Strawberry Fields Forever

Just signed up for this! Now I need to figure out how to train for the 65 mile ride. Or, I could train for the strawberries covered in chocolate ganache part (they'll be at the finish). "A beautiful ride through southern Santa Cruz County. Includes approximately 4000 feet of climbing. Espressos and lattes at the levee, lunch at Royal Oaks, pie at Gizdich Ranch and perogi in Corralitos. A good ride for the accomplished weekend warrior. An after-ride meal for all routes will be served at the finish. All rides start at Pajaro Valley High School, south of Santa Cruz. There is no overnight parking at Pajaro Valley High School. "


Baby I'm such a wreck!

On February 12, 1935, the U.S. Navy airship USS Macon was damaged in a storm and sunk to the bottom of Monterey Bay. Airship ≠ Blimp? The USS Macon was used to launch Sparrowhawk biplanes. Macon's sister? Ever heard of Hindenburg? (Hint: blimp-like thing that caught fire and was completely engulfed in flames in 37 seconds).

Over 1,500 feet below the bay's surface, one will find an airship hangar with four biplanes, five engines, parts of an aluminum stove, dining table, and bench. Seventy five years after the Macon sunk, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced that the wreck site was added to the National Register of Historic Places. 83 of the 85 crewmen were rescued by Navy ships back in '35.

It's like our own, less tragic, Titanic.

Fumigants on Monterey County soil

What would you like in your salad? Some methyl iodide? Methyl bromide? Both are pest and disease fumigants that farmers in Monterey County use on goods from leaf lettuce to strawberries. Methyl bromide hurts the Earth's ozone layer, so it has been used less and less over the past 5 years (the federal government frowns upon its use).

Because the government is phasing out methyl bromide, farmers might start planting fewer acres of veggies and fruits, most notably strawberries. First the rain ruins strawberry crops, and now this?? Do you realize what the economic impact of a reduction in strawberry crops would be? Loss of many, many jobs. Think about your drive through Salinas along Hwy 101. Growing and picking strawberries employs a lot of people!!

Farmers use fumigants to "clear the soil of pests, diseases and weeds, especially in commercial nurseries and the strawberry industry." Methyl iodide was intended to be a safer version of the bromide version.... intended being the key word. The eight member committee assessing the fumigant decided that the risk outweighs the reward. Methyl iodide, a known carcinogen, poses health risks to workers and the general population.

When working with fumigants, just one mistake can cause a lot of damage - we are talking thyroid cancer, respiratory tract lesions, and neurological effects (in lab animals). Last year alone pesticides were applied 120,000 times in Monterey County - just 1,183 were inspected via a 45-line checklist. A bit of a disparity, huh?

So what to do? Limit methyl iodide use, restrict crop production, prices go up, people become unemployed.... or ignore the science and expose farmers to a potentially harmful toxic chemical?

Poodle Party (Really?)

OMG mark your calendar. Poodle Day in Carmel is set for October 2, 2010! Your pup won't need to be on a leash, but he/she will need to be either a goldendoodle, labradoodle, mixed poodle, or the straight up real thing.

Event highlights;
- Poodle Parade at Crossroads in Carmel
- Poodle Play at Carmel Beach
- Poodle Cocktail Parties at the Cypress Inn and Forge in the Forest.

This news was just too good to pass up.

Event creators invited NorCal Poodle Rescue, a poodle-saving-and-rehabilitation group that saves more than 100 poodles each year. Founded 25 years ago, they even offer a return policy! Visit their website, super funny pictures, I recommend the "Happy Endings" page ha!

9 Days!

Can't wait to be in Sin City with this girl!!! Good luck writing your essay! See you soon :)


Clementine's Kitchen

Clementine's Kitchen (465 Canyon Del Rey Blvd, Del Rey Oaks) sells kitchen cookware, accessories, and offers cooking classes. I came here a few weeks ago before my Valentine's Day cupcake baking spree. It was fun looking around their store, but I was expecting more baking supplies than I actually saw. Their gear is more on the expensive side, but it's nice knowing I have access to random ingredients that Martha Stewart uses. They also have a wide selection of cheeses and deli meats. Classes are about $45 and last approximately 2 hours.

What I bought: nice wire whisk, spatula, food coloring gels, and a gift for somebody...

The other thing to note is that Clementine's Kitchen is in a really adorable shopping center. It is so lovely to see a developed shopping center. RedBrick Pizza is next door and holy moly their food smelled goooood. They sell fire-roasted gourmet pizzas and offer a multigrain whole wheat acai berry olive oil artisan crust. That's a lot of adjectives. Definitely want to try that out sometime!

Tico's Breakfast and Lunch

It's always so tough to decide on eating at home or going out. And then once that decision is made, a whole new crop of decisions sprouts up. Late Sunday morning, Kyle and I had to make these tough decisions. I made the decision to not eat at my place, mostly because I was eager to try a new local place. Where to go? Early lunch? Late breakfast? Lunch? Breakfast? Ah!

