Sunday, September 7, 2008

It's a Date

Summers for me and my friends are crazy as I would assume they may be for you as well, so when a friend whom I had not seen almost all summer sent me a instant message, asking for a date to catch up I was inclined to accept. Even more so when he promised that it would be the at "the best restaurant in the area" what kind of local girl blogger would I be if I turned down a date that made such a boast. Not only did he promise the best place to eat but that it would be the most amazing Thai food I had ever had. Now there was no turning him down.

So he picked me up, and we headed out to Aptos, to a place I had heard rumors of but had never sampled, Bangkok West. Upon entering I was already pleased, it was like walking into a Thai palace, or at least a really good movie set of a Thai place. My senses were on overload, as I took in not only the ornate decorations, but the fantastic aromas and the beautiful colors of the wait staffs wardrobe I had been transported straight to Thailand with absolutely no jet lag.

It gets better, because my friend having been before took it upon himself to order our meal. All I had to do was sit and take it all in. He ordered the Coconut Soup, Pineapple Shrimp Fried Rice, The Crispy Mango Duck, and for desert the Sticky Rice with Fresh Mango. I was not disappointed. He was not lying when he claimed it would be the best Thai food I had ever had. I am not 100% convinced that it is the #1 place to eat in Santa Cruz, as I have not been every where yet, and I have been to some really amazing places but it is definitely the best Thai place that I have been and one of the best dining experiences I have had in the Santa Cruz area.

Hear are some pictures, but they hardly do it justice.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Local Girl on Vacation

While I am a Santa Cruz Local Girl now and at heart I used to reside in the Portland, Oregon area which is why I decided it was a good place for my much needed vacation. I was right, Portland is a great place to wander, explore and enjoy. To see a list of my Portland adventures with links check out my other blog. In this post I just want to focus on a few places that got my attention. When I get home I promise to go back to Santa Cruz spots.


The first meal back in Portland was had with two good friends at this average looking Pizza joint on 23rd. An excellent way to start off a week of good eats, we shared a
Roma tomatoes, Mozzarella, garlic, olive oil, fresh
basil. (Tomato sauce upon request, no charge.)
10.25 14.00 18.25 23.00
It was nothing less than delightful. We all left very satisfied and full. The crust is something you just cannot leave alone. Warm, airy and yet just crispy enough.

Le Happy

Worth the wait. We stood outside on 16th waiting for a table as the tiny Creperie was at capacity. We were promised by one of the girls I was with that we would not disappointed, I am glad to say she is not a liar. I had the Salad Crepe, but we shared so I also got to sample the Salmon Crepe and the Ham and Cheese. All of which were good. I am not sure that they are better than Sweet Pea Cafe, but they were quite enjoyable.


I actually went to two of these while in the Portland area and passed by quite a few more. A Portland establishment through and through, is one of those places I had always heard of but somehow never ended up during my college days. I had a Black and Tan Brownie at one and Fish and Chips at the second. All was good, but you don't really go to McMenamins for the food, you go for the Brew and for the entertainment/experience.

Voodoo Doughnut

Yep me and Anthony Bourdain now have something in common, we have both experianced what is Voodoo Dougnut.
They were fresh out of the Oreo Peanutbutter, and the Maple Bacon, so we got an Apple Fritter with Peanutbutter, Chocolate Chips and something else good on it. There was also a band playing in the parking lot to celebrate end of summer fritters or something.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Uncovered a Jem

I had the pleasure of stumbling upon Center Street Grill with my good friend for lunch the other day. I had passed by this place a few times, thinking that I might try it sometime, and I am so glad that I finally did. When you enter it looks like it will just be this small hole in the wall place, when in fact it opens up to a huge dining space, coffee/wine bar and an outdoor patio.

We chose to dine outdoors as it was a beautiful day. The American/Mediterranean menu was just as expansive as the restaurant. I had the pasta special; with sun dried tomatoes, broccoli, and a mix of cheeses. And my friend tried the grilled chicken sandwich. We were both pleased with our over sized portions as we had not enjoyed breakfast that morning.

