Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Monterey Birthday

My brother and sister-in-law, kicking it with Ape
I did promise a few more pics from our weekend in Monterey. Mr. ShellHawk, Ape and I met up with my brother and sister-in-law for some lunch and a visit to the Monterey Bay Aquarium.
The weather in California has been really bad, with some pretty epic rainstorms that are making those in Sacramento nervous about the safety of the levees. The bright side, of course, is that Tahoe has some fine snow for skiing, and the drought, I believe, is officially over for the year.
We drove through some pretty nasty weather conditions to meet them and dried off over Mexican food. Though my sister-in-law is an old friend of Ape's, this was his first meeting with my brother since he stepped into the Facebook spotlight. Thankfully, it went well. 
Chris Ape and his new penguin friend. He said they smell funny.

Ape and Mr. ShellHawk,
relaxing before dinner

We had a great time, watching the penguins get fed and being overwhelmed by the masses of people who were crowding the aquarium. We took a break before dinner to go back to our respective hotels and freshen up a bit.

Mr. ShellHawk is in Monterey at least once a year on business, so he knows all the best places to eat. He took us to Cafe Fina on the pier to celebrate their anniversary and my brother's birthday (both on the same day), and my birthday, which was Sunday. Mr. ShellHawk had won an amazing collection of wines from the Michael David Winery while at the local elementary school's annual crab feed, and he was smart enough to bring a bottle of the Petite-Petit to share over dinner. If you ever have an opportunity to purchase this wine, by the way, do it! It's both a drinker and a keeper, as you can drink it now or save it for a couple of more years. It really opened up after about twenty-five minutes or so, with some very rich flavors.
Dinner and service at Cafe Fina is always fantastic, so if you're celebrating a special occasion in Monterey, I can't recommend this restaurant highly enough. We were treated like visiting royalty, and the whole evening was a wonderful time. (We even called my dad while at the table to say hello, and passed the phone around to each of us. He was delighted!)

The next day, the first sun we had seen in a month finally made an appearance! Mr. ShellHawk and I completely broke our diets and had breakfast at The Paris Bakery Cafe. Can I just share how good a fresh croissant is with a latte in the morning? Yum-my!

After breakfast, we headed out to the commercial pier to do a little birding. While peering through the binoculars, I saw a bunch of fins in the distance, but since they were only drifting, I thought for a minute they might be some odd art installation. It wasn't. It was a group of Harbor Seals hanging out together in the water.

I left Mr. S to his birding and walked down to the end of the pier to get a better look. It turned out that there were a number of those groups of seals hanging out around the pier and the bay.

Click on the pic for video
 Afterwards, we started our three and a half hour journey home, stopping once for a potty break at Casa de Fruta. Ape ignored all warnings to stay off the antiques and had himself a romp. He is such a rebel!
Surveying new territory from his high vantage point

First carousel ride

I didn't have the heart to tell him the train wasn't going anywhere

Of course, the capper of the day was when we found this clearly labeled "Haunted Tunnel." 
When we got home, I discovered that Mr. ShellHawk had arranged for a few folks to come by to celebrate my birthday with us.

Friend and restauranteur Dominick brought me his first ever dessert
pizza. Nutella, pineapple and powdered sugar. Yum!

Dominick also brought a lovely bottle of champagne to celebrate. You can tell it's good, because I won't put the champagne glass down, even to blow out my birthday candles!

Thanks, Mr. ShellHawk, for a lovely birthday!


  1. Aw, we missed it... happy birthday Shellhawk! Free drinks at the S&P for you!

  2. How fantastic is that! Looks like a great time. And a haunted tunnel....score!!

    Thanks for sharing, and of course,thanks for the wine recommendation!


  3. fright club: blog vs. blog...

    Adeles SpOOky Art
    ShellHawk's Nest

    good luck!


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