Tuesday, July 16, 2019

A Night and a Day in Morro Bay, CA

A Night and a Day in Morro Bay, CA
By Kathleen Berry, Lifestyle Editor, Edible Skinny

When faced with a Sunday drive from LA to Benicia, a minimum of five and a half hours, my sister and I decided to make it a three day weekend by stopping over in Morro Bay. Morro Bay is a waterfront city in San Luis Obispo County, California located along California State Route 1 on California's Central Coast.

The weather in LA was perfect so we had a leisurely brunch at Shutters - highly recommended - followed by a stroll on the beach at Santa Monica, and because of this we didn’t hit the freeway until four in the afternoon. We arrived after dark in Morro Bay and went straight to our lodgings at The Inn at Morro Bay. The Inn is a sprawling complex of smaller buildings, each with parking. It was April, off season, so we went for a waterfront room at a great price. We arrived just in time to catch a late dinner at the restaurant in the main building. The menu was not large but had plenty of tempting choices. The service was good, the food was delicious, and the fire we sat in front of was perfect for a chilly evening.

We woke up to a foggy morning. In front of our room was a myriad of sailboats bobbing on their moorings and a view of the famous Morro Rock. As we ate breakfast in the lodge overlooking the water, the weather cleared and the enormity and majesty of the Rock was revealed. We packed quickly and proceeded through town to Morro Bay State Park. As we approached the Rock just seemed to get bigger and bigger until it appeared to tower over the entire town. It’s a very tall: 576 feet high. We first went to the north side of the park where surfers, people with their dogs and even horseback riders populated a beautiful long curve of white sand beach. The water sparkled in the sun and the surf was moderate with gently breaking waves. If it had been 80 degrees I would have gone for a swim.

After basking in the sun and enjoying the action taking place on the beach, we moved to the south side of the Rock. There a breakwater forms a protected entrance to the harbor that fronts the town. Here we were treated to the antics of several groups of sea otters and also a seal. The man parked next to us was spearfishing and having some success. Boats came and went. There was a sightseeing boat that carefully moved alongside the otters so the tourists could have a close-up view. We just sat on a bench and took in the sights. The park was peaceful and quiet as it was a Monday and the kids were still in school.

We hated to leave but we were headed to Elephant Seal Beach further up the coast just past San Simeon and then to Monterey for a seafood dinner. The elephant seals are always a sight to see piled on top of one another, flinging sand on themselves to stay cool, and grunting and barking at each other if one of them decides he has to move. We didn’t arrive in Monterrey until the evening as we took the long and winding Big Sur coast road with its unparalleled views of cliffs, boulders, and ocean. It was well worth the trip. At Monterey we picked a restaurant at random and had dinner at Schooners Coastal Kitchen, which is well hidden inside the Monterey Plaza Hotel. It is on historic Cannery Row overlooking the bay. The salmon was outstanding and the swordfish, surprisingly cooked in a tomato sauce, had a great combination of flavors.

Our brief night and day stay was over and it was time to hit the road for the remainder of the ride back home to Benicia. We slid through San Jose at 9:30 p.m., avoiding the normal congestion and traffic, and it was an easy drive the rest of the way. We arrived home tired but refreshed by our day by the sea. Salt air, sunshine, the sound of the sea, without the crowds - that’s Morro Bay on a sunny April day. You can’t beat it.

Kathleen Berry is an adventurous senior who loves to travel. She recently moved to the San Francisco Bay area from the Jersey Shore. She has traveled extensively on both shoestring budgets and go for broke grand scale. She is fond of cruising and has shipped out on various cruise lines from a variety of ports. She truly believes the way to find the best local food is to always ask a local.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Lab Tested for Purity: Specialty Curated Vino with Dry Farm Wines

Lab Tested for Purity: Specialty Curated Vino with Dry Farm Wines
By Omid Vojdani, Health & Wellness Editor, Edible Skinny 

Wine. Like most people, I hated it at first, unable to detect the subtle nuances in flavor. Notes of cherry and a hint of tobacco? More like alcohol forward rotten grape juice, right? But, with some exploration and experience, I started to be able to understand enough to know that I don't like fruity Cabs, but I do like a really dry Sauvignon Blanc (just like I like my beer).

But just like beer, there was always a problem: the inevitable sluggishness the next day. Someone once told me that drinking was akin to borrowing happiness from the next day; the more you drink, the more 'unhappy' you are the next morning. This was always a big problem for me, being a health nut. It always felt like I had to choose between health and one of my favorite vices.

Because the fact of the matter is if you want to be healthy, there's only two basic rules to follow: do less of the things that make you feel weak, and do more of the things that make you feel awesome.  The challenge is that those rules are in order. You can't take supplements and undo a bad diet and no exercise. And no amount of water and activated charcoal is going to undo the inevitable hangover caused by drinking cheap wine.

