Back in the USA!

After a long flight in which my greatest accomplishment was watching the entire Season 1 of HBO’s “Silicon Valley,” I arrived at the John Wayne/Orange County Airport for a fun Father’s Day weekend in Newport Beach.  SMS picked me up and we headed to the beach house.  It was a family celebration!  We stayed with Rip and Linda and Stacy and Micheal were in town with Michael’s son and their new dog.  Marty was in town as well and we had great family dinners, time on the beach and general relaxation.  It was absolutely wonderful.  The weather was perfect and I didn’t really want to leave!

SMS, buried in the Santa Barbara sand

But, come Monday, leave we did.  SMS planned a great road trip for our travel up to Silicon Valley. First, we stopped in Santa Barbara.  We went on epic walks, tasted wine, ate at The Lark and went shopping.  We also had a Mexican food feast at La Super-Rica taqueria, the restaurant made famous by Julia Child’s recommendation.  The great weather continued and we had an awesome time in Santa Barbara.  The beautiful, balmy sunny weather is a big change from Japan’s rainy season!


After Santa Barbara, we stopped in Pismo Beach for some awesome Mexican food at Papi’s Grill.  Whoa, it was amazing!  I was a little less crazy in the amount of cheesy goodness order and instead, went crazy by ordering a horchata milkshake.  It was divine.  It kind of ruined my next few horchatas at different meals because the creaminess was understandably less in the more healthy, non-milkshakes.

Justin Winery tasting room

After lunch, we drove to Paso Robles wine country.  We stopped at Justin winery and Daou winery.  I liked the Justin wines a little bit better and the setting was quite nice among the vineyards, right next to the original cabernet sauvignon grapes.  But the location couldn’t compare to Daou, which was at the top of a hill with a gorgeous panorama view.  The greens of the vineyards, golden grass of the hills and undulating landscape was spectacular.

At Daou, we split a huge beet salad and cheese plate.  I wrote to a friend and described our mild culture shock upon returning to the US.  One of the things I mentioned was “rapidly fading dismay at portion sizes.”  But seriously, servings are huge here!

Taken with an iPhone6, ha ha

After a night in Paso Robles, we headed off to Mountain View.  Our apartment and the location is perfect.  SMS did an amazing job with all the planning the last month or so- he found both the apartment and planned our trip.  It was a really great experience and a nice transition home.


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