The Oven has baked its last loaf. This blog is no longer being updated.

My cooking videos appear at

I write on food at

Away from San Jose*

Saturday, October 29, 2011

* A post that is not about food.

The beach makes everything tastes better, doesn't it? On picnics, that first bite of nasi lemak after a swim, whether in the Straits of Malacca or the South China Sea, is glorious. Someone should come up with a gimmick/gadget to simulate that ambience. They would make money.
    On our visit to Monterey one Saturday, we stopped by the Point Pinos Lighthouse. We got there before it opened, so we headed down to the beach nearby to have an early lunch (I found out that when you have two small children, everything has to be early). We had made tortilla wraps with slices of honey smoked turkey, cheese and avocado. The avocado was still a little under-ripe, but when you have a vista like the one we did, everything tastes good.
Point Pinos Lighthouse
    The lighthouse is lovely. The cottage is so pretty and would be my perfect place to live: great view, close to the sea, and a little remote.
    I don't know if it was because of the weekend, but there were so many people in Monterey. We took a walk down Cannery Row although we didn't make it far enough to see John Steinbeck's bronze statue. We had some frozen yoghurt and stopped by the beach.
Monterey beach
    On the rocks, sea-lions were sunning themselves. They're actually on the left in the picture above, on that little rocky outlay in the centre and they're the ones I was focusing on but unfortunately, I didn't get a good shot.
Visiting two pumpkin patches
    Halfway to Monterey, we stopped at Earthbound Farm in Carmel. In the collage above, the two top pictures were taken at the farm. There's Mady on the left looking up at a sunflower that's bigger than her head, although with her mass of brown curls, she almost measured up. We had fun going through the corn maze and running around the stone labyrinth. And the herb garden was quite amazing. Just the mint varieties alone drove me crazy – if I were a pixie, I would live in just that one section of the garden.
    The two bottom pictures are from Uesugi Farms near Gilroy, which we visited another day. This pumpkin patch has a fairground atmosphere, with rides and games. Mady and I went on the big train ride (on rails), as well as the Cow Train which was pulled by a tractor. Any child shorter than 36 inches has to be accompanied by an adult, and me trying to get into one of those sawn-off barrels that was a "cow" was a comical sight. The barrel wasn't very big and it was a tight squeeze fitting my bum into it. But I got to ride it with my god-daughter so there's nothing to complain about.
    The last stop on the visit was to get pumpkins to carve for Halloween. Joyce got a Sugar Pie Pumpkin each for Mady and Sophie – there they are making their choices in the bottom left picture. In Malaysia, all the pumpkin varieties seem to be round, and I was fascinated with what you could find in America. I really liked the shape of that Turban Squash on the far right.
    But know something: there was pumpkin everywhere and I didn't eat any during my visit.
Stanford University: (clockwise from top left) a 'You Are Here' map; a delightful drinking fountain; the Memorial Church; the corridor of Building 40-70 facing the Main Quad; Hoover Tower; and a sculpture at the Rodin Sculpture Garden (Mady has her hands in the dirt. That girl!) 
    Now, one last place I have to include in this post that is not about food is Stanford University, although being in Palo Alto, it isn't exactly far away from San Jose. The last time I visited Joyce and Keith (before the girls were born) I had mentioned that I was interested in seeing Stanford. When I was thinking of doing a PhD some years ago, this was one of the universities I looked at because it had (and probably still does although I haven't checked since then) the perfect area of language studies for my research interest. I enjoyed the visit. Thanks Joyce!
    Actually, I have much to appreciate Joyce for. My sister is the ultimate multi-tasking mum. First of all, it amazes me how, when she is driving the minivan with the girls in it, she is able to comfort Sophie when she is fussing, answer Mady's constant questions, keep her eye on the road, follow the GPS thingy and listen to the radio all at the same time! And then she also has a guest to take care of for two and a half weeks. I am humbled. The next time I have another badly written story to edit at work, I shall remember that it is nothing compared to what Joyce does.
    I shall end this post with a picture of the amazing vista we passed as we made our way back to San Jose from the pumpkin patch in Gilroy.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Your views are welcome and appreciated. Have a nice day!