Like I mentioned, this was a problem for me. Here's where the Napa based Dry Farm Wines comes in. Dry Farm Wines is a specially curated list of wines from around the world that are shipped directly to your home on a subscription basis. Todd White, the CEO, lab tests wines from around the world to make sure every bottle of wine sent out is as close to 'healthy' wine as we can get.

What makes a wine healthy? I won't list all of the criteria Todd goes for (find the whole list on their website), but things like: low alcohol and sulfites, less than 1g of sugar per liter, mold toxin free, no added chemicals to the wine making process, and of course no irrigation (dry farms, get it?). Combine wine like that with drinking low to moderate amounts, and you can enjoy your vice like me and borrow a LOT less happiness from tomorrow. How much less? Well, I put it to the test and had two bottles in the same night, and the next morning felt completely fine. Like I said, though, drink responsibly.

Why does all that lab testing and criteria matter? Well, I did some digging myself after feeling the difference, and was shocked to find just how poorly wine is regulated on the shelves in the states. Just one example: wine makers are allowed legally to add hundreds of different chemicals and other additives to the wine making process. Most of these are used in the cheaper wines to make the process faster and easier to mass produce, but the reality is this: don't be so quick to explain away a headache to too much wine, or the sulfites. There's a good chance that one or more of these additives could be causing you health problems that we feel as a hangover.

OK, healthy wine, I get it. Obvious next question: how do they taste? So far, I can safely say there is just as much variation in the taste with Dry Farm Wines as what you'd get from commercial wines at your local store. For example, one of the bottles in the box I received was a Rosé that was just unbelievable. But, there was also a bottle of a Sauvigon Blanc that I didn't care for much (didn't stop me from drinking the whole thing, just a little too sweet for my taste buds). The third bottle was a Bordeaux that I thought was pretty good, but my wife absolutely loved. To each their own, but I'm confident you'll find something you like in each box.

Now, the last point I'll make about Dry Farm Wines. This ain't your Two Buck Chuck wine, but nor is it the $500 bottle you save for a special occasion. With the subscription, the bottles will range between $15-25 each, some being less expensive and some being more. For my wife and I, we take our health quite seriously, and for us it's worth being able to enjoy a vice knowing we're following rule 1 of health.

In closing, Dry Farm Wines is curated healthy wine, lab tested and shipped to you each month, all for around $20 per bottle. This might not be for every wine drinker out there, but if you're like me and want to turn a vice into a healthy beverage, check out www.dryfarmwines.com for more info. Now if only they could do the same thing with beer…

Omid Vojdani is a health and wellness expert with over 10 years of hands on experience focusing on injury rehabilitation, postural alignment therapy, relationship counseling, and spiritual growth. You can find more info at succeedwithomid.com

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Soaking It Up: The Enchanting Healing Waters of Glen Ivy Hot Springs

Soaking It Up: The Enchanting Healing Waters of Glen Ivy Hot Springs
By Kat Thomas, Edible Skinny

“Work. Don't Think. Relax.” 
― Ray Bradbury

A few weeks ago Edible Skinny was lucky enough to encounter the enchanting healing waters of Glen Ivy Hot Springs, a world class spa retreat located in Corona, California (less than an hour away from Los Angeles… depending on traffic...).  For generations people have flocked to this rare oasis of wellbeing in SoCal.  A spa destination since 1860 (that’s right people, I said 1860!!!), it’s the ultimate co-ed place to connect, escape, and rejuvenate with 17 pools, healthy cuisine, and activities galore.  There’s nothing quite like the Glen Ivy experience with Hydrotherapy including Mineral Baths, Hot and Cold Plunges, and Saline Pools; a famously fabulous Grotto where you’re painted head to toe in a Eucalyptus, Shea Butter, Coconut Oil Concoction, and Therapeutic Red Clay Mineral Mud Baths.

Long long ago, the natural mineral springs and oaken forest at the foot of the Santa Ana Mountains served as a peaceful sanctuary for generations of indigenous people who gathered in search of healing and tranquility.  Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States, was campaigning for Highest Office in the Country the year that Glen Ivy Hot Springs was first advertised in the Los Angeles Star.  The first country inn to carry the Glen Ivy Hot Springs (aka the Temescal Sulphur Springs, as Glen Ivy Hot Springs, was known prior to the 1880s) was constructed in 1870.  At this time, the price of a swim in the mineral waters was just 25 Cents, which included a bathing suit and towel! ;-)

A couple of details about modern day Glen Ivy Hot Springs.  The majority of the spa experience is outside, so you dress as if you’re going to the beach, pool, or spa.  Prices run you between $55 (Weekdays) to $75 (Weekend and Holidays).  Right now they’re in premium season so reservations are STRONGLY suggested!  And Hello Thrifty; parking is FREE (take that Los Angeles!).  Guests are encouraged to wear a dark colored or older bathing suit (as some of the treatments have a tendency to discolor fabrics) and sandals that can get wet.  Also most of the spa is Co-Ed, so if you’re modest make sure to also pack a cover up!  No outside food or drink is allowed on the grounds as there’s multiple restaurants and bars at Glen Ivy Hot Springs including: the Ivy Kitchen, the Starbucks based GoCo Cafe, the juice and smoothie based Chill Zone, and outdoor cabana bar The Lounge 1860.  Water fountains are located throughout the space and utilized pure Glen Ivy well water! ;-)

