions and a variety of different colored berries and bell peppers. We made a big summer vegetable pasta for dinner with the peppers and onions, and added some squash from my CSA.

Next, we went to The Farm at El Mirlo

This is also very close by but I had never been there. They have produce, eggs, baked goods, hand made spices, pickles, etc. It was very cute. We talked with the owner for a long time. He showed us his chickens and all of his produce. He also gave us a cookie that was so darned good we ended up buying a dozen...and with my dad around those disappeared in 3 days flat. We also got some red corn to try which was a bit weird, but fun to taste. It was a very cute little farm and I will definitely go back...a bit more homey and welcoming than Chino farms, that's for sure. 

Next, we wandered to Branches and Barrels

This is the best nursery. I just wanted to show my dad how pretty it was. 

When we got home we made the tasty vegetable pasta, grilled tofu with pesto, and grilled tomatoes with pesto:

Another night I made us the aforementioned corn, a big salad with fresh figs and ricotta, and some grilled turkey sausages for Aaron and dad. Not surprisingly, they scarfed up the salad and corn and said the sausage sucked! Ha! Take that! 

If you can get your hands on fresh figs, do it. 

The salad was on a bed of mixed greens with about 6 figs sliced in half. I added about a 1/2 cup of fresh ricotta cheese from Trader Joe's. I also added about 10 fresh sprigs of thyme, a drizzle of raw local honey, some balsamic vinegar, EVOO, and a sprinkle of Himalayan pink sea salt. You could also do figs and goat cheese or blue cheese. This was such a nice combination. 

My dad and I also went to the Del Mar Horse Races which was a blast:

My dad won three of six bets!!! I won 1 of 4. I only lost about $3. Dad lost about $5. Not too shabby! Plus, it was just so much fun. 

We had planned to spend some time at the beach but since there was no sunshine, we went Temecula! We went to a few wineries and poked around old town Temecula too. It was so much fun. We tried some decent wine at Robert Renzoni  and the new Monte de Oro and some horrible wine at Cougar Vineyards.

Here are some pictures of old town Temecula:

We also took a Hornblower boat ride with Aaron which was great fun...and the sun showed itself! For a little while.....

Other fun activities included joining my friend Erica for dinner in Carlsbad, going to the Little Italy farmer's market, and talking long walks with Peroni. It was such a nice, relaxing visit. I felt refreshed and happy to have that time with my dad. The whole trip ended with an epic dinner in which I took 40+ pictures...obviously that needs it's own post. Coming soon.....

Fun times in San Diego....

Despite our grey weather, Aaron and I have been enjoying our summer. We have been cooking some great food with all the glorious food from our CSA, and Aaron's car is mostly done, and all in all life is pretty good.

Here is a lovely salad I made for Aaron with tomatoes, squash, fresh mozzarella, etc.

Here are some pictures of Aaron and his car on Hipstamatic (a cool new Iphone app):

And here we are driving behind some motorcycles on the way to a wedding in Coronado:

Here are some pictures of the wedding (this was a friend of Aaron's wedding from work).

This picture is looking out into Glorietta Bay which is where we watched the fireworks on the 4th of July. The wedding was at the Coronado Community Center, overlooking the bay, which is so pretty. Brian and Gabi were a very pretty couple and they had lots of vegetarian food items at the wedding....including Chinese take out in to go cartons! They also had a mashed potato bar... I wish I took pictures! It was very whimsical and cute. 

After the wedding we stopped for ice cream in Coronado. Here we are with Elvis:

The wedding was a blast and I am so proud of Aaron and his car...he sure has worked hard on it and it finally works and is running smoothly. 

We have weddings the next two weekends and are also going up to Lake Tahoe for a few days. Like I is good.