Saturday, April 30, 2011

OMG The Beauty

It's been a really long and awesome day today! I've seen so many beautiful sights today that I am pretty much speechless. Since the race is tomorrow morning, I may or may not have time this evening to put together a post of what I did today in beautiful Monterey. I'm off to dinner in a little bit but I just wanted to share that I drove the Big Sur Marathon original course today and it was just incredible. I will definitely be back next year to try it out. I leave you with this photo of me at the top of Hurricane Point. You can see the Bixby Bridge in the background. Ciao!

Friday, April 29, 2011

2011 Big Sur Marathon Expo

More of Day One's travel shenanigans after this post. In the meantime, I wanted to show you what the scene was like at the expo today when I arrived 2 hours before closing. Today was a good day to catch the expo because it was not crowded at all, so I got in and out of there in a snap. The expo was larger than what I had expected. I had expected something relatively small since the race itself is not that big. However, there was a good amount of vendors there to keep me entertained without overwhelming my senses. This was good since my senses were pretty tired from traveling all day.

Inside the expo was in full swing.

Aasics is the platinum sponsor for this race. Therefore all the race shirts are Aasics. They are nice tech shirts!

They had different colored shirts for each of the different events happening this weekend here at Big Sur. Again they are nice shirts and I wish I could have gotten one of each color.

This is my shirt! I might wear it on race day.

Dole was there handing out all the bananas you can eat. Thanks Dole!

I almost purchased a Sweaty Band but decided not too since I will be wearing a hat on race day.

Uh oh, I came by this booth and something happened!

I can't wait to finally get one of these. I've wanted one for a while now. :^)

You can't hide Larabar guy!

Scoping out some possible ways to get myself into more trouble...

...okay this is too much even for me!

I'm all set to hit the course come Sunday. It was and still is very windy here. The wind was howling an hour ago. I hope it is not this windy all the time.

From LA to the Big Sur Marathon // Post 1 // Santa Barbara and Bridlewood Winery

I missed the Royal Wedding. I was sleeping. I had to get up at the wee hours of the morning to make the drive from LA to Monterey with Sister K in tow. We wanted to avoid early morning LA traffic. And that's just the short of it...

Here is my trip up the coast in photos. We made good time and since we had left so early in the morning, we did not hit any ugly traffic. We came upon Santa Barbara and Sister K remarked that she had never been there, so we pulled into town and after a quick search on Yelp, found this place to have breakfast. I will post a review soon but the food was pretty amazing!

After breakfast we drove around town a bit to find a map of the area because we wanted to go to a vineyard to do some wine tasting. We probably should have done some research prior to the trip but whatever. Luckily, we came upon this nice fellow at a tasting room in town and he gave us this map and pointed us in the right direction.

Photo Credit to Sister K

With that we were on the road again. Monterey was only another 4 hours away at this point! I hope we make it there before night fall!

Photo Credit to Sister K

We made some quick stops to take some photos...

One thing we wanted to do on this trip was do some wine tasting. So we took Hwy 154 into Santa Ynez and Los Olivos and stopped at the Bridlewood Winery.

Photo Credit to Sister K

There was an upcoming holiday featured movie being filmed while we were there.

We just weren't feeling it here at this tasting room... we decided to bid farewell to Bridlewood and headed out. It was then that we remembered that Sister S had told us that if we made it into Santa Ynez that there was a tasting room that offered cupcake/wine pairing. Where do I sign up? To be continue...

P.S. I did end up viewing some Royal Wedding highlights on the internet when I finally got into Monterey and Kate just looked stunning. What a lovely wedding! Sorry I missed it.

The Colton Inn - Monterey, CA

So this is a first for me. Doing a hotel review that is. This place was so charming that I thought that I would get the ball rolling with this review. The Colton Inn in Monterey was the hotel I stayed at when I was in town to run the Big Sur Marathon. I went on Yelp and after doing some reading, I found this simple and inexpensive inn. This place is located about a mile from the wharf and you can walk to shops and restaurants but it is nice to have a car when you are here so that you can drive around to different parts of Monterey and into Big Sur.

