Happy Cinco de Mayo!

Dear Friends, Foodies, and Fellow Adventurers,

Today is a day of celebration! And one of my all-time favorites. I’ll be making my most-loved shrimp tacos and dreaming of the wonderful times I’ve spent in Baja California and Oaxaca, Mexico. How will you celebrate this cultural fiesta? Cook an authentic Mexican meal? Don’t forget the margarita. Rumba the night away? Hire a mariachi band? Or, perhaps purchase a book on Mexican history. However you decide to spend the the Fifth of May this year, have a good and safe time!

But what exactly is Cinco de Mayo and what does it represent? Well, in 1862, during the time of the Battle of Puebla in Mexico, the United States was engaged in its own Civil War. … Cinco de Mayo was first celebrated in the United States in Southern California in 1863 as a show of solidarity with Mexico against French rule. (No offense to Gourmet Girl Denise living in the Loire Valley!)

Cinco de Mayo is probably one of the most celebrated holidays in the world, yet misunderstood. Many people think it is Mexican Independence Day, but it’s not. That is held on September 16th. Cinco de Mayo is an extremely important day in Mexican history. Everywhere in the U.S, we celebrate with parades, food, music, dancing, and, yes, drinking. In Mexico, the celebrations are mostly ceremonial, such as military parades. Seems a lot more in line with how it should be celebrated. Viva Mexico!

Now, for a bit on our latest camping adventure. Because of Covid, it’s nearly impossible to reserve a campsite this summer. State and county campgrounds are virtually full. I’ve mentioned and featured Hipcamps before. It was a secret to many, until recently when the New York Times published an article in their travel section on how to reserve a campsite at the last minute. And they mention Hipcamp! The good news is that Hipcamp added 6,500 campsites across the United States to its booking site in March alone, and it recently partnered with California State Parks to show real-time availability data at state-run campgrounds.

A couple of weeks ago we revisited a Hipcamp in the Buellton area: Freedog Farms. About a year has passed since we camped there before (it was the start of Covid), and they’ve been making improvements, configuring new campsites, and adding to their assortment of furry friends. They were a finalist in the best Hipcamps of 2021 in California. No surprise, really, because the hosts are absolutely charming and accommodating.

Hipcamps are eclectic, for sure!

The owners’ daughter is living on the property for the time being, and her dog, Merlin, became Abigail’s playmate. He is six months old (Abigail is three), at the time of this writing, and a mix of wolf, coyote, and husky. Each morning I’d wake up to Merlin outside my van waiting for his beloved Abigail. How sweet is that?

Breakfast time! And my disheveled self.

No trip to the Santa Ynez Valley is complete without a wine tasting adventure. I opted for Foxen Winery, one of my old stomping grounds. It’s a lovely 12-mile drive down Foxen Canyon Road to the new facility.

Everything was well-distanced and Covid compliant. Even Abigail enjoyed herself. That’s water in the glass, by the way. Staged photo!

The old Foxen tasting room (about a mile down the road) was a treasure, and I hope it opens up again soon.

Such a wonderful outing during Covid. I’m so thankful for being able to travel and feel protected!

Stay safe! Perhaps we’re almost out of the woods, but who knows. Be diligent, be respectful, and most of all, stay healthy.

Adventure on wherever you are!

Bon Appetit!

Gail, Denise, and Lindsey

#gourmetgirlsonfire

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