I have 37 days and a wake up left in California and I am starting to notice all of the things that I will miss about this sweet sunny place.
The Beach. I have been lucky enough to live within walking distance on the beach. The sad reality of living in a beach town for a while, is that you tend to very rarely take advantage of it. Over the last few month I have been to the beach maybe 10 times. So, as I count down my departure from sand in between my toes to snow on my shoulders, I vow to visit the beach as often as possible. It’s time to pack in the bikini days.
Eating Out. It’s interesting to me that three of my top 5 favorite restaurants in Southern California are Italian. Before I moved to LA I wouldn’t have said Italian food was my favorite. I think that might have stemmed from my inaccurate belief that Italian Food only encompasses pasta, which ultimately likes to increase your waste line. But, the truth is, the Italians know how to stimulate your palate to an extreme level.
Pizzeria Mozza. Excellence. A must go spot in hollywood.
Fritto Misto. This is our favorite date night spot in Santa Monica. We could ride or bikes there and enjoy approachable delicious Italian Food, and wash it all down with a yummy $5 glass of Cab. Thank you for the good times Fritto Misto
Capriccio. This is our favorite date night spot in Ventura. a northern version of Fritto Misto within walking distance from our house.
The Bazaar. Anthony took me here for Valentine’s day two years ago. It is the most creative and conceptual restaurant I have ever had the pleasure of dinning in. It’s worth saving up your dollarinies so you can say you have been here. If you can, don’t go on a budget! Come with a hungry belly and a bulging wallet!
La Cabana. Late night authentic mexican fare served to you by a tuxedo clade macho men. No Joke.
Tartine. I didn’t get to visit this gem of a restaurant as much as I would have liked, but Tartine is, without a doubt, the most perfect bakery I have EVER experienced. The pastry is done with excellence, the bread is crunchy, sour, doughy bliss, the coffee is excellent, the small wine and beer bar tucked in the corner makes your lunch time visit feel like vacation, and the environment has the most unassuming, quaint, little coffee shop feel. If they would let me, I would live here.
Local Produce. I work in one of the largest citrus producing towns in the world, which means I had no shortage of unbelievable local produce. From satsumas to Haas avocados our kitchen was stocked with some of the tastiest fruits and veggies I have ever had. Farmer’s Markets here are wonderful, and varied. Growing conditions are favorable year round, so while seasonal things come and go, you still have a rich selection of locally grown goods all year. When I was visiting Pittsburgh over Christmas, I bought a Pommelo that was grown in the region that I live in, and the taste and quality of the fruit was most certainly different. I will miss that fresh from the field taste that only comes from living near the farmer.
local strawberries being delivered to a local Farmer’s Market
Fruit salad made with local berries
Inexpensive Fantastic Wine at Grocery Stores. Let’s face it, wine is an essential part of any successful food related shopping trip. Therefore, it should be available in grocery stores. Period. Pennsylvania, you have to get hip to this reality. California is filled with fantastic local wine, and has no shortage of Sommeliers. So, if your looking to drink or learn about good wine, Cali is the place for you. The beauty of places like Trader Joes and BevMo is that you can find some tasty wine for $8.
hot day, Anthony enjoying an inexpensive yummy glass of Pinot Gris.
West Coast Family. I have met some amazing people here, and some of them have become my family. When I first moved to So Cal I starting nannying for a new born baby in Venice named Wyeth, and his Parents Catherine and Whitney made me a member of their family. They helped me in many ways through some of the toughest times in my life, hosted my wedding in their home, and have cemented themselves as family in my heart. I will miss the three of them very much, and are the reason why I can promise that I will be back to visit sooner than later
Cath, Whit, and Wyeth on Wyeth’s 2nd birthday!
Their beautiful home, which Whitney created from his brilliant building mind
Wyeth helping me make dinner
Rabalais’. When I moved from Culver City to Ventura I helped to open a New Orleans style bakery/bistro with Tracy and Dave Lippert. They have the biggest hearts in the world, and their restaurant is doing something truly amazing to the local community. Tracy has been a true friend and mentor to me. I am leaving her business only because I have the opportunity to do something greater on an academic level, but if Grad School wasn’t on my bucket list I may have stayed at this job until I was too old to roll out a pastry shell
Tracy and I on opening day!
Opening day production with my lead assistant Kelly and Tracy
Sliding Scale Power Yoga. Yoga is important to me, and by that I mean yoga on both a physical and spiritual level. Not yoga in a fancy studio wearing mascara, and moving to playlist of corny new age music. Brain Kest has two donation based yoga studios in Santa Monica called Santa Monica Powder Yoga (SMPY). The west studio is a little swanky but the east studio is real, maybe even a little too real at times. You find models in downward facing dog with their mat right next to a homeless guy doing his best to strike the same pose. I will miss this studio, but will be taking with me all that I have learned there.
California…I’ll miss ya!