Tuesday, September 16, 2008

2008 September 16 - Wool Growers

2008 September 16 - Wool Growers

{Click on any photo to view the full size image}

The "Lunch Crews" trip to Los Banos and Hilmar and Lathrop. With lunch at the French Basque restaurant, Wool Growers in Los Banos.

Gobos pick up and Patti and Elsa arrive in the auto.
Today our lunch bunch or lunch crew is headed via I-5 to Los Banos and the Wool Growers Basque Restaurant. On the one hour and fifteen minute ride we decide to return via Hilmar to visit the Hilmar Portuguese Bakery and the Hilmar Cheese Factory. And to also stop at the Ghirardelli Chocolate Outlet in Lathrop.

Arriving at the Wool Growers.
This is the first time for the rest of this group to eat at the Wool Growers.
Elsa, Patti and Gobo.

Entering the Dining Room.
It is crowded and we are given seats at the end of a table.
It is no accident that the lunch crew is here on a Tuesday. Tuesday is the only day that the Wool Growers serves pigs feet, in addition to their lamb stew.

Pigs feet in the traditional Basque tomato sauce and also in the white vinargarette sauce.
Wow. Soup, salad, beans, French bread, pigs feet, lamb stew, chicken and rice, French fries and either lamb chops or pork chops. We are a bit late and there is no more baked chicken left for today. Each person gets two large chops.

And of course the institutional cup of ice cream for desert. We also have the bottle of wine, a pitcher of ice water and coffee. All this for $15 which includes the 8% sales tax.
The food is excellent as usual. Some do not like the overly buttery flavor of the chicken and rice. The pigs feet in white sauce is thought to be be better than the tomato sauce by all. The lamb stew was a bit tough today, but no one had room to eat much of it anyway. We did finish off all of the pigs feet.

Leaving after lunch.

We had decided to return home via Hwy 165 to stop in Hilmar. Our first stop is the Hilmar Bakery where we pick up some Portuguese sweet bread and a few deserts. I forgot to take any photos of the bakery. Hilmar is a town of about 4,000 located five miles south of Hwy 99 and the town of Turlock.

A few blocks up the road we stop at the Hilmar Cheese Factory. They have built a big visitors center in front of the factory. There is an interesting ten minute video that is shown on the making of cheese narrated by Daisy the animated cow. There are also displays of scaled models of cheese making equipment.

And of course you can buy cheese in the Visitors Center. You can also buy curds. Then too there is a deli and a separate ice cream stand in the Center. No one is ready for a banana split however.

Our return route by home

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Leaving the Cheese Factory.
A few of the milk silos, each one capable of holding 225,000 gallons of milk.
We head north onto Hwy 99. To get to the Ghirardelli Outlet store in Lathrop we take Hwy 120 back to I-5.

Lots of goodies to buy. Discount prices and a further 10% discount for those of us over age 55.
You can even buy by the box. They also have an ice cream shop similar to the ones in their company retail outlets. Ice cream treats are 20% off the prices that are charged at their retail outlets. Their menu is the same and the listed prices are the same but you get a 20% discount at the cash register. Of course, the ambiance at Ghirardelli Square near Fisherman's Wharf is worth the extra 20% cost. Eating an ice cream sundae outside a warehouse along I-5 is not quite the same.
Employees stocking the shelves.
It is only a short 20 minute ride from the Ghirardelli Store to my home. It would only take 15 minutes on the motorcycle, since we hit the 5:30 PM traffic along Stockton's I-5.

Here is the crew with their left over chops, baked goods and chocolate after a full afternoon.



auntie el said...

Thanks for taking us to the bakery and the cheese factory. The warm bread I got at the bakery was delicious and the cheese curd snacks were the best.

goooooood girl said...

i like......