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Adventures in the Villa

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Monterey, CA

2021-04-22 – Scouting The California Architecture Food and Wine caravan…

Monterey to Los Olivos

We pulled out of Marina Dunes RV Resort a little after 10:00am, headed back to the 101, and drove south for many hours. Traffic was light, scenery was beautiful, with the hills still showing green, but not for long. We stopped of the side of the road, made a quick lunch, and ate in the car as we drove…

At a little after 1:00 we arrived at the El Camino Vineyard, owned by Saarloos and Sons Vineyards. We pulled in and parked next to a giant oak tree. This will be our home for the night…

We were amazed by our surroundings… We thank the Saarloos family for letting us camp here…

We drove the 3 miles into Los Olivos and stopped in at Saarloos and Sons and at Wayland to buy a few bottles. You can never have too many bottles of wine… We walked around the block a few times to get some steps in, then returned to the Villa to prepare for dinner.

Dinner tonight is at Bell’s, in Los Alamos, CA. Bell’s used to be a quaint little French bistro until the recent unpleasantries. When indoor dining was banned, they cleaned up their patio, and now serve just a few tables per night; reservations only, prepaid deposit with reservation, 5 course prix Fixe dinner, and mandatory 20% gratuity. We had been here last August, and we were so impressed that we had to go again tonight. Our dinner consisted of:

1

Santa Barbara Sea Urchin

mille crepe

2

Salad of Finley Farms Lettuces

shallot & medjool date vinaigrette

3

Vitello Tonnato

crispy veal sweetbreads, caper berries

and

Omelette

asparagus, truffle noire hollandaise

4

Croustillant of Bar Raye’

charred fennel puree, beurre noisette

and

Steak au Poivre

5 oz. coulette, Steve’s peppercorn sauce and frites

5

Lemon Custard

creme chantilly, pistachio crumble

We enjoyed a bottle of 2016 Land of Promise Terra de Promisio Pinot Noir and 2017 Kosta Browne Pinot Noir, both from Sonoma Coast. Service was top notch, the patio was delightful, sitting under the evening sky. A perfect evening.

Then back to the Villa. An enjoyable time was had by all…

2021-04-21 – Scouting The California Architecture Food and Wine caravan…

Redwood City to Monterey

Easy day today. We spent a leisurely morning in the Villa, then headed out from Redwood City at about 11:30. Destination: The city of Marina, just north of Monterey.

We traveled down the 101 through San Jose, on to Morgan Hill, then onto the 156 through Watsonville and Castroville, finally to Marina. Marina Dunes RV Part is located right between Highway 1 and the dunes. This is a very nice park; they have just recently added a new addition, and this is where we were to camp for the night.

After unhitching and setting up, we left to do our research. First, though, we needed fuel and DEF. (For those who don’t own a diesel vehicle: DEF is Diesel Exhaust Fluid, a liquid that somehow lowers the emissions and makes the diesel engine run cleaner. I need to add about 5 gallons every few thousand miles (sometimes more often…). It’s very unpredictable; usually the warning light comes on just AFTER I have refueled at a truck stop (where it is very easy to add at the pump); often if comes on when I am in remote places, like in northeastern Nova Scotia, like I was in 2017 (where it can be hard to find…). There is no way to check ahead of time, because there is no gauge…) Anyhow, we bought DEF and then we went looking for Moss Point KOA. Moss Point is a quaint seaside village adjacent to a marina. The campground was very nice, but small. We were welcomed nicely and they would be happy to host our caravan next year. (It is about 1/2 the price as Marina Dunes, and is adjacent to restaurants and other seaside attractions.)

Our next stop was another KOA, this one near the highway, and not nearly as nice. Good place, as all KOAs are, but not what we are looking for concerning our caravan next year. So we drove back to the Villa.

We walked across the street and onto the dunes:

The path was fenced in, keeping the fragile ecosystem safe; it is being restored, mainly by killing off the ice plant, which is very invasive and kills all other vegetation. Again, thanks to the Coastal Commission, these lands are kept as pristine as possible, and the coastal access is not impeded.

Just over the crest is the beach and ocean.

We stood and enjoyed the beauty as long as we could. IT WAS COLD!

We went back to the Villa and hunkered down, enjoying the warmth of the fireplace. We enjoyed some pate with fine wine for happy hours, with a chicken Caesar salad for dinner. And an enjoyable time was had by all…

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