Thursday, July 5, 2012

Grilling and Hiking on Independence Day

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Muggy view of downtown San Jose from Alum Rock Park.
Living in California is awesome 99.9% of the time. The other 0.1% of time, I yearn for more outdoor space so we can enjoy it all by cooking and eating outside all summer long. I'm still buying lottery tickets, but until we hit that jackpot, we have to head out to grill and picnic. It's usually problematic because a lot of the county parks do not have enough dedicated picnic areas or prohibit open flames, but after VB's very diligent searching, we found Alum Rock Park in San Jose. When VB told me that Alum Rock Park is the oldest city park in California, I immediately thought of swing sets and manicured lawn dotting by sad young saplings striving to become great big trees someday. But Alum Rock Park was none of that. It's got trails that lead to majestic view of downtown San Jose, lots of shade from mature trees and, best of all, many grilling and picnic areas.

I prepared some tofu kebobs ahead of time and marinated overnight with a sweet chile sauce, which was made by simply combining 4 chopped Thai red chilies, 1 tablespoon grated ginger, 1 tablespoon grated garlic (about 4 cloves), 1 tablespoon soy sauce, 1/2 cup sugar and 1 cup white vinegar.

We also grilled some corn, jalapeno peppers, pineapples and homemade black bean burgers. The black bean burgers were topped with pineapple and jalapeno peppers for a sweet and spicy sandwich.

After lunch, we went on a hike and were treated to great scenery.

But it was getting oppressively hot and I felt the sunscreen melting off my face. So we heat out to Alviso Marina County Park for a change of scenery.

Alviso is an old cannery town by the Bay. Not much is left besides this marina, salt ponds and trains occasionally rolling by on the Amtrak rail. The salty cool breeze was really welcoming after being out in the blazing sun for the whole afternoon.

Happy 4th and hope you had a great Independence Day as well!

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