Saturday, January 18, 2020

California Christmas Vacation

Pin It California Christmas Vacation

It was so great visiting our family in California for the Christmas holiday. We spent over two weeks out there and stayed in my sister-in-law Kristen's cabin in North Fork, CA for 8 days. North Fork is located in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada and is the geographic center of the state of California. The cabin was so beautiful and relaxing and my second stay in a cabin. The first was in Twin Lakes, CA in the Eastern Sierra and I could seriously get used to this kind of life. Allen and I had the best sleep ever as it was so peaceful and quiet. Every morning we had lots of deer, turkeys and birds outside the cabin just steps from the entrance. We had a real 13-foot pine tree that Kristen picked out before we got there and we celebrated Christmas together. The pine smell was divine and it was fun decorating the tree. I got to read, bake (see forthcoming posts) and just enjoy my vacation away from home. We indulged in much needed rest on this trip, and spent quality time with family. We were not able to see all of our family and friends, but spent time with as many as possible. Here are pics of some of our grub. Enjoy!

The day before we headed out to the cabin, my father-in-law Cleo took us to In-N-Out Burger while we were out finding a gift for a special someone, my mother-in-law Laurlee. I refer to them from here on as Mom and Dad. This place is a must visit for burger lovers like me! The server was so friendly and I love coming here.

Allen always going for the peppers!

In-N-Out Burger

In-N-Out staff working their magic

My burger and fries

Burger close-up

Fries close-up
We also try to go to Jack in the Box and this was my spicy chicken sandwich I ate for lunch one day. Yum!

Spicy chicken sandwich from Jack in the Box
One rainy day we went out shopping and brought back 2 Papa Murphy's pizzas to bake at the cabin. We got a Cowboy and Hawaiian, and I made a salad.

Pizza, salad, and my cow tree decoration gift from Mom

Yummy Papa Murphy's
Mom made a hearty and rich beef stew for dinner one night.

Slow cooker Beef Stew
On Christmas Eve, we went to service at The Little Church in the Pines in nearby Bass Lake. It was a beautiful service.

The Little Church in the Pines

My candle burns bright
 We had a really great cabin Christmas day dinner and invited neighbor/friend Mike to join us.

I set the table

Enjoying a great dinner together on Christmas day! 

Allen baked the ham


Allen made the asparagus


Allen made the stuffing

Kristen baked the sweet potatoes in the wood burning stove

Mom made corn casserole
The day after Christmas we enjoyed a pot roast and veggies dinner. After the veggies were roasted and the other one steamed, Kristen plated them all. The veggies looked so pretty and were yummy. The pot roast was going to go in the slow cooker but it did not fit so she had to cut it in half. That did not work out so she ended up baking it in the oven. It was so moist and delish.

Mom made pot roast in the oven; it was too big for the slow cooker

Pot roast

Kristen and I prepared the roasted veggies

Allen roasted tri-color potatoes and carrots

Tri-color roasted potatoes, carrots, and steamed broccoli, cauliflower and green beans
On one afternoon, Dad, Mike, Allen and I went to Chuckchansi Gold Resort & Casino in Coarsegold, CA. We ate at the California Market Buffet and played a few slots. The buffet had a vast selection with cuisines ranging from Mongolian, Mexican, Italian, and more, but my favorite section was the desserts (see pics below). It was a fun afternoon!


Mike and Sophia

Gingerbread house

Another gingerbread house and desserts

Desserts galore

My coconut cream pie and crème brulee
We drove up towards Whiskey Falls but did not have chains on the tires so we did not get very far. It was cool seeing some snow. The roads were a bit icy the further we drove so we turned back for safety reasons.

Yay some snow!
After our brief drive in the snow, we went to Casa Velasco in Bass Lake for dinner. We love this place!

Allen and me ready for some yummy Mexican food!

