El Buen Cacao and Dinner at La Casita in Idyllwild, CA

2/24/16 (Wednesday) in Banning, CA (Silent Valley Club Resort-ROD)

I’ve started doing my new DVD exercises in the morning, using our outdoor TV. Really nice. Then we began our research for a good restaurant in Idyllwild. No help from the first few campers we asked, then we go talking with a couple Lynne/Wayne from Ontario, Canada. They have a 2011 Journey that’s 40 feet long. We had such a good time it was past lunch time before we realized it. I noticed a camper nearby working outside, so I left our group to ask if he new of a good restaurant. His wife did, but she didn’t know it’s name. She got an answer from her uncle, but still, just directions and not a name. She looked it up on Google and found La Casita, so we went with that. I texted Peter/Janice it’s name and directions, then we scurried on home to get a quick bite for our late lunch. Supper was scheduled for 4:30, on the early side.

John had a great idea, to check out our TT Idyllwild campground and the city of Idyllwild while we were going that way anyway, so off we went.  We came up Hwy 243 while Peter and all came via Hwy 74, from the other side of the mountain.  Click on image to enlarge.


This campground is quite rustic, colder than where we are now (higher as well). The ranger said they had 3 feet of snow just a month ago. Lots of trees and small sites, not to mention rough, tight roads, so we felt this would be great if you had a small RV, but we wouldn’t be that comfortable staying here in our big rig. It’s about 6,000 feet up, I think.

Onward to Idyllwild, the town. Funky would be a good name for it. Lots of small, independent sort of shops. We had the best time at “El Buen Cacao”, there they make chocolate from the raw beans. This is pretty rare. They are in such a tiny building, the size of some people’s bathrooms, so you can see all their equipment. They even make sipping chocolate and Mexican chocolate. We bought 6 oz. bars of 90% cacao and 80% cacao (with nibs included for texture). We’re saving them for later-special treats at night.


Just after 4pm we heard from Peter/Janice. They were at La Casita already, so we walked back to our car and went to the restaurant. They do have excellent food (no hard liquor, which was a disappointment for Peter/Janice, they were looking forward to mojitos). We met their friends, Ted/Jan and all had a great time talking non stop. I’m afraid John and I hogged the conversation. Nevertheless we all parted as the sun was setting, with handshakes and promises to get together next year, around this time.

John drove pretty fast for this winding, steep mountain road, so we could get back before it was really dark. The scenery was beautiful with the lights of civilization twinkling below surrounded by mountain peaks and the orange sunset. Unfortunately we were pretty sure the camera couldn’t have done it justice.


About Patricia Elser

I've always loved the loose, flowing, transparent look of watercolors, of Chinese paintings and their calligraphy, but alas, no watercolor classes were available when I was in school, so that interest remained buried until my children were grown. Even then, I was afraid that I couldn't really paint, so upon my sister's advice, I actually started to take classes. I signed up for every class available, determined to learn no matter how afraid I was. I came upon a teacher, Stan Miller, who inspired me, who opened the door to success in watercolor. I love to look at beautiful images. I want to capture them forever. All my life, photography was how I gathered images of the beauty I saw. Thanks to all that photography, I enjoy composing pictures, especially up close. Watercolors allow me to add more of me in their translation of that beauty. My paintings reflect my love for music and dance, with their rhythm and flow. I am fascinated by the play of light, so it appears in my pictures as drama for they are filled with darks and lights. Maybe it's the challenge, maybe it's the beauty, but now, when a work comes together, it fills my soul.
This entry was posted in California and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to El Buen Cacao and Dinner at La Casita in Idyllwild, CA

  1. Zsuzsa Klush says:

    I like Idyllwild, we used to go up there to get away from the summer heat below. Used to tent camp around Toro Peak, there’s a dirt road going up there from Hwy 74 to Santa Rosa spring I think it’s called.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s