It's all about riding and beautiful country at Eatons'. I have been going to Eatons' since I was seven and honestly the ranch has not changed a lot. Sure the cabins have been refurbished and the food is up to date and actually they have added a great full stocked bar, but the feeling is the same friendly and beautiful spot which keeps me coming back every year. Try for a cabin on the Gold Coast. It costs a bit more but you are on the Wolf river which provides adequate Fly Fishing. It is an easy trip from LA or the OC. Hop on Frontier to Denver with a quick jaunt to Sheridan on Great Lakes. The ranch is 20 minutes away. I usually ship my gear to the ranch, along with a case of wine.
Our day at Eatons' starts with a hearty ranch breakfast, while they are saddling our horses and cleaning our cabins. Off we go for our two hour adventure either alone or with a handsome or pretty wrangler. A cold beer when we return for lunch, a nap and off for some fly fishing or hiking. Depending on the season, you can do another afternoon ride or an evening ride.
It is a great family trip. I have also done a girls trip which adds a little humor and maybe ship 2 cases of wine. It is my go to destination every summer. It grounds me back to the beauty of nature.
This past Tuesday, I took my tech girl Shelby out on the town to check out some of the best spots for happy hour in Laguna Beach. We went to some great new places, judged some pours, and even bought a bottle of wine!
We started our late afternoon jaunt at Laguna Wine, Coffee, and Specialty Foods. We first got distracted with their amazing selection of wine glasses, olive oils, and gifts. This OCWino got excited over their collection of Riedel Wine Glasses, and overjoyed when I found a beer stein with a wine glass inside.
After checking out the shop, we moved over to their wine tasting section. The store has something that could only be described as a wine tasting vending machine. First you can purchase a $10, $20, or $50 card. You enter the card into either the white or red side of the machine, and make a selection of which wine within the case you would like to sample. Place a glass underneath a spout, press your chosen button, and have a perfect amount of wine to taste dispensed. Each wine varied in price slightly, but we were able to sample about 6 wines for $20. The staff was incredibly friendly and helpful, quick to offer suggestions based on our palette preferences and show us their estate wines.
Our favorites included Butter, a nice chardonnay, Meomi, a pinot noir, and Neyers, an aromatic merlot. I decided to purchase a bottle of the Neyers since the bouquet and taste were both incredible.
Next stop was the newly opened Tortilla Republic and Margarita Bar, located on South Coast Hwy. The restaurant has two other locations in West Hollywood and Hawaii. We first came to the bar with the expectation for Happy Hour pricing. However we learned their happy hour menu was still getting developed and would be released in the coming month. However we were content ordering their wonderful margaritas and appetizers despite the extra dinero.
The friendly bartenders made a whole range of margarita specialties for us ranging from our favorite Sweet Chile Margarita, a spicy Jalapeño, the "Perfect", Cucumber Lavender, Spicy Pomegranate, and Hydration, which blended in coconut water. We got all our margs made skinny to cut back on sugar and calories. These drinks were not strong, so we were able to try a lot and save room for the great food.
To counter the tequila, we ordered many reinforcements. First, we started with a salsa tasting, which included a salsa mesa, salsa de tomatillo fresca, and salsa de payaya habenero. Armed with a basket of freshly baked chips, we finished the colorful and flavor packed dips easily.
Next came the Flautas de Pollo. Our bartender recommended them and we were not disappointed. Initially, I remarked how they were too beautiful to eat. However after our first bite, we dove in and demolished the delicious and savory treat.
We ended our mexican feast with a Queso Fundito. We weren't exactly sure what the dish would be, but since it had the words cheese and fun in it, we assumed it would be awesome. The ramekin filled with hot spiced cheese and fresh tortillas did not disappoint.
It was hard for us to leave to catch the sunset since our bartenders were so fun, especially Mark who gave us free drinks!
Disaster struck as we hit The Deck for sunset. Just as we sat down at the bar, an overhead seagull left a present on my freshly blown out do! People say it is a sign of good luck, but that unexpected surprise could have come a day earlier!
The Deck wasn't too crowded as it can be on the weekends, but it was a great place to watch the sunset, drink a final cocktail, and make new friends at the bar with Laguna locals. An OC musician, Kevin Miso, serenaded the patrons with the sounds of Jack Johnson, John Mayer, and some other beach-y classics. Overall, a great bar for a beach town.
As we finished our night, we headed back to Shelby's home in North Laguna, and enjoyed a slice of Gina's pizza, a final pour, and great conversation with her family.
From Mexican dives to truffle hunting to navigating LA