Wave a magic wand... and Ta Da! Tico's Breakfast and Lunch!

Tico's is located at 330 Reservation Road, Suite C, Marina. It is tucked in a sideways mini-strip-mall type thing, near an Asian Market. They are open Monday - Saturday 8 am - 3 pm. Sunday hours are 8 am - 2:30 pm. I cannot gush enough about Tico's. Their menu is different in an amazing way. When's the last time you went to a random breakfast spot and saw Baby Artichoke Crepes? Banana Foster French Toast? Pecan Waffle? Breakfast Enchiladas?

More decisions! We chose the Berry Pancakes ($9) and the Omelet with Vegetables ($9). The three pancakes came with fresh sseasonal berries dusted lightly with powdered sugar. The berries were added into the actual batter and spread on top of the finished pancakes. I thought that was a particularly nice touch. Plus the pancakes weren't overly thick and heartburn-enducing. Absolutely perfect and fluffy! The Omelet was stuffed with artichoke, tomato, roasted red peppers, spinach, and mozzarella cheese. I think there was some Tico's signature hollandaise sauce on top too! Also on the plate were tons of breakfast potatoes and 4 triangles of wheat toast.

Will someone please give me another excuse to go to Tico's? They have a full sheet of extra specials for Saturday and Sunday's menu. On Yelp people gush about their eggs benedict, if only I was in to that whole poached egg thing. What does that mean anyways?

Lenny Sales and Band

Max alerted me about this free music event going on tonight, then I saw it on the Monterey County Weekly website. Figured if I heard about it twice, maybe I should pass along the info to all my ... um ... readers?

Lenny Sales and Band at East Village Coffee Lounge
Featuring Bernadette Conant. Songwriter Lenny Sales the self-proclaimed "acoustic soul" musician brings his adult contemporary pop rock to The East Village Coffee Lounge. Expect originals like the radio ready "Find Another Way" along with a cover of David Gray's "Fugitive." [ST]
TONIGHT! Tue, Feb 23
TIME: 8pm
VENUE: East Village Coffee Lounge, 498 Washington St, Monterey

p.s. OOooOOOh I like David Gray!

Mi Pueblo comes to Seaside!

According to this article, Seaside is about to see Mi Pueblo pop up at 1720 Fremont Boulevard. At first Mi Pueblo reps were worried about having enough water for their 1,811-square foot deli/taqueria.

Seaside's City Council sees Mi Pueblo as many things: "revenue generation, blight removal, business retention, jobs creation, and central location." Fremont Bvd. seems a lot more central than Rengstorff Ave. in Mountain View, a Mi Pueblo location I frequent often.

Small businesses are crying out though! I never realized that Mi Pueblo is thought of as a Latino "small-business-murdering monopoly akin to Wal-Mart." Shoot, they don't even always have Dr. Pepper in stock!

I'm a fan of Mi Pueblo, I'm glad they are adding a store in Seaside! I'll still probably get everything I need from that heavenly Safeway in Del Rey Oaks, but this is a better alternative to Savemart in my eyes.

Pacific Grove Arts Center

Image by Bob Sadler

There will be a photography showing at the Pacific Grove Arts Center in Pacific Grove, CA this Friday between 7 and 9 pm. Read about the event via this blog. Two of his images were "juried in." The reception is open to the public.


Cross Country Mountain Bike Racing - No Thanks!

On Saturday, Kyle and I went for a run/hike on the same trail I ran Thursday at lunch with coworkers. The 4 mile loop was gorgeous - it is so lush and green from all the rain! When approaching the trail we saw a bunch of cyclists with race numbers tacked on. Via Google Alerts, I saw this blog post from a Santa Cruz cyclists named Karen who was at the event. It's an enjoyable read and points out two facts:

1. Ford Ord has a lot of tough hill climbs and it is M-U-D-D-Y
2. Mountain biking is D-A-N-G-E-R-O-U-S ... two crashes?! One of which involves a concussion?!

No thanks, I'll stick to paved roads.


Monterey Bay Coastal Trail

Saturday morning I took Lukefrancis (my bicycle) on an oceanside bike ride. I had roughly an hour and a half to spare :) so I pedaled down General Jim Moore towards Hwy 1. I was a little nervous when I pedaled down a one way street, but my instinct was good and I found the Monterey Bay Coastal Bike Trail.

The trail stretches from Castroville to Pebble Beach. Most of the trail I was on was an actual bike path, but some bits were along a road or behind the stores of Sand City. The views were spectacular, it was sunny out, a cool breeze, lovely riding conditions indeed! The whole trail is about 30 miles long - I rode from Fort Ord to Robert S. Beach, and back. However, I did manage to not-so-gracefully unclip from my right pedal, accidentally lose my balance while still hooked into my left pedal, and fall like a tree to the ground. Now my left shoulder is super sore.

Nicole - bring Maple down here and let's go for a ride on this same trail... All the way to the Cottage of Sweets!


