What can I say? My Southern California Summer has been Spectacular! Living in Altadena brings daily adventure. It never gets old here– we never get old here.
A Gopher a Day
We have a bit of a gopher problem. A lone kale plant remains from a family of 8 we planted in spring. The gophers have an insatiable appetite for leafy greens and the roots of all manner of edible plant. (Edible for humans.) We do have a gopher snake living in our yard who aids in gopher population control– however, she needs backup. We’re still losing this battle.
In spite of the gophers, we’ve had quite the culinary summer, from Paella to massaged kale salad to burgers and gazpacho. Our herb garden has flourished, and fresh basil, rosemary, thyme, lemon verbena, mint, sage, oregano and lavender enhance our gastro-experiences. Herb Hint: Grab some fresh herbs and a pair of scissors. Snip the herbs into small bits and sprinkle into any salad for a summer fresh taste.
Without The Man with a Broken Hand
Since Alex broke his hand in Mammoth (on the mountain bike), I’ve had to find new training partners to keep me on the mountain. One of those partners is Bob Llamas, a 70+ cyclist who joined me on the 39 Loop, a 95 mile ride through the San Gabriel Mountains. Throughout the day at work, I constantly hear “I’m too old for that”, “I can’t do this” and suffer through my work colleagues eating processed foods and fast foods and not exercising. Llamas is a great example to all: you are never too old. He stays fit, looks great, and can easily ride 100 miles through the mountains. He has won multiple National Championships over the past few years in cyclocross and other disciplines. Someone to look up to no matter your age. Anti-Aging Hint: Ride a bike.
Fresh Fish and About Meat Consumption
In addition to the herb garden, we’ve been on the receiving end of the success of a few fishing expeditions.
Thanks to my work colleague Dave K, we had an insanely delicious Sea Bass meal! This one was caught from a kayak, Master fisher! Meat is low on our priority list, however, when we find some fresh caught fish or meat, we’re all in. Fresh Fish Hint: Sprinkle sea salt (recommend: Redmond’s Sea Salt) and fresh white pepper, and nothing else, to get the most natural flavor from the fish. (The Alex Method).
Believe it or not, we’re not Paleo. We rarely eat meat and rather focus on fresh vegetables, juice and healthy grains such as rice and farro. Foods that allow you to feel light and energetic, but more about Paleo and other diets another day.
Although, in the interest of meat, I have to bring light to an interesting phenomena. We’ve been eating antelope, elk and other game meats purchased from our local butcher. In Sprouts market the other day we were perusing the selection of frozen game meat. Much to our horror, the game meats were labeled as containing 3% beef. We eat game chiefly to reap the benefits of red meat (B12) without eating beef- which is notorious for antibiotics, growth hormones and as being grain-fed in feed lots (if the beef came directly from my family’s farm, that would be different of course). Eat Meat Hint: If you choose to eat meat, read labels and live by the mantra buyer beware. Meat in and of itself is not bad for you– it’s eating too much or eating meat filled with toxins that is bad for you.
The Daily Grind
Thanks to my friend Claudia for the vintage Chemex coffee maker. We picked up the Chemex-specific filters and a new Hario kettle along with some Handsome Coffee Roasters beans to make the perfect cup. The Chemex makes an unbelievably smooth cup of coffee, which makes it difficult to cut back on coffee consumption.
Our friends from Handsome Coffee, Tyler Wells, Mike Phillips and Chris Owens, have elevated our coffee experience to levels heretofore unseen. The bean, the Swiss roaster, the delicate handling of the grind, the perfectly timed shot or pour have all led to an art form which used to merely be a caffeine delivery system. The Perfect Cup of Coffee Hint: Choose freshly roasted beans (can be purchased from handsome coffee.com) and grind fresh for each use. Pre-ground coffee goes stale and loses flavor.
When in Mammoth
The absolute best wedding happened in Mammoth this summer. Our friends were married in my favorite spot, Convict Lake. We spent hours riding Mammoth Mountain– pedaling and taking the Gondola to the top for breathtaking, adrenaline pumping runs. Perhaps we had too much fun. On our final day, we took a long ride
around Mammoth Rock and headed back to the park for a few more thrills. I was taking photos and was sitting on the transition of a reasonably sized table top. I heard a crash of flesh and carbon hitting the ground. Alex was down and our vacation came to an end. While that was a bitter end, we enjoyed every other minute of the long weekend. We visited Black Velvet Coffee, more than once, switched from Gomez’s to Roberto’s for Mexican, and had a nice time at the Westin bar.
Mammoth Mountain is family friendly. Mountain biking is easy and fun for all ages. Instructors (Brian Wilson is great for families as well as Pros) are available along with rentals. Do yourself a favor and mountain bike Mammoth Mountain at least once this lifetime! You will have no regrets. Just try to keep the rubber on the dirt.
The views from the top of the mountain are spectacular, and the mountain offers Gondola rides for hikers and those who would like to see the world from the top of the mountain, in addition to mountain bikers.
For the mountain bikers in the audience. You will find the next image amusing. As we rarely have access to fun mountain trails, we have even less access to mountain bike only trails. Imagine my glee upon seeing this sign at the bottom of the Uptown trail.
Mammoth Hint: Don’t miss the Kamikaze games! A gran fond (century ride/road ride), mountain bike races of all styles, kids activities, Enduro, Downhill, cross country, fun rides all weekend long!
In all, it was a spectacular summer. I do hope yours was amazing, and look forward to riding with you soon!