I would return anytime to try more of the menu and relax in the comfortable dining space they have created. Or perhaps just sit at the coffee bar with my laptop and a cup of espresso.
Center Street Grill would get a 10.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Thanks for the Fries

Really thanks for the fries is about all we could say after our meal at Cafe Rio. We ended up there by accident, but it is not a mistake we will soon repeat. Walking in we were hopeful, it looked like we may have found a well kept secret right along the beach. Well, if it was a secret there is a reason, it's just not good, and it is way over priced. For a place that has an ocean front piece of property it can boast no ocean view, as all you can see from the large windows are cars and bugs a few live palm trees and one dead one. The interior looks like it has been forgotten, perhaps designed in the 70's and the patrons all looked to have been created long before that.

When you go to their website it claims that...
"When you step into CafĂ© Rio, you’ll instantly be swept up by waves of mouth-watering fragrances, wafting delightfully from the assortment of dishes we’re carrying out of the kitchen. Welcome to your new favorite restaurant, where we’ll be providing you with the freshest, most appetizing menu of delectable daily specials, to be found in all of Aptos. And best of all, our selection is guaranteed to fill your stomach without emptying your pockets!"

I can honestly say we were not met by waves of anything but regret. I ordered a Cesar Salad due to the menu offering nothing that sounded worth the price. The two girls I took with me decided that a cheese burger which was described as having yellow cheese was their safest option. My salad was nothing to write home about. The lettuce was fine, the chicken had no flavor and the dressing was overly peppery. The girls ordered their burgers medium and they cam burnt and crispy. I would have to give the Cafe Rio a 1.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Rating System

My friend insists that adding a firmer rating system would improve the overall effectiveness of the Local Girl blog. So I am going to try to instill a rating system and stick to it. So this post is simply to inform you reader of the added feature, I hope it helps you find your way around Santa Cruz. You will find the rating guideline explained in the sidebar. And I will endeavor to go back through and add ratings to previous posts, but all ratings will appear at the bottom of the posts, because I don't write them for nothing.

At Least the Coffee's Good

I've been to Fins a few times now. The first time was right when it opened. I had gone with friends and we were delighted to find another coffee spot with games already provided, as we enjoy a bit of completion with our caffeine. It was also cute when our coffee came with an animal cookie on the side. So I went back, even though there is no wireless, to support the new Fins Coffee.

My second and third visits didn't leave much of an impression, perhaps because they were the run in and out kind, and our drinks were not much to write home about.

So on Monday when I had to go downtown I figured I would give it another shot (pun intended), as I had some reading to do, and it didn't look to be overly populated.

I walked up to the counter and placed my order, "a large white chocolate mocha with mint" The reply was a weird look from the barista, followed by, "$5.15" Okay, I go to coffee shops daily, and I never ever pay that much for any coffee. But, what could I do aside from choke as I handed over the cash. As I made my way to a table I had to squeeze past the only other two people in the place, as the tables are all behind the one they were at. Sitting down I comforted myself with the thought that at least I will get my animal cookies. But then they called my drink, I made my way back past the other two people who made no effort to make my journey any less awkward, and found my very small "large" drink sitting all alone on the counter no little critters in sight. Back at the table I tasted the expensive mis-sized drink and thought, "at least the coffee's good."

Sadly good coffee was just not enough for me. The overwhelmingly loud spastic Jazz music, combined with the closeness of the tables made it impossible to concentrate. I would say the decor is fine, but the set up of the place, is just awkward. I guess the final straw was when I figured out that I was in fact sitting beside the owner, and it was he whom I had to pass by. I would have thought that perhaps the owner would go the extra mile to make the guests visit as simple and easy as possible. One would also hope that he would notice the overwhelming music and do something about it. All in all it is safe to say Fins did not rank high in my book.

