I've got big plans for the New Year. I'm going to be out west for 9 days. My hub of activity will be Irvine, but I'm taking a couple jaunts to Santa Barbara County, and to Ensenada, Mexico.
I've got one full day to spend in the wine country, and I'm really looking forward to it. I don't know much about the area, but I know that good times await. Arthur from redwinebuzz.com has been very generous in helping me identify some good places to sip and eat. On top of that my sister-in-law has a family friend by the name of Longoria, maybe you've heard of their wines. She is trying to get us a tour of the winery which I'm really excited about.
My trip down to Mexico will be via a slow moving floating bathtub called Carnival Paradise. I've been on exactly one cruise before, and it included me breaking up with my then girlfriend, not exactly giving me a strong positive bias. I'm not incredibly excited about the cruising portion of the trip, stuck on a boat with nothing to do but drink overpriced margaritas. The food and wine part though, look out. Cruises are known for their food, I'm hoping this one lives up to the expectations. Armed with a couple bottles of Santa Barbara wine, dinners should be fantastic. To top it all off, we've decided to take an ATV ride through the countryside and finish the day off in Ensenada with a trip to a Mexican winery. It should be interesting, and if nothing else it will provide some excellent blog fodder.
All that and I've still got a couple days to bum around in LA. I'm visiting family while I'm in Irvine, so I don't want to drag them all over town, but I haven't really spent too much time in LA. I've seen the tar pits, Disney, and the Santa Monica Pier. I've also been to the Rose Bowl (the only truly fun thing I've done in LA). If anyone has some tips for some cheap, not entirely touristy, things to do in LA, I'd love to hear 'em.
Until then I'm counting down the days.