6:30pm – Dinnertime. Now, I know earlier I said that lunchtime at The Ranch was my favorite, but that’s because at the time of the post I had temporarily blocked the memories of the fantastic dinners from my mind (probably to better be able to focus on lunch). However, dinners at The Ranch are truly a unique experience, and the only meal there that isn’t served buffet style, and instead is brought to your table based on your selection from that day’s options. A typical dinner consists of both a soup and salad starter followed by a main course, and wrapped up with a delectable little dessert. But in typical Ranch fashion the food is anything but ordinary. While all the food is organic and picked daily fresh from their own gardens the chefs are able to create such distinct flavors that your taste buds literally think they have died and gone to food heaven. Honestly, now amount of explanations can even do it justice, so I hope that one day all of you can go there and experience it for yourself; but since a picture is worth a thousand words I will try to relay the art of their cooking that way.
Now, as I mentioned earlier in my previous post there is still an option to do a Cooking School Class. These are generally offered 2-3 times throughout the week, and you can either go at 11:00am, for lunch cooking, or for the 4:00pm time slot for dinner (personally I like this time better since I really hate to miss the 11:00am yoga class). Now the cooking class is 3.5 hours, and they do give you a tour of the gardens then as well, so if you don’t happen to make it to to one of the breakfast hikes then this is certainly a great option to view their whole kitchen/garden set up at La Cocina Que Canta. Also, unlike the Breakfast Hike, there is shuttle transportation that takes you to-and-from this kitchen (so rest assured you will not need to be hiking in your dinner attire). The week we were there the guest chef who taught at the Cooking School happened to be Joey Altman from San Francisco, CA (my home town!), so naturally I was very excited about that. Our cooking class consisted of the following items (as far as I can remember): 4 varieties of bruschetta – roasted beets on top of home made ricotta cheese, mayo-less egg salad, avocado hummus (or English pea guacamole, however you like to look at it), and a roasted eggplant dip; there was also grilled shrimp with cilantro lime Thai style noodles with peanut dressing, a quinoa based salad, grilled asparagus ‘fries’, grilled fresh white fish, and a slew of dressing and sides to chose from; oh and the dessert was a mango tart with homemade coconut sorbet. Absolutely delicious meal to say the least!! And to really get the cooking party started there was also a white sangria made from the freshest fruits, picked straight from the garden earlier that day. So, to fairly determine who will cook what component of the meal we drew different dishes from the meal from a basket; so, for this week’s meal I was in charge of making the Green Goddess Dressing, and my sister, Ellen, was on Emerald Noodle duty. And, if you’re anything like me, then you don’t have to worry about remembering any of the recipes because they give you copies of everything so you can literally take it all home with you!
8:00pm – Evening Activities. Every night, after dinner, The Ranch offers some kind of night time activity; this can involve anything from Guacamole and Sangria Night (generally on Mondays); to additional lectures from guest speakers, specialists, and presenters; to jewelry making and sculpting; to movie night. Or if you aren’t interested in doing any group activities, or happen to be all lectured out, then you can go and hang out in the rec room which has ping pong and pool tables. However, every week there is one EXTRA special activity — Bingo With Barry!! Now, I know Bingo doesn’t generally scream out FUN, FUN, FUN! (especially for a 24 year old), but that’s probably because you’ve never played it by Barry’s rules before. Unfortunately for me this time I was there Bingo night was on Thursday, and I was leaving Wednesday, but I have been before and I will go again because he is HILARIOUS, and turns the whole event into a comic show.
10:00pm – LIGHTS OUT!! By this point in the day you are so exhausted from all the working out, and everything else going on at The Ranch, that the only thing you want to do is weasel your way back to your little cabin and hangout with your pillow! (And maybe a book if you can find the strength to keep your eyes open long enough.)
Some last inspirational words from The Ranch to me, and from me to you.
For more information on Rancho La Puerta please visit their website: http://www.rancholapuerta.com/
And if this post inspires any of you to actually make your own trip down to visit The Ranch, then I would love to hear about it!!