Shark Days at the Monterey Bay Aquarium

This weekend the Monterey Bay Aquarium is hosting a Shark Days event. Sharks are extremely mysterious creatures that scientists find difficult to study. You need lots of $$$ and hi-tech equipment to track and observe sharks. Did you know that scientists at the Pacific Shark Research Center JUST discovered a new species of ghost shark living off California's coast? The PSRC scientists study about 25 species of sharks right now, two of which are in the Monterey Bay (cool!).

The "Shark Days" presentations at the aquarium are included in regular admission price, which is nice. The presentations are going to "highlight some of the fascinating facts that are known about sharks and their relatives — such as the fact that hammerhead sharks have electroreceptors on their heads that they use like metal detectors in coastal flats, searching for prey items such as sting rays buried in the sand."

(Click for schedule) Event highlights include:
  • Comic strip artists Jim Tooney of "Sherman's Lagoon" (I loved that comic strip!) will be there, signing books and teaching everyone how to draw a shark
  • First 500 people to visit the event info booth will receive a 2010 "Sherman's Lagoon" shark calendar
  • Meet people that work with sharks every day, hammer (get it?) them with any and all questions
  • Bat ray feedings in the bat ray touch pool
  • Watch a diver feed bat rays, leopard sharks, and sevengill sharks in the Monterey Bay Habitats Ocean Edge exhibit
  • Watch "Tagging Predators" film in the auditorium (it's about satellite tags on sharks, tuna, sea turtles, etc)
  • Watch the hi-def film "Sevengill Sharks of the Bay Area"
  • Face painting!!!
  • Shark related arts-n-crafts
  • For extra $$ you can go on a 50-minute "behind the scenes [tour] to visit the sharks in the research facility, see the transport tanks and learn more about the special care of these animals"

If you have the time this weekend, go, see, feel, learn! The aquarium has 13 different elasmobrachs (aka the subclass of cartilaginous fish that includes sharks, skates and rays) in their tanks including the rare "scalloped hammerhead shark, Galapagos shark and pelagic stingray."

Aquarium hours 10 am - 6 pm daily. Tickets are included with regular aquarium admission of $29.95 general, $27.95 seniors / students, $17.95 children 3-12, children under 3 free. The behind-the-scenes tours are $12 ($10 for members).

Want more information? Check out this article from the Monterey County Hearld.

All aboard the PG Trolley!

According to the Monterey County Hearld, all members of the Pacific Grove city council voted 'yes' to the Pacific Grove Free Trolley idea. From Memorial Day to Labor Day, a free trolley will run "between Monterey Bay Aquarium and Asilomar Conference Grounds, following a route that would include Ocean View Boulevard, Sunset Drive and Point Pinos Lighthouse and would return via Lighthouse and Central avenues." The proposed trolley will cost various people a grand total of $60,000. Who's paying: city of PG will take $15,000 from its golf fund, $5,000 from the lighthouse fund; the city Business Improvement District will pay $5,000; the Hospitality Improvement District will pay $15,000; and Asilomar will pay $20,000. All parties are hoping that the ROI will be at least $3 million to cover the $60,000 cost.

I'm liking this idea! It would be really fun and convenient (FREE!) to get from Cannery Row over to the Asilomar area. The views are spectacular and I would definitely consider this as a thing-to-do when people visit. (If they visit?!) The whole point is to draw tourists into Pacific Grove, a quaint little town that many visitors of the Monterey Bay Aquarium don't even know exists. Apparently "the aquarium would market the trolley and provide an audio tape guide for passengers explaining Pacific Grove's history, amenities and attractions." I wonder if that is free as well? Two thumbs up for a history lesson with a view!


Grocery Outlet and .... a surprise!

After work I went to the Grocery Outlet (215 Reservation Road, Marina) to assess how good their deals are. They buy brand name products directly from manufacturers when there is surplus inventory or manufacturing overruns. Example from their website: cereal company had boxes with Shrek on it. Then Shrek went to DVD. Don't need those Shrek boxes in stores. Fill em up anyways and give them to Grocery Outlet (at a fraction of the cost). I noticed that they had really good deals on health/beauty products, like Neutrogena's $20-ish dollar wrinkle cream for only $8. Must remember that for when I'm OLD (or if I continue making strange faces as often as I do).

I read that they also have good wine deals. I'll have to go back before a night out to stock up! The produce section was pretty small, but how would you get discount produce anyways?? The Grocery Outlet website advises to stop by often because products are always changing, when you do see something you like get a lot because it might not be there the next time, and sign up for email notifications - if you are that gung-ho. (Which maybe I am?) I left Grocery Outlet with a HUGE thing of $5 detergent, lots of $1.50 lean cuisines, $2 box of Kashi, and other stuff!

From there I drove up Hwy - 1 to go pick up something I decided to buy on craigslist. I bet you are curious as to what I got!

