Posted by mikegrattan | Posted in Photos | Posted on 06-04-2012
Posted by mikegrattan | Posted in Announcements, Photos | Posted on 08-03-2011
We decided to go wine tasting one weekend in nearby Hollister after buying a Groupon for the Pietra Santa Winery. After a longer-than-planned drive (we’re talking the outback of Hollister!) we finally arrived at the winery. Although the location is in Bumfuck, Egypt it is well worth the drive. The views are beautiful, the setting is serene, the weather was perfect, and we had a great time.
Posted by mikegrattan | Posted in Announcements, Photos | Posted on 18-01-2011
Sarah went to her first dance this year, the Winter Ball! All previous dances at her school had been canceled, so she was very excited to be able to go to this one. Since she had no date, she invited a couple of her best friends to go with her; they all had a fantastic time.
She looks fantastic in her new dress!
The Cachagua General Store and Roadhouse (“The Store”) is one of those places that you think you might have heard about, but you’re not sure you can remember who told you about it or when.
The Store is run by Mike Jones, a local chef and caterer (A Moveable Feast Catering) who can be found catering weddings and other events when he is not in Cachagua. Mike has a passion for good food and uses all local ingredients. Everything on the menu has been locally sourced, locally grown, and locally farmed. You’ll have mulberries and peppers from Joanie and Lyle, finger potatoes from “that kid across the river”, and pistachio-fed beef (!!!) from Yolo County.
The Store serves dinner one day a week. It’s only open on Monday nights (well, there is a Sunday Brunch but we’re talking about dinner here), and that started out as a way for Mike to get folks together to watch Monday Night Football and have some decent chow to eat while watching the game. Now it’s a regular Monday night tradition. The food is fantastic, the prices are affordable, and the drive is an adventure all by itself.
So, are you in the mood for incredibly tasty gourmet-quality food? Would you like that food to be budget-friendly? Are you willing to take a drive on windy narrow roads with gnarly switchbacks that go perilously close to steep ravines; a road which can easily qualify for an “E ticket” at Disneyland? If your answer to the first two questions was “Yes!!” then just ignore the other questions and check out the The Store. You will thank me for the recommendation.
This is the stuff of legend and lore. It is not to be missed…it is to be reckoned with.
Hey, are you still here? Well, you might as well check out this short 5-minute documentary about The Store; it’s worth it!
And here are the pics we took while we were there; enjoy!
Posted by mikegrattan | Posted in Announcements, Photos | Posted on 24-08-2010
I’ve lived in the Monterey Bay area since 1987. In all that time, I have not been whale watching or fishing once; not one single time. That changed on Sunday, August 21, 2010. It just so happened that I had signed up for Groupon about a month ago; this is a “group coupon” service that caters to internet users. Although Groupon does not yet service the Monterey area directly, they do service San Jose which is close enough to drive to if there’s a good coupon. As luck would have it, a recent coupon was for whale watching in Monterey so I went ahead and purchased three tickets for 50% off of the normal price.
The tickets that I bought through Groupon were for Randy’s Fishing and Whale Watching Trips at Fisherman’s Wharf in Monterey. A co-worker of mine, Liz, had actually worked for Randy’s as a deck hand. I told her about our upcoming trip last week and she was very excited for us; she was so excited she could barely contain it–”say hi to everybody for me!”, she said. We did. It was funny actually; the folks at Randy’s told me to say “hi” back to her too. Anyway; we had our tickets, we had good vibes from Liz the Co-worker, and we were all excited to whale watching for the very first time. Now all we had to do was wake up early on a Sunday morning and get everybody out of the house on time.
Sunday morning the alarm goes off at 7 a.m. and everybody pops out of bed bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. OK; maybe not that enthusiastic but we did all get up on time, have our morning coffee and cereal, shower and get dressed in pretty good time. A quick stop at the local CVS to pick up some Dramamine and we were on our way.
When we showed up at Randy’s we saw our boat, Chubasco. I won’t call her a ship because, really, she’s not that big. Our decision to purchase Dramamine was immediately vindicated upon seeing Chubasco; we knew there was definitely going to be some rocking going on! If you every decide to go whale watching be prepared; take Dramamine (I recommend the 24-hour non-drowsy formula) about 30 minutes before you even step foot on the boat. We took our Dramamine as soon as we left the CVS and got in the car; we wanted to make sure that it had time to get into our systems well before we got on the boat.
Although Chubasco was relatively small, 61 ft. long by 20 ft. wide and probably having a maximum capacity of about fifty people, it was not a problem in the least. Our skipper, Brian, is a very skilled captain and navigated the waters expertly. When we got out to the whale-watching area we were all very excited upon seeing our first pod of Humpback whales. They were a little way off in the distance and my telephoto lens caught some decent shots…but I wanted more! After patiently waiting for the Humpbacks to come closer, they finally did and we were treated to some great Humpback behavior…they came out visibly several times and slapped their tails a few times too.
After 15-20 minutes of observing our first pod of Humpbacks, Brian announced that he saw some Blue whale activity in the distance. We bid farewell to our Humpback friends and headed out to spot some Blues, and we were not disappointed! The Blue whale is 70-90 feet long, compared to the 20-40 foot length of the typical Humpback. We were very lucky to find a pod of three Blue whales that were exhibiting some rather odd behavior, according to Brian. These Blues were chasing each other near the surface; frolicking and playing games with each other. They breached the surface several times, and I caught a couple of shots of them with heads and/or tails coming fully out of the water.
After our experience with the Blues, we started heading back to Monterey. Along the way, we came across another pod of Humpbacks; this time we were treated to the Humpback feeding behavior, which was very cool to say the least. These whales were surfacing head-first, with jaws agape and baleen fully visible. Awesome!
Enjoy the photo gallery; I’ve included shots of Humpbacks and Blues, as well as some other shots taken on the trip. Click here to view the entire album.
Posted by mikegrattan | Posted in Announcements, Photos | Posted on 21-08-2010
We attended the campaign kick-off for Anna Caballero in Salinas today. Sarah volunteered to work several hours; setting up, making posters, and cleaning up afterward. Met lots of great people and Sarah got introduced to some folks who can help her out with college scholarships, etc. Good times!