Few things I spend more money on or take more delight from than food. Good food, I should qualify. Besides nature, sans the money spending part. Though it still is a scarce resource, it seems a lot less costly to enjoy than food.
So, recently, in desperate need of a soul and mind reviving weekend, I embarked. No real plan in mind, just a tent in my trunk and a campground in mind.
I could wax poetically about this lovely campground I stumbled across in pursuit of the State Park Campground across the highway, or vividly describe the delight I felt in starting my own fire and enjoying the s’mores that resulted from them, but I’ll refrain, and keep it simple.
What I will elaborate on is the chance discovery I made on Friday morning, during my Mascarpone and bacon french toast breakfast. That is not only that Santa Barbara hosts what looks like a positively lovely annual film festival, but also that there exists a place called San Ysidro Ranch. It turns out that for free, they will park your car and let you roam the acres of quaint bungalows, historic adobes, organic herb gardens, and citrus orchards which are beautifully maintained year-round on their property. THEN, if you give them $38, they will give you a magnificent 3 course lunch in a perfectly shade-to-sun ratio’d patio. Hamachi crudo, Alaskan Halibut, and picture perfect Meyer Lemon tart (citrus plucked freshly from their property), all complimented by a local and salaciously delicious wine list? What’s not to die of happiness about?
If we’re being honest, the beach was rocky, the camping was an uphill battle (minus the salt water hot tub), and the fire required a Duraflame to ignite. But the food, oh the food. The food is what reminds me that there is joy and creativity and love in the world.
I constantly wage war against the likely probability that I will one day be a restauranteur, refusing to bow to the forces of economics that have kept me in “hospitality” for so long. But on a day like that day, sitting under a canopy of nature’s hospitality and protection, I recall the words of my uncle: “There’s nothing wrong with providing the backdrop against which people can enjoy their lives.”