Monday, September 2, 2013

Solvang, California

 This was our first trip to Solvang and we weren't quite sure what to expect.  We expected the Danish architecture to be pervasive, and it was.  Our first day in the area, we spent an afternoon reconnecting with Sue, a friend we hadn't seen in decades.  We are so glad we did as we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves...and hope to see her much more often now.
 We also happened into Paula's Pancake House for breakfast and had the best breakfast I've ever had.
 I ordered the Danish pancakes with strawberries along with several side dishes.  My wife ordered the same thing with apples.  Hands down, the best breakfast ever.
 My wife in Solvang.  After a few hours, we had seen all we wanted there and decided to reschedule our afternoon doing more wine tasting.
 We'll give you a tour of two of the wineries we visited in the Solvang area.  The first is Bridlewood.  We stumbled across this place while looking for Brander Winery.  I turned into a driveway to turn around and discovered it was Bridlewood!  So we went on in.
 My beautiful wife about to order a tasting.
 While our favorite wine is generally Savignon Blanc followed by Pinot Grigio,  we also really like steel barrel Chardonnay.  Unfortunately, 95% of the Chardonnay we run across is aged in an oak barrel which quite frankly ruins the taste for us.  We were pleasantly surprised to find that almost all wineries in the Solvang area forgo the oak when making their Chardonnay.  Bridlewood doesn't use steel barrels however.  They use these cement eggs.  Bizarre, but it tasted quite nice.
 Bridlewood is a very nice winery and we highly recommend it.
 A look out from the tasting room.
 The walk returning to our car.
 We also visited Brander.  The architecture looked quite French to me, but it flies the Danish flag so what do I know.
 What time is it?
 Brander had a winery cat, forgoing the winery dog tradition done in Napa Valley.
 Obviously she's used to being on the inside of this door.
 The day was winding down at this point, so we stopped for a few photos after we tasted at Brander.  This is the courtyard out front.
 A photo of me.
 We were thrilled with the wineries in this area!  It is high on our list to return - we liked it even better than Napa and that's saying something.  Wineries we would recommend:  Curtis, Fess Parker, Firestone, Brander, Bridlewood, and spend a few hours walking from winery to winery in the little sleepy town of Los Olivos.  Do it around lunch time so you can eat at Patrick's Side Street Café at 2375 Alamo Pintado - we had a spectacular lunch there.  Excellent sandwiches and a corn soup that was off the charts.
 We stayed at the Marriott hotel in Buellton and would recommend it also.  Here is a firepit area that was very well done - we might steal ideas from it for our backyard!
The hotel also had a Tesla charging station - the first one I've run across.  Dinner places in Buellton?  The Hitching Post (of the movie "Sideways" fame) was excellent as was AJ Spurs.

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