Monday, May 28, 2012

Return to paradise

Last weekend, we headed down to Santa Cruz for a few days. We rented the same house we stayed in two years ago,  located in a quiet cul-de-sac half a block from the beach. For three perfect days, we forgot about work, responsibilities, and errands, and instead settled into a new routine: beach, eat, nap, read, drink wine, repeat. I challenge you to find a better way to spend a few days.

From our sandy perch, we watched the boats...

and some kids surfing.

We even saw some dolphins, though without a zoom lens you'll have to squint a little.

We went to Capitola, a few miles down the road.

We watched a guy paddle boarding, all by himself.

There were lots of pelicans.

And lots of food. We grilled in the evenings--salmon, steak, and scallops--and I made easy sides that created little cleanup--a mango and avocado salsa, grilled asparagus. On the morning we left to drive down, I baked these lemon raspberry muffins with crumble topping and we ate them all weekend.You can find the recipe here, which I doctored only a little, substituting buttermilk for milk and adding a few drops of almond extract. Next time I might reduce the baking powder and swap in a little baking soda to soften the texture, but they really were delicious.

At our old favorite, the Aloha Island Grille, we ate kalua pig...

and kalbi ribs.

If I were on death row, I think my last meal would be a Hawaiian plate lunch. If I'm going to exit this world, I may as well be full of mac salad.

What was the occasion of this little getaway? you might wonder.

Well, for one, the husband and I celebrated our wedding anniversary! 12 years together, 7 years hitched.

We also celebrated one year of having Soph, the sweetest creature I know, unless you are a bird or gopher, in which case, she's gonna getcha.

And we remembered our Frances, who was with us on our first trip to Santa Cruz, by sprinkling some of her ashes in the Pacific.

I still miss her every day but cannot believe my good fortune to have found the two best dogs on the planet. What are the odds?

To me, there is no happier vacation than one spent wearing flip flops, shaking sand from my clothes, and smelling faintly of the sea. Three days was not enough but without a doubt, we will return.


  1. Oops... that was from Pete

    1. That looks like a fun trip!

      You have a lot of good & different fruit recipes! I need to try this instead of my usual pie/crisp/shortcake. I have blueberries and strawberries and could probably swap either (if not, I could always make the yummy-sounding cake from previous post!). - Pete

  2. You definitely have to return...and soon!! Congratulations on 12 years together, that's amazing!!!

  3. Happy Belated Anniversary and congrats on finding another wonderful canine companion. I'm with you on the plate lunch - no ka oi!

  4. Pete: yes, this year I seem to be obsessed with fruit desserts...and fortunately have discovered some great recipes. You really should try that cake, it's delicious.

    Jessica: Thank you!

    Zoom: Thanks so much. Plate lunches!!

  5. Happy anniversary! You guys make such a cute couple. Looks like you got some great weather down there, and those plate lunches look so authentic even though you're not in the islands. So I guess the nights of grilling salmon and simple sides were to save room for the plate lunches, right? ;-)

  6. Happy Anniversary! What a perfect trip to celebrate!

  7. Ben: Aw, thanks! Yes, the plate lunches seemed pretty authentic to me...I really wish there was a place like that in the City, I would be there once a week at least!

    Barbara: Thank you!

  8. happy anniversaries and remembrances! i'm loving all the blue skies. :)
    incidentally, the first word of my captcha code is love!

  9. Happy Anniversary! I am originally from San Juan Bautista so these were happy photos for me to see!

  10. grace: Thank you! and cute about the captcha code!

    Melissa: practically your old stomping grounds! :)

  11. I cannot think of a better way to spend a vacation....Love it!

    Here's to great times, great food and great dogs.