Venice Beach sunset
I know, I know. I LIVE in California! But we all know that when the notes of California Dreamin' float on the air, it's southern California that we think about.
Garden at the Getty Villa
John and I took a quick vacation in LA last weekend. The Heaven and Earth: The Art of Byzantium exhibit had opened earlier this month--I'd love for you to think that I'm really deep this way, but John's the one who wanted to see this. It made a good excuse for a 6-hour road trip--neither of us had been to LA for some 35 years. Beyond seeing the Byzantine art we had no plans other than taking it easy.
The drive down the Central Valley is flat and generally unremarkable--the effects of the drought are easy to see, sadly, and glimpses of the gigantic culverts moving water from one end of the state to the other made me marvel at human ingenuity, and wonder at the fragility of it all. We stopped in Los Banos for a meal at a Basque restaurant I'd heard of: Wool Growers Restaurant (how could I pass that up?).
This was truly a hotel restaurant: long tables covered with red-and-white checked oilcloth, groups of happy people of all ages gathered over plates of food, farm style presentation. We were seated and immediately a plate of bread, butter, a giant bowl of soup with ladle, and an unlabeled liter of red wine were set on our table. Followed by a bowl of beans and a serving bowl of green salad with an old fashioned cooked sweet-and-sour dressing (surprisingly good!). After a bit the waitress paused to ask us what we wanted for our main dish (the first question we were asked!). The choices were limited: pork chops, lamb chops, lamb shank, or roast chicken. Before the main dish arrived, however, a bowl of lamb stew and a side of french fries appeared. Then the gigantic and straightforward main plates. For dessert: little paper cups of vanilla ice cream. We totally enjoyed the experience and the food--and listening in on the conversations at other tables about delivering farm equipment, and planting, and the day-to-day concerns of a farming community.
The weather was sort of cool (by our standards!), and only rarely did the foggy marine layer fully dissipate--therefore, no photos of the ocean or far vistas!
Santa Monica Pier
We walked to the pier and then on the beach.
A quick trip to the wild world that is Venice Beach. I loved the murals!
And, of course, Disneyland and Disney's California Adventure park! The Grizzly River Run was my favorite thing.....
It was fun to get away!