Traveling around the world and experiencing other cultures is amazing. I love to travel and I try to go as much as possible, but not all of it’s relaxing. There are times I need a vacation from my vacation, but most of the stress is really getting from point A to point B and back to Point A. The Mai Thai on the beach in Maui last week was very relaxing, but getting there was quite an adventure with kids in tow. The prior months I took researching best vacation deals, the weeks shopping to hunt for proper attire for the family, the 2 days of packing, waking up before sunrise to catch our flight, 5 hour flight, picking up our rental car and finally checking in to our resort. Also, because the three hour time difference my kids were falling asleep at the dinner table and waking up at 5am. Overall we had a great vacation in Maui, but I confess I slept for 12 hours straight when I got home.
This is one of the reasons why we love Staycations. Every now and then, we like to take mini vacations and take a break from our day to day. Last month we stayed at the newly renovated Hotel Valencia in Santana Row in San Jose, CA. We packed an overnight bag, drove one hour and checked in early into a suite. The room was lovely and it had a great view of Santana Row from our window. Within 30 minutes of checking in we were already diving into the rooftop pool. We swam and enjoyed a light lunch poolside. They had a great selection of food for the kids, my husband enjoyed a few glasses of wine and I was able to read the complimentary magazines and books on my iPad.
Santana Row is known for its shopping and restaurants. We opted to do some do some shopping and got frozen yogurt as a light snack. All the outside seating restaurants had us salivating, but we were saving our appetite for dinner. We had reservations at Citrus the restaurant conveniently located in our hotel. The ambiance is romantic and soft music playing in the background.
We brought our twin six year old girls and were a bit concerned they wouldn’t have much for them to choose from. To my surprise my daughter Kiera ordered the Valencia Paella with Alaskan king crab, shrimp, scallops and chorizo. My picky eater played it safe and ordered a quesadilla, but she did enjoy the beef yakatori appetizers. Our waiter was extremely friendly and attentive. He even asked if we had any food allergies before I even brought mine up.
As busy as Chef Ocean Orssten was, he spared a few minutes to come chat with me and created a special appetizer of ahi tuna and mini waffle sandwich for me because of my allergies to fish. The twins were not that adventurous in eating anything raw, but my husband had no problem finishing their portion and his own. I was a little envious because it looked so delicious. My husband raved about the California oysters with vodka ice, young ginger and chili. He also could not make up his mind which Pinot Noir he liked more so he tried several.
I stayed to the classic grilled rib eye with squid rings, spicy red sauce and green bean salad. Chef substituted the squid rings for asparagus for me because of my seafood allergies at the time. I was so jealous of all the seafood everyone else was eating, that I wasn’t too excited about my meal until I had my first bite. I was pleasantly surprised how delicious it was. The steak was so soft you could’ve cut it with just your fork. The sauce was not over powering and I finished my entire plate. I know it’s crazy, but the favorite plate I had was actually the special mushroom soup. It was creamy, subtle and had flaky puff pastry floating on top. I’ve since then tried to recreate it at home and been unsuccessful.
I honestly didn’t think we had room for more until the waiter mentioned fresh mini doughnut holes. We all had some and are still dreaming about them. Now that my food allergies are resolved, I really want to go back and try all the seafood I missed out on. While we were indulging on the desserts our waiter shared a funny story of a lady who dined there every week with a new blind date each time. He said sometimes she would leave to the bathroom and ditch her date even before their main course arrived. He even said she wore the same dress each time. It stuck with us so much that we still share that story with our friends.
After dinner we went outside to the out door patio and took advantage of the beautiful surroundings and took some family photos. Kiera took the best photo of her daddy and I in the hotel lobby. Drowsy from swimming, shopping and dinner we went back to our room to relax. We had a movie night in our room and ordered Pitch Perfect 2.
We woke up late the next day, but still made it in time for the complimentary breakfast served inside Citrus. You can also bring your plate outside to dine in the outside patio. I was expecting a continental breakfast and it was far from that. It had fresh pastries, fruit, and variety of cheese, yogurt, eggs, ham and so much more! It was the perfect ending to our staycation. I felt well rested and rejuvenated. I’m already planning to go back because the twins are already asking to go swimming at the rooftop pool and for the doughnuts!