Showing posts with label Destinations. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Destinations. Show all posts

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Oak Glen Apple Orchards

I hate Black Friday shopping. I pretty much avoid it at all cost. So the day after Thanksgiving, I took my family to Oak Glen for the annual Apple Butter Festival. Oak Glen is a little town in the mountains where you can go pick apples, make your own cider and buy all things apple flavored. Unfortunately, we were a little late for apple picking, but there were plenty of little shops to visit and browse. 
There were a few deer in the main village. They were fenced in, which I thought was kind of odd. 
Did I mention this post is PG-13? ... 

Oops. T'is the season! ;-)

My brother's new Facebook photo. 

Anyway, the trees were beautiful. My mom went absolutely goo-ga-ga over them. She ran around asking random strangers the names of each and every tree, because she absolutely had to know, and because she's crazy.  She's obsessed about plants, ya know? You should see how much she can force into her little garden at home. 
My parents enjoying the fall scenery. 

They also had pony rides, but I'm too big. 

Oooh... pretty [fake] flowers. 

There was also a little woodworking shop. You can buy customized wooden keychains, clocks, portraits. You name it!

The guy who makes them has been doing it for years. 

The Duke. Pretty impressive.

My brother with the folks. 

AND... they have barbecue!! 

Riley's at Los Rios Ranchos bustled with shoppers. The store was filled with fresh apples, chips, jerky, apple butter, jams and jellies, homemade pies, pastries, cider and souvenirs.

Wait... Does this count as Black Friday shopping?

I loved the decor.

At the Apple Butter Festival, they made... apple butter!

Which I got to stir for 2 seconds. 

Kids enjoyed little activities here and there. 

Looks like some Medieval yo-yo... 

My brother was very fascinated with with the apple peeler. 

For $15, you can make your own apple cider. It's a pretty rough process. You grind the apples first, then you press it, then you pour it into a bottle. It comes out kinda cloudy, but I bet it's super good. 

My parents got tired.

At another apple farm, we found a creek-- or some like to call it, "crick."

There were some apples left, but they were pretty much all gone. 

Fresh hoe cakes for a dollar.

For an extra 50 cents, choose from apple and pumpkin butter-- or both (ewwww)-- for a topping. 

My brother tried his hand at knife throwing. He sucked.

Afterwards, we went home. It was a nice time spent with my family, enjoying great weather and fresh mountain air. If you want to pick apples, I suggest you go before Thanksgiving. Oak Glen is open year round and there's always something going on. 

Monday, July 16, 2012

Destination: San Pedro's Ports O' Call

Overlooking the busiest container port in the United States, Ports O' Call is a New England style seaside village that boasts a wide array of specialty shops, fish markets and restaurants.
The Port of Los Angeles, located in San Pedro Bay, is said to employ over 16,000 people. Barges and ships from all over the world come here to drop off and pick up goods. The port occupies 7,500 acres of land and water along 43 miles of waterfront (Wikipedia).
Currently, San Pedro Bay is home to the newly retired USS Iowa. Dubbed the "World's Greatest Naval Ship," she gallantly fought in WWII and the Korean War. USS Iowa is now open to the public as a museum. Millions will visit her this year. For more info, click here:

We also visited the Los Angeles Maritime Museum, but a separate post will come later. Stay tuned!

Along the waterfront lives countless of fish markets and restaurants. Mexican, Chinese and Japanese... you name it!



Shark filets. Rick says, "It's one of the best things to put on your grill!"

Market squid. Cleaned, sliced into rings, flour and fried! Yum...

Calamari before being calamari.

Smoked fish. Great stuff!

Looks like he is saying, "What?!"

Really beautiful trout.

Amazing to see all the varieties of fish. Many were domestic, but some were imported.

A kind of red snapper.

Halibut. Reminds us of Seafood Cove, a local Chinese restaurant we like to go to. It's great fried and drizzled with a sweet and spicy chili sauce, served with rice.

Barracuda. Great smoked!

The Pargo fish from Mexico. REAL good on the grill!

The iconic Yellowtail.

How many fish did you recognize or have eaten?

The shrimp smelled so good, cooked by little Mexican ladies. We have to try this next time!

We walked outside. A lady was selling Parrot Fish from a cart. Aren't they strange?

Here is the same fish grilled and seasoned to perfection. It made our mouths water!

A Mexican soft drink Rick loves. It's like grape juice, but better.

There was a lot of booze. And Rick wanted it all. 

Rick: "Ah, the Matt Walsh... My dad used to take me fishing on it when I was a kid. Brings back memories..." Smiles.

Inside another fish market. 

Which one for dinner? The way seafood should be bought. 

The workers and cooks were mostly young, but really nice.  

After all that walking and the smelling and the gawking, we got really hungry. You can't be around all that food and not have any. 

So, we bought ourselves a nicely sized Talapia. 

Outside, we brought our fresh fish to a nice young man named Robert.  

He seasoned our fish with Mexican spices, garlic and butter. It smelled heavenly standing beside the grill.

Mmmmm.... can't wait for dinner!

While we waited for our fish to cook, we had a couple of beers. 

The bartender gave us a sample of a "Michelada." It's kind of like a Mexican bloody mary made with beer. It was sooo good! The glass is rimmed with a chile, salt and lime seasoning. 

Then our fish was ready! 
It was quite literally the best fish I've ever had. The flavors were so amazing. In Mexico, this is called "mojarra."

Many people are afraid to eat fish whole, but cooked whole fish ends up being more moist and flavorful. The skin helps to keep fish from drying out, while the bones and gristle we wouldn't normally keep add to overall flavor.

Then a young man came by with a cart full of chocolate covered strawberries and apples. We bought a couple of strawberries. 

Then we watched the boats below, loading up for twilight fishing trips out at sea. 

And we listened to a mariachi band, who played merrily along the waterfront. 

Fiddle players are the best!

After a long day by the sea, it was time to go home. But first, some Mexican candy must be bought.

A girl sold sweets outside a little shop...

Filled with many items and knick-knacks. This was the last picture I took before the owner told me to put my camera away. Oops. 

Goodbye, Ports O' Call. We shall meet another day!

Wanna play?

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