That's right! I finally got a stand mixer, thanks to the help of my Doze-Valentine. The drive went by really fast both ways, mostly because I listened to the new Angels & Airwaves album LOVE on repeat. I was, however, perplexed by the intense fog. (Or should I say marine layer?) I plan on researching a bit more about this and posting a scientific description - bet you can't wait!

Tomorrow is Thursday aka the preseason for the WAKA Kickball league begins. My team has a late game, which I'm pretty happy about because then it won't get in the way of my after-work routine. It's too bad that our team will be missing both our captain Tyler and teammate Max. I'm anxious to see what these Monterey teams are going to bring to the, um, plate. Literally.


Staying away from chips

The past two weeks I avoided eating chips. Kettle, Lays, random bags at sandwich shops - you name it. Even tortilla chips, and those things are everywhere! For lent I'm going to continue to give up chips. My goal is to go three months without eating any type. If I can withstand three months without eating them, I bet I'll feel a lot better on that self-control front. Usually when a bag of chips is put in front of me, I revert to cavewoman mode and eat/snack/grab until I've had 4 times as many chips as I should have eaten. Survival instinct? Could be. I honestly consider chips to be pieces of heavenly, crunchy, salty, flavorful perfection. These past two weeks have been rough, but now I know that I can do it. And this is kind of like a pledge. It has nothing to do with Seaside, or life in Monterey County for that matter, whoops!

Okay, how about this: there were chips tonight at El Torito (Taco Tuesday, helloooo). To hold off my post-work hunger, I brought an apple with me and chewed on that until we were able to order our tacos. Just for the record, Chex Mix and crackers are still acceptable, sadly Pringles won't make the cut.

Here's to self-control!


Weekend of 13 - 15 February

Right now I'm watching Keeping Up with the Kardashians on E! and Kim is celebrating her birthday in Vegas. I'll be there in three weekends! Yay! In fact, all of my upcoming weekends seem to be action packed. This weekend I went home to San Jose and spent time with my family and my fella.

After work on Friday I went to the mall with Nicole. I was looking for a cheap Vegas-appropriate dress from Forever 21 and had no luck. I did, however find a cute work-appropriate sweater thingy. Nicole bought a shirt to wear with her spankies for her solo. For dinner we went to California Pizza Kitchen and ordered the Asparagus & Arugula salad ($5) from their Small Cravings menu and the Kid's Original BBQ Chicken Pizza ($5.50). The A&A salad had arugula, asparagus chunks, and sun-dried tomatoes tossed in their homemade lemon-herb vinaigrette, topped with almonds and Parmesan shavings.

We drove home and then I made a quick trip to my dad & Lauretta's to drop off some of those strawberry cupcakes. After that Kyle met up with me and we pretty much just looked at People magazine and went to sleep (EXCITEMENT!)

Saturday I woke up and went with my mom and David to Nicole's Dance Competition at Monte Vista High School. She did great in her solo and her team dominated! I never realized how long sitting through an entire competition is! Good thing my aunt Cori and cousin Morgan were there! I had fun tossing around LOST theories with Morgan. She suggested Doc Jensen's blog on EW... I will check that out later.

After the competition I went back to my mom's and I made some more cupcakes with Nicole's help. This time I baked German Chocolate cupcakes (pictures to come). They were a Valentine's Day treat for Kyle. For dinner I went to my dad's for taco night! Yum! (extra yum points for the Cookies & Cream ice cream). When I got back to my mom's, Nicole and I watched three episodes of Make It or Break It. Great show! Guilty pleasure :)

Sunday I woke up and made breakfast with Nicole. We used the leftover pancake batter my mom had left. Banana walnut pancakes? I think? I don't know, they were yummy! Why do I use that word so much? Ick. Must use a synonym next time. Okay so.... I went to the gym and then came home and showered blah blah blah. Stressed out that it was already the afternoon, and I really needed/wanted to get up to Mountain View.

My Valentine's Day was wonderful. I won't get into the details, but we went to see Crazy Heart and made a delicious dinner afterwards. Sole, stuffed mushrooms, and baked sweet potato chips (with a bottle of wine). I was sad to leave this morning, but had to get into work. I'm saving up holiday time for another Vegas weekend! I hope you all had a fabulous weekend!

Monterey Olympian

On Saturday night, MONTEREY native J.R. Celski won the bronze metal in the men's 1,500 short track speed skating final. Apollo Ohno, that speed skating mini-man wonder, grabbed the silver. Celski's motto is, "the one who dares, lives" and his favorite food is a rice and Butterfinger desert! STRANGE!

I love the Olympics!!

Sustainable Seaside gains ground

Sustainable Seaside is a community action group that meets the first Tuesday of every month at 6:30 pm at the Peace Resource Center (1364 Fremont St, Seaside). The article discusses how Sustainable Seaside promotes the adoption of green building codes. If the local government can embrace these codes, it will help reduce waste, conserve water, and counteract carbon emissions.

