Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Santa Cruzin'

Santa Cruz has everything. Gorgeous weather, wonderful beaches and a laid back additude.
                     
More importantly it is home to my lifelong friend (seriously, I've known him since I was born) John. It says something about a friendship when he remembers when I broke my arm at age 7 and I remember his mother and John stopping by to see the new baby when my younger sister was born, 44ish years ago.
He and his two ridiculously sweet (that sweetness was not due to all the honey sticks they imbibed, but is inherited) girls were gracious hosts, tour guides, dining companions, running race recruiters and Monopoly marathon combatants!
There were tidal pools to explore...

food that was sometimes my creation...
or we found the fresh seafood restaurants to our liking.
Keeping doing you Santa Cruz.
I'm on to Venice Beach until Friday, then fly out of LAX to New Zealand!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Easing Around Russian River!

A few days were spent wandering about The Castro, Mission District and, of course, Chinatown in San Francisco. I like the vibe of all those very different places.
My brother took me to a dim sum bakery called, and I shit you not, Good Mong Kok(!) where all that you see in the upper left picture came to less than $7!! Including the Sweet Malaysian cake, close up pic lower left. The sweet on the right is called Dragon's Beard Candy, hand stretched into sweet, thread thin fibers, that are than wrapped around chopped peanuts, heavenly!
Please notice my brother Aaron, the lovely candy model, showcasing it on a Chinatown street.
I love hanging with him as we have similar eating/food sensibilities. We were able to get away north to the Russian River area north of San Francisco for a few days. We spent most of time there giggling and eating.
In one small town we thought about grabbing an afternoon snack of something sweet and cold...but luckily we both agreed to see if we could find someplace that was truly worth it...
...and boy did we! Located in an old bank building in Greenville CA is a pie and ice cream place called  Chile Pies Baking, in the Guernville Bank Club.
Antique store wanderings always amuse me with some of their offerings...porcelain doll arm or torso anyone?
Earlier we also grabbed a rustic loaf from Wild Flour Bread in Freestone. They bake the loaves that are crusty, chewy, hearty and flavorful.
Accommodations were found via AirBnB in Grotan CA which put us within walking distance of the Willowwood Market Cafe for dinner with friends. Now that's sweet!
One of the best things I've ever eaten was at Scopa in Healdsburg. Several friends recommended it. The Ravioli were light, lovely, dreamy and perfect. Go there, eat them!

I'm back with my Vallejo cousin's tonight, then on to Santa Cruz tomorrow!

Friday, July 17, 2015

Oregon to California!

People you need to know about this coastline! Beaches, many of them with only a few souls exploring them. Vistas, views and sea air. Amazing! I ran along a few that are a part of the Pacific Coast Trail.
Sometimes I would get a run in further in from the shore, like I did on Mt. Humbug. Lush, green, steep and with no real view, hence it's name methinks.
I was able to score a kale salad and fresh carrot-apple-ginger juice at Mothers Natural Grocery in Bandon OR, the land of the fried seafood shack. The sweet proprietor was keen to supply me with vegan organic food.

This is a sculpture in Bandon, made of garbage washed up on the beaches. Makes you think doesn't it...
When I arrived at my cousin's in Vallejo CA, her hubby was fixing a mushroom risotto and green salad...I had thirds...
I also got to spend quality time with these three wild things!
Then I was off to Cotati to catch up with dear friends at their place. I munched on tomatoes warm from the garden...
Admired their many fruit trees, including pomegranate!
Saw this pretty thing on a run around Cotati the next morning.
I'm in San Francisco now.                                 
Wandering here and there for another week.
Also getting to eat out with my brother Aaron, always a quality dining companion!

Friday, July 10, 2015

Leaving Portland

The two weeks I've spent here I've been busy planning, walking, running, meeting with friends, and of course, eating! Portland has been a welcoming place, what with the food trucks, healthy lifestyles and friends.
Running in Forest Park is always a good time, and the trees helped me keep cool in the crazy 90 degree heat.
There was a Lebanese feast at Nicholas Restaurant, where I got to catch up with my favorite Ruski, Angelika and her sweet guy Joel.
We also got together for some fantastic Japanese at Shigezo.
Sesame Spinach and a Seaweed Salad.
Seared Okra and Shushito Peppers.
Cold Udon Noodles with Kim Chi.
Could not believe my luck in stumbling upon the ever elusive Bialy at Bowery Bagel!
Tonight was my last night staying with my friend Kelly and we had to hit Pambiche, a Cuban place that is a quick walk from her place.
I believe the restaurant where Kelly and I were working at when we met, almost 20 years ago, was like a beach and we were all driftwood that washed up on it. I'm truly grateful for that fortuitous tide. This strong, crazy, beautiful, mouthy, intelligent woman will always hold a place in my life. There is no one I'd rather have call me a dumbass and then laugh hysterically with me about it.
I'm heading south along the Oregon/Northern California coast now, and will end up north of San Francisco to spend time with family and friends by Monday.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Chillin' In Portland

Typically, Portland weather is rainy. This last week has been anything but, with temperatures hovering in the mid 90's. Hellacious! But the food and company have more than made up for it.
I got some nice runs in at Powell Butte park...
And Forest Park. It was nice to escape the heat up in the woods.
Met up with some old friends for a 4th of July shindig!
I've been eating as often as I can at food carts. Portland is extremely food happy. They have Farmers Markets every single day of the week. What's not to love?!

I supported some local artists who were selling their original art as postcards... They were maybe 4 or 5 years old.
Watched the US Women's team beat Japan in the FIFA World Cup. And filled my face with a Channa Masala Flatbread.
 The vegan pie at Dove Vivi blew my mind! Cornmeal crust with fresh sweet corn, roasted red pepper and cashew cheese and smoked tomatoes.
That's right Portland, love you!
Here for one more week, then head to San Fransisco!