Wednesday, September 26, 2012


I spent the last week visiting my family in California and had a great time. I couldn't believe that I hadn't seen them since last Thanksgiving. Time sure does fly! So I spent the week sailing with my dad, shopping with my mom, and eating... a lot. There were a few restaurants that were on top of my list that I had to eat at. We went to my favorite Italian restaurant Grappolo, in Santa Ynez, on Wednesday night. My dad is their plumber and knows the owner so he asked him if he would make their amazing fish raviolis for me, and of course I had to have the flourless chocolate cake which is the most amazing dessert. The recipes for both dishes can be found in their cookbook.

The next morning I met my friend for breakfast burritos at La Unica, in Santa Maria. This taqueria makes the best breakfast burritos I have ever had. Bacon, eggs, potatoes, and refried beans. Delicious! I spent the rest of the day in San Luis Obispo shopping with my mom and enjoying the amazing California weather.

The next day there was more Mexican food on the agenda: Lunch with my grandma at Casa Manaña. Santa Maria is full of Mexican restaurants. They are everywhere, and most of them are really good. But there is something about the cheese enchiladas and refried beans at Casa Manaña that I love. I haven't found a place in Nashville that comes anywhere near these. I could have eaten another order, but good thing I didn't because my mom had gathered up all of the family friends for a dinner at The Swiss. This restaurant has been newly renovated and the menu has changed a lot since I moved away. Now it is one of my mom's favorite restaurants. I had a tri-tip sandwich with pinquito beans because they are the specialty of Santa Maria, a dish that I took for granted until I moved away and realized I couldn't get it anywhere else. It was a great time with family and friends.

Saturday was dedicated to sailing with my dad and brother in Santa Barbara. My dad bought an old beat up sailboat and has been restoring it for the past couple of years. It looks great! We spent the whole afternoon on the ocean. We had gone sailing when I flew in on Tuesday and even saw some whales! But none on Saturday. It was the perfect day to go sailing. When we got back to the harbor my dad started cooking dinner. We bought marinated steak from the Mexican market up the street, along with some mini corn tortillas, cilantro, and onions and made some of the best tacos I've ever had. It was the perfect day.

Sunday was my last full day in California so we went to the Hitching Post in Buellton for dinner. This is my favorite steakhouse. We had the grilled artichokes for an appetizer and I had the filet mignon. Basically the same thing I always get, because its the best! I had a great time back home visiting with my friends and family. Food, friends, and family. Throw in some great weather and California sunshine and you have the makings for a perfect vacation. 

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