Two members of Sustainable Seaside have eagerly incorporated the group's principles. The husband/wife combo keep drought-resistant plants in their yard, use a water-saving drip-irrigation system, and have huge barrels that collect rain water, for use later. Where did they get the 55 gallon barrels? At a food manufacturer in Sand City! (33 barrels = 1815 gallons of water storage) Holy Smokes! Due to the recent downpour, they've got enough water to last through most of the summer.

Sustainable Seaside also focuses on:
  • home & community gardens
  • water access & efficiency (think barrels)
  • safe bike routes through seaside (YESSSSSSS!!!!!)
  • making Fort Ord a recreational area
  • renewable energy efficiency
  • polystyrene food container packaging ban (the stuff does not decompose and negatively effects the environment)
For more information call: (831) 899-7934

Tribute to Andrew Lloyd Webber

Article - Tribute to Andrew Lloyd Webber | Carmel News

This article did not give much information about what the tribute entails, so I looked further. On Saturday, Februrary 27th, at the Sunset Center in Carmel, five Broadway stars will sing the works of Andrew Lloyd Webber. Webber is an English composer, famous for The Phantom of the Opera, Cats, Jesus Christ Superstar, and Evita. Accompanying the five Broadway stars is an eight-piece orchestra. Tickets are not available for purchase online. You can email the box office at ticketsvcs@sunsetcenter.org. I think tickets range from about $52 to $77. Check craigslist and you might find a better deal.

The Sunset Center is "a place for public, cultural, entertainment and community events," so be sure to check their website for upcoming events!

What is the AT&T Pro-Am?

The AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am came to Monterey this past week/weekend. I've heard of the golf tournament before, but I thought I'd do a little research about it and let you know the interesting details:
  • ATT Pro-Am used to be called the Bing Crosby National Pro-Amateur (nicknamed: Crosby Clambake)
  • Every year this PGA Tour is held in Pebble Beach, CA ... but it might be held at any of three courses (Pebble Beach golf links, Spyglass Hill Golf Course, and Monterey Peninsula Country Club)
  • Pre WWII the even was held in Rancho Sante Fe, CA
  • 72-hole event
  • 156 Pro golfers get together with 156 amateurs (I should sign up next year!). Every day 52 pairs (one pro + one amateur = 2 man teams) play one one of the three golf courses I mentioned above.
  • These days the professionals team up with Hollywood celebs, musicians (KENNY G!) and the "captains of industry"
  • On the last day, the teams that make the 54-hole cut get to play at PEBBLE! 60 professional golfers and the top 25 pro-am teams get to play on Sunday.
  • Dustin Johnson won last year... and he won this year! Go Dustin! (p.s. I have no idea who he is, but there was this kid Dustin in my elementary school who was about half the size of other kids, but his brain was about five times the size of other kids. He signed yearbooks with King Dustin or something like that. He also liked showing off how smart he was.) This year Dustin Johnson won $1,116,000.
  • Our favorite sex-aholic Tiger Woods won in 2000. He got $720,000 for winning.


Valentine's Day Cupcakes.... drool

UPDATE: Cupcakes highlighted on mycupcakeday.com!

Both types homemade! 105 mini strawberry cupcakes with strawberry meringue buttercream frosting. 30 cookies & cream cheesecupcakes.

Will write more later, now I need sleep!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Ideas of the Romantic Sort...

Valentine’s Day Weekend in Monterey County

I won't be in town this weekend, but here are some more ideas if you are!

- wine tasting
- a class to learn about animal mating habits (NEAT!)
- get a portrait drawn
- romantic brunch/lunch/dinner
- check out the AT&T Pro-Am

Please follow the link above for more info. They have even more links to lots of good places to visit. And FYI - you don't have to use Valentine's Day as an excuse to do these things! :)

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Amgen Tour of California will end at the Boardwalk

The Tour of California is a professional cycling stage race that covers about 650 to 700 miles of turf. It is a pretty intense tour, with a 2.HC rating (Hors Categorie - it's French for Beyond Categorization). Only two other US tours have that rating, Tour of Missouri and Tour of Georgia.

On May 18th, cyclists will finish stage 3 at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. Stage 3 starts in San Francisco. This is the first year that the race is taking place in May, usually it happens in February. Santa Cruz Mayor Mike Rotkin hopes that this will bring in some tourism for the years that follow. I'll be there Mr. Rotkin! But I'm not a tourist.


R.G. Burgers

Tonight I went to R.G. Burgers (Real Good Burgers) with Tyler, Max, and my roommate Manu. Manu had been here previously with a friend in Salinas and he convinced me that they've got "f----ing good" burgers. We got there at 7 pm and immediately got a table. There are apparently two locations, one in the Carmel Crossroads shopping center and the other [one we went to] is in downtown Monterey near Trader Joe's (570 Munras Ave, Monterey).

I ordered the classic "r.g. Burger (yes it means real good)" for $7.25. It came with either potato salad, mixed greens, or fries. For those who know me well, you should all know what I chose: the potato salad. I will say it many-a-times: POTATO SALAD on HAMBURGER = HEAVEN!