I give it a 4

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Gotta love Italian

Admittedly I have a love of all things Italian, so I am a bit biased, but I am also much more picky when it comes to places that claim to be Italian. I have been anticipating my first visit to La Posta since I knew it was opening, and the same time holding off because I was afraid that I would be disappointed. A fear that was totally a waste of time and energy, as I was anything but let down by my first dining experience at La Posta. I say first knowing I will have to return, it was just that good.

My pictures do not do the food or the restaurant justice. Both were much warmer and inviting, but my camera is lame, so you will just have to go experience it yourself. My friend had this Pizza, and even though she is far more of a picky eater than I am, she found it quite enjoyable.

I had the gnocchi with duck ragu and it was simply to die for. I had not sampled either duck or gnocchi prior to this, but if this is any indicator of what it normally tastes like I would gladly have it again and again. It was simply melt in your mouth delish.

The dining room is nice, simple, and small. Much like one would expect in Italy. The service was similar. Nice, but not in your face. I found it all pleasing, I am planning on going on a Sunday sometime when they have their fixed regional menu, as that seems like a great way to try new dishes.

All in all I give La Posta a 9.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

within driving distance (but not much isn't)

Davenport, is so small you may miss it altogether if you blink at the wrong time while driving down scenic hwy 1 just north of Santa Cruz. (see still somewhat local, besides they have a locals discount night, and they count me in, so I will count them in.) The town was originally founded and named after Captain John Davenport who came here and opened a whaling company. Eventually from this bloomed an artisan community. Not entirely sure one had to do with the other, but non the less that is how Davenport came to be. And though the Roadhouse has been many things through the years it strives to remain true to the artisan community it is a part of.

In 2006 The Roadhouse at the Cash Store became the dream of its newest owners as a combination store, bar, cafe and restaurant as well as a place to showcase local artists work. Fitting as it at one time was a potters studio with apartments above for those learning the new craft. The newly renovated Roadhouse is charming. Even more so when you discover that it is a Green business. It is also privy to an amazing view of the Pacific Coastline, which doesn't hurt it's standing in my book. The history as well as the present desire to honor that which was while caring for that which is to come make the Roadhouse something special.

I wish that I could say I found the food as appealing as the atmosphere, but alas I cannot. I tasted the Fish and Chips, which I assumed would be fitting of a place named for a whaler, but found the fish to be quite tasteless. My dining partner said of his Fried Chicken Sandwich, "they're trying to hard". I think that sums it up. They have a nice size menu, and the dining room is relaxing, but the food seemed just for show and flavor an afterthought at best.

A spent some time pursuing their web page for you though, because I was sure you would have questions. I suggest you check it out. Because, though I left somewhat disappointed by the food I was encouraged by the history, the dream, the fact that they have entertainment, and that they have in fact received more positive reviews than my own. I was also struck by the simplistic beauty that the inn portion of the Roadhouse which I did not see while there in person. It seems that their good intentions may indeed pay out if you were to be a guest for the evening, and while the rates are not cheep, they are not outlandish either, especially for this area. I may have to go out and give it another chance to win me over.

On a side note, they had these lovely tables that are just like the one we had in my home as a child. I am sure my mom will be on the hunt for one now that I know they are around here somewhere, she (we all) always loved this table. Perfect for games, and cozy breakfasts before school. It also is super easy to expand, for those less intimate meals.

See told you it was a side note. Thanks for bearing with me. But I didn't want to forget.

I guess you ought to go check it out, and let me know what you think, as I am clearly undecided.

(Pics. by Brandon.)

All in all I give it a 6

Friday, July 18, 2008

Not Really at the Harbor

Though it is not really at the harbor, in fact you cannot even see the beach from this hole in the wall cafe, it still bears the name Harbor Cafe. You may have driven past it many times before as I had, without even noticing. At a first glance it is not a place that screams eat here, but once you get onto the patio you know you have entered a place guaranteed to leave you happily full.

