The Road Trip Home - Hello Snow...

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Reminds me how much I loathe snow...and cold for that matter.

That said, it was the perfect road trip.  Me 'n Lis loaded up the Disco, made a mega cozy bed for Minka, and hit the road straight up outta LA.  

Yep - we got caught in every snowstorm all cause I was on the hunt for tiny towns and better than average food.  Plus, when you have to take dog friendly hotels into consideration...and I'm not super keen on staying at chain hotels...well, let's just say a 3 day road trip turned into 8 days! But, full of such amazing food and charming towns.

Probably one of the best dog friendly hotels EVER is La Posada in Winslow, AZ (you know the name from the Eagles song).  First of all - this historic monster has an amazing restaurant, The Turquoise Room,  and literally the best honey butter doused cornbread ever to be made (like, each piece was so soaked in it, it had to be picked up with a tong).  

2nd of all, the whole joint (save for the restaurant) is dog friendly...and has tons of game tables, a big ole fireplace, a massive yard and best of all a full blown HAY STACK MAZE.  Omg, Minka played forever in this enormous gift from the doggie heavens, especially after being trapped in the truck on horrific roads - though she adored the snow and played HAWD in an Arizona dog park with a puppy doberman.

Anyhow - La Posada  also had this soup rockin' that was insane.  1/2 black bean and 1/2 creamed sweet corn.  Sounds a bit off, but was once again, something out of the history books for taste sensations.  Lamb posole was also on the make (and we all know from my Isla Mujeres days that I'm a posole nut)...also with juicy red wines on tap.  

I will def be stoppin' there on the way back through.  In fact, I'm pretty much basing the whole trip back to LA around that maze.

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Napa Valley - I Took 3 Pictures the Whole Weekend!

Who goes to Napa Valley and takes only 3 pictures?
Especially of a place I've never been!   Let me tell you though - 3 really lovely pix.  
Me in a constant state of lit (thanks Alex for all the wine and oysters and smoked meats and laughs with the dogs!)...never met hosts so great as her and John...
And two of the most delicious breakfasts at the B & B we were staying at - Oak Knoll Inn (thanks for the bounty of champagne the moment we stepped out of the car!).  I must recreate the chile relleno/egg/puff pastry dish.  We did it all right, even though you can't tell from the lack of pix.  Wine tastings, great dinners, champagne in the pool for lunch.  Even popped a quick wine/small bite/laugh stop at Bell St. Farm in Los Alamos on the way home.  LOVE THAT JOINT!
Turns out - summer is already happening and I've barely in touched on all that's going on right now!  The Flo is looking good, the sailboat is pretty as ever.  Minka is a stone cold mess, but the happiest dog I know.  I've got a road trip home to TN coming up.  Work just keeps getting turned down.  Just trying to live a minute, you know?  I haven't even touched on last months trip to Tulum and Hartwood...or the quickie flight to Baja for a scout in a remote mountain village.  So much all the time - but intel will come, I promise!
Still things to do though - get on the MEGA life workout program.  Cook and cook and cook.  Oh yah - make some shows, movies and books.  For real though :)
As the summer turns...

Casa de Mita in Punta de Mita - Who would EVER do The Four Seasons?

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I guess I just don't feel like I've said enough about Casa de Mita. 

And, I say that because I think about it every day.  I just linger over memories of the lighting at night, the peachy sunsets, the chile oil that I devoured with everything (but which was especially good with buttered bread and smothering the just made ceviche). 

I keep thinking about my AM yoga classes with Tomas (who was #2 in massages only to Ayu in Candidasa, Bali)...and my daily lightily-buzzed strolls along the beach. 

The house pup was so happy sprinting along beside me and the staff there (one of whom was a budding photographer and took the above photo of the main casa) was just literally, the best staff ever.  So kind, funny, always on hand with a fresh drink...but knew when to disappear cause all you wanted to do was read deeply and watch the waves crash. 

This joint is for real my go to relaxation spot now and forever.  It's just got 6 or 8 rooms and when you're the only one there (was I was for a few days), it's like your own private mansion with a staff of 24 all focused on one thing - YOU.  I think I've mentioned the 500 thread counts (which is what really sold me on the place via the web), but man...I just can't get it out of my mind.  And, so easy to get to.   The trip of all relaxation trips. 

And, somehow through my daily walks in the marina, I'm still semi-sportin' the mega tan I got down that way.  Nice.




I Live on TOP of the Ocean, but do I Really SEE the Ocean?


 God Bless Water....

Every day, I head to work or come home from work and am confronted by the majesty of the ocean. I live on top of it, for the love.

But, not until I gaze at a picture like this (shot from the deck of Casa de Mita in Mexico) do I realize what I'm missing in the ocean. I don't have to peer and poke about. Nor do I have to monitor high and low tide. Who am I looking for, or better yet - who the hell am I avoiding?

I just know that water connects us. Connects me. Brings all the people I love closer to my being - because guess what, they wanna be near water as well. See it, touch it, listen to it, watch it rise and lower.

At Casa de Mita, though - I just became the ocean. The waves crashing lulled me to sleep and also awoke me from my death-grip slumber. It soothed me. It was my company at night when I dined alone with a bottle of champagne. It kept me locked down late night into a spy thriller and also made me feel alive when the sun rose and the fish started frying up at the small palapas down the way.

The ocean can take over ones soul. Like the drop of a hat. Done and done....

I Think What We All Need Right Now is a Top Shelf Margarita


Lined with some kickin' chile salt...

