After the vacation, I have to admit it is hard to get back to the routine. Bryan and I still haven’t gone back to the gym. We should do that tomorrow. I am also catching up with my recipe testing. It should be almost there. At least, we finally got the Hong Kong trip pictures ready. Woo hoo!
Happy Valentine’s Day and Happy Chinese Lantern Festival! Traditionally, Chinese Lantern Festival is to celebrate the first full moon of the lunar new year. Children play with their lanterns and solve riddles on lanterns in park. People would eat glutinous rice balls and enjoy the family time together. In modern days, it is considered to be the Chinese Valentine’s Day, but people don’t do much to celebrate. Anyhow, enjoy a sweet day with your loved one. Bryan and I don’t really celebrate Valentine’s Day, so we didn’t have any plan. We are more looking forward to the long weekend. 🙂
And yes, I have been back in town for a week. Sadly, Bryan and I are still recovering from our jet lag. We have been feeling sleepy in the morning, afternoon and night-time. Every time when I almost fall asleep on the couch, Bryan would poke my arm with his finger to keep me awake. By now, I think there are many bruises on my arm. Haha! I think we will be back to normal early next week.
Before arriving in Hong Kong, we also stayed in Tokyo for 5 days. The main goal to Hong Kong was to visit family and friends, and check out Chinese New Year. On the other side, going to Japan was all for sightseeing. We had amazing times in both Hong Kong and Tokyo. With two thousand pictures, Bryan can only go through the Japan ones for now. I will update you all about the Hong Kong trip next time.
Let’s talk about Tokyo. This was Bryan’s first time to Japan. I have only been to Japan when I was a kid, so I didn’t remember anything. Japan is a very beautiful place with very nice and polite people. We felt welcomed. Tokyo is crowded, but everyone follows rules and we always feel safe. It is no doubt a great place for tourists. As a foodie, Tokyo is heaven. There are so many different kinds of food, like sushi, tonkatsu, kaiseki, and teppanyaki. There are always something new every meal. No repeat. And for snacks, wow….. They are really everywhere, especially in train/subway stations. You will never go hungry!
Bryan and I went to Santa Barbara in late May to celebrate our 5th wedding anniversary. It has been so busy, so I haven’t posted anything about it. It was a very special and fulfilling trip. Wine tour, ostriches/emus feeding and blueberries picking.
The first night, we had dinner near the marina. We enjoyed the beautiful waterfront and ocean view. Some delicious garlic baked clams ended a good day.
The next day, we had a wine tour with Cloud Climbers Jeep and Wine Tours. I am not a drinker. It is not that I don’t want to drink or have anything against it. I just get a flush and a bit dizzy after half a bottle of beer. Yup! Just half! Therefore, I don’t really drink much. If I do, two or three sips will do it. Bryan drinks mostly beer, and his recent favorite is gin and tonic. But he wasn’t that into wine. Then, you may ask why the hell we would think about joining a wine tour. To me, I have always wanted to see what a wine tour experience is. For Bryan, he would like to try different wines to see if there is something that he likes.
So there we went and we loved it! The jeep was fun. It was windy, but very fun. The guide was friendly and informative. We got to see the vineyards and area around. We went to 4 tasting rooms and 1 bar that day. Bryan probably had 4 glasses of wine and I had at least 3 glasses too. The part that helped me was the pause in between. We were either driving around or having lunch, so I had enough time to recover and not be drunk. Both of Bryan’s and my favorite tasting room has to be the Saarloos and Sons. They paired wines with Enjoy Cupcakes. Yes! Wine and cupcakes!!! The wine was excellent and the cupcakes were the best cupcakes I have ever eaten! Simply irresistible! We ended up buying 2 bottles of wine from there. It was an amazing experience. I think we will definitely do that again.
For our last day, we had a quick stop at Ostrich land in the Solvang. We fed some “cute” ostriches and emus. These animals can get a bit aggressive, especially when food is present. Haha… It was very cool to see them in person. They are a lot bigger than I thought.
We also stopped at Solvang. I thought we would enjoy that little town. However it was packed with tourists and most of the stores are mainly focused on tourists. Nothing was too unique. That was a disappointment.
On the way back driving to Los Angeles, we saw a blueberry farm. We went there and picked some blueberries. Oh yummy and sweet blueberries! They were very fresh and ripe. While we were picking, we had eaten so many too. What a great ending to our trip!
I highly recommend doing the wine tour if you are going to Santa Barbara. We had been to Santa Barbara two times before, so we didn’t do anything in town this time. If you are going there for the first time, you should check out the Courthouse and Stearns Wharf. It is a beautiful town.
List of places that we went:
Brophy Bros (119 Harbor Way, Santa Barbara, CA 93109)
Gainey Vineyard (3950 E Hwy 246, Santa Ynez, CA 93460)
Saarloon & Sons Tasting Room (2971 Grand Ave, Los Olivos, CA 93441)
Carhartt Vineyard Tasting Room (2990A Grand Ave, Los Olivos, CA 93441)
Lincourts Vineyard (1711 Alamo Pintado Rd, Solvang, CA 93463)
Cold Spring Tavern (5995 Stagecoach Rd, Santa Barbara, CA 93105)
Ostrichland USA (610 E Hwy 246, Solvang, CA 93463)
Santa Barbara Blueberries (1980 US Hwy 101, Gaviota, CA 93117)