I'll admit I have at this point only had the chance to dine here twice, but I had a great time and great food on both occasions so I figure it deserves some good press. From the looks of things on my last visit they are expanding their services to include bands, and light beach fare in the evenings along with cocktails on the patio. I am not sure on any of that, it is based on overheards and a bit of remodeling. What I can tell you is that it is available for private parties, and from the looks of things I think it might be a great spot for one, so if you are having one soon send me an evite.

But you want to know about the food, cause lets face it what's a restaurant review without some food chit chat? You won't be disappointed unless you hate hearty portions, great food with lots of flavor, and fantastic friendly service at great prices.

This is a picture of the food from my first visit to Harbor Cafe. Looks good right? Tastes better. Better yet, on Fridays they have Mimosa Friday, which means that on my day off I can order a mimosa and they just keep wandering by with pitchers of the the yummy blend of O.J. and Champagne.

I had the Eggs Benedict which is one of my favorites, and they did it proud. My friend had an omelet as you can clearly see and also was pleased with the offering. On my next visit I ventured out and tried the fritatta which was the best and largest I have ever had.

Harbor Cafe is as beachy as it sounds, and as local as it gets which in my book combined with the great food and friendly service makes it a great place to meet up with friends over a filling breakfast.

Under the Boardwalk

Align Center

You know I love the beach, and you might guess that I am still a sucker for a ride on the world famous Giant Dipper, but you can be sure that I cannot stand the beach on which the Santa Cruz Boardwalk is built.

Why? Ummm, let me count the reasons.

1. Way, way to crowded.
2. Dirty
3. Not so pretty, and often kinda smelly.
4. Parking is a nightmare.
5. Tourists

Just to name a few. I am not one of those people who are anti-tourists, but I am anti-places that are breading grounds for them. And this is one of those beaches in which you might actually be witness to the breeding of new tourist. (yeah, that is what I said) Now I realize there is not an abundance of hotels to choose from in SC but seriously some of the people on this beach need to get themselves a room.

I think what really frustrates me is that this beach has such potential to be a great beach. Sure it would take some effort, but all the pieces are there, they just need to be unburied. There are great volleyball games that take place, fun. But the parking situation makes this difficult to enjoy. There is the Boardwalk, and of course shops and restaurants, but there are a lot of shady looking places intermixed. I think that we should just own up to the fact that this is going to be a tourist trap beach, add some nice looking lounge chairs and umbrellas, maybe some people who go around and pick up trash, like they do on the nice touristy beaches in Italy. It would be nice if there was a shuttle option near by, to help cut down on some of the parking craziness.

I don't really envision Santa Cruz ever adopting these ideas, but until they do something you can remain confident that the Beach under the Boardwalk will never rank my list of top beaches.

Third Ave

Finding the perfect beach is hard especially when you live in such close proximity to so many great spots. Santa Cruz is known for it's beaches and they are one of the things I love about living here. Yet over the years and the thousands of trips to the beach 3rd Ave is still my favorite go to beach.

Third Ave has its own set of charms. Nestled between the Harbor Light House and the Board Walk it is the summation of all a Santa Cruz Beach should be. From the sand you can watch the sailboats sail by, you can hear the tourist screaming on the Giant Dipper. From this vantage point you can also see the other Santa Cruz Light House on a clear day. Pretty much the only thing missing from this quintessential Santa Cruz Beach is the surfers you might expect.

But never fear, there are often people skim boarding boogie boarding and if you are lucky you can see some surfers in the distance. There are also lifeguards standing guard in their little lifeguard stands which gives it that CA Baywatch vibe, but just subtly. There are also volleyball posts where you can either hook up your own net, or practice your tight rope walking as was the case this afternoon. There is never a lack of people to watch.

From the tight rope walkers to those practicing Poi (fire dancing) or working out their juggling skills. Plus the assortment of sunbathers, good and bad alike. Be warned often you will find one or men strutting about in a bright shiny speedo, not a good look. And while this is a family friendly beach there is often girls who have decided topless is the way to go.

