Monday, June 08, 2009

A Weekend Getaway in Oxnard & Los Olivos, California

Judy & Jonathan Wedding, Oxnard

A month ago, Jeni and I headed up to Ventura County for my good friend's wedding.  Finally, a wedding that didn't take place in a Sheraton, Hilton or Holiday Inn.  I knew that my friend JC would do something differently because of her unique tastes for things and open-mindedness.  It's why we still kept in touch for nearly 14 years.  And this weekend, a whole group of us drove of a hundred miles to witness the union of her and her husband – in a lovely barn that was quite worthy of being featured in some Bridezilla forum.  

Knowing we would probably be drinking fun juice, we decided to check in at the Q Hotel before heading to the wedding.  The W Hotel is now obsolete, it's all about the Q Hotel, aka La Quinta Inn.  The prices are great at $89.99 a night but man, they sure punish you for being poor.  Two elevators you had to walk 2-3 mins to.  An ice machine only available on the penthouse floor, which is also the 3rd floor.  Chubby out-of-town kids altering the color of the water in the pool.  The hotel receptionist might as well say, "Thanks for checking in at The Q.  You are your own bellboy.  Maybe you should've worked harder in life.  Enjoy your stay."    Hey, it's a place to sleep.  We're not there to relax.  

Driving to the wedding venue, the weather wasn't looking good.   I started to feel concerned for J&J, but once we got there, we knew the weather wouldn't even dent the evening.  With the barn and wild flowers all around, it felt rustic and miles away from Los Angeles.  

Judy & Jonathan Wedding, Oxnard

In Los Angeles, you would not see these kinds of beautiful weeds.  
Only the kind you can smoke.    

Judy & Jonathan Wedding, Oxnard

Judy & Jonathan Wedding, Oxnard

Judy & Jonathan Wedding, Oxnard

I was three drinks away from rolling down these hills.  

Judy & Jonathan Wedding, Oxnard

Judy & Jonathan Wedding, Oxnard
I can't say the same about a lot of weddings.  Because although they are fun, they all kind of follow the same pattern.  Not J&J's.  After the ceremony, we were quickly moved to an area for drinks and hors d'oeurves.  And then we entered the barn, which probably held 120-130 people, which I think is a perfect size.  The decorations, art direction and lighting were perfect tens.  

Judy & Jonathan Wedding, Oxnard

Here is my friend, Mr. Groom, absolutely devouring his meal.  At my wedding reception, I ate ONE TACO.  

Judy & Jonathan Wedding, Oxnard

And here is my friend, Judy.  Congratulations to you and Jonathan.  The night was very, very young.  And easily one of the best weddings I've been to.

Judy & Jonathan Wedding, Oxnard

Sunday in Los Olivos, Los Olivos

The next morning, instead of packing up and heading home, we took the 101 and drove even more North.  We decided to bring up our new bikes and maximizing the weekend with a little wine tasting and exercising – at the same time.  

We've been trying to be a little more green by not driving around too much.  We eat at local places and frequent the market by bike.  And it's been SUPER fun.  If you're going to eat a fat piece of foie gras for dinner tonight, you won't feel as bad knowing that you're biking to and from the restaurant.  You're still going to be fat, but not AS fat right?  

Los Olivos Scenery

You don't realize how beautiful California is until you drive through places like Sequoia, Napa Valley and Santa Barbara.  Not to mention the fact that you can appreciate beauty at 5 mph versus 50 mph.  The scenery looks like this for miles.  With the window rolled down and some good beats, you're in a good place.

Los Olivos Scenery

Sleeping Squirrel, Los Olivos

Again, there really is beauty in everything.  We saw this little guy on the way to a winery.  Rather looking like typical roadkill, he actually looked like he was at peace.  Or really drunk off the grapes he found in the dumpster of a winery.  Rest in peace.

Los Olivos Grocery, Los Olivos

As Jeni will tell you or rather show you, never start a wine tasting trip on an empty stomach nor Doritos Bleu Cheese & Ranch flavor.  I really feel bad for our two friends sitting in between her that glorious day haha.  All I have to say is, I think Doritos REALLY uses Bleu Cheese in their crap.  Anyway, we stopped at the Los Olivos Grocery store for some grub.  For those planning on picnicking along the way, this is your fancy-ass 7-11 – it's a grocery and cafe.

Los Olivos Grocery Smoking Brisket, Los Olivos

The second we stepped out of the car, we were pulled in by THIS... a delicious, perfect-colored piece of brisket smoked with oak wood.  Damn.

Los Olivos Grocery, Los Olivos

A sandwich, three sides and absence of Doritos Bleu Ranch chips make for a great day of wine tasting in Los Olivos.  Right Jeni?  Was everything good, yeah not bad!  The brisket was damn tender – I'll be back here again for sure.

