6.28.2018

Revival Ice Cream, Monterey, CA

After a decent length ride on the Monterey Peninsula earlier in the day and a great meal at Alvarado Brewing across the street, I felt I could splurge a little and get some ice cream. I saw both a froyo store and this ice cream store on my walk to dinner, so I made a mental note for after dinner. 

This one looked the most intriguing, and it had a short line out the door. Surely, something must be going on here. I waited patiently in line, with only a t-shirt on in 55 degree weather (my fault), but I think it was worth it. They put out a great retail environment for ice cream, and from what my mouth tasted, a very good product.


They do have a unique take on flavors too, but my tastebuds normally gravitate toward traditional ice cream flavors. When I crave or am buying ice cream, I find I don't often want something that tastes like tea or flowers or even fruit really. I can see the appeal, but it's not for me, broadly. Looking at the menu below, I also axed all flavors that were dairy-free. Why? Well, dairy doesn't bother me and I want the real-deal if I'm buying ice cream. Could I be missing out on an amazing non-dairy ice cream? Possibly, but it's a risk I'm willing to take... Chocolate Praline does keep me up at night though now.


Due to some conversation in line (which helped me forget how cold I was), I was pretty sure I wanted Bee's Knees and a chocolate variant for my double scoop dish (never cones, too inconsistent and slow of an eating experience). So, that's what I got... and I paid an extra $1 to add some waffle cones crumble on top (genius-level!).

Note: They had a "Smoked Chocolate" flavor on the menu while I stood in line, which I would have chosen, but it sold out during the wait and I went with normal Chocolate. I know, boo-hoo.

When I'm back in Monterey, you can bet I'll be heading to Alvarado and Revival again - recommended!

6.26.2018

Alvarado Street Brewing, Monterey, CA

You know what's great about America?! Beer.

More to the point, that fact that in almost any US city (major or not in most cases) you can now find a local brewery to head out to for some unique, often regional, takes and tastes of the brew we all love so much. Like the friends in Indy that often take vacations just to try beer makers, I've found I can find and almost always enjoy trying a new brewery anywhere I travel.

Recently, the weekend involved a short day-trip to Monterey CA. It happens to be home to the Alvarado Street Brewing company. I had been there about four years ago as the restaurant was just opening, but knowing how good it was then, and wanting to try more, I hit up on this trip too.

Of course, you might say, "But MK, you're not trying anything new!' Au contraire! Not only can a menu of a great establishment change in 4 years, but the beer menu should be changing all the time, year-round. I was not disappointed in this trip to ASB. I did have to wade through a shit-ton of beers in the IPA family (gross!), but it wasn't too strenuous.

They have gorgeous building in downtown Monterey. At least 3 distinct spaces - main floor, outdoor patio and upstairs landing...

I was also able to try about 6 different brews until I found a lovely Nitro Stout. Not too heavy for the day, but a bit heavier than I would normally go in the heat of summer (luckily, it was 6- degrees in Monterey this day).



I also chose a nice Hanger Steak offering from the menu. Well-cooked steak, but the real treat were the lowly potatoes cooked in duck fat. They almost melt in your mouth. I was delighted by this simple side...

I had decided not to get dessert here, but would have had no problem if I was forced too...

Finally, to hit the restrooms you have to go upstairs to a small landing/hallway. As I was washing my hands, a man came into the restroom with a stark white parrot on his arm, er, shoulder. It was pretty odd to see, and I wanted a picture, so I waited out on the landing (separate from the actual bathroom) until they came out. What the parrot did while the man was using the facilities, I'll never know.

Anyways, it seemed like everyone wanted to get a look at this "Emotional Support Parrot", so the guy set his bird on the railing for all to enjoy. Not the oddest thing I've ever seen in a bar, but it sure won't let me forget about ASB anytime soon...



Alvarado Street Brewery - do it up!

6.24.2018

Soft Power @ Curran Theater, San Francisco, CA

WOW! What an interesting, daring, though-provoking evening in the "big city".

I'll let the people that make the show tell you a little more about it:
"A contemporary comedy explodes into a musical fantasia in the first collaboration between two of America’s great theatre artists: Tony Award® winners David Henry Hwang (M. Butterfly, Flower Drum Song) and Jeanine Tesori (Fun Home). SOFT POWER rewinds our recent political history and plays it back through a Chinese lens: a future, beloved East-meets-West musical. 

A Chinese executive in 2016 America finds himself falling in love with a good-hearted U.S. leader, as the power balance between their two countries starts to shift and a new world order arrives. As original as it is topical, SOFT POWER overflows with the romance, laughter, and cultural confusions of the golden age of Broadway. Hwang and Tesori have created one of the most eagerly anticipated new works of the year.

SOFT POWER is produced by Center Theatre Group in association with the Curran. SOFT POWER comes to the Curran following its world premiere at the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles."

That's an interesting description of the show, but I could not have imagined from reading that before going in that the show would be what I saw/witnessed in-person. Basically, there is no way to describe it. It's such a unique production, like nothing I've ever seen. But, by the end, it made sense to me, gave us more to discuss, and seemed perfect.

I didn't take pics during the production, duh, but here are some pre-start pics...





Another awesome, old gem of a theater from 1922, recent restoration only finished in Jan 2017. It looks amazing...

This is the opening scene/set...