All of this adds up to make Third Ave. a top pick beach in Santa Cruz. At least in my humble opinion.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Beach Fare

The Crows Nest nestled right in the Santa Cruz Harbor is a classic. Great view, great food, and great service. Now I am speaking mostly of the upstairs portion of Crows Nest, because that is the part I frequent most often, though I have had some great dining downstairs as well. The first floor is more of a "fine dining" experience, you know white tablecloths and all that, while upstairs you will find much more relaxed. Both upstairs and down have great outdoor seating and both have delicious food, but as you would expect, down costs much more than up. So head upstairs and enjoy the same if not better view and some really good California cuisine.

It may be only an appetizer but the best thing on the menu in my humble opinion is called...

Our Famous Smoked Salmon
Fresh Salmon, marinated, then hot-smoked for hours over
an alder wood fi re. Sweet, smoky and delicious! Served
with wasabi-mayonnaise 9.95

Umm yeah 9.95 is a bit on the pricey side of things but rest assured you will not be sorry that you spent the almost 10.00. skip everything else if need be, but trust me. I would go so far as to say that even if you are not a seafood fanatic you will find this to your liking. I could be wrong, but it may be worth the risk.

There are plenty of other good things to try but seriously try the salmon.

The fish and chips are good, as are many other non fishy things but you are at the harbor for goodness sake, so it seems only reasonable that I assume you are going to order fish.

There is also always something going on upstairs in the evenings. My favorite night to go is Sundays because it is comedy night. But I warn you that I do not recommend all of their comics, as I have had to sit through many a bad night of stand up to get the good stuff, but if you are brave, and won't hold it against me then you should go. But go early as it often fills up and you won't get a seat. The late night stuff has a cover usually only $7 and there is an atm there if you need one. This is also one of those places where you have to pay to park so come prepared to either close the place down and leave after the lot attendant or bring a few extra bucks. If you have a beach parking permit for live oaks then you can park a little further away but for free (aside from the cost of your permit that is)

Another little known or at least little taken advantage of secret is that in the afternoons during the summer there is a man with a water taxi who will take you from the Aldo's Side (west side ) of the the Harbor to the Crow's Nest Side. This is handy for those of you who have parked near third ave for a day at the beach and then discover you really wish for some great salmon. Just go flag down the FREE water taxi and get shuttled over, or just for fun take the whole ride up and down the harbor. A great diversion for those of you with kids or those of you nanny's who need a free outing with the kids. You can also park at the back harbor and take the water taxi up to Twin Lakes/Crows Nest or to Third Ave/Aldo's. See aren't you glad we are friends all these useful tidbits of information making your life so much more enjoyable.

Oh and I almost forgot they have beach parties in the summer time! Every Thursday starting at 5:30 with live music and NO COVER! How fun is that. Don't you just love this place. It is a family friendly time or so I hear, with the outdoor BBQ going. Maybe I'll see you there.


Sitting atop Margaritaville in Capitola Village is Mr. Toots a local coffee shop that has been in this same beach side local for over 26 years. What is great about this place is the relaxed vacation like feel that you get going there. There is a tiny and I mean tiny outside patio that overlooks the beach, but inside there is lots of seating and even boardgames in case you actually came to a coffee shop to play instead of work. You will also find many local artists works on display as well as local musicians playing in the evenings.

The coffee not bad, not great either. I have heard that they have great tea, which they seem to have an abundance of. There are some tasty treats to be had if you are in the mood. And they will pour espresso over gelato when they actually have gelato. (sometimes they are out, which is sad.) All in all I would recommend Mr. Toots for a small gathering of friends. If you are local you may want to wait till summer has wound down as you can imagine or may know there are way too many tourists this time of year and parking can be tricky. They do have wireless for those of you who want to know, but this is not the most conducive place to study as the tables are all somewhat tipsy.

