Perhaps not as much relaxing as it was perfecting my wrestling moves with my 8 year old brother, Cody. My trip to my hometown, Santa Cruz, was most excellent some of the highlights include:
#5 Making brownies with Sunshine (real name – strangely she’s not from Santa Cruz but rather from Orange County). She had a brownie craving but sadly only knows how to successfully “bake” rice krispy treats. I helped and recommended two additives that I can now no longer go without in my brownie batter and that is banana slices and marshmallows. You can see that fork imprints are a good substitute when you don’t have a toothpick to check doneness.
#4 Painting Rocks, Manis and Pedis, Betty’s Burgers, Dharma’s Salad and Cody’s impressions of our grandpa. We purchased a glass rock painting kit and all painted while watching Baby Mama. Here are all the rocks that I made. The UG one is for Josie who I missed a lot during my trip home.
Had great manicures and pedicures at Tracy’s Nails by the lovely Nina from Vietnam. We spoke at great length and she helped me plan my dream foodie vacay to Vietnam and Singapore in about six months.
The main food I always crave when I am away from home is the Gardner’s Salad from Dharma’s with the miso honey dressing. I grew up on this food and go crazy over it, I also love their hot and sour soup. It is one of my favorite vegetarian/vegan places.
My grandpa is a brilliant man with giant rubber band ball and nothing made me laugh more than seeing my brother’s impression of him.
#3 Going to Los Gatos. I love Los Gatos and always have; it reminds me so much of Pasadena where I have lived for the last two years. We went to the town with our favorite neighbor, Buzz. The boys got matching shirts at Gap Kids, I bought the dogs delicious treats at Bow Wowzer , and my mom bought this filled pancake pan, batter, and lemon curd that combined makes the best pancakes from Williams Sonoma.
#2 Having Lunch in the City with the Sis. I met up with my sister in San Fran. We haven’t seen each other in about a year and it was great to catch up. She told me about this super cool new feminist art magazine, Art XX, that she has founded and acts as managing editor of. We had a silly rainy afternoon of vegetarian Japanese food at Cha-Ya, hard cider at The Phoenix, wig shopping, and looking at a ton of murals. Sadly, all of our dad’s murals have been painted over but the new ones of hamburgers and sandwiches on the Golden Gate Bridge and with camels and sharks are just as good. Like I have said millions of times, San Francisco is a city all about food and eating. Oh and we were bummed that Spork was closed for lunch.
#1 Sri Lankan food in Santa Cruz. The best part of my trip was, of course, experienced last. I wanted to have a great last lunch before I drove home with my mom, my grandpa, and his “trainer” Pilar. I had heard a lot about this Sri Lankan restaurant called Sri and wanted desperately to go there. We all arrived and were so sad to see that they were closed on Monday. We sat in our cars and formed a Plan B. All of the sudden a beautiful woman walked out and apologized that they were closed. My mom, who can be a bit dramatic said how disappointed she was and that she thought the menu said open everyday for lunch. She also added that I had a long drive ahead of me and was hoping to eat there; there’s nothing like guilt from a Jewish mother. The woman, who turned out to be the brand new owner named Ayoma, felt bad and invited us in even though she was just supposed to be there to change a lightbulb and have a light lunch. We felt guilty but my mom nudged on so we entered. My grandpa who is a New York Jew complained about the lack of people and we had to remind him that they are supposed to be closed. Ayoma brought mango lassi out for the table and made us fresh Chai with delicious pieces of ginger inside. She answered a ton of questions about her home country and told us about her dreams for the restaurant that she has just taken over. Her plans include changing the name to Pearl of the Ocean and bringing in furniture from Sri Lanka that should be arriving shortly. My mom requested to see pictures of her mom and dad on the wall in the near future. Ok, on to the food…phenomenal! I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.
The most amazing thing I ate was the triple mushroom curry, the kale with coconut, and the mango curry. Everything was delicious, the service was beyond accommodating, and I can’t wait to come back when the owner makes all of the changes. Ayoma used to be a Los Angeles local and I recommend you all try this place when in the Bay Area. We all left with a full tummy, a hug, and a delightful aftertaste. It was the perfect ending to a great week home. You will be impressed. I guarantee it!
I will definitely make this place a regular destination on my trips home. I will be returning soon for my grandpa aka King Arthur’s 90th birthday party next month.