Monday, October 29, 2007

Big Bear

My family just got back from a fun-filled and relaxing weekend in Big Bear. Some highlights:

--CLEAN AIR. The smoke from the wildfires in our area seriously bothered me last week and I didn't think it would be much better in the mountains with all the fires at Running Springs. But there were blue skies and clean air and it was awesome to not choke on toxic fumes and ash for a few days.

--Fishing with Dad on Saturday morning. I'm not going to lie...I'm not a fan of leaving my warm and cozy bed at the crack of dawn only to be welcomed by the biting cold of the dark world as we leave the cabin and head to the lake. But after an obligatory stop at OJ's Donuts and once we get our gear and rods set up, Dad and I always have a great time fishing and this year was no exception.

Here are the fish we caught. I reeled in two. (I do not touch bait or fish but reeling them in is fun!) We caught more than the locals next to us.

--OJ’s Donuts, as mentioned above, the best donut shop ever. When you walk in, the sugary aroma of the place fills your lungs with pleasure. The cases are always chock-full of fresh donuts, perfect and colorful and glistening, just waiting to be eaten. Dad always gets a bear claw, and I get a cinnamon roll. When you bite into a donut from OJ’s, the glaze gives it a little crunch, and then it just melts in your mouth. A trip to OJ’s used to be how Dad would coax me into getting up so early to fish with him.

--Shopping downtown, or as it’s called in Big Bear, “The Village.” The shop windows were decorated with witches, pumpkins, and cobwebs for Halloween and the trees lining the streets were pretty autumn shades of yellow and orange. We always get candy in the candy shop that has a giant portrait of Bob Marley hanging behind the counter. And I got my first pair of Ugg boots! (THANKS, Dad!) They are not of higher quality than my old two pairs of fur boots (which are a staple for competitive swimmers on the pool decks at swim meets), but let’s face it; Uggs are the coolest!

--A foo-foo dinner at Madlon’s, a restaurant we’ve eaten at for years but that has been under new management since we last visited. The new owners are executive chefs trained at the Cordon Bleu School. This was one production of a meal, let me tell you. First, we had amuses-bouche. What is an amuse-bouche, you ask? Well, the word is French and literally translates to "mouth amuser" (bouche = mouth; amuser = to amuse, to please). The amuse-bouche was a little clam in garlic sauce. Then I had a salad caprese (mozzarella, tomato, and basil drizzled in olive oil and balsamic vinegar; a favorite). After our salads and olive bread with lime cilantro butter, we were given glasses of passion fruit sorbet, “to cleanse the palate,” our waitress explained. Then came our entrees (shrimp scampi, chicken cordon bleu, steak, and chicken fettuccini alfredo) which were scrumptious. And of course, since one of the chefs was a pastry chef, we had to get desserts—tiramisu, chocolate tart with macadamia nut crust, and a trio of mini crème brulees (cherry, almond, and coconut). This was quite the departure from the sea of greasy lumberjack cafes in Big Bear, whose specialties are chicken fried steak and biscuits and gravy.

--Down time in the cabin. Although I live at home with my parents, I don’t see them all too often since our schedules are different. It was fun to hang out with them and my brother all weekend. We watched Young Frankenstein and Planes, Trains, and Automobiles; munched on cookies; my brother played Texas Hold’em on his iPod; my dad messed around with his fishing gear; my mom and I read fashion magazines. We all just hung out together by the fire, enjoying our annual family tradition—an old-fashioned family trip to Big Bear.

It was a great weekend =)

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