Tag Archives: Candy Cane Lane

Holidays in Monterey

I spent the holidays in Monterey, California visiting with family and friends. It felt wonderful to be home for a couple weeks and enjoyed the home cooking, baking, trying new restaurants, watching movies, shopping, going to the aquarium/downtown/Fisherman’s Wharf, catching up with friends and getting into the Christmas spirit of joy, love and wonder.

Here are from scenes from around the town of Monterey.

Monterey2014_seasons greetings

Seasons Greetings from Fisherman’s Wharf

Monterey2014_boats

Boats at Fisherman’s Wharf

Christmas Tree at Del Monte Shopping Center

I also enjoyed home cooking. One of the first meals I had back home was pork chops with onion, fried rice (made with purple rice), salad and a medley of colorful vegetables: Carrots, mushroom, celery. Everything tasted fresh, flavorful and wonderful.

Monterey2014_food
Another one of my favorite meals was made at a family friend’s place. We had Filipino style noodles with chicken, shrimp, carrots and lettuce. Then we made some fish with onions and shrimp with celery. For dessert, an assortment of cookies (some of them made by me!)

Monterey2014_food2

I loved the homemade lamb chop dish that I helped make. The lamb was seasoned perfectly and tasted tender and delicious. We also added onion and potato, which paired beautifully with the lamb.

Monterey2014_food3
On Christmas day, some family friends came over and we made Chinese steamed dumplings. We created the filling of sticky rice, mushrooms, meat and green onion from scratch and wrapped it in the dumpling skins. After that, they were steamed and they came out a bit soft but still very tasty, especially with some spicy soy sauce.

 

Monterey2014_food4

I made some baked goods as well… The classic chocolate chip cookies and also Christmas cookies with nuts and raisin filling, which we make every holiday season.

Monterey2014_cookies

We had fun getting into the holiday spirit by decorating the house with stockings over the fireplace, poinsettias and other flowers, mini Christmas tree…

Monterey2014_xmas

Since we didn’t have an actual Christmas tree, we visited family friends who did.

Monterey2014_xmas tree

On Christmas Eve, I had a chance to go to Candy Cane Lane (yes, that is an actual street name) and each house has to decorate on the outside so there is are tons of beautiful lights, displays and a center area with sleigh, reindeer, life size gingerbread house and more. It’s like a magical Christmas Winter Wonderland!

Monterey2014_candy cane lane 2

Monterey2014_candy cane lane

Below was one of my favorite decorated houses. I just loved the sparkling lights, the bits of blue and red in between the white and the reindeer going up to the chimney! I thought it was both sophisticated and adorable at the same time.

Monterey2014_lightsChristmas morning I made French toast then we opened presents.

Monterey2014_xmas day
We had dinner at Benihana, where I had a $30 gift certificate for my birthday. We had a great time and great meal there, as usual. It is always fun to watch the chef prepare our meals with finesse and skill. I ordered a passion fruit smoothie with strawberry swirls which was sweet, refreshing and delightful. I would have liked a bit more strawberry flavor though. For my meal, I had Filet Mignon and shrimp, which came with a multitude of sides and appetizers including soup, salad, chicken fried rice, shrimp and vegetables: Mushroom, zucchini and onion. Everything was well made and delicious. I also had chocolate ice cream which came with a lit candle in it and one of the servers played the drums and sang Happy Birthday!

Monterey2014_benihanaSoon after Christmas (2 days), it was my birthday! A friend of mine took me to Carmel for exploring, shopping and lunch at Cypress Inn, a super cute place owned by Doris Day, where they allow dogs. I had the fish and chips, which came with garlic french fries and it tasted amazing. The fish was fried to perfection with great flavor and the french fries were crispy and well seasoned.

Monterey2014_carmel

Afterwards, I came home to a lovely surprise party! It was filled with amazing friends, great food, wonderful gifts and a delectable ice cream cake.

Monterey2014_cake

Below are some presents that I received: Clothes, money, scarves, accessories, chocolate and more. Some of my favorite gifts: A gorgeous gold heart necklace with diamonds and a scrapbook of Memories/my life that was made with love and care.

Monterey2014_gifts

Monterey2014_scrapbook

I had a wonderful holiday back home in California and hope that all your holidays were also beautiful and filled with love, family, friends, spectacular food and fun!

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Culture, Food, Fun

Gilroy Gardens Holiday Lights

Gilroy-Gardens-H-Lights

Gilroy Gardens Holiday Lights

We took a family trip to Gilroy Gradens Holiday Lights which was a wonderland of millions of lights and endless wonder. As you walk through the entrance, you are transported to Candy Cane Lane, where the trees are lined with lights and lit up large candy canes.

DSCN2477

Candy Cane Lane

Continuing on, you will see trees, bushes, buildings covered in colorful, bright lights.  Then, there is fake snow swirling about and both Sally & Snoopy from Charlie Brown, are there to give you a friendly greeting.  There are also fun souvenir shops and rides, such as the beautifully exquisite carosuel.

We got to see the Waterfall Illumination, which showed a music and lights display. The display was quite a magical experience. It starts off with the waterfall becoming pitch black, then lights of red, green, pink, purple, and blue, dance to the beat of “Little Drummer Boy.”

DSCN2532

Waterfall Illumination

Afterwards, we went on a train ride around the Gardens. It was nice to be able to see all the different areas around the park. We ended the night by seeing “A Charlie Brown Christmas” show which featured Charlie Brown, Lucy, Sally, Linus and Snoopy, in a performance about the true meaning of Christmas. Though the play was targeted to children, I still enjoyed watching the very adorable and fun musical. The characters did a great job with telling a story, helping us to really get into the holiday spirit. One of my favorite parts was when Snoopy was trying to light the Christmas tree, which didn’t work but after we all chanted, “Peace on Earth; good will towards men,” the tree miraculously lit up!

DSCN2560

Charlie Brown Christmas

We did a little exploring before leaving and got to see an area full of delicious & huge looking lit up cupcakes, gingerbread cookies, and lollipops. We also came across the Butterfly exhibit, which was nice with leafy greens, red flowers, large trees, decorated Christmas trees of all different colors. Then, we happened across a great big hall called the Snowflake Palace which had tons of lights strung up on top, creating a gorgeous sparkling view that was a sight to behold.

DSCN2592

Snowflake Palace

Leave a comment

Filed under Fun