A California Welcome

February 25, 2012

The opening ceremonies of the 2012 Great Harvest Convention led 15 of us on an informal field trip up to Temecula to visit the Great Harvest here and the home of owners Brad and Alicia.

The gorgeous backdrop that unfolded!

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Karen, Matt and I went wine tasting in Temecula 6 years ago when Karen lived in San Diego for a year. This visit was more of a bread tasting – I will have to come back fore more wine.

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The Temecula store is gorgeous and full of dark wood and natural materials. I love visiting other bakeries and getting ideas for our own lobby and flow.

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And of course trying new products is always fun too! We actually tasted the Lemon Blueberry Bread Pudding bar (incredible!) and I bought a few Trek bars for trip snacks to try out.

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Our mini bus next took us to Brad and Alicia’s home, which is stunningly beautiful and tucked in the hillside

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They had fires going -

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A stage complete with live band -

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And a stocked bar – including some Stone IPA on tap! Love that beer. Wanted to drink the whole keg, but of course I didn’t.

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Because somebody else was drinking for two!

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A spread up appetizers kept us fed. Our late lunch confused my stomach. It felt hungry but not really growling hungry, ya know?

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But I nibbled on the apps because I’m a flavor taster

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Peppers stuffed with goat cheese!

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And more cheese and crackers (my current favorite foods!)

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It felt like 6pm but it was only about 4:30!

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Lemonade!

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But soon the sun set

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The fires became our only source of warmth

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And dinner was served!

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Alicia made the BBQ herself – she smoked it for two days and made the sauce from scratch. As a North Carolinian, I was eager to taste California BBQ, but it turned out to be NC-style, and    she hit it right on the nose. The flavors were incredible!! No need to smother on a vinegary sauce.

Served on none other than a Great Harvest roll!

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We also had fruit skewers and slaw

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And for dessert – more bread pudding bars!!

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I tried a lemon and the cinnamon chip – it was a toss up which was best!

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Only a handful of Great Harvest owners attended the event – the rest of the people were friends of the hosts. By the time musical act #2 came on, the place was packed.

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The star of the show was Lee Koch, who I hear will be on the show “The Voice” this coming Monday. He and his wife used to work for Brad and Alicia, and he’s on his way up the music ladder. His performance was amazing!

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I am thrilled with the fact that I packed my laptop in my purse so I could take my time writing this post on our hour-long bus ride home. When we get back to the hotel, it will be nearly midnight on the East Coast and I’ll have been up for over 20 hours. Cannot wait to sleeeeeeeep!!!

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{ 61 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Angel7 February 25, 2012 at 11:58 pm

Wonderful array of foods! The appetizers look great and fresh!

http://faithfulsolutions.blogspot.com/

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2 Stephanie @ Legally Blinde February 26, 2012 at 12:01 am

Great pictures – the scenery and the food all look stunning! And that lemon blueberry bread pudding bar sounds deeeeelish. How cool that they had live music!!

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3 Robyn @ Blueberries and Oats February 26, 2012 at 12:04 am

What a gorgeous event!! Oh and I need a bread pudding bar now…>.>

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4 Khushboo February 26, 2012 at 12:11 am

‘Flavor tester’ made me laugh- somebody has up be in charge of quality control eh !

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5 Emily @ The Swallow Flies February 26, 2012 at 12:17 am

The trip looks absolutely amazing so far! The house is beautiful!!! And the food looks so decadent – I’m going to have to attempt those peppers in the very near future!

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6 Allie@LiveLaughEat February 26, 2012 at 12:20 am

Wow, what a party!! Their store looks so rustic and homey. We drove past the newest GH in Ashburn today just a few miles from my house. Thought of you and Matt!

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7 Greta @ Staying Lost February 26, 2012 at 12:20 am

I love the look of the peppers stuffed with goat cheese. Were the peppers just raw?

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8 KathEats February 26, 2012 at 10:45 am

Yep

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9 C February 26, 2012 at 12:29 am

what does that sign say? “strong exiting bakeries?”

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10 KathEats February 26, 2012 at 10:45 am

Yes! I guess it’s a typo? It’s on the employee side for motivation so I’m guessing it’s more of a joke now. customers don’t see it.

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11 Emily February 26, 2012 at 12:31 am

that first picture is beaaaaautiful. and i love the rustic feel of that great harvest!

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12 Kiran @ KiranTarun.com February 26, 2012 at 12:34 am

That sunset is so breath-taking!! Have fun!

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13 Christine @ BookishlyB February 26, 2012 at 12:34 am

You were less than an hour away from where I live. I’ve got to try Great Harvest next time I go South.

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14 Michelle @ Esculent Dreams February 26, 2012 at 12:35 am

So beautiful!!! I totally get the whole time difference confusion thing… for me, it’s easier adjusting to international time changes as opposed to continental. Whenever I visit CA, my body stays confused for at least 3 days!

