Hello, my friends! Today, I’m sharing with you my first camping trip in a VERYYYY long time. My previous experiences had been in France (yay France!!), but sans tent, warm clothes, and hot food. Therefore, I associated camping with being cold, hungry, and tired. When my good friend Rad of The Snobby Foodie learned of my bad prior experiences, she decided we had to go camping with her and her lovely boyfriend Jeff.
I don’t have any camping gear. Luckily, Jeff had it all, and all we needed to bring was some clothes, food, and water to our luxurious campsite at Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park in Santa Cruz.
I’m breaking down this post into two categories: food and activities. Check Rad’s blog for what to pack when camping!
M. Cheesemonger and I ordered Cheese Plus sandwiches before heading out for the weekend. You’ve probably seen a lot of these sandwiches crop up on my Instagram feed; we got two Burrata Rockets with prosciutto, a Crissy Field (a classic turkey sandwich with bacon, provolone, tomato, arugula, aioli—sounds simple, but it is SO good), and a Chicken Little (lemon garlic chicken breast, bacon, roasted shallot blue cheese spread, pickled red onions, lettuce, tomatoes). Sadly, we did not get to eat the Chicken Little because it got thoroughly soaked in the cooler. That did not prevent M. Cheesemonger from spending the entire weekend valiantly trying to dry it out over the fire.
When Rad and Jeff rolled up to the campsite, I knew we were off to a good start because she brought Boba from her favorite San Jose spot, Tea Lyfe. Sugar rush!
After an afternoon of pitching our tents and then hiking around the magnificent redwood forests, we came back to a carful of food. Rad and Jeff REALLY take the food part of their camping seriously! Tate’s Bake Shop chocolate cookies [affiliate link] brought me back to life, while we warmed up our tastebuds with salsa from Whole Foods and Elevation Meats sour ale salami. Rad and Jeff had also made a hearty ratatouille with added pork and Vermont Creamery chèvre crumbles [affiliate link], and roasted corn. We got some s’mores going as well because being outside at night makes one cold and REALLY hungry! The s’mores went along really well with the rum that M. Cheesemonger heated up and lit on FIRE.
The following morning, M. Cheesemonger had planned for bacon and fried eggs on pumpernickel. And then, Thank goodness for propane-powered griddles. Rad and Jeff broke out their amazing espresso maker that plugs into the car, a Handpresso auto [affiliate link]. It was pretty dang good after a night spent outside.
After checking out of our campsite, we were . . . still hungry. So we stopped by Vung Tau II Vietnamese restaurant in Milpitas to introduce Rad and Jeff to the wide range of delicious that is my comfort food—banh khot (crispy/fluffy rice cakes topped with shrimp and scallions), thit kho (braised pork belly and egg), com tay cam (claypot fried rice), and hu tieu (noodle soup—that’s not pho).
Nothing works up an appetite like a camping trip. :)
Of course, we had to do something to keep active, so we went on some lovely hikes. We happened to be camping next to a redwood forest, so we explored that as much as possible. There was even a little train track with a tiny train that goes around the park!
That night, it was amazingly clear, so Rad and I thought we’d try our hand at some astrophotography. It was my first time, but I’m really happy with what I got!
True story: at first, we were having a really tough time getting our star photos to turn out. “This is NOT WORKING!” we both declared after about 5 minutes. “Oh hang on! My lens cap is on!” “Mine is on, too!” Can you believe it? We both forgot to take our lens caps off. What noobs. ^_^
Vung Tau II Vietnamese Restaurant (they have several locations). 1750 N Milpitas Blvd, Milpitas, CA 95035. Mon-Fri: 10AM–3PM, 5–9PM. Sat-Sun: 10AM–4PM, 5–9PM.
Cheese Plus. 2001 Polk St, San Francisco, CA 94109. 2001 Polk St, San Francisco, CA 94109. Mon-Fri: 10AM–7:30PM. Sat: 9AM-7:30PM. Sun: 9AM-7PM.
Tea Lyfe. 989 Story Rd #8018, San Jose, CA 95122. Tues-Sun: 12–10PM. Closed Mondays.