Whoops! Rushing through here, but I didn’t even finish my Central Coast trip reflections. Never to worry – it’s now Thursday evening EST, which is about the worst day and time to publish content, so I’ll just finish this up right now, no harm/no foul.
In Los Osos, we took a moment to visit my lovely cousin Annamarie, her husband Nathan, and their … impressively automated robot. It blinks and moves!
The roboticist and his creation
Also included: a collection of surprisingly photorealistic politically influenced tableaux!
We snacked on these brilliantly hued / nail polish-coordinated wild strawberries in their yard. What are these things called? They were determined not to be the ollalieberry, another buzzed-about fruit.
We pizza’ed. Pizza ovens are common at the wineries – because the dish is easy to make and goes well with wines (allowing them to charge you $8 for a so-so “included” glass of wine with a pizza, but I’ll let it go …)
How the sausage is made! Indeed, we came for an inside look. That was surely the best part.
Took a photo here to remind ourselves that 1) we loved this winery, 2) they were very nice and graciously gave us a very informative tour
I’m a grape-lover, so the sight of all these grapes hanging out in the tank was tempting … almost did something I shouldn’t have …
I got to take a turn with the “punch down” step of winemaking! Will they be putting my name and a little bio of me on the bottle of this one??
Thankfully, my contributions here went better than Lucy (of I Love fame)’s when she tried to stomp the grapes
Success! I got to try the wine grape after all, after the kind woman at Dubost Winery scooped some wine-to-be out for us from the fermentation / punch down tank. Conclusion: the fruit was a bit bitter, surprisingly seeded.
Ebola waiting to happen: in San Luis Obispo, there is an alley where visitors have each stuck their ABC gum. None of us was brave enough to step in, much less plunk any of our product on the wall. Deepak: “It feels like there’s a lot of DNA in there.”
Ew gosh ew. Does it feel like there’s possibly diseased saliva jumping at you through this screen?
The women’s bathroom was done to the exacting specifications of … Liberace?
My fave – the infamous rock wall in the men’s bathroom (yes, in the men’s bathroom – that’s me! I’ve no shame/a wild determination to get photos for the blog).
Perhaps you have heard of this “world-famous” (side note: Why are they adding that epithet to everything? It seems like if you have to dub yourself world-famous, maybe the term is a bit premature/aspirational …) urinal. Weird Al tossed off a random reference to it in his Central Coast-set song “Take Me Down.” But don’t take my/Al’s word for it! How about this description, allegedly from official Madonna Inn literature, and reproduced from the incredibly its-name-says-it-all Web site, urinal.net:
A trip to San Luis Obispo wouldn’t be complete without visiting the men’s room at the Madonna Inn. As crazy as it sounds, this room is a popular stop for both men and women. Unfortunately, if you’re a man and need to use this for it’s original purpose, be prepared to be interrupted by giggling women with cameras. Madonna Inn is a motel with each room having its own theme (like the caveman room). … Once you enter the main building, go down the staircase at the right. This will take you to the wine cellar, and pay phone in the Flintstones-like rock cave. The men’s restroom is to the left. Here you’ll find the attraction… a urinal that looks like a waterfall which is activated when you break a beam of light. Yep, that’s it!
Very cheery end to that paragraph. The same Web page also includes a giddy description of another Madonna Inn bathroom, this one featuring a copper trough and water wheel. There is a lot of urea lust on that page.
Right by the entrance to the banquet-planning office. As our companion Jack noted upon our group exit from the rock wall urinal: “This really feels like the new frontrunner in the wedding venue search, no?”
Lovely coast! I love our state’s jags, crags and picturesque foam caps.
Bizarre fingerlet shell/sea object
What did he gather from the patterns?
And finally, I must share our discovery. Before going on this trip, my old boss had recommended that we visit Super-Rica, an unassuming taqueria that attracts both people who have been going there out of habit for years and a new crowd drawn in by the social proof of said ever-present crowds. But as we drove back through Santa Barbara, we veered across the street instead, to the previously noted Los Agaves, which, in addition to its fab and well-stocked fresh salsa bar, of course had the added benefit of being a place we’ve already visited in this relationship, years ago, so — nostalgia!
The well-maintained, well-stocked salsa bar. They even carry a habañero blend, of course with the requisite “this is actually hot!” warning sign. I duly ignored; stomach still burning, of course.
In our quest to try something new, we got the molcajete, a much-hyped specialty of the place that’s basically a soup/stew served nearly boiling, featuring meats, vegetables and avocado. SO. Delish. Why is this item not on every menu? (And for that matter, where is my ever-present tub of habañero sauce?)
It arrives boiling and draws envious stares for its screaming sizzle — much like the fajita sizzlers at your neighborhood Applebee’s (according to lore, said fajitas are made to sizzle by splashing hot water on right before they bring them out. We may have been similarly duped here but it was still SO tasty.)
And with bottomless fresh tortillas (which also helped cool down the habañero burn)
We got the earth and sea combo, which included chicken, steak, shrimp and other seafood. This was not a time for half-measures!