Monterey 2006

Thursday, 28 Dec 2006 | Family, Travel

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Toni, Erin and I just got back from a trip to Monterey. We stayed three nights in Monterey and a night on the way up and down at Apple Farm in San Luis Obispo. I love Monterey because of its beauty and the fact that I lived there twice. I have a particular fondness for the Monterey Cypress tree. I find it so beautiful.

The Lone Cypress on Monterey's 17 Mile Drive is a much photographed icon. It was my photographic goal to get a good picture of that famous tree. I usually give myself one photographic mission for each trip I take. So, I set up my tripod and took a bunch of shots of the Lone Cypress as dusk approached Pebble Beach.

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We had a wonderful getaway on our trip. We were disappointed to find our favorite hamburger joint in Seaside, the Del Monte Express, was no longer in business. Oscar Hossenfellder's Edgewater Packing Company on Cannery Row was also closed. We missed their carousel and fresh caramel corn. Caramel Corn is a popular snack in Monterey. We made sure to get some at Old Fisherman's Wharf during our stay. Toni has to get some each time we go to Monterey.

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Jocko's Steak House

Thursday, 28 Dec 2006 | Food, Restaurants, Travel

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On our recent trip to Monterey, we traveled on US 101 up through Santa Maria. Just north of Santa Maria, there is the small rural town of Nipomo, the home of an unassuming restaurant which serves delicious Santa Maria Coastal Red Oak grilled steaks.

My friend Todd told me about Jocko's several years ago. He has family in Santa Maria and the locals love to frequent this restaurant for their huge steaks. The decor is not very fancy, but it doesn't matter to me because their New York Steak is cooked to perfection and large enough to feed Toni, Erin and me. That's our steak cooking on Jocko's outdoor red oak fire grill.

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We were amazed how large the steak was. Our waitress told me the Filet Mignon is even larger than the New York Steak. I can't wait to go back on our next trip to try that one.

If you find yourself traveling near Santa Maria on the 101 and are craving a great steak, please give Jocko's a try. Just make sure you bring your family or friends to help you finish your meal or a very healthy appetite.

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I Love the Scents of Cooking

Saturday, 9 Dec 2006 | Cooking, Family, Food

I have a Dutch oven filled with beef stew simmering in the oven right now. The smell of the beef and the wine is wonderful. The smell makes the house seem so homey and comforting. The scent is especially noticeable upstairs. Smells must rise like heat does, becuase I can always smell my cooking most intensely at the top of the stairs.

When I was preparing the stew, one step calls for me to saute coarsely chopped onions in the oil the beef cubes were browned in. The smell of onions sauteing is one of my favorite cooking smells.

I've already added carrots and potatoes to the beef stew and in about 15 minutes it will be time to add peas and Italian parsley. Then it will be time to sit down and sample my cooking. I made this stew especially for Erin because she has been sick with a cold and a cough for a while now. It's a bowl of love which will warm and comfort her.

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My Mother's Birthday

Sunday, 3 Dec 2006 | Family, Restaurants

It was my mother's birthday today. She fell 3 years ago today and fell into a coma. I lost her in March of 2004. I miss her so much every day. It seems like it's been much longer since she's been gone.

Toni and I met my dad at the cemetary to remember my mom. My dad bought a bouquet of red roses and we bought pink ones. The color combination was beautiful. I know she would have loved them because my mom loved flowers. I remember how happy she was on the phone on that birthday day she fell because Erin had sent her flowers.

Afterwards, we went to Dragon House for dinner. It's a favorite place of ours for Chinese food in the area. It was nice to be together as a family on this happy and sad occasion, just to be supportive of each other.

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