Manu ordered the "Béarnaise Burger - creamy béarnaise sauce and sautéed mushrooms. It’s one of a kind!" for $9.50. Tyler got the same thing I got, but with a [$1.50 extra bison patty (mine was Turkey). Pretty sure Max ate the "Western BBQ - cheddar cheese, grilled onions and r.g. bbq sauce" for $8.50, but I can't completely remember.

Boy oh boy... those burgers were REALLY tasty, definitely hit the spot. While they pride themselves on their hand-formed, extra-lean burgers, they also sell hot dogs, soups, salads, sandwiches, and thick milkshakes of all flavors (even PB&J). See Yelp for more info....

Hanami Sushi and Gelato

Okay I have waited long enough to put up another "where I ate" blog post. Earlier this week I met up with my turd nugget of a boyfriend in Morgan Hill. We planned to meet somewhere in the middle of Seaside and Mountain View. Our options included Gilroy, San Martin, Morgan Hill, and Santa Cruz. We chose (via coin flip) a sushi spot in Mo Hill called Hanami Sushi (1295 E Dunne Ave, Morgan Hill).

The place was deserted when we arrived - we were literally the only two people there! We ordered a spicy tuna, eel, rock n roll, and spider roll in addition to two miso soups. There was so much food to go around and the bill was not expensive at all. The spicy tuna and eel roll were fairly simple, but it really allowed for the tastes to shine through. I think I liked the spicy tuna roll the best, followed by the rock n roll.

The best part about the location was that it was right next door to a gelato shop (I ♥ Gelato)! Afterwards we stepped inside and ordered a small (2 flavors) and shared it. I was the one who wanted the gelato, so I got to pick the flavors. (That makes sense, doesn't it?) I chose the peanut butter and oreo. Yummmmy! Again, we were the only people there! Where do the Mo Hill-ians go for food?

Regardless, it was a very quick and easy drive. Glad we found a winning spot in between, can't wait to find more. Any suggestions?


To Do List

Before bed:

1. Fold my clothes!
2. Put them away!

I cannot go to bed before I finish those two things! (Like last night....eek). I have other stuff to do, but by writing these down, hopefully it will happen. Also, does anyone reading this have a spare mixer? I want one SOOOoooOOOoOO badly! Add to the To Do List: search craigslist incessantly for a mixer just like this:

Green Valentine's Day

A Green Valentine's Day? Yes, please! Here are two great earth friendly Valentine's Day plans to keep in mind, courtesy of Earth911.com.

- Go with your honey to a local farmers' market and treat him/her to a sunflower or dahlia (absolutely gorgeous) or whatever else is in season. If your lover has a favorite veggie or fruit, purchase a few, go back home, and create a yummy lunch/dinner that highlights that food. You will be helping out local growers, and let's be honest, there are TONS of local farmers in Monterey County! You'll also be eating organic foods, and that's a plus!

- Throwing a Valentine's Day dinner party? Don't just focus on the food! Think about location, decoration, leftovers, cleanup. The U.S. Census Bureau says that 180 million Valentine's Day cards are exchanged every year. Of course, if you get more than one valentine, keep the paper and reuse it! Also, use an evite!

Police Kick-Off New Traffic Campaign | Monterey News

This month make sure to be on your best behavior while driving through the streets of Monterey. There's already a pretty heavy task force out and about. But now, police say they are going to focus on traffic signals and signs. Make complete stops at stop signs, stop behind the line, no California Rolls (reminds me of SUSHI!), don't drive down one-way streets the opposite way, you know - the basics.

No one wants to get pulled over at 3 am for "running a red light" even though you were only making a right turn, through a red light.... not like that just happened... Saturday. Um.

Seaside Residents Collecting Signatures To Oust City Manager | Seaside News

Seaside Residents Collecting Signatures To Oust City Manager | Seaside News

As a new resident of Seaside, CA, I'd like to be a little more "in the know" about my community. When I lived in San Jose, I was just a high school student. Moving to SLO was an impermanent move, excuses, excuses. This blog is supposed to be about life in Monterey County, but most of my posts are about places I've eaten. OOPS.

The link above takes you to an article about Seaside residents that do not support City Manager Ray Corpuz. Apparently he put the police chief on leave back in August, but residents have no clue why. A group of dissenters, the Citizens of Seaside for Transparent Government, are also confused as to where their tax dollar$$s are going. This group has tried to get in contact with Corpuz for months, but nothing has come from their efforts. They want to get him out of office before the election in 2010.

I don't really know the details, but I'm going to keep an eye on this news story!

Message in a Bottle

This is an amazing story: Message in a Bottle Makes its Way Back.