And now on to the experience itself!  Hydrotherapy is the name of the game at Glen Ivy Hot Springs with 17 different pool options.  It’s nothing new as the therapeutic use of water has been recorded in ancient Egyptian, Greek (Hippocrates prescribed bathing in spring water for sickness), and Roman civilizations.  Egyptian royalty bathed with essential oils and flowers, while Romans had communal public baths for their citizens.

And now that the history lesson is over with… First a foremost, Glen Ivy is known for their thermal mineral waters that are naturally heated by the earth’s core (Science!!!).  Water travels through the depths of geological time, dissolving minerals, and emerging as a spring with a unique chemical composition that can hydrate and heal.  With a naturally occurring temperature of 103 Degrees, warm mineral water open pores allowing minerals to absorb into the skin while imparting warmth to soothe joints and muscles.  The sulphur scent is a sign of the inherent minerals such as sodium sulfate and sodium carbonate and the visible white particles are traces of calcium and magnesium.

Along with the Mineral Baths, one of the other pool standouts of Glen Ivy Hot Springs is their Hot and Cold Plunges.  Hot/Cold Hydrotherapy increases circulation, boosts the immune system, and leaves you feeling invigorated.  Varying hot and cold temperatures can help dilute and constrict blood vessels to encourage blood flow and strengthens the immune system.  Warm water soothes aching muscles while cold water increases circulation and contracts muscles to eliminate toxins.  Additionally, cold water strengthens mucous membranes to help resist hay fever, allergies, coughs, and colds.  Spend up to 5 minutes in the hot pool (102 Degrees), then move carefully to the cold pool (67 Degrees) for 45-60 seconds for a stimulating contrast.  Repeat up to five times for maximum benefits!  And then there’s the Saline Pool (with a temperature of 104 Degrees).  Epsom salt, a naturally occurring pure mineral compound of magnesium and sulfate is known to relax the nervous system, alleviate many skin problems, soothe back pain, and muscle strain, treat colds and congestion, all while drawing toxins from the body.   Absorption of magnesium can reduce inflammation, aid in muscles and serve nerve functions, and prevent artery hardening.  Sulfate aids in the absorption of nutrients can ease migraine headaches and helps to eliminate toxins.

Then it was off to Glen Ivy’s famously fabulous Grotto...  Me and about seven other guests descended into the cave-like surroundings of The Grotto for a ritual that moisturizes and refreshes sun-drenched skin all for just a $30 Add-On.  First discovered in ancient Rome, grottos were recognized as peaceful escapes from the outside world.  The Italians used the abundance of natural moisture of grottos to create hydrating bath houses.  Similarly the French, sought out these cool subterranean caves from the blazing summer heat.

Once below ground we were painted neck-to-toe with a warm aloe vera, coconut oil, eucalyptus, shea butter, and lavender masque.  We then filed into the gently heated cavern where this silky formula soaked further into our skin as our body heated up (resulting in our pores opening up). Unlike most spa treatments, what makes the Grotto is that it can be enjoyed in a group or with friends.  It is a spa treatment, and Glen Ivy expects you keep your voices to a whisper in the Grotto (something we definitely got an L on…).  Twenty minutes later I was toasty enough to step into the next room to rinse off under cascading water before moving into the final, cooler grotto to relax with tea, water and green apples.

The irony is that after being cleansed in the Grotto I headed straight back to being Dirty (TOTALLY the Kat Thomas way…)!  “Club Mud” is California’s original therapeutic red clay mineral mud bath (perhaps you saw Tim Robbins do it in the movie “The Player”).  This was by far my AB FAB FAVORITE part of Glen Ivy Hot Springs!!!  The red clay mineral mud is formed using dry powder clay found in Temescal Valley and is mixed with Glen Ivy naturally occuring mineral water.  The Mud Bath is filled with fresh thermal water every morning for cleanliness and guests’ health.  Clay and mud masks have been used for centuries to remove impurities from the skin and leave it looking clearer and healthier.  These simple formulas can help unclog pores, control oil, and improve skin’s overall appearance.  Just note, due to the intense color of their red mud, Glen Ivy recommends using an older dark colored swimsuit.  Also please take care with silver jewelry as it will tarnish!

So here’s to life being delicious, all your moments being postcardworthy, and getting fabulously dirty at Club Mud! ;-)

Kat Thomas is the Editor in Chief of Edible Skinny, a site dedicated to making your life postcard worthy. She is also the CEO of the creative media company This Way Adventures. You can find more about both brands at: http://www.thiswayadventures.com