If you are not a coffee or tea person, I am not sure why you read this far, but there are plenty of other good places to explore in Capitola Village, which I am sure I will do in future blogs, but feel free to branch out on your own. Zelda's is a great place to start if you are unsure.

The Office

Lets be honest it is this logo that was going to keep me from ever setting foot in Coffee Cat. I mean the thought of a cat in a cup isn't exactly appetizing. Who wants to drink from that cup? I don't, but I do want to drink from a Coffee Cat Cup oh just about anytime. I don't know what it was that got me through the door, but I am oh so thankful that I set aside my snobbery and silly ideas about graphic designs.

Coffee Cat has become what I fondly refer to as "the office". Why? Because it is where I get a vast majority of my work done. I am so much more productive while sipping on a Cappuccino Royal than when I am in my real office. What is a Cappuccino Royal? I am so glad you asked. It is the nectar of the gods, yes it is that good. It is like a normal cappuccino, except that in a small there is three shots instead of the normal two. Simply a much stronger dose of my drug of choice (caffeine). If you are not afraid to live on the edge (may cause cancer) then I suggest that you order one and add two packets of sweet and low. You won't be sorry. Unless of course you get cancer, in which case I am so sorry and I did warn you.

Why else is Coffee Cat my home away from home? Because the barista's are amazing. They are. Not only do they know how to make a fantastic Royal, they can decorate the top with nifty designs in the foam. Besides the fancy coffee skills they all seem to be nice friendly people. They greet people warmly and if you are a regular they know what you want and sometimes have it for you before you can order. Joe the manager is fantastic at his job. He takes pride in what he does, making sure to live up to the owners high standards. The place is always clean, and the shelfs are kept just show. If you are into supporting local artists than that is just one more reason you should check out Coffee Cat, because the walls are always changing. Local artists display their masterpieces for you to enjoy whilst you sip your coffee.

Coffee Cat is not in Downtown Santa Cruz, you will find it in Scotts Valley next door to Safeway. But never fear, for those of you who don't find yourself up in the SV area often you will be pleased to know that LuLu Carpenters as well as the new LuLu's at the Octagon are owned by the same man and carry the same great coffee. They both have their own style, but you can be sure that the coffee will be excellent. For those of you who would rather sip on something less acidic don't you worry your pretty little selves because they also carry a wide variety of tea. My favorite tea is the Oolong Songbird. Odd name but tasty tea non the less.

Mentioned Earlier

If you have been following along than you may recall that in my blog about Book Shop Santa Cruz I mentioned in passing a little cafe nearby, Chocolate. I thought that I might be fair and give it its own space. As I stated in that previous post I tend to truly enjoy this little bohemian cafe. Though if you Google it you may find that not everyone shares my adoration. Their frustrations with Chocolate are not unjust, just unfortunate, and I must admit that there have in fact been times where I would have to share in there opinions.

There have been those who have been turned off by the
laissez-faire attitude of the wait staff. I would concur that at times I have received less than what I would maintain to be great service. I would however point those who complain about this back to the unarguable fact that this is in fact a bohemian style cafe, which would imply just such service (I suppose). There have been times when I have been the recipient great service, it really seems to depend on the day and the hour with this place. In which case I suggest that if timeliness and always seeing your waiter is important to you than just go somewhere else, there is limited seating anyway, and there is nothing I hate more than when I am trying to enjoy my leisurely indulgence in good food than to overhear people wining over the fact that it is taking to long. If you really want fast food, then there are places for that. This is not one of them. At the same time I have to be fair and say I really never wait long for the food, just the bill and who really wants to pay anyway?

I already told you of the Chocolate Orgy (it is as sinful as it sounds). Let me tempt you a bit more. It comes in three sizes I believe. May I suggest that if you are with anyone else you just go for it and get the large. When it comes you will find yourself presented with a 3 tiered plates of chocolate ecstasy. An assortment of truffles, cakes, gelato and even pie. It is a sample plater from Heaven.

