Friday, February 17, 2012

Uncle Merv does Tecate

When I saw Beth's email asking if I happened to be free "like, all day" last Saturday for a visit to Rancho La Puerta, I texted her my initial response: "Are you serious?"

Only after several texts and emails verifying that she was indeed serious and I was indeed able to reschedule my complicated plans to work out, grocery shop, and clean the house did I mention to Bill the possibility that I'd be abandoning family at the crack of dawn's ass.

He asked "are you serious?" and then "is it safe?"

Yes and yes, my friend. Yes and yes.

As Beth mentioned, we rode in a luxury coach. See?

She mentioned that we received a pretty folder full of materials to peruse, but did you know that we also got Rancho Puerta water bottle (not pictured) and the world's most adorable little packet of granola (pictured)?!

It was a quick ride over many miles of barfilicious mountain curves, and then suddenly there we were at the international border! There had been talk of filling out forms and getting off of the bus and into vans, but we hardly even slowed down when we stepped into Mexico, it was quite different from the crazy-nuts Tijuana crossing that's been my previous experience.

Looking out the right side window, you really wouldn't even know this was an international border unless you looked closely

There's Beth, looking closely. Nice machine guns, boys! That face shroud looks fetching on you!

It was a short ride from the border through the town of Tecate, and soon we arrived at the ranch and were invited in to enjoy the first of 3 amazing meals.

Breakfast = yum.

I know Beth already told you about our activities on the ranch, but I wouldn't be your Uncle Merv if I didn't force you to endure my photos of things you've already seen, now would I? It was just so beautiful. See?

My dream job is to be the one who picks out the daily verse for this spot.

These little stations with scented water and hot tea made Beth and I very, very happy. We stayed well hydrated.

Steamy pool = dreamy pool

From this angle, it appears that the standing statue is having a wee!

The Miracle Oak was one of two live oak trees that formed a natural arch - the "Door" for which the Ranch was named in 1940.

Hi Beth! (I smell a profile picture)

The gym where we had our yoga class

Jacquie=infinity, pre or post massage

Where the massage magic happened. Was my masseuse really sitting on that ball? Weird. Weirdly awesome.

Hi Beth's head! This was in the women's health center, so we totally could have been nekkie if we so desired. We opted for suits.

Now let's get back to the food. We worked up an appetite and a hearty anticipation for lunch, and although we had made plans to join an organized hike at 2, we opted to have a soak after our spa treatments and then shop a bit before eating, which didn't leave us quite enough time to make that deadline.  Our cohort was, shall we say,  not exactly spry anyway, so we suspected that hiking with them would be slower than our desired pace. Plus, we knew we wouldn't want to rush through lunch.We were looking forward to something good.

And oooooooh, it was good.

The vegetables were divine, so well seasoned and perfectly prepared, offered cold as a salad bar with a big bowl of beautiful greens.

That pumpkin rocked my world.

I love this, enlarge and check it out. "Ask the chef for beano"

Want. Want. Want. Want. Want.

Now please, as you digest your veggie lust, sit back for a moment and let Uncle Merv show you a few photos from our self guided hike

It costs a little bit more than that now.

blogger photographing blogger photographing blogger

I thought we were supposed to got this way, but Beth said "no, that's the yellow brick road."

Walkman! heh heh heh

We had to hurry back all too soon to catch our ride over to La Cocina Que Canta (the kitchen that sings) for cooking school! I was very excited, being a top chef and all. Beth had some trepidation.

There's Executive Chef  Denise Roa. I've never met anyone so perfectly suited for a job.
And people, may I say that I had about 20 additional photos of our adventures at cooking school all uploaded and ready to go? But Uncle Merv knows nothing if not when to leave his peeps with the promise that the story is....

to be continued


Me, You, or Ellie said...

You two are both so very gorgeous. And so is that place. Loving my vicarious visit there. Including the barfilicous hills (love it, Jacquie).

And I'm so intrigued by Beth's breathing into a bag to calm her cooking performance anxiety. No performance anxiety for you, Top Chef Merv! So excited for the cooking school chapter......



Me, You, or Ellie said...

Oh, uncle Merv! So happy I finally got to come along a on trip with you! You rock!

Gotta say, I love the "blogger photographing blogger photographing blogger" photo, and that fact that we are so wild and crazy that we marched right on by that "Hike at your own risk" sign.

Looking forward to the garden and singing kitchen photos. Our dish was perfectly devine. I miss that place!