Sunday, April 24, 2011


The trip to the mountains did not work out for this weekend, as there was a high wind warning for all the local mountain areas (with gusts 40-50 mph).  But I needed to get outside, so my partner and I headed up to Santa Barbara for lunch and some backroad adventure.

We ate at our favorite spot, the Paradise Cafe. Been eating there for almost 20 years now! Great food on a street off the main drag, that has wonderful outdoor seating. Their oak grilled salmon is to die for.

View from our table

After lunch we prowled State Street for an hour, then hit the road. Outside of town, just past Santa Barbara Mission, is Route 192, which follows along the foothills and drops down again just before Carpinteria. It then jogs again south, and winds into the foothills towards Lake Casitas and on to Ojai.

(But before we left Santa Barbara, we were treated to the Easter Dog in someone's front yard! These folks do seasonal things with this bronze dog statue, decorating and dressing it for a variety of occasions. We've been enjoying it for years.)

Lake Casitas

Just past Ojai we ate again at Boccali's Pizza & Pasta, a cute little roadside joint that makes the best pizza ever. We split a small (4-slice) pepperoni & mushroom (the shingle the meat on--no skimping!). We wanted to save room for this spot's specialty: strawberry shortcake! It's served on a fresh, warm biscuit, heaped with luscious berries, and smothered in a Matterhorn of whipped cream. We ate on the patio, which warm sun and heavenly wafts of orange blossoms on the breeze.

Ojai Valley from scenic overlook

Full, we continued down the road. It was so incredibly beautiful: blue skies, big puffy white and gray clouds, green hills and fields. It was a perfect day.

We drove through oak-covered hills and green meadows dotted with wildflowers. I pulled off near one meadow so we could watch a Red-tailed Hawk being harassed by a Common Raven; it was quite an aerial dogfight.

Ultimately we arrived in Santa Paula, and took Route 150 east to the 5 and headed home. A glorious day, filled with beautiful weather, good smells, and unforgettable sights.

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