If you are not in the mood for desert (umm not sure why) then I strongly urge you to go for the Pasta Rosettes with the artichoke creme sauce. Yummy. As is the Chicken Soup. I have heard tales of the Chicken Mole, which I have not yet sampled, but it is raved about.

After that scrumptious dinner or lunch you will likely not have room for much else and certainly not the Chocolate Orgy, but if you are now ready for a desert of perhaps less commitment level then try the Warm Chocolate Cup Cake which melts in your mouth or the Tiramisu.

More than just food this is an excellent place for people watching on Pacific Ave. Or for sitting down with a new book from Book Shop Santa Cruz. Go, Relax, and Indulge in Chocolate.


Locally owned Italian restaurant is got its name from Santa Cruz's Sister City in Italy, Sestri Levante. Pictured here below.

Not a bad place from the looks of it. Our own Sestri though not as appealing from first glance is a great find once you step inside. Located on Capitola Rd. it is in a somewhat inconspicuous building and local. I encourage you to make the effort to get beyond first glances and take a deeper look into the heart of Sestri. If you do I am sure you will be delighted as I was to find a warm inviting Italian dining experience.

Not only is Sestri Levante the sister to our beautiful it is also the home town of the owner John Mootz. This would explain the great art on the walls as well as the welcoming neighborhood place feel that they have managed to maintain.

Sestri may be named after our sister city but it is a sister business of Aldo's located by the Santa Cruz Harbor as well as Aldo's Italian Bakery found in Soquel Village. I have not yet had the chance to sample anything at the bakery, but Aldo's has been a family favorite for a long time. They have filling yummy breakfasts, with an amazing view of the boats coming and going into from the Monterey Bay.

Back to Sestri, the dinners that I have had there were all very enjoyable. Prepared just right, and just the right amount. (I have become increasingly annoyed at places that give you portions large enough for a family of 4.) I will say that my favorite part of dining at Sestri is there deserts. My favorite being their Affogatos the Nora-Nocello with Espresso over Gelato is simply to die for. I have in fact gone on many occasions just to partake in this blissful pleasure.

Go seek out this local link to Italy allowing yourself to be carried away to the Italian Riviera as you sample some fine seafood dish and one of the wines from their great collection of local and Italian wines. Enjoy!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

A Must Read

Bookshop Santa Cruz is my favorite bookshop. It has that "Independent/local" vibe, but is not the small hole in the wall that only specializes in a certain type of book. I love the smell of the books when you walk in. The fact that they are local and have public restrooms is also a huge plus!

There staff is helpful and the selection is fantastic. You will also be pleased to find a great assortment of magazines, the normal ones and a few extras like "Found". There is also a fine variety of cards and gifty little things to tempt you as you browse.

If you are passing through you might bump into me near the travel books or the foodie books, as those are the places I frequent. If you are not in a rush you should snuggle up in one of their chairs and check out which books grab you most. Try them on for size if you will.

Be sure not to miss out on Chocolate a great little Parisian style cafe just outside the front door when you are on the Pacific Ave. side of the store. Their Chocolate Orgy is a great late night snack to share with a friend or two.

Bunny's Shoes

Not to leave you boys out, but this one is really for the girls. If you have not checked out Bunny's Shoes in downtown Santa Cruz you are missing out. I am addicted to very few things in life but I cannot walk past the window of Bunny's with out longing to venture in to check out not only the amazing shoes within, but the sales. That's right girls not only are there great shoes but there is almost always fantastic deals on equally fantastic shoes.

I was not even addicted to shoes until I found this splendid candy shop of heals, flats, boots and more. Oh did I forget to mention there is more than shoes? Oops. Of course you cannot just have the shoes there's the bags, wallets and sunglasses. Just across the street you will find an equally addictive second part to the store, filled with fabulous clothing, and great little things to fill your home.

Its almost more than a girl can handle.