We had a whirlwind adventure out in Orange County, California, the week before Christmas.
We stayed with our friends in their super sweet French Cottage. Upon our arrival I was offered some of the local beer. This peanut butter stout I had was amazing. It immediately conjured up thoughts of Dangerous Man and F-Town’s peanut butter brews. Those two once were what where I placed the bar when it comes to this flavor profile, that bar has now been raised quite a bit higher. To truly confirm that I’ll have to do a blind taste test of the three. Of course if the expected results of that test hold true, then my favorite of that style would be that much harder to come by as it is nearly 2,000 miles away and the scarcity would make it that much more special.
On the first full day we had two options, go to a nearby coffee shop a work or drive 30 minutes each way to be at the beach for 5 minutes. Of course we chose going to the beach! Definitely the best way to pass an hour on a busy afternoon!
That night we ate food at the 4th Street Market food hall. While we eat at food hall’s relatively frequently, there where just too many yummy options. We basically got one of everything, there were a LOT of leftovers.
We were staying with my friend Ashley and her husband Nathan. The next day they were leaving to head back to stay at the guest rooms in our building, while we stayed and dog sat for them. It was basically real life The Holiday, expect we are both married and I don’t live in a English Cottage.
Since it was our only free night together and it was one of my only free evenings to celebrate anything Christmas-y, Ashley taught me how to make cookies using her family’s secret recipe.
Since I am wont to make literally anything into a game. Instead of just Ashley and I decorating the cookies, I decided it had to be a contest between all of us!
The next day was spent like pretty much any other. I worked and took conference calls, while Seth drank beer, played with his camera and ran to the beer store. Though instead of cuddling with my cats, I was cuddling with these two lovable puppies!
The west coast has a few breweries that have been on my list to try that don’t get distributed back home. So I was excited to come across some bottles from Russian River and The Lost Abbey. Although I was primarily after Russian River’s American Wild Ales, Pliny the Elder was a nice surprise, I really should have walked out of there with my allotted limit.
To my pleasant surprise they also had Allagash, the Maine Brewery that has also shared a spot on my wishlist.
That night we did out traditional traveling night out, again. Visiting breweries.
The Bruery Terreux is a hotspot for barrel aged beer and sours. While I’ve yet to find a beer of theirs I thoroughly enjoy, their craft is to be admired and respected. I was glad to see we were so close to such a legendary facility and had the time to check it off my list. We swung through Stereo Brewing as well since it was in the neighborhood. The joining of music and beer was a fun concept to explore.
As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t drink, so I need to find other ways to entertain myself at the breweries. The Breury had the best entertainment yet! A kids craft box that I used to to create a crown for Seth.
We had one free day while we were out there, which was one of the few free days that we have had in a very long time. Even though we’ve already made the trek out to the beach, I couldn’t pass up the chance to go for a longer visit.
After our stroll along the beach and docks in Newport we sought out some food and drinks. The Newport Beach Brewing Company was not far off the beach so we headed over. This happened to be my 99th brewery/taproom that I have visited.
Bucky Badger was present by our table as was some Vikings memorabilia. It was a surreal experience having these items from back home surrounding our table just off the beach way on the other side of the country.
Before going back to walk the Dalmatians, I wanted to make one more stop. After a quick search, I decided that we should go to the arcade by Balboa Island.
It turned out to be a somewhat seedy, not very exciting tourist trap. So we walked around for a bit, grabbed an ice cream bar and drove “home”.
This was my first time in California during the holidays. It was such an odd juxtaposition to see the holiday decorations. They really go big with their decorations and they are everywhere!
The last morning, we awoke to the sound of very noisy parrots outside. Wow was their squawking is loud! We spent the morning the same way we would have at home, doing laundry and tidying up. Even though it wasn’t our house, it was the perfect way to end the weekend and start the next week!