Friday, January 29, 2010

Farmers Market Night in SLO

Last night mom and I went downtown for farmers market.  Farmers market in San Luis Obispo is an experience, one where you can buy all of the fresh produce that your heart desires, and one where you can eat your way from one end of town to the other. There is live music every block or so and anyone and everyone with a cause has a booth set up.  Many of the stores stay open late and it seems like the whole town comes out every Thursday night.  It has been that way as long as I can remember and it is oh so much fun!

 We started out the evening by actually opting out of street food for with dinner at Thai Palace.  Not that the street food isn't delicious, but Thai food was calling. We ordered all sorts of yumminess and left the restaurant an hour or more later very full and happy.

After eating we walked the length of the market.  I did take my camera and though I didn't get may pictures of the market itself I did take a few shots of the neon signs around town.  Their bright colors are so much fun to photograph!

We didn't buy much but we did have fun. If you ever find yourself in San Luis Obispo on a Thursday night, Farmers Market is an event that shouldn't be missed!

The quintessential beach town

quin·tes·sence, \kwin-ˈte-sən(t)s\
1 : the fifth and highest element in ancient and medieval philosophy that permeates all nature and is the substance composing the celestial bodies
2 : the essence of a thing in its purest and most concentrated form
3 : the most typical example or representative
quin·tes·sen·tial \ˌkwin-tə-ˈsen(t)-shəl\ adjective
quin·tes·sen·tial·ly adverb
Why the definition? Well, I used the word in the title of this post and then considered that I was pretty sure I was using the word correctly, but wanted to make sure. The parts of the definition that suck out most was "the essence of a thing in its purest and most concentrated form" and "the most typical example or representative" When using this word in relation to a beach town I am describing my perfect beach town - Pismo Beach.

Pismo Beach is clean and well maintained but lacks the shine of many southern California coastal towns. It doesn't have the big chain stores or a Starbucks on each corner. It is quaint and maintains its charm with locally owned businesses with a bit of roughness around the edges that comes with being right next to the water, weathered by the spray of the ocean.

Is Pismo Beach really the most typical or representative example of a beach town? Maybe, maybe not; but it is my perfect beach town. This could be because of its laid back atmosphere, warm sun and cool breezes (to name just a few of the reasons I love it), or it could just be because I grew up here, literally five minutes down the road and I'm a bit biased.

Yesterday I spent a few hours in Pismo Beach. I started by grabbing a cup of coffee at Mon Ami, a coffee shop that use to be called the Black Pearl when I was a teenager. It was a favorite hangout for my friends and I. It is a bit different now having changed owners a handful of times over the years, but the coffee was still good.

I continued down the street toward the water, taking a few pictures as I went along.

I decided to walk out onto the pier before going down the to the beach.

Same shot as the one above, just a zoomed in on the surfer

The end of the pier

I thoroughly enjoyed my stroll down the pier watching the birds, surfers, and other people who were out enjoying the beautiful day. Once I had walked back up the pier I headed down the stairs to the sand where I turned north and made my way up the beach.

The end of the strand

Once I reached the end of the beach I crawled up onto a big rock and just sat awhile. I marveled at the beauty around me and took in the warmth of the sun, the cool ocean breeze, and the salty smell in the air. It was heaven. Eventually I decided it was time to head back so I began my leisurely stroll back down the beach.

Once I reached the pier I decided to see if I could catch any good shots from underneath the pier. The lighting is tricky and I had fun trying to find places to steady my camera to get a crisp shot. The shadows and reflections were beautiful.

After taking all of these pictures and walking up and down the beach I had worked up an appetite. I headed to my favorite Pismo Beach eatery, Splash Cafe. They are famous for their amazing clam chowder (best in the world that I have found) but I have also discovered that they have a tremendous seafood salad which is what I ordered. It was delicious as usual!

After lunch I headed back to my parents house to get cleaned up for the evening. We had big plans to go to farmers market that night which is a big deal in San Luis Obispo...more on that in the next post.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Another day on the Central Coast

This past weekend we finally got a break from the stormy weather.  My mom and I decided to head up the coast and enjoy the scenery. As we were about to leave we got a call from my brother who lives about 40 minutes up the road in Paso Robles. He didn't have anything going on so we decided to go pick him up and take him with us on our adventures.

We drove from Paso Robles on Highway 46 toward Cambria.  Along the way we stopped to take in the breathtaking view of the California coast.

My brother taking a few pictures

A panorama of the view, stitched from four shots

My adorable "little" brother

 Taking advantage of my zoom lens I was able to capture Morro Bay! (The big rock and the smoke stacks)

My bro, again

My mom, checking to see if she got "the shot"

Once we reached Cambria we stopped for lunch at Robin's Restaurant.  The food was fantastic!   I would definitely eat there again. Everything was very fresh and they had an eclectic menu that was right up my alley.

After lunch we wandered in and out of little shops in Cambria.  I took a lot of pictures inside of a very cool garden shop.

A glass ball

A very unusual planter

Planter Man #1

Another glass ball

An adorable bird house

Planter Man #2

After leaving Camria we drove south through Cayucos and into Morro Bay.  We stopped at a few shops and continued to enjoy the sun, ocean, and cool breezes.

A pinwheel outside of a shop

A neat garden decor thingy, I love how everything around the glass ball is reflected

Once we left Morro Bay my brother decided it was time to get back home so we dropped him off at the bus station and my mom and I did a bit more shopping.  Once we were thoroughly exhausted and ready for dinner we stopped for some Sushi at Sushiya in SLO.  Our meal was fantastic! With full tummies we headed home and settled in for the evening with a glass of wine.  Yep, another great day in California!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Stormy Morro Bay

Wednesday afternoon my mom and I headed to Morro Bay to take pictures of the massive waves produced by the storms that have been pounding the California coast.

Waves smashing against the north side of Morro Rock

It is hard to see from the photo how big those waves were but they were huge, really!

My beautiful mom!  You can get a bit of perspective from this shot as to how turbulent the ocean was.

Out in the Bay there were insane surfers - yes, those dots in the water are people!

Waves breaking over the seawall that protects the bay

In the picture above you can see the rain coming in over the ocean, past the seawall.  We had arrived during a break in the storm but we could see the rain coming.

 Mom, taking pictures

More big waves

Suddenly the rain that was coming hit with a vengence!  We quickly hid our cameras under out coats and ducked for cover behind a big rock.  The wind was blowing the rain horizontal so we were able to stay somewhat dry behind the rock.  Others weren't so lucky!  People who had walked farther out on the point came running and were drenched.  We had probably 20 people with us trying to take cover behind the rock!

After the squall, looking back toward the town of Morro Bay

As fast as the rain hit it passed by and we witnessed a pair of beautiful rainbows!

The aftereffects of the storm produced a fantastic sunset.  Although it cleared up a bit toward the end of the day we could see the next storm on the horizon.

Mom and I had a great time.  After taking pictures we met up with my dad, grandma, and grandpa for some fish and chips.  YUM!  What a great afternoon in a beautiful place.