Monday, August 31, 2009


One of the things I love about going home is staying up at my brother's house in the Santa Cruz mountains.

He lives on a hillside near the ocean, in the middle of a Redwood forest.

While here, I listen to the birds sing, and watch the deer leap through his property. The other night we saw a fox by the water tank.
Truly peaceful and therapeutic.

While visiting on our vacation, we decided to drive down the coast to Carmel-By-The Sea. We spent the morning going through the wonderful little specialty shops in the middle of town.
Carmel's most notorious resident is Clint Eastwood, who served as Mayor during the 1980's.
When I was a young girl, I actually met Clint Eastwood once at a back lot of Universal Studios.

Daughter #1 Aubrey (The Birthday Girl)
Even though these shops are very exclusive, we had to be our silly selves.

I blame Mr. Cactus for influencing the children.

Mr. Cactus loves anything to do with Golf.

We stopped for lunch at a wonderful Japanese restaurant called Hanagasa on Mission Street.

They had very authentic food at a great price. The service was terrific, and we loved everything we ordered. I have children who love sushi.
And other exotic foods.
Elizabeth ordered this dish: Ohitashi. The topping is dried fish flakes (Bonito flakes)
Daughter #3 Elizabeth is in her last semester of college at the University of Utah. She is double majoring in International Studies and Linguistics, with an emphasis in Japanese. Once she graduates she plans on going to Japan for a year to teach English.

She was so happy to have Sashimi (raw seafood).
We are a family of "foodies". Elizabeth has Japanese friends who have taught her to cook many dishes.

The afternoon was spent at the beach in Carmel. Mr. Cactus was especially happy to look out on the Pebble Beach, the most famous golf course in the Western U.S.

He pretended he was on Pebble Beach, playing in the U.S. Open with Tiger Woods., we are not in the price range to be able to golf here. A round of golf is $495.00 and in order to play the course you must also stay at their hotel which runs another $400 a night.

Mr. Cactus and me.

On the way home we stopped at the produce stands in Castroville, the Artichoke Capital of the World. They have an artichoke festival every May.
This is my kids favorite vegetable.
Artichokes have the compound Silymarin, a powerful antioxidant that some say may help the liver regenerate healthy tissue. In fact, artichokes are the best source of antioxidants among all fresh vegetables.
Of course, while we were purchasing artichokes, we also loaded up on figs, oranges, lemons, grapefruit, and fresh herbs. I had to get my fix of fresh fruits and vegetables before heading back to Utah.


Lurline said...

Oh, makes me feel sad as it brings back memories - beautiful ones when we holidayed on the west coast - will never forget the clam chowder and we think it was otters in the water as we sat and had lunch at Carmel! The drive down the coast to San Luis Obispo was scary but just wonderful! I love your country

amy smart said...

Carmel is the best.

Elizabeth said...

I've been wanting to take a trip to Carmel. I've heard so much about it. Now I want to go even more!

Jodi Nelson said...

Thanks for the field trip. Awesome! ooxx`jodi

Micki said...

It looks like a wonderful place!

Ann said...

Looks like a really perfect place for fun and relaxation. You look like you're lucky to have such a nice family.

Suzanne said...

This post made me homesick. I grew up in Los Gatos and love visiting Carmel at least once a year. ;o) My favorite restaurant in the world is "Cassanova's" in Carmel. Heavenly.

Material Mary said...

This vacation is proving to be truly wonderful. Enjoy.

Carin said...

I am thinking I so need a trip to CA now LOL! We always end up in San Diego cause that's where my DH is from and his family is there.

Nothing like fresh Oranges off the tree.

Nanette Merrill said...

How fabulous. What a dream vacation. Love the photos.

redgarnet222 said...

I love this vacation. You are a beautiful family with wonderful personalities that shine through in your pictures and wording.
Thanks for letting me share in your fun.

Sharleen said...

What a wonderful vacation. The food looks wonderful. Thanks for sharing the pictures.