The Perfect Day…

The past couple of weeks have been a whirlwind of “to do” lists, traveling and general anxiety over getting everything done. I found that I had forgotten to actually “ENJOY” myself during my vacation. All of that changed yesterday. My girlfriend Kristen and I decided to go on another day trip adventure. A friend of hers had been to the High-Hand Conservatory in Loomis, CA and she thought it would be the perfect place for lunch. We met at Starbucks, mapped out our plan, and headed out.

Our first stop was to the Galleria Mall in Roseville, CA. We both had a little last minute shopping to do. We were in and out and then on our way to lunch.

High-Hand has the Conservatory Restaurant, a gorgeous nursery and an art gallery. 

The Conservatory showcases items sourced from many of Placer County’s small farms. We had some time before our 1:30 p.m. reservations, so we toured the nursery grounds.


We walked under an archway and I immediately loved the sign that hung above us.

I was drawn to the beautiful colors that filled the nursery – through sculpture, plants and flowers.

Not thinking I’d like to have a seat there 😉

We finally made our way into the restaurant and it was a food blogger/photographer’s dream. Let there be light! Glass, glass and more glass.

We sat at a table that overlooked the outdoor patio area. I definitely would like to go back when the weather is warmer, the outdoor seating options were fabulous.

We looked over the menu and couldn’t decide what to get. We ended up both ordering the same soup, sharing an appetizer and 1/2 sandwiches – except I forgot to say 1/2 for mine, whoops!

First up – Warm Goat Cheese Toasts with Arugula Pesto, Almonds and Pickled Beets – OMG! The pickled beets were incredible. I could have eaten this dish for my main meal.

Second up – Soup was served… Chickpea with Chard, Orzo, Garlic and Fresh Rosemary – another score! The flavor was spot on and the garlic bread… oh yes!

I will be re-creating this soup at home.

Third up – I ordered the Slow Roasted BBQ Chicken with Sweet Onions and House-made BBQ Sauce. I had a side dish choice of a slaw, zucchini salad or potato salad. I chose the zucchini salad. Zucchini, feta, kalamata olives, shredded carrots and a killer dressing – topped with delicious homemade pickles.

I took 3 bites of the salad and two bites of the sandwich. Then I realized how full I was. I haven’t been eating very much this past week – mostly due to forgetting to eat because I’ve been running around so much. I ended up getting a “to go” box and Dan ate it for dinner.

Kristen ordered the Rotisserie Tri Tip Sandwich with House-made Blue Cheese Dressing and Avocado. She shared the same full factor – so she took hers home to have for dinner. I did get a small taste of the tri-tip and it was great!

After lunch we wandered back through the nursery and into the packing sheds to check out the store and art gallery.

Wandering through the art gallery made me miss my college days. The best part of my time as a studio art major was putting some of my work in student art galleries and getting to see all of my college art buddies doing the same. I spent hours and hours in the woodshop, at the foundry, in glass blowing, photography, life drawing, painting and jewelry making classes… Good times and great memories for sure. 

We left the art gallery and I realized that I had forgotten to grab a menu to copy down what we ordered for lunch. I made my way back through the nursery grounds, grabbed a menu, and headed back to the car. On my way back, I noticed the sign at the entrance had a different message on the back.

The garden and the day definitely grabbed me. It reminded me that there is so much more to life than the Christmas madness. Spending time with an amazing friend – surrounded by beautiful grounds and wonderful food –  was just what I needed. One of my New Year’s resolutions is going to be to slow down and enjoy life a little more. I tend to make a mental list each day and I’m more interested in checking things off than actually spending time soaking it all in. My camera is helping me realize just how much I’ve been missing.

Kristen and I exchanged gifts back at my house and then headed out to look at Christmas lights and stumbled upon a magical place. I’ll be writing about that in my next post.

Until then, I have some last minute wrapping to do and then I’m off to my Mom and Dad’s to celebrate Christmas Eve with my awesome family and a wonderful dinner.

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    • Pod on December 24, 2010 at 9:46 am

    Beautiful pictures. Definately a place we need to visit sometime along the way. Thanks so much for sharing. See you tonite.

      • foodiddy on December 24, 2010 at 10:49 am

      Thanks Pod – for sure looking forward to tonight. All wrapped and ready to roll. xoxo

    • Mommers on December 24, 2010 at 9:54 am

    What a find and almost in our backyard. We will definitely be going there in the near future or at least the spring.

    I like your new resolution………time to stop and smell the daisies and enjoy life more. It sure has been working for me…….one of the many blessings of retirement.

    See you soon………….Hugs, Mommers

      • foodiddy on December 24, 2010 at 10:49 am

      You and Pod would really like the place and yes, time to stop and smell the daisies for sure. Love you.

    • Todd on December 24, 2010 at 10:20 am

    You have some nice pictures here. The one with all the mushrooms is my fav of the bunch. The artwork photos came out good too, thanks to some great available light no doubt.

    Glad you had a fun, relaxing day. I’ve been working on things all week but in moderation. I’m getting stuff done but I’m enjoying the break as well. Lot’s of movies, Rock Band, surfing the net, etc. Meanwhile, I still did some chores, worked on my website, contacted some clients, etc.

      • foodiddy on December 24, 2010 at 10:48 am

      Thanks Todd! Yes, the lighting for the artwork came from a huge open barn door – tons of daylight and spot lights throughout. Definitely makes a huge difference… and there were also mad skillz involved yo! 🙂

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