Sis Kristen with her yummy food

The best chips and salsa

Allen enjoying  a chip with salsa

Allen trying all the hot sauce on our table with his food

Allen's pulled pork burrito grande

Tapatio to go with Allen's pulled pork burrito grande

My ground beef burrito sans the cheese

Left to right: Sophia, Allen, Kristen

Sunset on the way back to North Fork. Big fire around here and many trees were destroyed
When we got back to Allen's hometown, we visited with our friend Mike one afternoon and went to Anita's Mexican Restaurant. I was feeling under the weather so I ordered the chicken soup with veggies, and it was magically delish and comforting. Mike got some tacos, and Allen a super burrito and Green Chile relleno. It was so great to catch up with Mike.

Allen and Mike

Allen's pulled chicken super burrito

Allen's Green Chile relleno

My chicken soup with veggies - so good to the last drop!
Mom and Day took us to Country Waffles for lunch one day. I ended up with leftovers for breakfast the next morning. Huge portions. Yum!

My The Joe Scramble: ground beef, onions, mushrooms, spinach, potatoes, scrambled 
eggs (hold the Monterey jack cheese)

My biscuits; shared one with Dad

Allen holding up a favorite: Palo Alto Fire Fighters Habanero Pepper Sauce

Allen's Scramble and Tapatio
One night Allen made Scrimp Scampi and Mom made the rice.

Shrimp Scampi

Rice Mom cooked
There were 2 nights of grilling steak on Allen's new grill (forthcoming post).

Allen grilled some steaks


Salad I made

Sweet potatoes and sliced avocado

One day Dad took Allen and me to Sweet Tomatoes in Pleasanton, CA for lunch, and we were surprised to see Kristen there with her friends. She was coming over later in the day but that was a funny coincidence. The food offered is buffet style and consists of a large salad selection, various soups, pizza and desserts. It is yummy.

Sweet Tomatoes
Allen made lunch plans with his friend Bill and we were so happy to finally meet his wife Tia. We went to Little Sheep Mongolian Hot Pot in Dublin, CA. This is a restaurant featuring hot pot dining and a first for all of us. It was a great experience and the food was delicious. Hot pot dining is deeply rooted in Chinese culture and is a great way to share a communal dining experience with your family and/or friends. For the soup base, one side was chicken and the other spicy. We also ordered beef skewers, steamed dumplings, and rice. The tea was tasty and calming, and a perfect compliment to our meal. The food cooks real fast in the steaming hot liquid and it was fun. I will definitely go back there.

Allen and me at Little Sheep Mongolian Hot Pot

Bill and Tia at Little Sheep Mongolian Hot Pot

The 2 soup bases - guess which one is the spicy side

Thinly sliced meat, tofu, veggies, and seafood to cook in the soup bases

A lovely selection

Beef skewers

Tea, rice, water

My soup bowl which I kept adding to as things were cooked

Nice buddha art and restaurant decor
One of our last stops on vacation was to El Pollo Loco for dinner. I love this place! This place is casual dining and offers great rotisserie chicken, salads, and plenty of sides.

Allen's meal and sauce selection

Allen's Tapatio Fries; I stole one and it was delish

My food: rotisserie thigh and leg, black beans, and mexican rice topped with pico de gallo and avocado sauce
Here are some pics of the cabin. I love this place and was fortunate to be able to share this time with family.

The cabin and the lovely Christmas tree
Love this house decoration

Deer decoration Mom gave Allen

Sophia and Allen, Christmas Day
Kristen, Christmas Day

Dad, Christmas Day with a present from Kristen

Mom, Christmas Day with a present from Dad

Awesome wood burning stove
View from the back deck

Beautiful nature

Amazing view from the back deck

Turkeys out the kitchen window

I see some turkeys outside

Deer just outside; pic taken from inside the cabin. 
The turkey going for the bird feeder on the back deck
Stellar Jay on the tiny snow pile left from previous snow; Kristen would put bird seed on it
I hope you enjoyed some of our vacation photos.

-Sophia and Allen