A Day In The Life

by Johnny

Lately I’ve been getting a ton of emails asking, “Johnny, what are the five best days of your life?”  No, not really.  But I’m going to tell you anyways.  Here they are, in chronological order.

July 11, 1989 – Anaheim, CA:  1989 MLB All-Star game at Angel Stadium with my dad, Grandpa Joe and Papa; Bo Jackson crushes lead-off homer to center field.

July 20, 1998 – Ventura, CA:  My first Phish concert at Ventura County Fairgrounds; monster 21-minute, funked out “Bathtub Gin” opener had me hook, line and sinker (pun intended).

August 14, 2004 – San Francisco, CA:  I move to San Francisco and start work; feel truly independent for the first time and lucky to live in my favorite city on the planet.

August 15, 2009 – Santa Ynez, CA:  My wedding day; best party of my life.

September 3, 2011 – Hvar, Croatia:  See below.

I’m just kidding.  I couldn’t possibly rank the best days of my life, but today was definitely up there…one of the more memorable ones of this trip for sure.  Now, if you only check in on this blog once in a while, you may have the impression that our trip is full of lavish meals and endless wine drinking.  That’s far from the truth.  It’s actually full of cheap meals and endless wine drinking.  Just kidding again…Johnny’s on fire!  Actually, most days we make a tea and have some granola in our room for breakfast, wander around town, have a baguette and some fruit for lunch, wander some more, make some pasta or find a relatively cheap restaurant for dinner, wander again, go to bed and then have leftover pasta for three meals the following day.  Well, after a few days of this routine here in Hvar, Croatia, we decided to treat ourselves to something special.

Our day started like most do with some granola for breakfast on our deck, and since awesome decks are commonplace here in Croatia we were spoiled with a fantastic view.  We ran out of our usual green tea, so we decided to get some kava (coffee) in the old town (what a treat!) and found a tiny, authentic coffee shop.  The shop has been in the same family for generations, and the woman who runs the place still uses her grandma’s original recipes.  We enjoyed our coffee sitting on some cushions on old stone steps.

Coffee break

When Anna and I talk about “treating ourselves,” it basically means we search out some unknown restaurant with incredible food and stuff our faces.  Today was no different.  We had read on some foodie blog about a restaurant called Dionis located somewhere in Pakleni group of islands right off of Hvar.  We called ahead because it’s encouraged to make reservations…not because it’s overly popular but because they need to know how much food they are going to make that day.  We jotted down some confusing directions from the blog and grabbed a 30 minute taxi boat over to the cove of Palmizana on the island of St. Clement.  While this may seem like a lot of effort just for a bite to eat, this was only the beginning of our journey.  Our directions basically said “find the red sign to the village of Vlaka and follow the blue markers all the way to Dionis” and, well, that was exactly right.  Little did we know, however, that these blue markers took us on an hour long hike through the center of the island on an incredibly overgrown hiking trail.  Even though we’re sitting here with scratches all over our arms and legs, the beautiful views and best meal of our trip (no joke!) were well worth it.

Red sign to Vlaka…so far so good Follow the blue marks…piece of cake
Is that a blue mark?  I think we’re lost. Blue mark on a tree?  Now I’ve seen everything.
Yep…definitely on the right track now
With views like these, who cares if you get lost?

After navigating the rocky, narrow path for about an hour we cut inland for a little bit and finally laid our eyes upon Dionis.  With its setting in the middle of vineyards and olive trees and with views of a bay in the distance, they could’ve served chicken nuggets and I would have been happy.  The setting only got better when we got inside.  There were about six big, wooden tables under a thatched roof with an open wall towards the vineyards…a perfect, rustic setting.  We were definitely the only English speaking people in the place, but another group loved us and would cheers us every time they took a drink of wine (which was often).  It was great.

We made it!
Getting closer Inside of Dionis
We’re hungry!
View from our table
Our new buddies

I don’t pretend to be a food critic, and I’d run out of adjectives talking about how delicious the food was, so I’ll let the pictures do most of the talking.  Everything was super fresh and simply prepared with olive oil, garlic, lemon, rosemary, chives and parsley.  And the coolest part is that everything we ate came from within an eye-shot of those pictures you see above you.  Warning:  Looking at the following pictures will make you hungry and jealous.

Bread, olive oil and white wine…all homemade
Eggplant isn’t our favorite, but we loved this aubergine pie Dalmatian cheese and olives
Anna asked the waiter about the fish, so he showed us the morning’s catch
Grilling up our grub More grilling
Anna’s Scorpaena fish and grilled veggies
Johnny’s grilled squid and veggies

After a couple hours we finally and reluctantly peeled ourselves away from the table.  We were so full that we contemplated just sleeping somewhere in the vineyards so we wouldn’t have to make the hike back, but we pressed on slowly but surely, stopping at a couple of the coves we saw one the way in for some dips (some of the skinny varietal).

Nice little spot for a dip
I ate so much my boardshorts literally exploded off my body…good thing I had some nudist friends across the bay
Some cool flora on the hike back Beautiful
Coolness

We made it back in time to catch our boat back to Hvar, and Anna made a new buddy during the ride.  Too stuffed to eat anything for dinner, we wrapped up our amazing day with some red wine on our deck, and I couldn’t help but smile knowing that we have many more of these types of days ahead.

Anna and her new friend Coffee
Dusk from our deck
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5 Responses to “A Day In The Life”

  1. Johnny! You’re on fire?! You’re too funny! I look forward to the next top five — I feel a little like it’s Late Night with David Letterman…

    I would write more, but I’m too hungry and jealous to do anything but head to the fresh market and grab something to make for our dinner. Maybe we’ll picnic at the park so we can watch the sun set over the Rockies. No skinny dipping unless we run through the sprinklers…

    Happy Labor Day weekend to both of you. xoxoxo

  2. Are you still island hopping in Croatia? Need more details. Come in, come in! Calling the Finchwoods! Prince Harry needs a party pal so get on it!

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