Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Road Trip :: Central Coast Photography

     Nothing quite fuels the desire to go on a road trip like the longing for a nice juicy steak.  One of my friends recommended a place called Jocko's in Nipomo, CA and I decided to use one of the days between Christmas and New Year's to fulfill this dream of having Jocko's.  I decided to make a day of shooting out of it and tried to find places to stop at along the way.  

     First stop - Carpinteria Beach.  This was a total fail.  I should've thought about what time of day it would've been when we arrived here.  My exif data says I took this photo at 9:43 am and we left the house at 7:30 am.  Don't ask me how fast I was driving. 

     While the beach wasn't too crowded, I didn't think it was worth the $10 admission price to shoot when the light wasn't what I preferred.  However, I still enjoyed walking around the beach taking photos, and also using my new Smatree and Manfrotto tripods (more on those later).  

     There was a very thick haze on the beach.  I decided to just go with it and let it blow out some of the photos.

     For this trip, I decided to take my Peak Design Everyday Sling bag.  You can check out my initial review of this bag here.  I knew I'd be changing between the 3 lenses (35mm, 50mm, 135mm) I brought along quite a bit, so the sling seemed like a better choice than my Everyday backpack.  I really love how easy it is to get inside my bag and access my wallet (or whatever else I'm looking for) since there are so many practical organizational pockets. 

     Next stop - Solvang.  Around 11:45 am, we found ourselves in Solvang, CA.  I've been to Solvang a handful of times before, but it was quite a different experience this time around.  If my memory serves me correctly, my previous trips here all happened when the town was about to close up shop.  Most of the stores were closed, and there were very few people around.  This time, it was the complete opposite.  If you've never been to Solvang, it's basically a little Danish town a bit inland on the central coast.  If you love Christmas, you MUST come here during Christmas time.  We were very lucky, because the whole town was still decked out in its Christmas gear, and it kind of feels like you are walking through a little storybook land.  

     You know I need this sign in my life.

     There are a lot of Danish bakeries scattered throughout.  Right after this one is Paula's Pancake House.  It was BUSY.  The line was so long, I didn't dare consider eating there.  I actually went through my old photos, and it turns out I've eaten at Paula's Pancake House before.  That's the beauty of photography - it really remembers when my memory can't.  :)

     We decided to get our pastries from Mortensen's Bakery.  It was also very crowded, but my friend who recommended Jocko's also recommended Mortensen's so we had to stop here.

     I loved all the Christmas trees. Everywhere.  

     We ended up getting the blueberry danish, the raspberry cream cheese danish, and this kringle-like thing that the lady assured us was just like kringle, minus the raisins.  They were ALL delicious.  All three of these and my Diet Coke were about $15.  They were delicious, but I wouldn't say they were $15 delicious.  Maybe $10 delicious?  That's right, I rate food by how much I'm willing to pay to eat it again. 

     Viking Santa.

     We popped into this Swedish Candy Factory just to have a look.  I ended up buying some of their raspberry candy.  It was so GOOD.  This lady gave me a sample to try, and I was sold.  It ended up melting on the way home, but I still ate it throughout the week because it was that tasty.

     This shelf reminded me of Europe. :'(

     I know many of the people we saw were tourists and these dogs probably belonged to tourists as well, but there were a lot of people who appeared to be locals out and about with their dogs.  Dogs everywhere!  I made a mental note to retire near Solvang... because dogs.

     How cute is this little inn that has bikes you can take for a ride around the town.  So cute!

     This little shop is a real gem.  Apparently they do Christmas all year round here, so if you're itching for some Christmas feels, this is your place!  

     Yeah, you know this had to be added to my collection!  I was so happy to find this to add to my camera ornament stash.  I also picked up some little yellow wooden shoes that I turned into an ornament.

     Next stop - Pismo Beach.  We arrived in Pismo around 3pm.  Since our dinner reservation wasn't until 4:45 pm, and Nipomo was only a 12 mile drive away, this gave me some time to take some photos here.  I love the central coast beach towns.  They are more laid back, just as pretty as some of the SoCal beaches, except not as busy.

     At one point, the tide was coming in slowly and it created this glassy look on the sand, which in turn reflected the great clouds in the sky that day.  I loved the effect of it.  Unfortunately, my photos don't even do it any justice.  It reminded me of this amazing sunset I once saw out at Salton Sea, but minus the 99% humidity LOL.

     Last stop - Nipomo.  Here is Jocko's in all its glory.  The exterior (and interior) is nothing to write home about, however if you're a steak person, I can vouch for their steak.  If you end up going, make sure you make a reservation - they fill up quickly!

     You can also go around to the back and check out their pit where they cook the steaks, too.  The steaks are HUGE.  

     It's pretty dim inside Jocko's.  The inside resembles a 1980s cafeteria.  No joke. 

     For those of you interested in this dinner, for $32 you get:
  • about 20 oz ribeye steak
  • crackers and salsa
  • salad
  • relish plate
  • choice of baked potato or steamed rice
  • beans
  • garlic bread
  • ice cream
  • soft drink with one free refill (correction - it does not include a soft drink)
  • coffee

I've been to Morton's and Ruth's Chris, and aside from ambience, they cannot beat Jocko's when it comes to the actual steak and overall meal quality and value.  I guess you could say that I $32 liked it. 

     We left Jocko's around 7 pm and were home by 10:30 pm.  It definitely felt like a long day, but I think we covered a lot of ground considering we were home by 10:30 pm.  Being on the central coast definitely sparked my desire to take a road trip out to Big Sur again.  One thing I know for sure is that if I head out to Big Sur, there will be a stop in Nipomo. ;)