And, if I had my way, it would be slurped down on the deck of Casa de Mita - while watching the waves crash and the sun slowly sink into the Pacific.  This tiny boutique hotel just north of Puerto Vallarta (down a long dirt road in Punta de Mita to be exact) stole my heart when I went down there a few weeks ago.  So much so, that I'm gonna need to dedicate my next few posts to it. 

Let's travel together the rest of this week and escape for a minute.  I know I need it.  Til manana...



Mexico - How Much Time You Got...


Mexico is dope...even if it is just for 72 hours.

My word, where the hell do I even begin.  Still been in NJ working on this show, but we did a quick wrap out and I hit up a new spot in Mexico for about 72 hours.  Costa Careyes.  I was so bloody tired, I barely snapped a shot (and I even got myself a new super-sonic camera).  It was all I could do to pull out the iphone and take a quickie.

Not that there wasn't beauty.  It was maddeningly lush.  So super rich and green and lush.  Fly into PV.  Drinks cervezas immediately in prep for windy 3 hour car ride south of the city.  Stop and have shrimp with butter (my dish of the trip).  Load up on more cerveza.  Get to hotel and drink silly and sleep and sleep.  Wake up to the most insane view (pix later), and a kayaking trip around the cove.  Just gotta make it around that big rock!  Cut up my toe, got tossed about trying to land on a rocky beach.  Had to ride the kayak like a surfboard to get back into the big blue sea.  Drank more.  Ate til I passed out.  Next day - kayaked around the bend to the palapa-covered restaurant that had no power (so they had to close at 7 pm), sans shoes.  Rode right up onto shore, plowed through pescado ceviche, shrimp con mantaquilla, coconut shrimp, more beer, tequila, micheladas.  Then waltzed right back out to the kayak, hopped in and hit it back around the bend.  Laid into a pass-out-style massage, swam in the massive pool, drank a hundred pina coladas and mojitos, attempted to make my way through an 800 page thriller, slugged back tequila shots, spent a little time in a hammock on the front deck of my killer room (with own private plunge pool), gazed at a trillion stars, drank some more.  Just a dream trip - all planned in about 2.2 seconds. 

Woke up and headed on out.  2 beers on the way.  Holla, Mexico.  That's kinda how you need to roll down south.  I still have a great time even if I am too tired to snap a photo. 

PS - Tanner than ever)


Seals Do Indeed Scream While Having Sex.


Yup - when seals make love, the woman screams.  I watched on - fascinated at this tragic/epic undertaking on the way back from SF.  Once the two are done with the deed, the chick pulls a straight pass out - and I mean DOES NOT MOVE, and the dude - he scurries over to the ocean  for a quick rinse off.  

Just like normal people do I guess.  Gal - she lays there a bit traumatized, and the guys on to the next thing - fresh and clean as a daisy.  We are all one.


What's More Interesting? Food or Scenery Pix?


What's the better picture?  Food or scenery?  I love the waves crashing all mighty and wild.  But, I'm a one-shot Charlie on those shots.  Click.  Yup, got it.  What's next to eat?  Ice cream?  Fish 'n chips with tangy malt vinegar?  Steaming clam chowder with hundreds of oyster crackers sprinkled on top?  I can snap dozens of photos of food and it never loses its appeal.  Close up on the cracked pepper.  Get tight on the oyster cracker.  Just one tong of the fork.  I love macro.

I was so sick from shoving down food on the way down Highway 1, I did the only thing I could do.  I ended it all with a bag of Funyuns.  Could be the best thing I'd eaten all day.  All they hype (thanks on the rest of the food was just above average.  Funyuns however...those spun me for a loop.


San Fran - A City Quickly Remembered.


People save their entire lives to rock certain trips.  Coastal cruise up the 1, for instance.  But, when you reside in Cali - well, these trips are as easy as hopping in the truck and hittin' the road.  The destination was San Francisco, a place I've always said I'd call home if I wanted to live the city life.  

Funny how one persons SF can be so different that my San Fran.  To me, it's meandering sailboats, the incredibly fresh sushi and sake at Atami (my forever perfect sushi joint), mist rising from crab pots and containers of giant crabs, mimosas at Zazie (along with shotgunning a spicy bloody mary at the chill bar next door), and brave/ass machiato's from Cafe Francisco.  That's all I really need from the city to be satisfied.

It was a quickie trip and more impressive than the clean little city itself was the 14 hour ride back to LA.  So much like Baja it hurts.  Did all the things you're supposed to do on excursions like these - chowed on fish 'n chips (Rated Top 5 in the country by Coastal Living), wolfed down a bowl of creamy clam chowder, munched on somehow-warm ice cream, saw the hilarious seals lining the beach near Hearst Castle (ever seen seals make love?)...and just looped and rolled all the way down the painfully beautiful coast. 

Now I've done it.  Next up has to be Catalina.



The Best Little Motel in Tucson- La Siesta


I'm not too keen on regular Joe-blow type hotels.  But, I do love, love, love quirky little motels.  Like La Siesta Motel down in Tucson.  The cutest rooms all tricked out in different styles.  Zen, Country, etc...

When I showed up on X-mas night, they had my lights on, the heater blasting and Thank God, a nice glass of red wine on the wait for me.  Now, who does that?  Free coffee in the AM - all strong and delicious - they recycle, the sweetheart who runs the place hires from the Tucson deaf community...I mean, it's like giving back in a whole new way.

It's def. more expensive than the other motels that flank it, but none of them are even near as adorable, homey or friendly.  I could plop down here and write a novel. No need to go anywhere ever again...except out to the pool to watch the shooting stars at night.

My fave room is the Zen room.  I mean, what motel rocks it like that?