Friday, February 22, 2008

Santa Ynez Valley Pt 1

Pierino is just back from a two day trip to Santa Barbara and Solvang. The drive up Hwy 101 is his favorite in California.

If you hit it on the right day at the right time of day it can leave you breathless. Late afternoon is usually best. Something about the light. One thing I love about this trip is the sudden and dramatic change of terrain from Southern California to Central California. When you pop out of the Gaviota tunnel going northbound you are instantly in Central California. There's something special about those green hills populated with oaks and cows and the occasional vineyard.

You may already know that Solvang is this ultra kitsch "Scandinavian Village" but hey, that's where the hotels are (unless you want to stay in that windmill shaped Days Inn in Buellton which Miles and Jack occupied in "Sideways.)

Dining can be a problem. I decided to drive up to Santa Ynez to have dinner at Grappolo. The food is good and as a bonus the parking lot had a perfect view of the lunar eclipse. The chef as well his customers kept running outside and back in as the eclipse progressed.

Pierino ordered the involtini of eggplant filled with capellini pasta, smoked mozzarella and basil which was baked in the oven. We're going to try that one at home.

The picture of a food like substance at the top is what that involtini look's like in a hotel room in the morning. It's not a tray of enchiladas although it looks like one. I'm thinking a magazine food stylist could substitute a plate of enchiladas for a photo shoot.

More soon...

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