This is the front office where you go to check in.

The room itself is older and the beds are not as comfortable as I would've liked but the fireplace in the room and the patio out back makes up for it. The wind in this area can get pretty strong and you can hear the wind howl inside the room, pretty loudly at times.

Plus everything was clean which is important to me.

But the nicest part about this inn is the continental breakfast they offer. For the rate I paid, which is competitive in this area, I wasn't expecting a whole lot from the breakfast but they had a really nice selection of baked goods, cereals, hard boiled eggs, yogurt, fruit, oatmeal and beverages.

But the one thing that makes this place stand out above the rest, at least for me, was that they were so nice to us runners who had come to town to run the marathon. The night before the race, they set out all the breakfast food for the runners at 8pm since they would not be open until 6am the next morning, at which point we would have already left for the starting line. It was so nice to grab a cup of joe and a bagel and PB the night before for the morning. There is a microwave and pretty large refrigerator in the room to heat up said coffee and store cold things. This really was what made this place so cozy and left such a good impression in my mind. You can say that I'm a fan!

The Colton Inn
707 Pacific St
Monterey, CA 93940
(831) 649-6500

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Taiko Japanese Restaurant - Irvine, CA

The other night I was suppose to have a salad for dinner because I am trying to watch what I eat this week since I am tapering. But by the time I got off work, I no longer felt like eating a salad. Thinking back I should have just had a salad. The Honey and I debated on where we should go eat instead. This is a nightly occurrence since neither he nor I ever know what we want to eat. Various options were thrown in the hat including The Curry House and Thai Cafe but somehow we ended up here.

Taiko, I've only been here one other time many years ago and I didn't remember liking it much then. I agreed to come here again to give it another try but after this visit I doubt if I will come back again. On any given day there is a line out the door. I never understood why and I still don't. It is terribly overrated. There are so many other places even in Irvine where you can find better and less expensive Japanese food. Maybe I am just missing something.

Although they did serve complimentary hot green tea which was nice.

And this pickled cabbage that my date thought was just nasty but I liked it.

I got a bowl of miso soup even though I had not ordered a combo meal. The soup was sweeter than any other miso soup I've ever had. It wasn't bad but weird and different. There were a couple of flimsy pieces of bean curd floating around in there but not much seaweed or anything else to speak of.

This Tako (Octopus) Sashimi was just a travesty. I mean just look at it. Even I could cut it like that. Obviously this was chewy as heck since they had sliced it so thick. The trick to this dish is interlacing thinly sliced octopus and lemon so that you get a piece of both in every bite. This was just wrong in so many ways. They must not have liked me very much because all I got was tentacles. WTH?

Salmon Roe Sushi - this was good but not amazing and as I mentioned before this is one of those things that is really hard to mess up on.

Shrimp Hand Roll - pretty plain and disappointing. Sigh.

The Honey got the Teriyaki Chicken plate which came with steamed green beans and mayo dip and an iceberg salad. Lots of chicken but this was pretty pricey for what it was. Date mentioned that this dish is way better over at Fukada. Yeah, my date gives me commentary and feedback on his meals now so that I can mention it here on the blog. You don't know him but that is just too funny to me.

We shared an order of Shrimp and Veggie Tempura. Too much batter and extremely oily. I felt like I had fallen into an oil spill after eating this. Yuck!

And since I was dissatisfied with my meal, we headed next door to Yogurtland to make it all better. Because Yogurt makes everything better.

...or you can go into Kitty House next to Yogurtland and buy yourself a nice plush Hello Kitty or Angry Bird toy if yogurt if not your thing. I'm just sayin' that you can.

Taiko Japanese Restaurant
14775 Jeffrey Rd # K
Irvine, CA 92618-0403
(949) 559-7190