2 and a half years at sea, the bottle drifted from San Diego to the Philippines, all in honor of a loved, lost friend. Eight Monterey and San Francisco fishermen saluted their fellow fishing friend by placing the letter into a bottle and throwing it overboard while at sea. A man in the Philippines found the bottle and sent it back to the men, as this is what the letter asked of whoever might find it. This bottle crossed miles and miles of ocean! Inspiring in a way, isn't it?


I.O.U. $19 Million?!?

I just read that my humble town of Seaside has a 19 million dollar deficit and is looking for ways to get rid of it. There was a meeting that took place last Thursday where city officials said that they would be making cuts in the public safety area. That means bye-bye policemen and firemen. If the city is unable to offset its budget by July, layoffs are bound to happen. Could you imagine having to find $19 million by July? And I thought budgeting AOII's expenses for a few months was tricky! Apparently laying off the firefighters and policemen is a last resort, but I'm kind of worried, seeing as how I live behind a treasure trove of unexploded ordnance!

That's right! Lots of old explosive weapons like bombs, bullets, grenades, land mines, etc. They haven't exploded yet and could still detonate at literally any moment. There are more than 10,000 acres of this UXO stuff in my backyard and there are even unlined landfills! On Wikipedia, it says that the unlined landfills are "leaking trichloroethane and carbon tetrachloride into ground water under RESIDENTIAL areas"!!

But don't worry, I won't be morphing in to a jolly green giant/alien anytime soon. They have the water situation under control here (I hope). We use a special well or something? Or was it "special" well? OH NO! Is that a sixth toe??

Strawberry Prices Going Up!

When it comes to growing strawberries, California's Monterey County has the perfect combination of foggy nights and mild temperatures. However, due to all of the rain and El Nino storms, strawberry farmers have lost about 70% of their fruit! El Nino is going to keep the rain coming for about 2-3 more months (oh how swell). The strawberry growing season starts up in 5 weeks! This means you should expect to see darker strawberries at your local grocery store in the upcoming months. More expensive too... simple economics crushing my hopes of making strawberry cupcakes for Valentine's Day.

Luckily for me, I have a great friend who just got a job with a wildly popular fruit company in Watsonville! Hopefully he can find spare fruit baskets to bring to his cheap, strawberry-loving friend in Seaside!


San Luis Obispo Road Trip

This weekend I went to San Luis Obispo to hang out with some friends, see a dance show, go wine tasting, eat at my favorite restaurants, cuddle with Kerry and Fran, etc.

Tyler, Max, and I left Friday around 4 pm. We cruised down highway 68 (apparently it is one of the most beautiful highways - says Max) and then mobbed down 101. After stopping in Paso for a few of Chili's margaritas, we continued on our way. Our first stop in SLO was at BevMo. I grabbed a 6 pack of Hoegarden; people are always raving about it and the one time I could have tried it (Avila Beerfest, June 2009), they ran out!

We went over to Victor and Clay's house next, watched the Nuggets/Lakers game, and then eventually walked downtown to Black Sheep Bar and Grill (1117 Chorro St, SLO). That's where my old roomies were! I was so excited to see them I could have peed in my pants! I miss them so much :( Luckily I did NOT pee in my pants, that would be messy. Instead I just sort of gave them lots of hugs and kisses. When the bar closed we hopped in my car and went to get some late night grub at Chilie Peppers! (791 Foothill Blvd, SLO). So very freshman/sophomore year of us! Kerry and I split a carne asada burrito that was about $6. I had some sort of salsa/hot sauce concoction with my burrito half and it was amazingly delicious. Especially for 2:30 am.

We drove to Pismo and walked into our hotel room (The Cliffs) and managed to find bed space for 6 people! We set the alarms for early-ish, considering it was almost 4 in the morning!! After waking up, grabbing coffee in my work mug, showering, etc, we made a quick trip to Forever 21 so that I could get an outfit to wear wine tasting. Do you know how hard it is to walk into the second largest Forever 21, give yourself a half hour to cover all that ground, and come out with a winning look? Ridiculous! I found this satin-y tank top that I could use for work, so I decided to get it.

Fran Kerry Andrew Tyler Max and I went to Natural Cafe (698 Higuera St, SLO) for lunch and were joined by Jake, Krish, Megan B. and her bf James. Kerry, Fran, and I all ordered the same thing, the Old Town salad ($7.25 full, $4.50 half). THAT SALAD IS SO GOOD! Mixed greens, short grain brown rice, carrots, feta cheese, tomato, and a scoop of guacamole! Add a little bit of heaven (Tapatio) to the salad along with their yummy tahini dressing, and you've got yourself a treat of a lunch! After a sad conversation regarding tandem bicycles, I decided it was about time that I left to meet up with Kali for her Birthday wine tasting celebration!

