An encounter with the Grateful Dead in northern California.

If you read my About Me page you already know that I am from Atlantic Canada and that I grew up in a small coastal town. The special thing about my town is that there are many locals that haven’t entirely left the 60’s which made for a different but fun upbringing. It’s hard not to be influenced by the hippy era in a town like St. Andrews, NB. When I was in junior high my friends and I used to be obsessed with the song Sugar Magnolia when most kids my age were listening to more modern artists such as  Destiny Child, K.C. & Jo Jo, and Backstreet Boys. For the most part we were the new generation of hippy wannabes hanging out at camps and on the beach wearing bell bottom cords, dead head tie dye shirts, learning how to play guitar and listening to bands such as Grateful Dead, Bob Dylan, The Beatles, Eric Clapton, and Cat Steven’s to name a few.

With that background you will understand my surprise and excitement with what I believe to be a great find in northern California!

One Saturday morning in July my husband woke up and in a spontaneous gesture suggested we take a drive north of San Francisco without any real destination in mind. Once we crossed the Golden Gate Bridge we saw signs for a community called San Rafael in Marin County and decided that would be our destination. Since it was around lunch time we decided to stroll around and find a place to eat. Across the harbour we could hear live music coming from a huge patio hidden by tree’s and foliage. It sounded like a lot of fun so naturally we walked over to check it out. To my surprise and excitement we stumbled upon Grateful Dead founder and band member, Phil Lesh’s restaurant – Terrapin Crossroads!

We absolutely loved the vibe, the food and the band! The band playing was nothing other than Phil Lesh’s two son’s @Grahamelesh and @BrianJamesLesh. Let’s say talent didn’t fall far from the tree. They had a crew of friends helping them out with sound and what looked like an entourage at a table in the front. I couldn’t have asked for a more fun random day. I’ve ALWAYS wanted to see the dead live and considering that won’t happen it was pretty cool to see the next generation jamming at brunch for an audience of locals.

@Grahamelesh and @BrianJamesLesh Performing at Terrapin Crossroads

Aside from the music the food was amazing. We split the chopped salad and burger which was a great choice. We quickly learned that they “support local, organic and sustainably produced vegetables, meat and fish”. I totally dig this. Even the perimeter of the patio was outlined with planters filled with herbs!  This was without a doubt my type of restaurant – the perfect fusion of creativity, music and sustainably conscious food. I will definitely be back and hopefully Phil is there performing with his friends and son’s. 

 

The Perfect Summer Meal

Turkey Burger & Green Bean Salad

One of the things I love the most about summer is the ability to BBQ when I want. There really isn’t anything that can compare. I think most people can agree. This summer I came across one of Rachel Ray’s recipes for what I consider an amazingly delicious turkey burger. As for toppings I have found that virtually anything goes. If you have something that you always have to have on your burger chances are it will go with these flavours.

However there are a few things that I do different from the recipe that I’ve decided I prefer over time:

  • I usually forego the cilantro sour cream sauce (even though I have tried it and really enjoyed it).
  • I don’t add cheddar cheese chunks to my burger mix. I find it’s hard to mix and stay together. You could try shredded cheese because that could hold. I usually just put a slice on top.

Here is what I typically use for toppings:

  • Curry Mayo (mix curry powder with mayo – as much or as little depending on your preference of curry)
  • BBQ organic yellow squash (thinly sliced and marinated in salt, cracked pepper and oregano)
  • Fresh organic hass avocado
  • Organic spinach
  • Slice of cheese (pick your favourite)
  • Organic heirloom tomato slice (I don’t put this on but my husband does)
  • Slice of sweet pickle

Now for the green bean salad – I got this recipe from one of my best friends back in Toronto. It is so easy to make and great for potluck dinners. Here is her recipe below:

Sarah’s Green Bean Salad

Ingredients:

  • Two handfuls of green beans
  • Two handfuls of yellow beans
  • Can of chickpeas
  • 3 shallots
  • 3/4 cup of red wine vinegar
  • Olive oil (as much or as little but usually around 1/2 cup)
  • Fresh basil (6 – 10 leaves)

Trim the ends of the beans and then blanch them. The beans should be cooked but still crunchy. Sometimes the yellow and the green take different amounts of time so you may want to do them separately or just one type of bean like I did. Dice the shallots as small as you can. Cut up the basil. Once you have prepped all ingredients put them all in a bowl together and mix well. Finally add salt and pepper to taste and then let it sit in the fridge for a few hours before serving.

I hope you enjoy!

A new found love of mine….learning to golf in CA.

Since moving to California and having more golf courses than what I know what to do with, naturally I have decided that it is my calling to become an expert at this game. Not to be mistaken for a ‘professional’. I’ve played before and heck I even worked at a golf course in my home town St. Andrews By-the-Sea at the Algonquin Resort (previously owned by Fairmont Resorts) and my best friends husband is even a golf pro! So, I am not totally green to the game but growing up it wasn’t my sport of choice. I was a typical Canadian kid. On ice skates by the age of 4, figure skating and playing hockey competitively by 5 or 6 and then I gradually moved on to new sports as I got older and more coordinated.

Where I’m from it’s only golf season for about 5 months of the year and 2 out of the 5 might be quite chilly at times. Now that I am in a state that has golf year round and I’m a bit older and less competitive athletically why not take up the sport! I’ve been out with my husband for a few rounds so far this season and to the golfing range numerous times. For a wedding gift my brother even bought us each a full set of clubs! (What a guy!)

The top 5 reasons why I love golf :

  • each hour of golf you can burn up to 300 calories!
  • learning something new and continuously challenging myself
  • being outside
  • relaxing
  • quality time spent with my husband

I’m still working on my swing (as you can see above) but eventually I’ll get there! Once I do I’ll be sure to hit up some of the more professional courses in Monterey Bay Peninsula and post pics. Golf is something I’ve learned to love even more since being here so I felt it deserved a post on my blog.

Friendship is an amazing thing….

FRIENDSHIP

Friendship is something that doesn’t happen very quickly and when you finally have a strong one it takes just as much work to maintain as any other relationship. I’ve learned over the years to really cherish the few ‘real’ friends you have in this world. You never know when you’ll need them or they’ll need you.

I’ve been blessed to have some amazing woman come and stay in my life. I’ll never take either of their friendships lightly or for granted. They are all different but similar in small ways. I guess you could say they each have a different role in my life. They’ve each been there during different times in my life and have impacted who I am as a woman just for being there for me.

I recently got married in my new home state – beautiful California on Carmel River State Beach. I know most couples say this about their wedding day but it truly was an amazing and magical day. We only had 30 guests (including the wedding party). We decided to only invite immediate family and close friends who are like family. I think some of our imperfections on the day ended up being the highlights – such as: scuba divers joining us for an impromptu photo shoot, forgetting cake cutting utensils and then having to use a plastic fork, one of my lovely brides maids completely skipping the aisle and just going straight into line (haha), forgetting my vows at home and my sister forgetting her maid of honour speech at home. These all made for great memories!

After the reception I cried happy tears due to being overwhelmed with emotion because I couldn’t believe this many people from across the continent and 3 different countries would come to our wedding. I’ve never felt more loved in my life. It’s a really special feeling to see your childhood best friend make friends with your university best friend and then with your first career colleague best friends and then to see my sister and new sister in-law thrown into that mix was all so amazing. To see these woman who you love and respect individually get a long and genuinely laugh together was something I’ve always wanted to see.

To each of my amazing and lovely best friends that made the journey to CA for me I love you all so much and appreciate the friendship that we have together. I look forward to many more memories being created in the coming years!

XOXOXOXOXOXOX