|The sky was really that blue.|
Usually when we go to San Francisco, we stay in or pretty close to the city — hiking at Land's End, exploring the Marin Farmers Market, wandering through the Botanical Garden in Berkeley, taking in the delights of the city — that sort of thing. But on this trip, I really wanted to see Santa Cruz, so on Sunday morning, we hit the road and headed South. Before we left Seattle, I contacted Amey from Vegan Eats and Treats, to ask what she recommended we see, and working from her suggestions, and some favorite spots of Alison's, we had a full day's worth of places to explore and food to consume. None of the four of us are very good at random shopping — I usually have to be in the exact right mood to enter shops I hadn't been planning to enter — so we just walked the downtown streets soaking up the eclectic atmosphere, ogling the charming shop window displays and working up an appetite for lunch.
There were several places we could have found vegan food, but Café Gratitude seemed like an excellent choice, and we headed there. We'd dined at Café Gratitude in Berkeley, and really liked it. Alison had either a roasted vegetable sandwich or a BLT — can't remember which.
Jordan had his sandwich with a side of tortilla soup, and Ken had a salad with fig balsamic dressing, which he loved. I don't seem to have a photo of the salad, but picture something fresh and green.
The past two nights dinners weren't sitting so well with me, and although I was hungry for lunch, I really wanted something plain and simple — which is not to say tasteless. I found the perfect solution in a basic bowl filled with perfectly cooked and fluffy millet, black beans and baby kale, with tahini dressing. I was so happy!
The Penny Ice Creamery, where Amey had told us to get the amazing vegan dark chocolate sorbet. Ahem. If I lived in Santa Cruz, I'd be in danger of eating dark chocolate sorbet at least three times a day. Amazing, yes.
After the ice cream, we went to the Beach Boardwalk — kind of a beachfront amusement park and walking area. It had a similar, somewhat rundown, dive atmosphere that I remember from the old days on the Atlantic City Boardwalk — especially around Steel Pier, if anyone remembers that. There were great views across the beach and across the water, making it lots of fun to take photos.
|My three companions on West Cliff Dr. in Santa Cruz.|
Our last stop was also my favorite (not counting lunch and sorbet, of course) — West Cliff Drive. What a gorgeous spot to walk and enjoy the view.
It was getting late and we still had one more stop to make on the way back to San Francisco — Mountain Feed and Farm Supply, one of Jordan and Alison's favorite 'garden' stores. Calling this labyrinth of eclectic buildings a Garden Store is like calling Mall of America a shopping center. I mean, it is ... but it isn't. They did have plants, pots and gardening equipment, but also fantastic cooking equipment, pet food and supplies, and everything you'd need for canning, brewing, fermenting, etc., as well as the most helpful and friendly employees I've ever encountered. It took about three seconds for me to loose everyone in our little group, as we each became sucked into the various buildings and departments.
By the time we returned to San Francisco, there was just enough time for a brief rest before we had our last restaurant meal of the trip at Dosa, a South Indian restaurant we are very fond of. It's not a vegan or vegetarian restaurant, but they have a separate vegetarian menu where vegan and gluten-free items are clearly marked. I ordered a traditional masala dosa, a large, rice and lentil crepe filled with spiced potatoes, onions and cashews. It came with coconut and tomato chutneys and sambar, and a spicy soup made with lentils and vegetables. You break off chunks of the dosa and dip it into the chutney, sambar and soup. I've always really loved my dinner at Dosa, but the dosa, which has always been dry in the past, was coated with oil. I ate it but it was way too greasy for me. Our restaurant karma was definitely off on this trip. (It was so dark in Dosa that I didn't take a photo. I found a photo of the same meal from a previous trip, and the dosa definitely doesn't look all slick and shiny like the one I received.)
The next day, Jordan and Alison went to work and Ken and I packed and got organized until it was time to go to the airport for the return flight. It was a short trip, but so much fun!
Other San Francisco Posts:
March 5 2015
June 23, 2013
June 19, 2013
Jan. 30, 2012