Dude, I love living in California. It’s the end of October, and I’m still lounging on the beach. I don’t know about you, but to me, that’s friggin unbelievable. Especially since most of the country is freeeeezing by now. (brrr!)
I did some studying on Sunday for my upcoming personal training exam. It’s coming up soon – only 18 more days!!!!!!!! The good news is that I took a mock exam and I PASSED! But I still got many questions wrong, so it’s really crunch time. So I did what any Santa Barbarian student would do; take the studying to the beach!
That’s me doin some yoga on the beach to take a quick break from learning about muscles. You can see my textbook by my foot.
Dinner on Sunday turned out to be QUITE the adventure! To celebrate my little brother Alex’s 21st birthday, we planned a nice little dinner at a restaurant. Alex wanted to go to Cold Spring Tavern, so James and I picked him up at 6. James and I hadn’t been there before, but Alex had gone once and really liked it.
The restaurant is only 14 miles away; just a 22 min ride, according to mapquest. “Great,” we thought, and off we went. We get on highway 154, jabbering away, admiring the pretty mountains. We keep driving…. and driving…. After half and hour, I get concerned. “Have we gone too far?” I ask. “Nah, I bet it’s just a little further down the road,” is the reply. So we keep driving, and it gets dark, and the road becomes narrow and windey through the mountains. Now everyone agrees we’re lost. I call the restaurant and ask for directions. 3 different times. We go back and forth, back and forth on the same stretch of highway looking for the Stagecoach Road. It’s pitch black. We’re lost. We give up. As we turn around to go home, defeated, hey look! it’s Stagecoach Road! haha. We couldn’t believe we were so off! We were a good ten minutes past the exit! With a good giggle and a sigh of relief, we head to the restaurant.
To another adventure. As we turn onto the road, we see cars lined up along the street. Assuming that they were parked there because the parking lot was full, we park along this CLIFF. Like, the car was literally less than a foot away from falling off! And it’s in the mountains, so there is no light! We get out of the car, and James and ALex bust out their cell phones for light. I take out my little light-up key chain, and we make our way down the mountain road. In complete darkness. Haha! But we see the restaurant and breathe another sigh of relief.
Finally, onto the food!
We get the appetizer platter of Venizon stuffed mushrooms, artichokes, and grilled shrimp.
This was very quickly scarfed down! The stuffed mushroom and artichoke was in this unbelievably cheesy and creamy sauce with sundried tomatoes sprinkled in. It was so rich and creamy, with just the right amount of saltiness. The shrimp came on a bed of cheesy linguine, which I also enjoyed. In fact, I enjoyed the sauce so much, I just started eating spoonfuls of it!
We then got a choice of either salad, soup, or chili to go with our entrees. I chose salad with this Lingonberry Vinaigrette. Wow. It was pink, sweet, tangy, and delicious. Perfect with the crisp greens.
Our entrees were a difficult choice to make. Cold Spring Tavern offers a choice of many unusual meats such as lamb, venison, rabbit, and boar. My choice was easy; Chicken with Tequila Lime Marinade! After careful consideration, Alex chose the Boar chops and James chose Rabbit with wild mushroom brandy sauce.
and Alex stares down his boar…
Of course, I had to at least try some of this exotic meat! So now I can add two more things to my list of unusual eats:
Horse, Koi, Escargot, Moose, Rabbit, and Boar.
Unusual cow parts I regularly eat in Japan and enjoy: Cow tongue, raw beef, and intestinal lining (it’s chewy and gummy and oh-so good stewed or grilled)
Unusual Pig parts I’ve eaten: Pig hooves and ear cartilage
All the food was delicious! My chicken was smokey, and perfectly seasoned. The marinade wasn’t too intense, and the chicken was tender and juicy. James’ wild mushroom sauce was absolutely to die for, and the boar chops were good. If I didn’t know it was boar, I would have just thought they were regular pork chops.
Here’s some interesting nutritional information about rabbits: it has fewer calories and fat than chicken or turkey, it is easily digested, has the highest percentage of protein, is all white meat, and apparently really good for you! Who knew? (And if you’re wondering, it tastes like really tender chicken.)
Cold Spring Tavern is a bit of SB history, as it has been there since 1860s, built to serve travelers on stagecoaches passing through the mountains. The building is old and authentic, tucked away in the mountain, and filled with memorabilia from a by-gone era. I mean, check out the cougar behind us…
It was a really great and memorable dining experience with a touch of adventure thrown in. I’m glad to have discovered such a historic establishment in SB. I think it’s a hidden gem!
A perfect way to end a fun filled weekend