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April Fool’s Weekend Fun

Horseback riding, holding saddle

Work was nothing special on Friday. I did get a lot done, though. I called Steph to see when she was planning on coming up. She said she had some transmission problems with her car and she’d be leaving later. Plus, it was raining. So betting on being able to get hungry by the time she arrived, I decided to make dinner. I marinaded chicken breast strips in plain yogurt with curry, garlic, ginger, and other spices. Then I cooked them on a plan and ate the chicken with pita bread. Oh and I made a grilled onion sauce with reduced white wine. All in all, it was not very good. I finished most of it, but I am probably going to have to tweak that recipe in the future. While I was waiting for her to arrive, I setup Peachtree Accounting 2006 on my aunt and uncle’s new Dell computer. I also did laundry. Boy, was I busy! Lots more after the jump!

Steph arrived at 11PM. I put out a bowl and butter so it could reach room temperature because I had intended on surprising her with cookies. But I forgot about the cookies. She arrived really hungry since she skipped dinner. I was excited to take her to Edomasa, Santa Barbara’s only “late-night” sushi joint. Turns out that she had a big Japanese meal the night before with Ronbo so she was not in the mood. Instead, she wanted Mexican. So guess where we went? Freebirds, of course! But before that, we went to Vons to pick up some cleanser she forgot.

At Freebirds, I got a regular burrito and horchata. That’s my infamous combo. Steph got her usual too which is nachos with lettuce and sour cream and non-melted cheese. Yeah, you heard me. We came back to my apartment and watched Constantine. This was the second time I had seen it and I was glad to have Steph there to explain it to me. She had a really good understanding of the movie. I felt educated like the time Ronald schooled me on Underworld 1 & 2. I took the liberty of taking some limes from the salsa bar at Freebirds. This came in handy when I had Steph try some of my Don Eduardo tequila. Steph did not like it, I don’t think. Before that, I poured her some cold sake and she didn’t like that too. So I ended up drinking her share as well. By now it was well into early morning so what did we do? Sleep? Nope. We watched half of Season 2 of The Office, which in my opinion, is the funniest show on television. It was a riot. We were both laughing so hard. Around 5 AM, we finally hit the sack.

Flag in Los Olivos town centerThe next morning, we got up at a reasonable time. Maybe 10:30 AM or something. After lounging around and taking it slow, we couldn’t decide on where to go. Finally, I suggested wine tasting and she seemed to like it, so that was that. We drove up to Grand Ave. in Los Olivos. For the first time, I didn’t get to park in my usual spot, so I had to park in this church lot instead. No big deal, same distance to walk. First thing we did was go to the Los Olivos Cafe to put our names down. My previous experience told me that it would be busy. If you recall, this was the restaurant they had dinner at in the movie Sideways. It’s the one where the main character (Miles) says “No, if anyone orders Merlot, I’m leaving. I am NOT drinking any fucking Merlot! ”

The wait would be 15-25 minutes so we went wine tasting. That was my plan and it worked out well. The first place we went to, we actually got carded. Then the guy poured the first glass. And I looked him and then Steph with my WTF look. The pour was like a splash. I don’t know what changed from 6 months ago, but this was terrible. We were sharing too. Normally they account for this and pour a little more. Anyway, I think we both enjoyed the tasting. I bought a bottle of Riesling which is a sweet(er) white wine. Buying a bottle got us a card to wine taste next door. Score! Time was running so we went next door and tried 5 of their wines. We didn’t buy anything and instead rushed over to the cafe to see where our names were. The (really cute) hostess said that there were two tables ahead of us but stick around because they were getting seated shortly. I had Steph wait while I went to the car to put away the wine glass and bottle I was carrying. When I got back, we waited just a minute and then was seated.

