Solvang

2021 California Trip: Day 1

posted in: Dining Out, Drinks, Food, Travel, Wine | 0

Solvang is a small town in the Santa Ynez Valley of California. It was founded by Danish-Americans in the early 20th Century, which is reflected in its Danish inspired architecture, restaurants, and bakeries, among other things.

As I mentioned, I had been there twice before, but this was my longest visit to the area. We had 4 full days there.

Our first couple of days were a little warm but it cooled off nicely for the last 2 days. The first 2 days were also bright and sunny which made for some good picture taking.

I brought my Minolta X-700 film camera and my Olympus TG-5 digital camera. I barely used the latter and ended up relying on my phone’s camera much more than I usually do. But on that first morning, I wanted to take some film photos.

Solvang
Solvang
Hans Christian Andersen
Hans Christian Andersen

For our first breakfast we did the tourist thing and went to Solvang Restaurant for their famous Æbleskivers (light, fluffy, spherical pancakes usually served with jam). I had mine with a side of Danish Sausage.

Danish Sausage and Æbleskivers at Solvang Restaurant
Danish Sausage and Æbleskivers at Solvang Restaurant

After breakfast, we took the short drive to Nojoqui Falls Park. Because of the drought, the falls were nothing more than a trickle, but the walk to and from was beautiful nonetheless.

I took more film photos there and finished the roll I started in Solvang.

And then I used my phone camera, a Samsung S9+, for the rest of our visit.

Nojoqui Falls Park
Nojoqui Falls Park
Nojoqui Falls Park
Nojoqui Falls Park

Later in the day, we went to our first Winery of the trip, Rancho Sisquoc.

Obviously, the pandemic has been overwhelmingly awful, but it has caused a lot of businesses to rethink how they do things, some of which are improvements, at least for the customers. Going to wineries used to often mean trying to make your way through a hoard of people to get to a crowded bar to get a tasting. Now, wineries have limited outdoor seating where you get to drink wine more leisurely and hear more details about the wines. It’s a much more personable and enjoyable experience, and I hope this means the wineries sell more wines and get more people to join their clubs.

I took some pictures with my phone.

Rancho Sisquoc
Rancho Sisquoc

I also brought along my digital Olympus TG-5. I expected to have used that more when I wasn’t using my film camera, but I found myself relying more on my phone camera. Our trip to Rancho Sisquoc was the only time I used my TG-5. The grounds there are lovely so it provided some nice photo opportunities, including a rather chill cat.

Rancho Sisquoc
Rancho Sisquoc
Rancho Sisquoc
Rancho Sisquoc

We finished our first full day of the trip with a delicious dinner at Trattoria Grappolo. We all shared a couple of appetizers: a Caprese and a Rotolo Veneto, which is basically pizza dough stuffed with smoked mozzarella and radicchio. 

For my entree, I had their Cioppino and Holly got their grilled vegetables. Both Holly and I finished our meals with glasses of Vin Santo and biscotti. Not enough Italian restaurants offer this as a dessert. Neither Holly nor I are much into desserts, but this is a favorite for both of us and somewhat hard to come by.

We sat outside on a pleasant California evening which was rather enjoyable, but we lost sunlight for pictures.

Holly and I had been to Trattoria Grappolo once before so it was nice getting back. We had a busy day after our long travel so we appreciated ending it with a tasty and leisurely meal.

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