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15 Elyse February 26, 2012 at 12:36 am

You captured Temecula beautifully. Glad you enjoyed it. And I love our GH too! Its 5 min from the winery and definitely the office favorite for lunch :)

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16 Elisabeth February 26, 2012 at 12:46 am

The party looks wonderful! The setting is beautiful – wouldn’t mind living out there myself ;)

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17 tasha the clean eating mama February 26, 2012 at 12:50 am

What a beautiful post – I certainly love California! I have family down there and I always look forward to visiting. Enjoy your stay and your mini vacation!

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18 Sana February 26, 2012 at 12:55 am

I love the background pics in this post :)

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19 Kelli H (Made in Sonoma) February 26, 2012 at 1:09 am

Looks like an awesome party! Glad you had fun even without the Stone IPA. :)

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20 Paige @ Healthy Hits the Spot February 26, 2012 at 1:41 am

What a great post! Looks like you had an awesome time! I think it’s so funny that you said “packed my laptop in my purse.” Haha, have a great rest of the trip :)

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21 Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga February 26, 2012 at 1:41 am

The Peppers stuffed with goat cheese…omg I want those! I have fond fond memories of vineyard hopping and wine tasting and goat cheese eating when we first moved to CA and explored Temecula. I remember eating some incredible goat cheese on crackers at one winery in particular.

And the bread pudding. Every time you post bread pudding, I drool. It’s my thing, I love it. I may need to drive to Temecula just for that…I don’t even know if there are any metro San Diego Great Harvest’s? Not sure…will google.

What a great day…looks wonderful!

I

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22 Laura Ann February 26, 2012 at 2:28 am

No, there aren’t any GH’s in metro SD – someone open one PLEASE! :) Whenever I’m within a 20-mile radius of the Temecula store for work, I get myself there. I’m so hooked.

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23 Lynn @ the actor's diet February 26, 2012 at 2:56 am

I’ve never been to Temecula! Now that I know there’s a Great Harvest there I’ll have an excuse to take a road trip…

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24 Kristen @ Change of Pace February 26, 2012 at 6:29 am

That Great Harvest is pretty but…. Yours is so you. From the pictures I’ve seen it looks a lot like the decor in your house. I love that you made it your own. Oh the food food food! Pregnant ladies dream :)

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25 Elissa February 26, 2012 at 6:38 am

Hey Kath,

I’m actually reading your blog from Germany! Just lunch time over here ;) Just need to say that I love your pictures! I really want to come over for some wine tasting in California! Never been to the USA but since I read your blog it’s definetly on the agenda. And I’m getting hungry every time I read a post because everything looks just sooo delicicous! Germany is all about bread as you know so Great Harvest looks like heaven to me ;)
Take care + congrats on your pregnancy!

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26 KathEats February 26, 2012 at 10:46 am

Thanks for reading overseas!!

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27 Simply Life February 26, 2012 at 6:53 am

oh my gosh, this sounds like the perfect california evening! :)

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28 Brittnie (A Joy Renewed) February 26, 2012 at 7:15 am

It really appears that Great Harvest in general does an exceptional job of bringing owners together for learning, fun, collaboration etc and does its best to maintain staff retention. So important!

The bread pudding bars look awesome. I think I would love the cinnamon flavor. :)

Have a great rest of your trip!

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29 KathEats February 26, 2012 at 10:46 am

They do! They’re a wonderful company to work with

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30 Jamie @ Don't Forget the Cinnamon February 26, 2012 at 7:21 am

1) The mention of a lemon blueberry bread pudding bar has got my brain working through a recipe!!
2) That sunset photo is gorgeous!!!!

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31 Katie @ Peace Love and Oats February 26, 2012 at 7:24 am

Thst sounds like quite a party, and they have such a gorgeous home!!! Breath taking views!

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32 J3nn (Jenn's Menu and Lifestyle Blog) February 26, 2012 at 7:26 am

Everything looks so wonderful! Pretty food, yummy views. :) Looks like a fabulous time. Enjoy the west side!

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33 Red February 26, 2012 at 7:29 am

Oh I miss those mountains!! I always meant to stop in at the Great Harvest in Temecula when I lived in the area but never got around to it. Oh my goodness and Stone too! My FAVORITE brewery! If you have time you should stop by the brewery. It is in Escondido about 30 minutes south of Temecula down the 15. Awesome menu too. Enjoy the rest of your time in CA!

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34 Fran@ Broken Cookies Don't Count February 26, 2012 at 7:39 am

What a beautiful area! The sunset was my favorite of course. Foods look yummy too.

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35 ali February 26, 2012 at 8:06 am

great pictures and what a lovely day! gotta love the fresh cali food!
okay, so the English major in me has to remark on something. In the picture of the bakery (the 5th one with the signs), one of the signs says “create strong exiting bakeries” and i am guessing it is supposed to say “create strong exciting bakeries”…… i’m just sayin :)

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36 KathEats February 26, 2012 at 10:46 am

Good eye!!! It’s on the employee side, but still – typo alert!!

