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.
In Los Angeles, you would not see these kinds of beautiful weeds.
Only the kind you can smoke.
I was three drinks away from rolling down these hills.
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.
Here is my friend, Mr. Groom, absolutely devouring his meal. At my wedding reception, I ate ONE TACO.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I believe this was Lime & Chardonnay flavored. Too sweet for me.
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.