By Sandy Zimmerman
(Photos by Encinitas, California Tourism)
Encinitas, California is home to the beautiful Quail Botanical Gardens. You won’t be able to see the entire 30 acres in one day!
Quail combines plants of 15 bio-geographic regions and features rare bamboo groves, desert gardens, a tropical rainforest, California plants, Mediterranean landscapes, and a subtropical fruit garden.
One of the most fascinating sections of the gardens, the Lilly Pond’s Amazon water Lilly’s leaves grow up to 5’ wide and can hold a person weighing 100 pounds. Another interesting exhibit is the world’s largest flower, the rare Corpse Flower from Sumatra, Indonesia. Growing up to 6’ tall, this flower emits a pungent smell.
Their Bamboo Gardens feature 100 different types of bamboo, more than in any other public garden in North America. Quail Gardens is active in the conservation of rare, threatened and endangered plant species. Walk along scenic nature trails from one region to the next.
Their waterfalls rise 3 stories high and are surrounded by orchards. This and several other sections of the gardens are used as settings for weddings.
Special events are scheduled throughout the year:
The Garden of Lights transforms evenings into a winter wonderland with twinkling lights, holiday music, horse-drawn wagon rides, crafts for kids, and marshmallow roasting (December 9-12, 16-23, 26-30, 5-9). Also the Family Chocolate Festival (May), concerts on the lawn (July & August), plant and bamboo sales (spring & fall), and fundraisers.
The Insect Fair runs 3 days of programs about the roles insects play in agriculture as well as in our daily lives (fall). For information call (760)-436-3036, 230 Quail Gardens Drive. www.qbgardens.org
Encinitas has fabulous restaurants! Cilantro’s by the Sea Restaurant’s Executive Chef Brent Calley creates original coastal southwestern cuisine with a flair! He is happy to see the smiles on the diner’s faces when they eat his food.
The tapas, or appetizers, should be shared between 2 or more people to really experience several different tastes. Have you ever heard of a duck tamale or ahi tacos? These are just 2 of the 18 exciting tapas available.
The New York steak salad includes avocados, tomatoes, romaine lettuce, brie cheese, and flatbread. All meats are certified Angus beef, and the 10 ounce New York steaks are marinated with red wine vinegar, rosemary, garlic, oregano, black peppercorns, shallots, bay leaves, and extra virgin olive oil. They are grilled and served with smoked cheddar-potato gratin, and Zinfandel sauce. You don’t need a knife!
The Argentinian pink prawns are prepared with red peppers, sundried tomatoes, white wine, basil, oregano, Kalamata olives, braised artichokes, and spinach in a provincial Mediterranean French sauce.
Enjoy the live jazz combo Wednesdays, 7:30-10:30 P. M., happy hours daily 4-7 P. M. Located in the colonial-style Lumber Yard Shopping Center, 937 South Coast Highway, along historic Highway 101, (760)-633-1227.
Call the Encinitas Chamber of Commerce for FREE information about historic buildings, maps, dining, discounts on attractions tickets, and calendar of events, (800)-953-6041. www.encinitaschamber.com