Kali and other AOII alums were all at this mysterious "MVP" location. When I arrived, I grabbed a mimosa YUM and, despite the fact I had eaten lunch, grabbed a slice of breakfast casserole that Mandy made. About ten minutes later we went outside and up rolls the stretch Excursion limo! It totally reminded me of what prom should have been like. However, I was a shy girl in high school who never got to experience the whole big-group-limo-fun-blah-blah-date-dances. You know what? Who cares! It's never to late to go to a ball... or be serenaded... : )

I digress. Wine tasting was fantastic. Absolutely fantastic. We went to Tobin James (8950 Union Rd, Paso Robles) and JanKris (not Jan Hagel, the cookie) at 1266 Bethel Rd in Templeton. Everyone was enjoying themselves, if you catch my drift. I like to think that I draw a good cat. By the end of our time at JanKris, I could not, for the life of me, remember how to draw the cat that I always draw. Does that make any sense? I had a great time. WINK.

After wine tasting I.... well, I don't know what happened. But eventually I made it to Firestone Grill (1001 Higuera St, SLO) with everyone and had my second favorite salad from the San Luis Obispo region - the Steak Cobb Salad.

After dinner we went and "watched" Orchesis' dance concert ((Continuum)).

Apologies if this is overly descriptive, but right now I'm watching the Super Bowl, (16 to 17, Colts, with 7 minutes left!) and I am doing laundry, and I just feel like giving a thorough account of the weekend. After Orchesis, we went back to Clay and Victor's place and played beirut. Fran and Kerry came over and took me with them to the downstairs bar: Creekside Brewing Company (1040 Broad St, SLO). Random, took a break to put in my light clothes, got to see some crazy plays and now Saints are up by so much! COOL. I like it when games are exciting like this!

You might be thinking, is it still Saturday night in this story? Well, yes. Yes it is. After the downstairs bar we went to the cast party for the dance show, and hung out with all of the Orchesis girls (and boy). I loved seeing everyone there - the dance girls are so classy and artsy, inspirational almost in a hipster sort of way. Next stop: Kathleen's house. We stayed there for a bit, ate cute little peanut butter chocolate chip cookies, I reunited with my estranged curling iron, and then we drove to the Cliffs. Another 4 am night! Sheesh!

I woke up at 8 am, grabbed some coffee (love my work mug!), and sat in the hot tub at the Cliffs. It was absolutely gorgeous out... that hotel has spectacular views. Hot tub > Shower > Drive back to SLO > more coffee with my little, Allison at the Starbucks on Foothill. It was really nice having time to catch up with her.

I had a few final errands to run before leaving SLO. Stopped by Vic's to grab my wetsuit and leftover salad. Went to Sidewalk Market & Deli (1401 Osos St, SLO) to pick up lunch. Freshman year the boys introduced me to Nona's Deli, which is contained in the Sidewalk Market, and it's been love ever since. My all-time favorite sandwich from SLO (and at least top 10 overall) is the Godmother sandwich ($6) from Nona's. Salame, peppered turkey, and provolone with the works (minus the olives [EWW] and mayo). HEeeaaavvvVVVVeeeeNnnnnn! I bought 2! Godmother sandwich for lunch tomorrow too :)

With both sandwiches in hand, I went to High Street Deli, where everyone else was eating. We said our goodbyes, stopped by Ed's to get a shirt, and then went back to Vic's because I forgot my computer charger there. Then we got onto 101, and drove all the way back to Seaside.

What a weekend. I wish I could spend more time in SLO, being ridiculous and silly with old friends. There truly is no better place to live when you are between the ages of 18 & 23. While I'm sad that I had to leave, I'm also very hopeful for the upcoming months. There is a lot to look forward to and this weekend was just the start :)


Crepe Night

At work on Monday I received an email from my roommate Manu. He mentioned that he was planning on making crepes for dinner. CREPES! I came home after work suuuuperrrrrrr excited for the crepes. At about 7 pm Sarah and I went to her friend's house to cut into the fabulous birthday cake she made. (Alternating layers of Funfetti and German Chocolate Cake with chocolate frosting all over? Yes please!) When we got back, Manu was already mixing the crepe mixture. After a little complication with the milk being too low in fat content and pasteurized, Manu got the crepe-making under control. (BTW: pasteurized means the milk has undergone a process of partial sterilization and it makes the milk safe for consumption and improves its keeping quality.) We paired our savory crepes with sauteed mushrooms & onions, sliced turkey, and cheese. The sweet crepes had sliced peaches, peanut butter, chocolate syrup, and whipped cream. They were so good! Manu said that he plans on making them again, next time using whole milk.

I had a lot of videos on my camera, recorded via Tyler. Here is an excerpt from what I assume is a new blog that is mostly video blog posts?

Carmel Beach

"White sand, beautiful sunsets, native cypress trees, walks, surfing, kites, sunbathing and picnics. Open 6 am to 10 pm. There is no leash law for dogs and fires are permitted on the beach south of 10th Avenue... Join Carmel's residents on the fourth Saturday of each month to help cleanup the beach. Wear a colorful safety vest and enjoy coffee and pastries afterwards." - Carmel.com website

I just might join in the cleanup the next time I am in town (and it's the last weekend of the month, of course). Sounds like a good [green] time!