The production invited everyone in attendance at the shows SF opening night to an after-party hosted in the theater. It included, small appetizers, drinks/cocktails, cotton candy, DJ, etc. Not only that, but we were able to mingle with members of that cast, getting selfies and autographs. Pretty awesome way to end a delightful evening.

If you're in town and have the time, I'd definitely look for tickets to this show.


6.22.2018

Las Delicias Ice Cream y Botanitas, Morgan Hill, CA


I felt like we needed another post about ice creams. So, this one takes a new approach thanks to the town I now live in. This is a Mexican ice cream shop, that also serves a wide range of juices and smoothie-type concoctions. First, the ice cream bins...




It's a pretty unique ice ream offering, from my eyes. They have many of the "normal" flavors, plus many other fruit-based options, as well as a selection of what I would call Mexican-based flavors, i.e. Arroz con Leche, Bananas and Nutella, and an orange hued Vanilla (below).


Now, let's get to some money shots. These are the three trips I've made so far, but will definitely be going back soon...

Arroz con Leche (like Rice Pudding) + Chocolate

 Pistachio + Chocolate

Bananas&Nutella + Galleta (Cookies n Cream, aka Oreos n Cream)

The service is always easy as I've never seen anymore people than one other customer in when I've gone. Pricing seems fair for the area. Servings are appropriate. And the ice cream seems to be kept at the right temp and has a lovely melty, creamy, rich quality that all ice cream should possess.

6.19.2018

Yolked-Extreme Breakfast, Morgan Hill, CA

If you've read my blog before, you know a solid brunch spot is a must-have in any hometown. While I haven't tried them all in my new city, I think I've found a solid contender for the brunch place in Morgan Hill. 

This is a recently refurbished place (formerly a "Scrambles"). They done a great job reinvigorating the place inside and out. It looks fresh, clean, and ready for business.







Clearly, they do breakfast. They happen to have their own mini-donut machine front and center when you walk in, and it's pumping out free samples on busy weekend days.

I wound up going light, with chicken and waffles. It was very good. Service was also very friendly. Was it an "extreme breakfast"? Maybe not, but I'll be back at the first chance I get to eat some more donuts... or "real food" too.


6.16.2018

Mt. Madonna County Park / Camp Out, Gilroy, CA


Would you like to ride during the work week? What about a ride to a camp site and spend the night outdoors? Would you like to camp in the middle of a redwood forest? I say, "Yes", to all. I had the opportunity to do just that a week ago, and it was a department outing... so, did I have a choice as the FNG? Not really. Me go.

I have to say, it was easily one of the hardest rides, much of it uphill, that I've done in a long time... maybe ever. I also can't say I got a great look at the park or camp ground. We were very focused on the riding, then putting some delicious local burritos in our maws, then getting set-up for the night, then dark came (Zzzzzz).

I would like to do the ride again at some point (perhaps with more fitness) and even go back to this park and camping area by car. I would get out to take pics all along the climb and also of the nature all around us. You can get a little sense of it below, but I didn't get enough for my memory bank.


What I did get a great sense of and appreciation for (during a work week, mind you) is that there are things much bigger than ourselves. Sitting among redwood trees, on the top of a mountain, in the dark, with stars coming out makes you feel small (in a good way, not like in the high school way). You can take a step back, turn it all off, and truly relax. There's a huge natural world out there, and you really should take any chance you can to appreciate it.




Below was the original plan for my sleeping quarters that night, which I think would have been do-able, but a little bit before dark, we "commandeered" a yurt nearby and slept inside this sturdy fabric building for the night. Yurts generally have a door, windows, a skylight, and this one also had bunk beds w/ mattresses. A bit glamping style, but hey, I'm not a hardcore outdoorsmen by any means.

The hammock I own was very easy to set up and get ready, this version also has some lights for night-time visibility...


If you can't tell, I'd go back and do this again, for a longer stay too... after I get some more riding miles in my legs, please.

We also "bombed" down Hecker Pass the next morning on the way to work. It's a fairly busy pass for cars, especially at commute times, but it worked out well. We went very fast, no brakes, and made it back to work in about 45 minutes... passing this farm, wineries, and many other views along the way.


6.07.2018

Morgan Hill Mushroom Mardi Gras, Morgan Hill, CA


You know summer is starting to heat up when the first county fair, festival, eating thing starts opening in your neck of the woods. Well, here in Morgan Hill, that's the Msuhroom Mardi Gras. I understand it occurs every Memorial weekend, and this year was no different. What a mish-mosh of people, food, vendors, and entertainment. I'd go back in a heartbeat, and in fact did go back the next day for some other food options.



For the wine aficionado...

Don't forget the kids...




Now, let's a take a look at what's noramlly near and dear to my heart, er, stomach, the food. This is merely a small sample of what was on offer at this fair. In fact, they had two food courts...

You HAVE to try the TriTip cut of meat in NorCal. I've even Googled what it is already. Basically, it's the bottom of a sirloin. It's delicious. When grilled over open fire, with wood smoke, it's amazing.



Foot-long brat?

I think these snow-cone stands are genius...

Let the kids have at it themselves... and at kid-level too...

Stuffed mushrooms, less so...

These looked very impressive...

Finally, I couldn't help but notice and abundance of certain kinds of shops... like the hat in the top of the post. There must have been about 6+ straw hat vendors all over this festival. I mean, I guess they take their sun expeosure seriously here, fair enough.

One thing I could not understand was the toe-ring stands - yes plural. I'm not kidding...



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