Los Olivos Scenery

We do this every where we travel, bike with a buzz.  China, Argentina, Portland and right here in Los Olivos.  There's just something wonderful about riding with the wife and a nice buzz.  No BUI's this time.  

Los Olivos Scenery

Clairmont Farms Lavender, Los Olivos

As we were riding down a shaded street, J suddenly yelled out, "Lavender!"  We pulled into the driveway of Clairomont Farms, which you guessed, grows lavender.  I would never give the time of day to a place that reminds me of a natural Bath & Body Works.  She had tried a cocktail that used lavender and wanted to buy some home for some experimentation.

Clairmont Farms Lavender, Los Olivos

Clairmont Farms Lavender, Los Olivos

Clairmont Farms Lavender, Los Olivos

Jeni rolled out of the farm with a bunch of lavender and smiles.  I rolled out with a peppery nose, dry cough and itchy eyes.  It was TERRIBLE.  If I go back here, I'm wearing a bio-chemical bike suit.

Sarloos & Sons, Los Olivos

We tried three places that day and gave in to one more place one we saw how nicely designed the tasting room was.  Family owned for decades, the Sarloos Brothers successfully mix interior decorating and wine.  

Sarloos & Sons, Los Olivos

Sarloos & Sons, Los Olivos

If you ever see this 6'2" man walk off his Harley with some Locs, you might want to obey his commands.  Even if he says "EAT THE CUPCAKES NOW."  Which is exactly what he told us to do.  Apparently, he knows the cupcakes served here.

Sarloos & Sons Cupcakes

And this is the cupcake man, drinking wine and selling his cupcakes. Seems fair enough. 
If you do a tasting of wine, you can also get a discount on a flight of cupcakes.  

Sarloos & Sons Cupcakes

I believe this was Lime & Chardonnay flavored.  Too sweet for me.

Los Olivos Scenery

Next time you're out in Ventura County, plan a stop over at Los Olivos or Santa Barbara.  It's truly a quick weekend getaway that won't leave you too poor.  If you are too poor like us, you can always stay at The Q to cut down on costs.  Thanks for reading.  

22 comments:

Lorenzo de Guia said...

Beautiful photos!!!!

ASSHOLE BOYFRIEND said...

Don't be knocking lime and chardonnay cupcakes. ; )

Allison said...

That was a fun read. Looks like a fairly ideal weekend. I can't imagine many things that sound more fun that wine tasting and bike riding in the sun.
Nice photos!

squirrelbread said...

breathtaking. you are all blessed!

cheers,

*heather*

Gastronomer said...

California IS beautiful! You kinda make me wanna buy a bike. I'm not ready to turn in my running shoes yet, though.

e d b m said...

Lorenzo, hey thanks man. we need to meet up with Eneida soon for Wurstkuche. Love to see your photos on your recent trip to Paris.

Asshole Boyfriend, yes DO NOT. Harley Man would be livid.

Allison, a stay at the $89.95 Q takes a weekend experience to the next level. Thanks for visiting.

Squirrelbread, thanks!

Gastronomer, hola. Well if you decide to run, jeni&i will keep our bikes and we can find someone else to ride a unicycle, razor scooter and skateboard. that is what you call a true gang.

Daily Gluttony said...

OMG that photo of the huge biker guy at Sarloos & Sons needs to win the funny picture of the year award.

I tweeted J about the bride, Judy--she used to be my friend's roommate. She said you guys are friends from way back...it's such a small world!

Beautiful pics!

Aixas said...

Great post and pics Dyl - thank you!!! I'm famous now :D

weezermonkey said...

The pic of J on the bike is my fave!

thelightgatherer said...

I'm new to your blog. I found it through your fantastic pictures on Flickr.

I think your photos are fantastic, and now I enjoy your blog just as much.

thank you.

EatTravelEat said...

Beautiful photos! It was great comparing your photos to Jeni's. They are about the same things but yet they look so different, but both are all pulchritudinous photos :).

Why is the Q so pricey interests me. Isn't it so weird that Las Vegas hotels of a higher caliber can cost the same or less as the Q?

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Santa Barbara is in Santa Barbara County.

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Dazy said...

One thing is accepted in this world. The earth becomes heaves when you have the following combination - lovely place and people, good food and great company. You have all of them.

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Kat said...

It's my goal to get out to the Central Coast for some wine tasting. Good to know about the Hotel Q, the lavender and the cupcake & wine flights...yum!

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brian said...

Excellent shots. The place looks great. My family would definitely love to visit California. I hope I could find time to bring them there. Cheers!

-Brian
fun weekend getaways

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