I have often thought, since we moved to San Francisco, that the city looks like a place out of a child's drawing, with its exaggerated landscape and ornate houses and bright flowers. Even the people look like the cast of Free to Be You and Me.
And then there's Santa Cruz, where we spent the day on Saturday. If ever a town was not merely drawn, but designed by a child, this is it. Who else would line the town beach with an arcade and a boardwalk/amusement park? "It's like all the best of California condensed into one place," Scott marveled. It should have been named Happyville, and I can't believe the grownups let this one through.
Our personal source of childlike delight came in the form of a deep-fried Twinkie that we bought on the boardwalk. This was a first for us (surprising, given our love of carnival food) and I’m happy to say it was better than I had expected. I thought the Twinkies would break down into something oozy and chemical in the cooking, but the result was rich and almost buttery. Mmmm...twinkies. Score one for deep-fried everything.
After a ride on the Hurricane, a really violent rollercoaster which left us feeling dizzy and old, we drove up to Bonny Doon's tasting room, 8 miles north of town. I love this place. Whereas Roshambo's anti-wine-snob posturing left me cold, I find Bonny Doon's quirky approach totally charming. And the wines are delicous. I took home some bottles of the Pacific Rim Chenin Blanc—a light, aromatic white—and their signature Rhone blend, Le Cigare Volant, along with a bottle of the Cardinal Zin. After tasting 6 or 7 wines, we still felt a little dizzy, but old no more.
Our last food stop was at Fambrini's Farm Fresh Produce for some $.99/lb apricots. I've had apricot jam on the brain lately, as I miss the apricot-lime preserves from Hi Rise Bakery in Cambridge. I'm going to try to recreate the recipe sometime this week; I'll let you know how it goes. Starting with discount apricots might not have been the best idea. Blame it on the rollercoaster.