Mendocino

Day trips, dogs, and dallying along the coast. Warning: Beautiful photos ahead.

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Hi Everyone,

Another week has gone by, and it’s time for another post. This week’s post is extra special, as I’m writing about one of my favorite places in the world, Mendocino, California.  Ryan and I discovered Mendocino about two years ago, pretty soon after we moved to the Bay Area. Located right above Sonoma County, Mendocino County is known for incredible wineries such as Saracina & Bonterra (recently awarded best North American Winery), mountains, and valleys. The county is full of wildlife, rare flowers and plant life, and one of the most stunning views of the ocean on the west coast. The town of Mendocino is perched on the bluffs of the coast within the county and is home to around one thousand people. Most of the local economy is fueled by artisans, B&Bs, art galleries, and restaurants. From Berkeley the drive is a little over three hours, so getting up here does not happen often, sadly. However, each opportunity to make it up for the day or the weekend is truly special. Rather than writing a lot today, I’m going to leave the rest of this post to mostly pictures, as the landscape is absolutely stunning.

Jack and I drove up to Mendocino last Thursday. We woke up early, grabbed a Philz coffee, and made our way up the coast, stopping in Hopland, CA for some photos (not pictured here), and also spent time meandering through the riverscape on US-101N. I highly recommend stopping to see the wildlife. As we arrived at Mendocino, the first stop along the way was at Big River. An inlet situated right below the Pacific Coast Highway protected as National Seashore, that is home to hundreds of species of birds, plants, and other wildlife, as well as, a local spot for a nice beach day. Check it out.

BIG RIVER

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After spending some time at Big River, Jack & I decided to hike a new trail that runs east from the seashore, inland. Recently the town of Mendocino and surrounding unincorporated towns put their funds together and purchased Big River Estuary to be protected indefinitely. To read more about the project, click here.  Below you’ll find photos from our hike through the protected lands.

HIKING

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As the hike came to a close, Jack & I were both ready for some grub & shopping. As mentioned earlier, the downtown area of Mendocino is full of local shops and purveyors/artisans. We hopped into Oliver (our Subaru) and headed downtown. Throughout you’ll find links to a couple of my favorite spots to be bookmarked, if you make it up this way!

DOWNTOWN

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Yes, there is a whole section about jam. This jam store truly has the best jam in the entire world. To admit a secret, it’s one of the reasons I drove up here in the first place. Ryan, my best friend Kara, and myself, stumbled upon this place on our last trip up north. Located on the very last corner of one of the main roads in town and a giant cliff, this local jam spot creates small batches of blueberry, blackberry, raspberry, and boysenberry jams. If you do not take anything else from this blog, make a mental note of this place. You can find them here. There is nothing better than contributing to a local economy. Do yourself a favor and buy some damn jam :).  Also, they have the cutest building ever.

Other Links: 

Garden Bakery of Mendocino

MacCallum House Inn, Mendocino – B&B

JAM (Yes, there’s a whole section about jam.)

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Checkout these wildflowers, absolutely stunning.

As our trip came to a close, the pup and I meandered a bit more, making our way through the small streets of town. Some random photos to follow capture the essence of this magical place. From the tiny well kept homes to the native bees, Mendocino has made a special impact on the way I see the world. California, you’re beautiful.

MEANDER

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With one last stop for a coffee at the Goodlife Cafe & Bakery, we were off and headed home. Until next time Mendocino, keep being beautiful. Also, yes, that red building is a grocery store. How?! So beautiful. What a good day to be alive. Thanks Jack for being my sidekick.

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For more information, any other recommendations, or to collaborate on any photos/projects/day trips please DM on instagram or find me at joecalasci@gmail.com

As always, thanks for reading.

Travel on.

Taking Back Sunday.

Reset. Recharge. Reflect. #MakeSundaysGreatAgain

Over the last two and a half weeks I’ve been on vacation. Well, technically, I’ve been in between employment, as I’m getting ready to start a new position, soon. During that time, I’ve had a lot of downtime. Usually, if any of you know me well, I’m always going. Going to find a place to hike, a new ingredient to play around with, or off for a run. However, in these last fourteen days or so, I’ve been rather still. I’ve been investing time into my home, rather than abroad. I love the home that Ryan and I have built and in effect I feel as though I’ve become somewhat of a home-dweller! This week I decided to focus my post specifically on the topic of home, but more precisely Sundays + home.

As long as I’ve been an adult, Sundays have always been my favorite day of the week. A large percentage of my generation has coined the term ‘Sunday Scaries’ as it can be seen hash-tagged across the interweb; in contrast, I see Sunday in an opposing light, and hope to change your perspective on the start/end to the week (depending on which way you look at it)

Sundays to me represent a few things: 1. Resetting 2. Recharging 3. Reflecting.

