Monday, January 11, 2010

Birthday cake and sea animals...

My son just turned 12 on Saturday.  I can't believe he will be an official teenager next year. sob sob!
We surprised him with an overnight trip to Monterey, CA on Saturday.    We stopped in San Luis Obispo at the Big Sky Cafe for breakfast.  I had a really tasty mediterranean tofu scramble with potatoes.  My son had steel cut oats with cinnamon, brown sugar and soy milk. Before we left SLO we stopped to load up on some vegan chocolate at Sweet Earth Chocolates .  Our next stop was in San Simeon to take one of the tours at Hearst Castle.

The view is amazing from this huge place.  Check out this beautiful pool.  The employees get to enjoy the pool for one day at the end of summer.  Once we were done here we headed up to Pacific Grove, where we stayed the night.  We had dinner at a little Italian restaurant for the birthday boy and they brought out a gelato sorbet with a candle in it for his birthday dessert and everyone sang.  It was nice!!!

Below is the birthday cake I made for my son on Friday night.
This is my favorite chocolate cake recipe, it is super moist, from the Moosewood Cookbook.  I use apple sauce for half the oil. It is layered with chocolate mousse and a whipped chocolate ganache.

On Sunday we went to the Monterey Aquarium.
 The sea otters are too cute!  The otters they have are ones that they have rescued.  A few they released but ended up taking back because of their safety.  The older ones have been surrogates to the younger ones.  I'm not a big fan of having aquariums, my son had one quite a few years ago before I really understood that fish belong in the sea or lakes.  Just like birds belong in the open skies not in a small cage in our home just because we want them.  It is amazing to see up close these amazing creatures of the sea but at the same time it's sad that they are in such a small space.   I know some of the ocean life they have are rescued and they are doing research on how to save these creatures, learn more about them, teach people how to keep the ocean clean because of what it does to these wonderful sea creatures but at the same time there are those that don't really need to be there.
  There is a section of the Aquarium that is on  fishing nets and over fishing.  They show, shark, turtles and dolphins that are caught in these huge nets and how we can write letters to try and stop this type of fishing.  I noticed that instead of asking people to eat less of these fish they tell them what kind you should ask for when you go out to eat or when you purchase them at a market.  How many people really take to heart what they are seeing and reading here at the Aquarium?  There are all of these seafood restaurants surrounding the Aquarium that many of these people will go eat at after visiting it.  It's just kind of weird to me.  Anyways, like I said, it was amazing to see these cool looking creatures but we don't need to go back.

Our next trip up that way will be one spent hanging at the beach, bike riding and hiking some trails.  Can't wait until the weather is warmer!


  1. Happy Birthday to your son!! Holy cow that cake looks amazing!!!!! Youo wanna make me a birthday cake.. it's coming up!! :)

    Beautiful pictures!

  2. Lovely post. I got into the part where you went to the aquarium and I was just starting to say well she is vegan right? The thing is even when I went vegan I too did not think about the impact of zoos and stuff like that.It is silly how they tell you what types of fish you should eat before they say well reduce your consumption of fish. I never could understand how so called environmentalist and animal lovers still eat meat!

  3. at the monterey aquarium i think a few of the exhibits are open to the bay so the animals do come and go, right? i wish that were true for all the exhibits, but what can you do...happy birthday to your son!! that otter is so darn cute

  4. so awesome on surprising your son with the trip to Monterey! the castle is beautiful - and that pool is breath-taking! i'm kinda torn on aquariums as well. it's awesome that they can teach people and open their hearts and minds, but often times i think those intentions are lost. i wish it weren't like that. **sigh** your chocolate cake looks amazing - i'm all about the tasty inside shot. totally going to have to see if i can make that moosewood recipe gluten-free. it sounds so delicious! i look forward to reading all about your warmer weather adventures to come. hiking, beach lounging, and bike riding all sound super stellar!

  5. Happy birthday to your little boy! They do grow up so fast, huh? It sounds like a really fun celebration though, and a seriously delicious cake!