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37 Tracey February 26, 2012 at 8:33 am

Beautiful pics – I visited Temecula wine country a few years ago and did some wine tasting of my own. It was my first tip to Southern Cali and was amazed by the beautiful scenery! Beautiful bakery too, but I think they need a re-do on their sign though…

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38 Michelle (Better with Berries) February 26, 2012 at 8:39 am

What an incredible location! And the food! I’m jealous :-)

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39 Susan H. @ The Food Allergy Chronicles February 26, 2012 at 8:41 am

What a beautiful place! Looks like you had a wonderful evening filled with great food, entertainment and people! Love all the apps and the main course!

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40 Cait's Plate February 26, 2012 at 8:41 am

Looks like a phenomenal start to what I’m sure is going to be a great trip! These Great Harvest conventions make ME want to open one up!!

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41 Maria@ Sinfully Nutritious February 26, 2012 at 9:06 am

Great Harvest seems like a great company to work with. You and Matt have truly been blessed to find such a wonderful opportunity. And what a gift to share all your creations with so many people. You are an inspiration to us all. Your example shows how hard work and positive attitude can make your life so fulfilling.

Enjoy the rest of your trip. Thanks for taking the time to share. GET SOME SLEEP! :)

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42 Lily February 26, 2012 at 9:29 am

What a busy day! You must be exhausted. I’m so very jealous of all the good food you’ve been presented with! I hope you got plenty of sleep :)

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43 Shelly February 26, 2012 at 9:31 am

Gorgeous views! I think one of the GH signs has a typo though – “strong exiting bakeries”..? Quick! Stack the bread! :)

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44 KathEats February 26, 2012 at 10:47 am

Good eye! It’s on the employee side so I’m sure they chose not to change it. It’s probably a great joke now :)

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45 Heidi Bundles Of Hugs February 26, 2012 at 10:27 am

All that food looks delicious! I assume your enjoying your trip – who wouldn’t with stunning views and food?!

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46 Sarah February 26, 2012 at 10:35 am

My gosh! Temecula looks beautiful.

It is so nice to see someone else call wherever they sleep home too. I’m glad you were able to multi-task and hope you had a good night’s sleep last night. Enjoy Cali!

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47 Kim @ Spoonful of Sass February 26, 2012 at 11:15 am

Kath, I feel like I’m reliving the vacation I took just a week ago. I just fell in love with Temecula! Enjoy! I’m jealous…even though I was just there! :)

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48 Jules @ La Petite Maison Verte February 26, 2012 at 11:37 am

This post is an absolute feast for all the senses! The food looks delicious and fresh, the fire – warm and inviting, and the breathtaking scenery makes me yearn for mountain air and dirt on my jeans! I just love how welcoming, easy and laid-back it all seems – so very “California” :-)

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49 Kerry @ Totes My Oats February 26, 2012 at 12:14 pm

What an eventful day! So much wonderful food and pretty pictures!

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50 Julianna February 26, 2012 at 12:33 pm

One of the things I love about living in SD is the desert! The scenery in that picture is gorgeous!

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51 Stacy @ Say It With Sprinkles February 26, 2012 at 1:39 pm

Delicious-sounding trip so far! =)

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52 Liz February 26, 2012 at 4:06 pm

Wait, there is a Great Harvest in Temecula?!?! This is blowing my mind right now. I live in south Orange County, just west over the mountains from Temecula and I had NO IDEA that all this great bread I drool over on your blog everyday was actually somewhat easily accessible to me! I’m going to have to make a special trip out there :)

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53 Lauren @ Oatmeal after Spinning February 26, 2012 at 5:09 pm

That whole day and night (and, um THE FOOD) look so wonderful! And the Temecula store is so gorgeous!

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54 Katherina February 26, 2012 at 6:13 pm

Carolina style BBQ is my favorite! I had no idea you were a native, I’m from Charlotte <3 thought you were from up north!

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55 KathEats February 26, 2012 at 6:15 pm

Well I’m sure I make it confusing :) I was born in Boston but moved to NC before I was 2 and lived there nearly all of my life, so I consider myself southern

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56 Juliet Grossman February 26, 2012 at 7:44 pm

You were right in my backyard!!!! I live almost close enough to walk to the Temecula GH (actually I’m sure it’s no-brainer walking/biking distance for you but for me I always drive there lol.) Hope you are having a good time on your CA trip:-)

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57 KathEats February 26, 2012 at 8:51 pm
58 Sandy February 27, 2012 at 1:01 pm

Beautiful pictures and a wonderful party. I am so jealous of people who can host such a fabulous event. Are they just owners of one store with a lot of entertaining talent?

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59 erin@smallthings February 28, 2012 at 9:55 am

I just watched Lee Koch on The Voice last night – he was awesome!

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60 Sonia the Mexigarian February 28, 2012 at 12:20 pm

Ah Temecula! Now I have another reason to visit down there (other than the wine) Great Harvest! Looks like you had amazing time out there. I want one of those bars!

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61 Sheila Barth March 16, 2012 at 11:41 am

Beyond the amazing setting, food and fun, I CANNOT BELIEVE that you guys got to see Lee Koch perform Live at their home. Fantastic! I was followinghim on The Voice as a result of the Temecula GH FB posts. What a wonderful guy. He’s heading to Nashville :^)
Thanks for sharing!

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