Sunday, May 27, 2012

The Golden Gate...

Today marked the 75th anniversary of the Golden Gate Bridge and the whole city was decked out for the party.
Despite its touristic appeal, this iconic beauty never fails to make me proud.  
I love San Francisco.

Saturday, May 26, 2012


I don't even like coffee, and I'm still smitten by Verve Roasting Company.  During the times I concede to study (erm, read Murakami novels), I camp out at the downtown Verve.  Sometimes I feel like places are designed specifically for me.  At Verve, where Edison bulbs hang like raindrops from the ceiling and air ferns are tucked in every nook and cranny,  I fit right in.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Bigger And Better Things...

For the past two months since we've been home from Europe, both Ryan and I have been itching to move to The City.  With no attachments to school (ew) and encouragement from the chefs at work, Ryan set out for San Francisco, while I twiddled my thumbs away taking my last undergraduate classes in Santa Cruz.  Together, he and his friends have found a place on Alamo Square which, we quickly decided, was the nicest neighborhood in town.  Hardwood floors, latticed windows and a real kitchen!, around the corner from the Independent, fancy restaurants like Nopa, and walking distance to everything.  I spent the weekend helping him move in and walking around Alamo Square park, writing down addresses of houses I'd like to live in...I have all sorts of strange criteria planned out.  I want to live alone, I want southeast facing windows, I want to decorate with Pendleton blankets and Mexican embroidered tapestries...
Twenty-seven more days left in Santa Cruz for me.  And before I'm moving anywhere, I've got to find a job....

Saturday, May 19, 2012

River Street Cafe...

Santa Cruz is too often referred to as a "weird" place, full of hippies, homeless optionals, and trust-ifarians.  And, while some of these subcultures do permeate the downtown, what really sets Santa Cruz apart, I think, is its food culture.  
I remember when I first moved to France, the shock of the single bio organic isle in the super market.  Here, organic is the standard.  People expect fresh and local.  And if they don't expect quality, they at the very least expect rustic or artisan.
This is a small town, remember, so our offerings of restaurants and diners is slim compared to a real city.  But just a little bit of hunting can yield a very, very good lunch.
The River Street Cafe is one of my favorite place to sit when it's raining.  Their tiny restaurant is also a sun room, so you're dry and warm when it's wet outside.  
It is also one of my favorite places to sit when it's sunny.  An outdoor patio, strings of lights and festive garlands make already good meals taste even better.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

The Picnic Basket...

The Picnic Basket opened its doors in June of 2011, not even a full year after it's sister shop, The Penny Ice Creamery, made its mark on the California culinary scene.  Chef Kendra Baker and Co-owner Zach Davis had already created a small community of local farmers and food producers who would come by The Penny with seasonal offerings of Dirty Girl strawberries, Glaum Ranch fresh eggs, or Meyer lemons from a neighbor's backyard.  The Picnic Basket has extended that network now to include lettuces from Happy Boy Farm, bread from Companion Bakery, beer from the local brewery, and more.  With a seasonally evolving menu, the farms and the menu offerings change daily.  At The Picnic Basket, the only thing that stays the same is the commitment to quality ingredients and community.  Despite its location, it has seen more and more business over the last year and is now a permanent fixture on Beach Street, a lunch spot for tourists and local Santa Cruz-ians alike.

Did I mention how good it is?
It is REALLY good.  As proof, since I don't have a kitchen, I eat here every single day.  And I'm not even exaggerating.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Down By The Boardwalk...

I think that the very first destination for misguided people headed to Santa Cruz, is the Beach Boardwalk.  
As the calendar pages are pulled back, beach goers descend upon Cowell's Beach like migratory gulls, laying out beach towels and popping up neon bright umbrellas.  In the background, rickety wooden roller coasters roar along their tracks, and riders' screams are all a part of the sunny ambiance.  

In the years that I've lived here, on and off, I had never been to the Boardwalk or to Cowell's Beach.
In fact, I tried to avoid the beach altogether, wary of the crowds and summer hooligans who came to play.  Last summer, however, Beach Street received a new tenant:  The Picnic Basket.
Now the traffic jams and parking mazes are worth braving.  (Even if the Boardwalk itself is not.)

(And yes, I'm on Instagram: chloe_kiser )

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

May Day...

I was going to keep this a secret, but somehow word got out.

I live in a dorm room.

And if the embarrassment of this demotion isn't enough, I'm surrounded by animals.  Sweet, friendly animals, to be sure, but animals none the less.  It's a shame when the public restroom is more inviting than one's own, and the kitchen...well.  Suddenly the word squalor, seems to be creeping its way into my everyday lexicon.
In a vain attempt to fool myself into thinking I live somewhere lovely and homely, I've turned my tiny room into a greenhouse.  Jars full of succulents, hanging air ferns, bouquets of alstroemeria and bowls full of fragrant lemons have all made new homes in my room.
 (The stack of books above is a clue to what I've been reading lately.  I was m.i.a. all of last week, absolutely addicted to Murakami's, Kafka on the Shore. Also in the line up: Mark Twain, my kindred spirit.)

Hanging plant balls seem to be taking over the window displays at the Santa Cruz nurseries.  They're pretty visually striking, and very easy to make.  I used this funny tutorial here.

Despite my best efforts to beautify this unfortunate room, I can't help but count down the days (46!) until I leave and finally settle into
 a place of my own.