Reset

Ryan and I tend to do most of our adventuring, food pioneering, and ‘Fun’ stuff on Friday nights or Saturdays. By the time Sunday morning rolls around we have a usual habit.

We love a good Sunday morning coffee + breakfast. Right down the street from our house is Acme Bread Company, one of the Bay’s biggest suppliers of all things gluten (yum). In addition to it’s kitchen, they have the cutest little storefront where locals can purchase fresh bread and other yummy treats. My favorite are the cheddar and jalapeño croissants. I’ll either grind up some coffee beans at home or make my way to Philz (most likely ground at home), and then head to the market for some fresh bread. Over the next couple of hours to the tune of Bon Iver, Aretha Franklin, jazz assortments, and maybe some Mumford and Sons, we rise with the sun as we cook. (Almost forgot to mention the Smokey the Bear Mug,  it’s the only coffee mug to drink out of these days.)

A couple of our Sunday treats this week.

We’re really lucky to live in such a fruitful place. Right now, the fig and lemon trees in Berkeley are in bloom, and one of the perks of living in a fertile valley, is that there’s always something to be harvested.

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Thanks, Jo for the beautiful figs.

After a long breakfast, hopefully in the backyard, we’ll usually take the pup for a long walk around town. By mid-morning to afternoon there’s definitely a feeling of being reset. Waking up slow is a luxury in these times, and intentionally taking time to be slower is something I highly recommend.

Recharge

Going back to the theme of ‘home-dwelling’ that I had mentioned earlier, Sundays have always been a day to sit around with the boy and hangout with the dog, but lately they’ve come to truly have a deeper meaning. One of the perks of our current apartment is that it has spectacular natural light. On a Sunday afternoon, spending time nestled up with a good book (just finished The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen – highly recommended) on our comfy couch (ask @idontkaratall, she slept there for a week) is the absolute best. During the week we are bothered with the hustle and bustle of it all, but finding a creative outlet, reading, or even taking a nap truly refreshes me for the week to come. Not to mention, Game of Thrones on Sunday night is always a nice cherry on top.  Recharging, is a true highlight of Sundays. Let that iPhone recharge, and take some time respectively for yourself.

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Two personal cooking favorites.

Reflect

During the regular grind of life, when I’m not staycationing, this time has become so much more than a couple of hours with family and friends. Sundays do not warrant anything from you. They do not ask for dates, prior engagements, or extracurricular activities. It is a day comprised of hours strung together that do not oppress, but rather grant freedom. Freedom in the form of time. Rather than being scared about what’s to come next, we should be using what we have to honor the work and time we’ve spent over the last seven days. The debate will rage on whether Sunday should be a day full of worries for Monday and the week ahead, but I challenge you this week to take it as it is. Social media has coined hashtags to instill depression and sadness into your week. In a world full of pessimists, ridiculous negative tweets, and a 24-hour sensationalist news-cycle, take a second. Put the time in this week, but take it back on Sunday.

#MakeSundaysGreatAgain

 

 

Healdsburg

Healdsburg day trip, new gardening endeavor, and more.

Hello food lovers, friends, + other internet people.

I’m back in action with some highlights on our bay area life, plus a little bit on fruit!

Over the past couple of weekends, if you haven’t noticed, I’ve been crazy on my Instagram game, and there’s a good reason for it. Instagram is a true vessel for creative expression and it’s free! I’ve been spending some hard thought on what I want my brand to be, and I think I’m finally getting somewhere. I’ve always been in love with food (like seriously in love) and I’ve never really found a way to incorporate it into my life, other than the obvious dinner party & sharing with friends. Those closest to me know that my one life goal is to have a successful career, with food being the common theme.

Over the next couple of months I hope to bring more flare, color, Berkeley lifestyle, and food into my Instagram. Any thoughts, feedback, or suggestions are highly welcomed.

Thought I’d let you know why I’ve been an instagram-crazy lately 😉

Onto the food.


FRUIT + MORE

Living in the Bay Area is truly a blessing. We have a LEMON TREE in our back yard. #Blessed. I cannot tell you how amazing this has been. From homemade pasta dishes to dressings, and cocktails to desserts, living in one of the most fertile regions of the country has been unreal.

