One morning Thatboy woke up and told me he wanted to spend the day in Fallbrook, a town north of San Diego. It was an odd request. Not that we had never been to Fallbrook before, but our previous trips have always been with a destination in mind - a brewery, a trail for hiking, or even just fruit picking. When I asked what he wanted to do in Fallbrook? He had no idea.
A couple months ago the San Diego Moms Blog had a meetup at Myrtle Creek Botanical Gardens. I didn't go, but the gardens themselves sounded awesome, and so I floated that idea to Thatboy. He was all in.
The garden is the perfect place to take two boys - there are so many different areas to explore and lots of room to run around.
Happy Goat Mountain was open - and my children were so excited to watch the goats cross back and forth over their bridge. They were even more excited to go in and feed the goats.
Of course, after a good goat feed, you need to make sure to wash your hands. With this fun "sink" it might be the first time I didn't have to ask my kids twice to wash their hands.
There were some fun photo ops on the property too. My kids never shy away from those "stick your head in a hole" photo ops.
The people who run the place are also so kind. They let us in on a little secret - there's a pecan tree on the property, and we could take home any pecans we found on the ground under the tree. My boys were so excited to go pecan hunting.
One of the things I liked best was the on-site cafe - Cafe Bloom. They pack up your lunch in a picnic basket and you can eat it anywhere on the property. We ate our lunches on a deck beside the creek.
The menu itself was small - which I never mind when there's food for everyone. The boys made short work with their turkey sandwiches, and I opted for the melon salad. Melon? In January? I was dubious, but it sounded so good! Tuscan melon, watermelon, feta, almonds, Nueske bacon with a honey mint vinaigrette. It was perfect, and such fantastic picnic fare.
I decided to recreate a version at home. Not with melon, because really, I knew I wouldn't be able to get good melon. Instead I subbed in blackberries and blueberries, which are plentiful and delicious right now. I know. Berries? In January? But they're crazy cheap and crazy sweet. In fact, this salad was so much better with the berries! I now want to put blackberries in everything.
1/2 cup olive oil
1/3 cup white wine vinegar
2 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp fresh mint, chopped
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 head romaine lettuce, chopped
1/2 cup blackberries
1/4 cup blueberries
1/4 cup pecans
2 oz feta, crumbled
2 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled
- Whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, honey, mint, and Dijon.
- Add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, toss the lettuce, berries, and pecans.
- Sprinkle feta and bacon on top.
- Drizzle with the dressing.