Sunday, 13 September 2015

Railay Beach + Ko Phi Phi

This June, Jim and I took the trip of a lifetime to Thailand, Cambodia and Bali. I was beyond excited to go since I'd never been to that part of the world, and because it's where Jim made the decision to propose to me five years ago! Mapping the trip out was a little daunting at first, but once we booked the return flights to Bangkok, it forced us to figure out the inter-country flights and hotels. We reached out to friends for recommendations and scoured travel sites and Lonely Planet. You could literally stay in any one of those countries for months, but with our work schedules, we only had three weeks to see it all. We opted for a week and a half in Thailand, a few days to see Angkor Wat in Cambodia, and a little over a week in Bali. It was just the right amount of adventure and relaxing with massages and incredible food along the way.

Our first stop after arriving in Bangkok was Railay Beach in Krabi (which is on the southwest coast of Thailand). It's incredibly hot and humid in that part of Thailand in the summer, but as long as you have water nearby, it's bearable (a cocktail in your hand is also a welcome relief!). We stayed in a lovely bungalow at the Railay Village Resort & Spa right on the beach, and it was beautiful. They have a fabulous spa, where I got my first Thai massage and had the most delicious sweet lemongrass tea after my treatment. I was on cloud nine the rest of the day. We also couldn't get enough of the white sand beach, steep, lush cliffs and the long-tail boats decorated with colorful fabrics. The one drawback to Railay Bay is that since it's small, there aren't many options for restaurants (cheap and sometimes questionable environments or right on the beach and overpriced). 

From Railay Beach, we caught a boat to Ko Phi Phi, the gorgeous tiny island where "The Beach" was filmed. It's a backpacker's paradise, but is also lovely for couples looking to relax and sip cocktails at beachside bars while watching the sunset. We stayed in the main part of the island so we could be close to all of the action and to meet up with some of our friends coming from London (a lot of people opt to stay in the northeast part of the island which is a quick 15 minute boat ride away). We loved the cheap massages (can't go wrong with daily $4/hour treatments), banana smoothies from Unni's and green papaya salad at Papaya (you must try it). We also ate at Anna's several times...they had great Thai and European food (faves included Red Curry and Massaman Curry). Our favorite memory was taking our own long-tail boat out to Maya Beach and snorkeling in little coves along the way. That's when I really started to unwind and feel like I could be on vacation forever.

Next up, I'll share details from our adventures in Chiang Mai! 

Saturday, 5 September 2015

Rancho Del Oso Farm Dinner

It's been forever since I've posted, but I wanted to share an incredible experience I had with my family a few weeks ago at the Route 1 Farm Dinner series at Rancho Del Oso. Pardon the iPhone picutres...I forgot my Canon for this one! I'd never been to a farm dinner before, so I had no idea what to expect. Truth be told, I love going to farmer's markets on the weekends, but I'm not a "devout organic." However, learning about the way the vegetables are grown at this organic farm, versus other farms and commercial sources made me rethink my ways. Not only is it healthier for you to choose locally sourced organic fruits and vegetables, it also benefits your local community. 

The dinner itself started in the middle of a field off of Highway 1, just after Davenport and before Ano Nuevo. The setting was so beautiful and lush and the weather was perfect..sun shining without wind or fog (rare for that part of the coast!). We started off with appetizers including those colorful pickled beets and eggs below, and then made our way to a massive farm table that was beautifully decorated with white linen and dahlias and zinnias grown right on the property. The dishes (including braised lamb, caprese skewers, a vegetable polenta dish and a peach apple galette) were prepared by Ristorante Avanti chef Adolfo Martinez and the wine pairings were provided by Santa Cruz winery, Odanata Wines (the Malbec was lovely). Everything was fresh, flavorful and delicious and we were beyond stuffed by the end of the meal. All of the Route 1 dinners are sold out for the rest of the year, but I'd highly recommend checking back this winter/spring when they go on sale again. It's a lovely, local experience worth trying.

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