Saturday, December 31, 2016

NYE

For the second year running, we had our early New Year's Eve dinner with the boys.


This year, Soren tried a (caffeine-free) cola. Anders stuck with orange soda.


Stealth shot.


The waitress wasn't quite sure what we meant when we asked if Anders could have some raw brussels sprouts. After reassuring her that we really meant raw, that's what he got.


The bathroom had this curious wall-mounted speaker...

...and this curious display above the sink.


Geeky Santa toys to keep the boys occupied while we waited for dessert.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Elephant Seals at Año Nuevo State Park

This year, we figured that Soren was old enough to manage the hike at Año Nuevo State Park, so we signed up for a guided walk. When you arrive, you first walk down on your own to the staging area.



Current seal count.


Our walk was led by a volunteer docent named Louie. Early on, we could hear an elephant seal barking off in the distance. Here's the first one that we saw.


But soon we made it to our first group.





There was also a lone male off by the water.


The main group was at Año Nuevo Point.




Lolling about.


This big guy was right below us.


Watching the watchers.


Inland from our vantage point, you could see a lone male or two, like this guy.


And from the high point in our spot, you could spy these juveniles. It's hard to tell from this pic, but the one in front was looking right at me.


On our way back, we saw this huge male.



When the rangers find interesting bones, they gather them along the path the docents take, so that visitors can check them out.



After our guided walk wrapped up, we stuck around for the sunset.




One last shot of the sunset before heading back to the car.


Walking back.



At the nature center, I took this pic while facing east. There's still enough light so that the sky is blue, but if you look at the windows you can see the reflection of the sunset.


On our way home, we stopped at Duarte's in Pescadero for dinner.


Here's the Christmas tree, made of broken bottle glass, on the wall.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Californios

When we got to Californios in our Lyft, we were greeted by a dark storefront without even an obvious sign (the circle-triangle thing is the sign). We thought maybe we had the address wrong.


But inside, we found a small and cozy restaurant, with an open kitchen behind the bar.



I asked whether Michelin provided the restaurant with this guy when the restaurant was awarded a star, but no such luck.


We started the meal with agua fresca (in a manner of speaking), enfrijolada (pureed black beans in a crisp black bean shell) and a little beef tartare sope.


Here's a closer look at the enfrijolada.


Next, we had a cachete taco—the world's cutest taco, with a tiny slab of beef cheek on top.


Queso fundido came served in a cast iron pan with miniature tortillas. This is also where the wine pairing (which I did) started, with a Peter Lauer sparkling dry riesling (which was really quite amazing, and bore little resemblance to most rieslings).


We had a tiny bite of a masa sorbet (hielo) as a palate cleanser.


Then we moved into seafood, with a white Bordeaux. On the food side, first came agua chile, which featured crab.


This was followed by langosta (lobster) taco, in a delicate, crisp shell.


The next wine was actually a cider, accompanied by a "fruit cup," which here refers to a "cup" made of thinly sliced apple.


The fideo (pasta) was a cute ravioli...

...in a carmelized chicken broth.


Next up was three-layers of frijoles, with a touch of caviar, topped with flaked gold, and served in this volcano plate. This was paired with a Spanish still wine made with pansa blanca grapes, which are most commonly used for cava.


The frijoles were followed by a seared scallop, over cabbage and grapefruit, with some chipotle in there somewhere. To match the heat from the chipotle, this was matched with a spätlese riesling (sweet, but not as sweet as an auslese).

From fish to fowl: mole poblano quail.


Carne asada—A5 wagyu, served a cabernet franc from Loire.


Limón—dessert number one.


Cacahuate (peanut) ice cream with a chocolate sauce—think peanut butter cup!


Manzana ponche (apple punch) to finish things (or us) off.


The bathroom has lights that cycled through many colors (or at least did for me; Sigrid and Elizabeth didn't notice this feature).


Happy diners.



The menu.