creme fraiche (optional)
Gail gave me some basil from her garden so I whipped up a batch of fresh pesto.
Today is officially the first day of FALL. When I think about fall, my thoughts are occupied with the leaves changing color, cooler temperature sweeping in, snug sweaters, warm soups, apple picking in Julian, lots of cooking and gatherings.
Last year, we went apple picking in late October so most of the orchards were closed.
This year, we made the trip to Julian a lot earlier to beat the crowd and pick the cream of the crop. Julian is a historic gold rush mountain town an hour east of San Diego known for its apple crop, cider, and pies from Julian Pie Company.
We drove by a few orchards but the dwarf apple trees at Raven Hill Orchard drew us in. For ten dollars, you get a chance to roam around the orchard, tasting and picking apples at your leisure. Vu and I appreciated the different varieties and abundance of apples. It took me 2 hours to fill up my bag. Yes, I was being picky. Nothing compares to picking fruits right off the trees and sinking your teeth into your hand-picked treasures.
Tired from being in the sun for the whole morning, we took a short break and indulged in a bit of wine tasting at J. Jenkins Winery and Menghini Winery.
They both had a great selection of wine—from sparking, dessert, chardonnay, cabernet, to syrah.
After ten glasses, my taste buds could barely distinguish the different white and red wines but I got a few bottles for Thanksgiving dinner.
Our trip would be incomplete without stopping by Julian Pie Company for some apple pie a la mode.
It was a perfect ending to our Julian trip. Both Vu and I agreed that Julian Pie Company makes the best apple pies, even better than Moms. We cannot wait to bring Betsy next fall!
I put the apples to good use by making Vu’s favorite pie. APPLE PIE. Instead of making the original apple pie, I made the Dutch apple pie, which has a sweet crumb top.
I used a combination of Empire, Jonagold, and Granny Smith apples.
Spending my morning making the crumb crust by hand, peeling and chopping apples was quite relaxing. The tasks are repetitive but therapeutic.
I was too impatient to wait for Vu so I cut a slice and topped it homemade vanilla ice cream that I’ll share in another post.
I loved the crunchy, crumbly top, and tartness of the apple sweetened by brown sugar.
Hot apple pie. Melting ice cream. The combination was delightful.
It was a perfect start to fall.
11. When ready to serve, cut a small slice and top with vanilla ice cream.
Vu and I spent last week in the Pacific Northwest, soaking in the summer sun, fresh sea breeze, and scent of the pine forest. We are sharing some of our favorite finds in Vancouver.
It’s a hidden gem of Vancouver. The shop is stocked with products made from local artists as well as an impressive collection of teas, pasta, olive oils, honey, and pantry items.
While Vu and our lovely tour guides were enjoying their delectable pastries, coffee, and tea, I was snapping pictures after pictures.
What a lovely cafe. I can spend every morning here even though I don’t drink coffee.
Our lovely tour guides.
Our second favorite store was Old Faithful Shop in Gastown.
The owner and genius behind Old Faithful Shop, Walter Manning, sources beautiful products from around the world, whether they are enamelwares from England, syrup from New York, coffee from San Francisco, or home grown products right in the heart of Vancouver.
And of course, I couldn’t walk away empty handed. I bought a few items for our kitchen.
I was amazed at their diverse selection of pates, prosciuttos, salamis, and sausages. We ordered the duck prosciutto and four different types of pate which we thoroughly enjoyed.
For our last morning in Vancouver, Vu’s cousins took us to Santouka for ramen which did not disappoint.
It’s comparable to our favorite ramen restaurant in San Diego. The broth was flavorful and the meat was tender.
For one of our dinners, we went to Blue Water Café and Raw Bar. The appetizers were not impressive, but the scallops and sable fish entrees were delicious.
Strawberries and raspberries are abundant in summer while currants, whether red, white, or champagne, have a short season, appearing for a brief time in July. If you get lucky, you might catch them in August.