Los Olivos CafeThe cafe is really nice. I should mention that the weather outside was simply stunning. We kept mentioning it from the moment we got out of the car until the time we pulled out of town. You could see it pretty clearly from our seat in the restaurant too. Anyway, we order some chicken springroll appetizers. They were deep fried so more like eggrolls. I know, what’s an Asian dish doing at an American cafe restaurant? Who knows, it was pretty good. Steph had the duck leg with goat cheese mashed potatoes. I had the Toscana pizza which has “Olive Oil and Garlic, Fresh Ricotta, Fontina, Mushrooms and Truffle Oil.” For dessert we both ordered capuccinos (she got a double) and shared a creme brulee. It was really good. We were so full after. We probably spent over 2 hours there. Very relaxing.

We walked over to the car to drop off my leftovers. Then I took Steph to Sansone Studio, a gallery I make a point to visit everytime I am in town. Everytime I go in there, the husband and wife are not really mean or nice. They are just polite enough not to be rude but definitely not helpful. I think that’s the wrong attitude to have. They make these wonderful pieces of art by putting different types of porcelain enamel on copper then firing it in a kiln. Steph saw a really cool red and orange bowl and she bought it for her mom. Suddenly, the lady started smiling and joking with us. Good one, Sansone.

Lady in WindowAs we walked back to the car to drop her new purchase, we walked by an office with a freaky lady in the window. I noticed it the first time but forgot about it and I was scared a second time around. I don’t know why anyone would have this in their office. It is just freaky. We walked through some mud (it was raining the day before, remember?) to one of the tasting rooms that was recommended to us. We did another tasting and I inquired about their dessert wines. They pointed to the port at the bottom. Steph was excited because she wanted a bottle for her dad, who likes to drink it with his cigars. What a sophisticated man! I asked about icewine and the lady explained that to have icewine, you need to have ice and that’s more readily found up north, like in Canada. I felt like an idiot.

Earlier, Steph had mentioned she wanted to go horseback riding. Every time I was not actually busy with something, I was trying to find information about this using my Treo. I even text messaged a handful of people. Barcelona came through and called me while we were in the shop. He suggested Circle B Ranch but since I was on the other side of the valley (?) he did not know where to go. We asked the lady and she suggested the Rancho Oso Riding Stables off Paradise Road. We took note. When we reached the last wine on the list, we were each given a piece of chocolate. The man explained we should take a bite of the chocolate, a sip of the port, then another bite of the chocolate. It was good stuff. Steph bought a half-bottle for her dad.

Back to the car and soon we were cruising down the 101. It is really hard to find the road because most of them do not have big signs, or signs at all. We got really close to town and I was thinking we totally missed it. Suddenly, the Paradise Road sign came up and I made a left. Then drove what seemed like an internity into the mountain-side. It was like backcountry. We were inside the Los Padres National Forest and passed numerous campsites and ranger stations. When we finally got to the stables, the lady laughed at me explaining that it as getting dark soon and they don’t ride in the dark. I asked about the next day and she said they were all booked. Darned. That’s what you get for not planning.

We drove back to Goleta and Steph plopped down to watch the UCLA Final Four game. I tried a second time to make reservations at Avia Spa, but much like Friday, I failed. They were all booked. I wasn’t into the game so I played some F.E.A.R. I forgot what a good game it was. I found the phone number for the Circle B Stables and after speaking to a very nice cowboy, we had reservations for 1.5 hour ride the next day at 2PM. Perfecto. We watched the rest of the game then some Thirsty Traveler. We left for dinner around 8 PM.

Parking was a breeze downtown. We put our name down at The Palace Grill. There were probably four parties in front of us but we skipped a few spots and were seated after waiting a short while. We had bad seats, right in the back, by the dessert kitchen. It was just loud but the service was actually really good. I guess because all the waiters have to pass by that area. I had water and some fancy Lousiana rootbeer called Abita. Steph had mango iced tea which surprised me because I did not know she liked iced tea. We shared Oysters Rockefeller which was not as good as I remembered. I think she agreed. We both had filet mignons with artichoke hearts and hollandaise sauce. For dessert with had dark chocolate souffle. I know, it was a crazy weekend. We both had leftovers so we dropped the food off in the car then walked back to the Blue Agave, next to The Palace.

