Fifteen minutes away from the beach, we found ourselves a picnic spot under the redwood canopy. We found a barbecue place that turned out to be a favorite among the locals, the Aptos Street BBQ. We had gone to get some ribs the night before, and tonight we came back for more. The ice cream root beer float was the perfect ending.
Sol’s family hosted brunch the next morning at his sister’s place. They have a neat property that includes a barn and vineyard. Brunch was delicious, with the highlight being menudo. Chris and I had never tried it before. Now I’ll have to go looking for it whenever I crave a fix.
The morning of their wedding, Ingrid and Sol were relaxed. We asked if we could help with anything, but they had no chores to assign to us. They suggested we go exploring, so we did!
The morning was foggy. We headed north along the bay and saw a cement ship, the Palo Alto.
Then we came across the Seacliff State Beach Visitor Center and poked around a bit there. Among other things, they had a nice tide pool exhibit!
I took a video of a mollusk doing its filter feeding thing:
Then we headed back to our room to get ready for the wedding.
We arrived at Aptos the day before Ingrid and Sol’s wedding with some daylight to spare. So, we explored the beach a bit, and then we drove around looking for dinner. Aptos is quaint and quiet, with lots of hills and interesting architecture.
We took a detour in Palo Alto to get lunch. Of all the things we could have eaten, Chris decided he wanted pho at Madame Tam.
University Avenue is a nice area I’d like to visit again.
Having accumulated several groupons, we decided this week was a good time to knock off a few. On Tuesday, we went to Makiman Sushi. We frequently order delivery from various sushi places nearby, and I’m pretty sure we’ve ordered from here as well. We ordered the sushi boat for 2, which included miso soup and salad appetizers. The soup was good, but the salad dressing was a bit too concentrated for my taste — too tangy and ginger-y. That’s okay, though, because the sushi was very good.
On the boat: 6 california maki, 2 shrimp nigiri, and 2 nigiri each of 9 different types of fish. I am sure we had salmon, yellowtail, tuna, mackerel, and surf clam. The rest I could not name, but all were tasty. We had a nice table outside, the weather was pleasant, and the service was good. All told, we had a nice dinner and happy full bellies.
We spent another groupon today at Catahoula, a bar in the Queen Village neighborhood. Catahoula is the name of a Louisiana parish, and the bar serves Cajun-Creole food. I visited New Orleans once, when I was 14 years old, and I remember very little of the local cuisine except for crawfish…and I’d love to go back for more of that. For today, though, I ordered the shrimp n’ grits. Chris got a burger, a simple one rather than their signature version, since he prefers his burgers with less fancy fixin’s.
The shrimp n’ grits were awesome. I make that assessment without prior knowledge of what shrimp n’ grits should taste like. The shrimp were tasty and not overcooked (I hate that), and the flavorful grits had a bit of truffle oil. I could have eaten way more of the collard greens and bacon. As it was, I thoroughly cleaned my plate.
I’m guessing shrimp n’ grits might be Catahoula’s signature dish — it’s on their homepage:
We went with Chris’s parents to play mini golf at Island Golf, one of several nearby putt-putt places. Chris’s dad has been going there since he was a little boy, and he recounted with the owner the various thefts (and returns!) of fixtures around the place (the gorilla, the elephant, etc.). After mini golf, the family always goes to eat ice cream. Chris loves both parts of the outing.
We had some perfect weather last Sunday, so we had Leslie and her fiance Peter over to have brunch and see the sights. Anh and I never walked around the “independence area” before, so it was a treat for us, too.
Photographic evidence that Golden Retrievers love water.
And in Chris’s family, its annual debut is heralded by the opening up the shore cottage.
Chris and I went to help his parents clean out the winter cobwebs, set up the furniture, and reverse everything they did to close up the place last fall. We brought along Henry, who decided something about the boat was very interesting:
On his hind legs, he is almost as tall as I am!
He balanced on his hind legs for a good 5 seconds, investigating the boat. Who knew what he could do when motivated!
The place looks in pretty good shape:
Chris and his dad took a look at the car:
while Henry chewed on a stick: