Monday, May 18, 2009

May Wine Trip

My husband, his uncle and I left early Saturday morning. We were meeting some friends up in Cambria later that day with plans for a nice dinner at the Pine Lodge. Getting there was supposed to be a straight shot with a quick stop for breakfast. Of course, my husband decided to take a detour through Oxnard, of all places, which took an extra 30 minutes before getting back on the freeway and finding a breakfast spot.

The rest of the ride was pleasant as my uncle-in-law, designated DJ, played all the 80's music he could find on his iPOD. From "I'm your priiiiiivate dancer" to "You dropped the bomb on me", it was like a trip down memory lane. Since there were a trillion popular songs pumped out in the 80's, we didn't hear the same song twice going to or from Cambria. We hit two wineries before even checking into the hotel.

Pine Lodge is a rustic restaurant with the most beautiful gardens. The food is great, as is the wine. A table full of friends made it that much better. Someone tipped off the waiter that it was uncle's birthday and he scowled for the rest of the evening. After dinner, we adjouned to the bar where we proceeded to watch old people hook up and drunk-dance to a not-so-great, middle-aged local band. It could have been the wine, but I thought they were pretty good. I was told later that they sucked. Maybe some people are too critical!

The next day was wine tour day! We hit a total of 7 wineries - the last two were difficult to recall later on. I was focused on the dessert wines this trip. Eagle Castle knows their desert wines. We actually found a new winery (to us) that we fell in love with - Rotta. Every pour was outstanding and it was fun hanging around with the three-legged cat, Boris, after the tasting was over. The van's front passenger seat was completely filled as well as all the nooks and cranies. Many cases were purchased that day.

Many great places were discovered on this trip. Friends of mine scoped out this great restaurant in downtown Cambria and we had dinner there after our wine tour recovery period. It was an Asian restaurant, and by that I mean the owner/chef/server cooked just about anything Asian. The place was small and packed. The food was really great and we got to chat with the owner for a bit. If you like your food spicy, ask for "Kill Me Spicy". There's a great story that the owner will tell you about that. If you ever find yourself in Cambria, check out the Wild Ginger.

The next day, we had to hit Wild Horse and Peachy Canyon after a morning tour of the Hearst Castle garden and wine cellar. We were starving after our Wild Horse visit, so we asked where there was a good place to eat in town (Templeton). We were told of a deli next to a liquor store on Main Street. After checking several places which were closed, we found Griff's Pizzeria. This was the best pizza anyone has ever had! Amazing how we found this place in the middle of nowhere and the owner was from Orange County! We chatted him up for a while as well and he told us about some local places in OC to check out.

All in all, we had a great time and bought *a lot* of wine. We plan on going again in July, which is when we all determined our stash would be depleated. Anyone interested in joining us? Let me know!