Monday, June 29, 2009

The real weekend in Orange County

Visiting my aunt and uncle in Orange County is always fun and this trip was no exception. We started the weekend with a casual dinner & drinks at a near by restaurant in Newport Bay. Live entertainment provided by my family's friend Bobby made for a very fun evening. In Southern California they publish where police are doing road blocks to check for drunk drivers in the local paper so everyone takes detours. This weekend's block was on Dover. After affixing our sticky note to the dash with the reminder "Don't drive on Dover" we were off. Funny at the end of our evening as we were leaving the parking lot the security attendant gave us his advice to "don't drive on Dover" also. This became the mantra of the weekend (you had to be there, it was funny!)



The next morning we were off to Temecula for an afternoon of wine tasting. We started out at Callaway where some of my uncle's friends, Brian and Sue, joined us. We had never been to this wine area before but found that every winery charged $8 and up for tasting, generally gave you 6 tastes and even if you purchased wine there were no refunds on the tasting fee.



We decided to pick up sandwiches from a great little deli and find a picnic spot at one of the wineries to enjoy our lunch. We ended up in a nice grassy spot with a pretty little view at one of the sparkling wine producers, we would realize later that this was the only winery without a dedicated picnic area, oh well!



The rest of the afternoon was spent tasting at Stuart, Falkner and South Coast Winery. All had something nice but I think I can speak for the group that none of them completely blew us away with their wines. My highlight was riding with Sue in her pretty silver Porsche- varoom!

My aunt's sister, who has a house in the area, was out of town and had generously invited us all to stay there so we made our way home and got down to the business of cocktails and hot tubbing.


The house sits out near an airfield and planes were dropping skydivers almost directly overhead. The wind helped them over to their landing spots miles from where we were but for a few minutes you could look up and watch the free fallers pop up as their parachutes opened. Also out here in the "country" were burrowing owls and lots of horses. The wild west!

We had a wonderful dinner of grilled steak and lobsters, steamed artichokes with butter and caprese salad. Dayne made up Sazeracs and of course there was wine from the day's outing.
We headed back to Costa Mesa the next day detouring through Dana Point and Laguna Beach areas. The weather was gorgeous so the beaches and towns were packed leaving us no options to park and wander around. We ended up in a little shopping mall with a Tommy Bahama store. This particular store also had a restaurant/lounge and was serving up happy hour. Really nice drinks and excellent small plate food served with live music at a very good price. And Dayne got to go shopping- so all in all a win!

The evening was spent at my family's house enjoying the hot tub, patio & bbq- ultimate vacation relaxation.

Our weekend wrapped up with a short drive to Huntington Beach for brunch at Duke's. The restaurant has a great loction right on the beach and valet parking is only $3! All the food and mai tai's were tasty, unfortunately a busser dropped a dish of salad dressing on my aunt's lap while clearing our table and the manager really didn't go out of her way to make things better which was disappointing. I think my uncle contacted the manager after the fact and got a better resolution.

Thanks to Uncle John & Aunt Karen for a great weekend! The rest of the pictures are here