Garrapata State Park

Trip Start Apr 30, 2010
Trip End Sep 05, 2010

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Flag of United States  , California
Wednesday, May 19, 2010

A Great Walk

Geoff came to pick us up after the Aquarium, and wanted us to see some more of Monterey’s beautiful hills coasts. He took us for a winding drive down the shoreline to Point Lobos, where we parked and got out for a walk at Garrapata Park. If Matt wasn’t already sold on living in California (which I think he was about an hour in) a walk through what Geoff fondly calls his  “backyard” sealed the deal. Sorry Mount Royal, but this nature walk has a bit more on you. We walked briskly along slender dirt paths and stared at towering redwoods. We crossed over rushing streams either by rough wood bridge or roots or rocks, admired bright flowers and sat deep in the forest in silence, surrounded by fragrant green plants and trees. It was an incredible stroll, all the more astounding since we only saw one other soul meandering along the path, a lanky man with a straw hat and armfuls of wildflowers and herbs slung over his back.

After our hike, we headed to Geoffs’s favourite Mexican restaurant. As we arrived, he sheepishluy confessed that he ate at this spot several times a week, and joked that they had a table with his name engraved on it. It wasn’t much of an exaggeration as the delighted owner welcomed Geoff with a wide grin and offered Geoff’s “usual table”. I went for the steak burrito with extra avocado and Matt decided he would go for some real Mexican spice: after an animated conversation with the owner, Matt was promised a spicy quesadilla that would meet – likely exceed – his quest for heat.

A few bites in, as Matt’s brow perspired profusely and Geoff and I guzzled our cold Negro Modelo beers after tiny samples, the owner came over to explain the jalapeno heat system. Depending on which part of the pepper you use (and in fact, which type of pepper, though he was using Jalapenos tonight) you can create meals with a heat factor of 1 to 10. With his pantry stock and prep techniques, the owner-chef explained, he could concoct up the Scale 6 – though the Japanese and Korean kitchens down the road are merciless, he said, and rev up to the full ten. So what was Matt enjoying? A throat-searing 3/10. Next time, Matt vowed, I’ll get up to 6.
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