Before moving to the Bay, the organic food movement, was very very low on my list of priorities or disciplines to study. The reason, I don’t really know I guess. I’ve always been such an avid lover of food, but I guess I never really put the sourcing and economics of food to the forefront of my mind. However, since moving to the Bay a little over two years ago, I’ve been challenged to think outside of the box. Ryan and I live in a place where people use their front yards as garden space, rather than a useless lawn (for more on this, give me a call, there are so many useless side effects of Captialism/materialism, and ‘The lawn’ is one of them) People plant gardens at their children’s schools based on the seasonality, and use the harvest to feed the local community, one another, and as a source of income for the under privileged. My point here, sorry for taking the long way around, is that the actual anatomy and epistemology of food is common knowledge here. This has radicalized my process in the preparation, cooking, and serving of fresh and local produce. The culture has engulfed my life, way of thinking, and has altered my technique.

This weekend, Ryan and I made our way up to Healdsburg, CA (about 1.2 hours outside of the Bay area), and found ourselves at one of our favorite spots, The Shed.  They supply high quality, locally grown & sourced ingredients to a variety of lunch and dinner guests, as well as, a number of events. Their space is beautiful, features white-washed walls, and is always full of natural color from the fruits and veggies that fill the room.

From the beautiful yellowish tomatoes to the organic blueberries and strawberries, this day trip gave me the inspiration to create our own organic garden. We’ve got a raised bed in our backyard that is currently unused. Stay tuned for updates (most likely during the late fall months) to see what we yield!


Beauties from our trip to The Shed!

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What type of food methods/techniques/sourcing, are you infatuated with? Have any of these differences made any change to the way you think about food?

Comment below! 

As always, thanks for reading. I love you all!

 

 

Half Moon Bay

We traveled to Half Moon Bay yesterday. Day-trip guide, great food suggestions, and places you must see.

The Bay Area is one of the most beautiful places to be in the world when it’s sunny outside. The view of the Golden Gate Bridge teeming as the Pacific shines on it as it reflects the sun or the scent of the faintly cedar-like air that has been released from the grips of Carl the Fog to set itself free on the people that live in this beautiful place. These are just a couple of the reasons that living in the most expensive city in the United States can be justified. Yesterday was one of those days.

Ryan and I decided to get up, grab ourselves a Phil’s Coffee (Philtered Soul with a tad of Almond Milk), and head down to Half Moon Bay. This beautiful scape of land sits about one hour south of the city, although only about 35 miles away…thank you Bay Area traffic! Half Moon Bay for those of you who are reading this from other places (thanks for reading) other than California has a couple of claims to fame. Harold and Maude, and Rumor Has It (great Rom-com) were both filmed there, and one of the most beautiful Ritz-Carlton’s sits on the magnificent bluffs. Just north of HMB sits Pacifica, CA, as well as, many state parks including McKnee Ranch State Park (you can literally hike adjacent to the Pacific Coast Highway), remarkable beaches including Moss Beach, Dunes Beach, and HMB State Beach, and too many cute roadside stores to count.

As this is a food blog, I have to say that the highlight of the day was our meal at Cafe Capistrano in the Downtown area right off of Church St. This place has been ranked on the Michelin Guide for 2017, and deserves every piece of praise it’s received. From the outside, it looks like a small, craftsman style home that’s been painted a bright yellow. As guests continue through the doors into the interior, the inside is cozy, warm, and an immediate feeling of ‘home’ is felt. This little joint is run by a Mayan family from the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico and truly put their love into our meal. Ryan and I both ordered the fish tacos, a crowd favorite, and boy were we happy with the results! The plate came full with guacamole, homemade picante, rice, beans, veggies, and beautiful piece of white fish (my guess was snapper). The dish comes with a side of fresh homemade tortillas and homemade hot sauce. If there is one thing that I’ll pay for any day, it’s good, authentic, Mexican food. I’ve never had any Mexican that told such a unique story, was true to itself, and created a feeling of home, quite like this place. (see photo of food below)

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Anyways…Half Moon Bay was such a treat. I’ve attached a couple of photos of other spots we hit up while we were walking downtown, as well as, suggestions for shopping in the area. Ry was able to find an awesome plant for our home and I found plenty of free cheese to sample.

Best Shopping: 

Garden Apothecary, 329 Main St.

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Abode, 417 Main St. Half Moon Bay, CA

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Favorite Beach: 

Dunes Beach, Young Ave. Half Moon Bay, CA

Favorite Bakery & Coffee: 

Granola’s Coffee House, 116 N. Cabrillo Highway, HMB, CA

Breweries to come back to: 

Sacrilege Brewery + Kitchen , 73 Main St.  (The food here looked amazing.)

Half Moon Bay Brewing Company, 390 Capistrano Rd.

Eats to try next time: 

Sam’s Chowder House (Very Famous … the line was piling up down the PCH)

Flying Fish Bar & Grill (Fish sammie and tacos…also they have crab cake cheesy bread…)

Other HMB Travel Guides

Huffington Post

Sunset

Trip Advisor

Happy Monday and Happy Traveling.

Cheers,

Joe