Wednesday, September 24, 2008

San Luis Obispo

Barb and I got to get out earlier in September for a brief getaway up to San Luis Obispo. It's normally a 3 1/2 hour drive, but rather than having Barb nap in the passenger seat, I decided to get a taste of it the only way I could. By taking a train. It might have taken longer than driving, but it was so much worth it. Not just because it let me relax, but it's easy to work on a book or crossword.

We chose San Luis Obispo because: a)I love eating at Apple Farm and have never stayed there. b)Apple Farm has a package that included a county tour that included wine tastings. c)I spent a summer in SLO and have loved it ever since.

Green Acres Lavender Farm

After arriving in SLO we headed straight for Apple Farm. Little did we know that we'd be able to smell Firestone grill from a couple blocks off of our path. Their Tri-tip sandwich has received legendary status, so we thought we'd hit an early lunch. I'm one to believe that nothing ever lives up to that type of hype, but this sandwich exceeds it. From now on, I will only take the 101 to the Bay Area instead of the I-5 just to get that sandwich.

After digesting, we checked in at Apple Farm and immediately headed down to their wine reception. The wine was alright, but they included some pastries from their bakery. Damn them! So much good food in a day and it wasn't even dinner yet! We went to our room to recover before heading out for a long walk around the campus to burn off our sins. At the end of the walk, we found a sushi place which offered all-you-can-drink specials. That's ended our run of quality food. When we got back, Apple Farm had chocolate chip cookies waiting for us. 

The next morning, we grabbed a rental car and went off on our San Luis Obispo County tour. Our first stop was a lavender farm. I'm really unfamiliar with lavender as a species, and even less with it's many different uses.  I didn't pick up all the uses because we were too focused on their pets. It's a bit disturbing when a cat is bullying a dog, but you can't stop watching.

The tour also included a list of wineries with complimentary wine tastings.  The first one was JanKris which was decent, but they kept on pouring. And Barbara kept drinking. I reminded her the county had other wineries to go to, so Barbara asked about some of the local's favorites. They sent us to Halter Ranch winery, which didn't turn out to be our favorite. Their wine was on par with the last place, but the lady behind the counter was too "bougie" and she charged me separately for a wine tasting after Barb bought a bottle! It was a nice settling to eat our Apple Farm provided boxed lunches(way better than anything I've brown bagged), but please, steer clear of this place.

We got a little R & R back at Apple Farm before heading out for a stroll downtown. School wasn't in session, so it was nice to walk around because SLO hasn't become commercialized like Santa Barbara. After all our options, we decided to eat again(almost a year to the day) at Novo again. The food's pretty good, but atmosphere of the outdoor patio over the river is worth the price of a meal.

Our short trip was almost over, but we had to have an Apple Farm breakfast to leave this town right. Everything is very good, but the pancakes are the best. I should try to get a job there.

Barbara multi-taking at Apple Farm

The highlight of the train ride back was this 18-year old kid that would try(unsuccessfully) to strike up a conversation with any of the train's single riders. I could hear him keep telling people that he was travelling from San Jose to LA as part of his punk band's tour. I didn't really believe him because where was the rest of his band? The jewel was when he was talking to the girl in front of me and told her that he was in a Dead Kennedy's cover band called "Not the Dead Kennedy's". The girl was unfamiliar with their work, so he played a CD of a couple of their songs. Only he had to preface it with, "this isn't us playing, it's the group we're covering." Classic.

Lastly, we loved our train experience. Strangely, our train had to idle in Moorpark for about twenty minutes because the conductor explained that our train was ahead of schedule and had to wait our turn to go through the single track Santa Susana tunnel. Later that week, the Metrolink accident happened along the same track. Our prayers and thoughts go out to the families of that trajedy.

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