Our trip in California continued with wine tasting inspired by the film Sideways, but first we checked out Santa Barbara, the town.
After having spent a long time looking at the elephant seals, taking photos and making some short films (I have a problem with the Windows Media Player and have not been able to watch them yet 😦 ), our next stop was Cayucos where we stretched our legs on the pretty boardwalk, which is exactly 100 years older than I (just like the Brooklyn Bridge!) and nipped into a huge antiques shop – didn’t find anything special though.
O on the Cayucos boardwalk
Back in the car I realised that either we buy a new memory card for my camera or we buy a new camera, as I had used too much memory space on the seals! So O finally, he’s been intending to do it for months, bought a new camera! Not too fancy, and definitely not a Canon – even if I wanted to continue with that brand and the Best Buy girl in San Luis Obispo agreed with me (but too expensive according to O), but a Lumix with 8.1 megapixels (my Canon from 2004 only has 4.0)… With the new purchase we could continue our drive down south towards Santa Barbara.
The night was spent in a not very cosy but cheap hotel in Santa Barbara, but we had a great dinner at Enterprise Fish Co – one of those huge restaurants with a fish theme… It felt a bit like a tourist trap but the fish was yummy and my first taste of a Santa Barbara wine was nice. The town felt quite deserted, our hotel was close to the beach but we didn’t see a lot of people around in the evening.
The aquarium in the restaurant Enterprise Fish Co.
Our breakfast was also good, at D’Angelo Pastry & Bread bakery I had a huge bowl of oatmeal (porridge as I insist on calling it) and a latte that I couldn’t finish (as usual, the coffee sizes are too big in the US).
We were up quite early and walked down State Street, one of the main streets in SB. It was a beautiful morning and the town was waking up – the shops had not yet opened, lots of cyclists, the streets were immaculate – in a Disneyworld kind of way, and then the contrast – I have not seen so many homeless people in one place!! At every street corner there were at least a couple of bums, I am not a snob but it just seemed like such a contrast with all the apparent wealth around us. O’s theory was that the life as a homeless person is probably easier in SB than in big and tough LA…
View over Santa Barbara and the Santa Ynez mountains from Stearns Wharf.
Our Canadian friends had given us yet another great tip, to have lunch in the Los Olivos Café in the town with the same name. But first we had to drive there, across the Santa Ynez mountains from Santa Barbara. O was very excited as the landscape reminded him of Spain and his home region of Aragón. Before lunch, we decided to start the wine tasting at Consilience, a wine tasting room right in the middle of Los Olivos. In order not to drink too much, we decided to share a glass and fortunately they don’t pour you a lot of each wine 😉
I have only done wine tasting once before, at Östgöta Nation in Lund (student association) and that was a long time ago. I can’t say that I taste all the different flavours that were described to us, but at least I know if I like the wine or not… Lunch was delicious in any case, and I bought a little booklet called The Sideways Guide to Wine and Life in the café – the same place where the two couples in the film have dinner!
The Santa Ynez valley – do you see any vineyards?
The Foxen Canyon Wine Trail took us to the Santa Maria Valley and we stopped at 3 different wineries – all which are featured in Sideways! A nice touch to the wine tasting is that they let you keep the wine glass after the session, so we left the wine country with 4 new glasses – to O’s dispair only 3 were matching (he likes matching stuff for the home, I don’t think that it matters too much).
Firestone Winery vineyard
The Fess Parker Winery is owned by the actor (with the same name) who played Davy Crocket – I had never heard of him!
According to the Sideways booklet, this is where Miles phones his agent and finds out his book is not being published. He drinks from the spit bucket when he is refused another glass…
We prefered the Foxen and the Firestone wineries where the service was more personal and the tasting room felt more intimate.
Firestone is where the two couples have a romantic stroll through the barrel room, and Foxen is where Miles & Jack help themselves to full glasses when the pourer is not looking.
At one point we encountered a group of obviously tipsy, if not drunk, college students – and it wasn’t until they all got “carded” that I thought about the American 21-limit for drinking alcohol… Oh well, I apparently look older than 21 nowadays, which is ok, I think 🙂
I think that we need to re-watch Sideways soon!