Sunday, November 28, 2010

A West Coast Thanksgiving

Yesterday I came home from a week long family vacation in California. I didn't do any of the traditional Thanksgiving cooking this year but I did a lot of eating so I thought it was still blog worthy.  Our trip started in Sonoma County where we explored beautiful wineries and took a hands-on cooking class at Relish. The cooking class was definitely one of the the highlights of the trip for me. It was great that while we were miles away from home my family could still spend the evening in the kitchen together. 

                                                 Chateau Ste. Michelle, Sonoma County

                                                       Ferrari-Carano, Sonoma County

The theme of the class was Moroccan and my family and I, as well as a few other couples, prepared a meal consisting of Moroccan Flatbread, Pomegranate Glazed Moroccan Lamb with Dried Apricots and Bay Leaves, Halibut and Pumpkin Tangine with Chickpeas and Oil-cured Olives, Saffron-Orange Couscous, and a Fig-Orange Tart with Pistachio Crust for dessert. I thought all of the food turned out delicious but I will tweak a few things when preparing these items again and at that point I promise to share the recipes!

From Sonoma we headed to San Francisco where we spent two days exploring the city.  We ate steamed Dungeness crab at Fisherman's Wharf, sampled Sourdough Bread at Boudin Bakery, had fresh pasta at Trattoria Pinocchio in Little Italy and awesome fish tacos at Fog City Diner. We also explored China Town which was a very eye opening experience, ie. grocery stores with roasted ducks, chickens and other unknown small birds hanging in the store front.  

       This is as close as I came to seeing turkey this Thanksgiving!
                                                        Chinese Fortune Cookie Factory

After spending two days in San Francisco we flew down to Orange County where I had ample opportunities to enjoy more fish tacos.  Unfortunately the weather was too cool to take full advantage of the beach but we bundled up to walk the trails along the beach and watched as surfers braved the cold.  We drove along Pacific Coast Highway and explored Newport Beach, Laguna Beach and Dana Point,.  I think the highlight of the trip for my brother was when he spotted Lauren, aka LC, Conrad's parents home from back in her Laguna Beach days.  That was as close as we got to a celebrity spotting...

While this was not our traditional Thanksgiving spent at my Grandmas house eating turkey, dressing and pumpkin pie it was a fun trip exploring a part of the country I had never been and it was so nice to be with my family.  I am now looking forward to what the rest of the holiday season will bring- making Christmas cookies, walking through Lincoln Park Zoo's Christmas light display and a traditional Christmas at my Grandma's!

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