Picture with Kelly on her brithdayI walked in and immediately asked the hostess for Kelly’s table. She pointed behind me. It was right by the door. I couldn’t believe I didn’t see it. She got up immediately and introduced Steph and I to everyone. Then we went to the bar and she said “Buy me a drink, bitch!” so I did. It was a Stoli Elite Peach Martini. Really good stuff. After spilling a nice splash on my hand, I had a sip. Steph did too. Then we talked some more, and out came her chocolate birthday cake slice. She insisted we tried some. Very decadant. We said our goodbyes and left. We were both so stuffed and tired. Night was over. NOT!

Bowling ScoreWe drove back to the apartment and Steph picked up her socks. I took her to her car and she picked up her bag and we were off. We arrived at Zodos! Bowling and Beyond 10 minutes later and though it was fairly packed, we got lane 21 right away. Just two games for us. At $6.50 a piece, it was not cheap. Besides. when you live a few miles away, you can afford to just bowl a few games and it’s not a waste. Steph destroyed me the first game. She actually started out doing poorly, blaming it on not being used to the lane. On the second game, it went strike, strike, strike, strike for her and I, alternating. She wasn’t able to complete the turkey, but I was. SERVED! When she went on to beat me, again. Damn. I was sad until she pointed out I got a 147, which is a pretty darned good score. Possibly my highest, and if not, second highest.

After some high fives and congratulations, we went back to the apartment. Out came some Bonny Doon 2004 Muscat Vin de Glaciere that I just got earlier in the week and was chilling in the fridge. That stuff was crazy delicious! We watched Derailed. Third time for me and a first for Steph. Everytime I watch it, I am able to catch little bits and clues that make me appreciate it more and more. The movie is very finely made. There are no plot holes. Everything makes sense! Steph really liked the movie. We watched some more television afterward then went to sleep late, again. Oh yeah, we had to adjust our clocks for daylight savings time. Don’t want to be late for the ride the next day.

Pacific Crepes SignSteph woke me up at 9:30 AM, as planned. I suggested she get read first. This gave me another hour to sleep. By 11 AM we were out the door. We went downtown and ate brunch at Pacific Crepes, a really traditional old-school French crepe restaurant. The owners don’t even speak English! Luckily, their American employee did. I had some orange juice, which was not fresh squeezed. Tasted like Minute Maid actually. Steph ordered the Pyrenees which is a savory crepe with goat cheese, bacon, and walnuts. I also had a savory crepe called the Mont Blanc which had brie cheese, bacon (prosciutto), potato, onion, and parsley. This was only the second time I had been. It was really good. I think she liked it too.

Steph Looking BackDrove back to the apartment. Already behing schedule, we drove out to Refugio State Beach to Circle B. We were the last to arrive and they seemed a little irritated but were really nice about it. Steph got put on a horse named Pudding. I got a male, but I forgot his name. I called him Slowpoke. He was so slow, even after I kicked him to hurry up. Also, like my car, he tends to drift left. He picks the easiest routes so say there are rocks in the middle of the trail, he’ll walk all the way over to the left, even if that means forcing me to duck or rub up against brush. What a dirty horse. I think it gave him character though, so I did not mind. You know what else gave him character? All his hair was matted down to one side. So I randomly pulled sections over to the other side. I gave him a bad hair day! Silly horse. The trail lasted about a little over an hour. We went all Horseback Riding Trailover the place. It was overcast which was nice. It would have been a perfect place to hike and geocache. Horseback riding is not social at all. Steph and I didn’t talk for an hour. I had a lot of fun though. It was my first time. We were both a little saddle sore after, but it was not bad.

After we got back, we started loading Steph’s car for her drive back. It was 4 PM now and she didn’t want to get back late. She was nice enough to take my aunt’s new Dell back and drop it off at my parents’ house. Tomorrow, my aunt and uncle are going to visit so they can pick it up. I am very excited for them.

That’s it. Talk about a weekend!

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