Yes, Pineapples come in Pink too

 If you want a pink pina colada there is a unique pineapple genetically modified, and bioengineered for you. Surprisingly it tastes just like pineapple, from the looks of it I was expecting more of a watermelon flavor.

Pinkglow Jewel of the Jungle®, as it's called, was created by Del Monte Fresh Produce, and is grown in Costa Rica. We saw it at 99 Ranch Market and decided to give it a try.

The box is pink and inside the box is a typical-looking pineapple, with the exception that the top is cut off (we presume they do that to prevent people from growing it in their garden).  Check out the pics below.

In Search of Dragons

My wife and I are food junkies. There are some opportunities that we sometimes cannot resist putting everything on hold to indulge ourselves. This past weekend our taste buds were perked up by the potential to revisit the taste of Dragon Fruit.

The first time we tasted the dragon fruit, we were in Hawaii and shopping in an ABC store. At the time I thought it was fun, but the delightful moist "egg" almost melts in your mouth.

Returning to the present, my wife found an Organic Dragon Fruit farm in Ramona, CA. It didn't take long for her to drag me into the car and head out on the road. 

While there we sampled 6 different Dragon Fruit from the front display table. It was nice to pick your favorite flavor. The coloring ranges from white, lavender, purple, and deep red. Some are sweet like a strawberry, the seeds are crunchy like a kiwi and have a soft texture. The final product was an explosion in our mouths.

The farm was organic, and the fruit was picked fresh off the vine. The fruit can last some time in the refrigerator but may lose some of the sweetness. The farmer also dehydrated Dragon Fruit, which was a sensation I had never had before, it was like a wafer made with taffy.

Here are photos of the Dragon Fruit Haul (my wife labeled the different varieties in the first photo):

Here is a photo from the tour we took around the property.

We found more fruit at the store (pictured below). The yellow-skinned Pitahaya fruit comes from Palora in the South American country of Ecuador. While the pitaya plant and its fruit have spines, they are removed before being distributed to the store for easy consumption. Pitahaya has white flesh similar in comparison to the Vietnamese Giant variant, however, the pitahaya is very sweet and juicy. 

Libraries and Pools of the Gigante Castle

We took a weekend trip to Avila Beach last week.  During our first trip to Avila Beach we found there wasn't a lot to do. So we made a one hour drive just North of San Simeon to see Hearst Castle up close (for my first time).

The Castle was named Casa Grande, by William Randolf Hearst himself. I believe it would be more appropriate to call it Casa Gigante. 

The outside of the structure was more of a facade in comparison to the medieval castles in Europe, but for good reason. The walls had to be poured concrete reinforced by rebar, covered by tile. This was in accordance with State engineering regulations. That way the Castle could stand up against earthquakes. 

Casa Grande stands perched above Highway 1. To get to the Castle you must take a bus from the visitors center. We paid for tickets to see the Upstairs Suites tour, because this took us through the two libraries, and upstairs celestial suite. My favorite parts of the tour are, the Main and Gothic libraries (see photos below). In my opinion they were more breathtaking than the pools, which were a close second.

The Main library held 4,100 books. This library was open for general use for his guests. The lamp light was warm, but I should emphasize the shadows probably made it hard to read (it was a cloudy day so sunshine was not pouring through the windows). Never the less it was cozy. I shouldn't forget to mention the ornate decor, including the ceiling. The Main library is decorated with ancient Greek vases.

The second library, was basically Hearst's private library adjacent to his bedroom. Known for the Gothic architecture, the vaulted ceiling and pointed archways.

The libraries are decorated with massive Persian rugs (probably over 30 feet long). Which we could appreciate from afar.

The tour further renewed in me a great appreciation for libraries. Library's not only serve as a source of information, but also a sanctuary for relief, and rejuvenation.

The tour was "book ended" by stops at the two iconic pools on the property. 

The Neptune pool.

and the indoor Roman pool or a "plunge" (for it's uniform depth of 10 feet).

 In my opinion the elegance of the pools surpasses any pool I've ever seen.

This is our view from the resort in Avila Beach overlooking the bay. The Central Coast of California is an often overlooked by state.

On The Wharf in Santa Barbara

 On our way to Avila Beach, we made a smart move by stopping in Santa Barbara. During a previous trip we saw there were fresh Uni (Japanese for Sea Urchin) at wholesale prices. That trip we unfortunately didn't get to indulge ourselves. 

This stop made a short detour off the 101. It took a bit of time to find parking, but we didn't stop for the sushi, which was overpriced to our dismay. Nevertheless, we waited in a short line and lucky for us we got a seat at the bar, where all the action was taking place.

Our first course was 6 raw scallops on a sliced lime and urchin on top. Yum. The Urchin shell was placed on the plate, and to our surprise the spines were still moving. 

We also got an abalone plate, but the main dish was rock crab (the cheaper of the 2 crab on the menu, the other being box crab). Per our request they also saved the tamale, in all it's fatty goodness, as you can see in this picture.

On the way back to the car I spotted a Mexican Fruit vendor, and I picked up a huge mango on a stick. It was sprinkled with tahin and drizzled with chamoy. It was a perfect desert ending to our brief stint in Santa Barbara.

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