Food Buzz


Because maybe you do care what I had for lunch...

Monday, August 20, 2007

Santa Cruz


They're closing Coney Island, but in California the Santa Cruz Boardwalk is celebrating its centennial. We went this weekend with a college friend of mine and her family. They were here for the weekend on their way to Disneyland. Seeing her beautiful, tween--aged kids made me feel almost like I'm celebrating my centennial as well. Tiffany and I go way back to -- let's see, we were freshmen at Deseret Towers back in '89. Well never mind that. It was wonderful to see her and catch up.

Lane bought a big wad of tickets and started taking Jasper on the kiddie rides. Tiffany and her family were saving themselves for Disneyland, though, so I went with them to goof around the rest of Santa Cruz.

We had lunch at El Palomar, a Mexican restaurant in a former inn. The dining room has a great, vaulted and timbered ceiling with a huge mural on one wall. There's also a dining room and bar in a garden atrium. I had some sopes, tortillas that are fried until they puff up into soft pillows, stuffed with carnitas and guacamole. It's so banal to mention, but their tortilla chips were fantastic -- I kind of filled up on them before my entree came. Don't you hate it when you do that?

Next we visited the old mission, where we toured a restored adobe. Some rooms were more rustic than others ("Is this Jesus' stuff?") in order to show the history of inhabitants. Back in the day of the Spanish merchants they had to wait for shipments of wallpaper to arrive by train and just take whatever arrived. Sometimes it wasn't enough, and you had to wait for the next shipment of completely different wallpaper. But with a little wainscotting and planning you could actually make it work -- I'm not saying I'm going home and doing the patchwork-quilt wallpaper look in our apartment, but it actually looks adorable.

We stumbled around in the blinding sun and heat a while and then the kids "fell" into the plaza fountain ("I said you could put your feet in, not go for a swim!"). We got back into the van and drove around the surrounding neighborhood filled with charming restored Victorians. Quite by accident, or maybe because Santa Cruz is such a small city, we came across Neary Lagoon Park. There's a short trail that gives you a tour around the lagoon, with its bulrushes, ducks of all kinds, fish, and best of all, copious blackberries.

Tiffany's family wanted to get a little driving done in the evening, so we said goodbye back at the boardwalk and I rejoined Lane and Jasper, who had been having the time of their lives. Jasper was getting tired, so I explored the beach with him while Lane rode the rollercoasters. We came across two beatifully-crafted sand castles. "My honey made those," a woman said, pointing to a man wading in the waves. He was your classic West-Coast aging rocker, with his long hair and do-rag, ACDC bowling shirt, skull and crossbones surfing shorts. We felt strangely at home in Santa Cruz.

9 comments:

liz said...

oh I could TOTALLY see you guys living in Santa Cruz! Hey go again while you are here so I can send you to my friend's amazing Greek restaurant! I think it would get rave reviews from you- much flavor.

Vasili's is what it's called and her name is Julie, tell her we sent you. It's not too far from the boardwalk and you park at the McDonald's across the street.

Margo, darling said...

Is this the Tiffany who was in our study group with Myra and Mary? And/or is she the one you wrote about in your fudge article?

Hevansrich said...

what a great way to end your "endless summer" ! (and I think the Giant Wooden Coaster at Santa Cruz rivals anything at Disneyland)

Adriana Velez said...

Margo, she is not the Tiffany from the study group but she is the Tiffany from the fudge article.

Liz, I'm not sure we'll be able to make it to SC again (sigh) but if we do I'll be sure to stop by Vasili's -- sounds wonderful. Thanks!

J.M. Tewkesbury said...

Santa Cruz rocks! It's such a lovely, liberal town. And it's right across the bay from Monterey, which is doubly nice.

Any chance you'll get to go kayaking on Tomales Bay before you head back to Brooklyn? I still highly recommend it!

Adriana Velez said...

I'd love to kayak in Tomales Bay, but for a host of reasons it doesn't look likely. We're going to be in Sonoma County this week for business (Lane's) but when I tried to combine it with a kayaking adventure it just didn't work. Oh well, someday.

J.M. Tewkesbury said...

It's always good to leave wanting more! And I'm sure Lane's art will be well received in Sonoma. You'll have to tell us how well he's done out there. No doubt, he'll land numerous commissions.

Luisa Perkins said...

Now I'm really homesick. The 80's jingle from a commercial for Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk is now running through my brain.

Hevansrich said...

oh also Santa Cruz always reminds me of one of my favorite 80's obsessions the movie The Lost Boys....I still love that soundtrack.