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The Last Days of Summer

I’ve been at school in Connecticut now for three weeks (still have no Internet at my house!) but this blog is from three weeks ago when the US Open was just getting into the swing of things and when I had my birthday weekend.

A huge hurricane was supposed to hit the East Coast. The Weather Channel made it sound like the apocalypse but we only experienced a few sprinkles at the Open.

I don’t actually remember who this was, but he was handsome and playing tennis…

Who could so many people be trying to see? Well, if you guessed Roger Federer, then you are correct. He gets the practice court furthest from the crowds and keeps a tight profile.

Apparently covering the Open is a completely time-consuming event because Patrick McEnroe was getting his hair cut before going on the air.

The next day there was lots of sunshine so we headed to Westhampton Beach. My dad is one of the white specks in this photo, Victor’s dad is the other. They brought in quite the catch of clams.

These little fellows were cleaned and then steamed in a white wine broth with herbs and then they were devoured.

We also had a lobster friend for a few minutes – he didn’t last very long.

Hope the weekend is treating you well. I have my fingers crossed that I will get Internet again soon and can post photos of New England fall.


Sitting on the Connecticut River

It has been a few days since I have posted but it is not my fault. The Internet in my house has been down since Wednesday and has yet to be fixed. This post takes me back a few weeks to when my parents were here visiting and helping me move into my senior house. I had heard about a cool restaurant on the Connecticut River in Haddam called Blue Oar so we went exploring.

Blue Oar was right on the river and people were “driving” their boats and parking at the dock to get to the restaurant. The restaurant is seasonal. We were able to sit outside and have the local cat walk around while we ate.

The mussels were well cooked. The food was a bit pricey but I suppose that is because it is a seasonal place? Blue Oar is BYOB and people were also bringing nice tablecloths and china to eat on.

We had a nice view of the sun setting over the Connecticut River. Being on a college campus sometimes I forget how beautiful Connecticut really is.

The water was surprisingly warm still. But in recent days it has become evident that fall is in the air. The leaves have started changing colors and I already went apple picking! More to come soon. Fingers crossed that my Internet is fixed soon.

Sourdough Summer

On one of my last days back in California, Victor and I went to San Francisco with our friends Hannah and Gavin. We spent most of the day walking and we saw a huge chunk of the city in a day.

San Francisco is known for its hills. We had lunch in China Town at The House of Nanking. This was probably the best Chinese food I have ever had. We ate dishes I have never had at a Chinese restaurant — confirming my suspicion that most Chinese restaurants are serving Americanized versions. Then we walked up and up some more to Coit Tower.

I am pretty sure I could never drive a car in this city. Just imagine trying to park on something like this:

From Coit Tower you get a great view of Alcatraz, the Golden Gate Bridge and the piers. The inside of Coit Tower is covered with murals:

We walked down (thank God) from Coit to Pier 39. Pier 39 is super touristy but you will get to see some seals and a nice view of Alcatraz.

Boudin is close to Pier 39. They are famous for making sourdough bread. I liked the alligator shaped one:

As if a big Chinese lunch wasn’t enough…We had to go to Ghirardelli. They now make a milk chocolate filled with peanut butter which is absolutely delicious.

From there we wandered down by Fort Mason and into the Presidio area.

We stopped by the Palace of Fine Arts and just sat for a little bit. This is one of my favorite spots in San Francisco. Several movie scenes have been shot here in the past.

For dinner we wandered into a side street, Belden Place, not far from Union Square. We ate at Cafe Bastille which was not the best French food I have ever had (duh!) but was not bad for stateside.

Just finished my first week of school back in Connecticut. More to come. Happy weekend everyone!

Here A Fish, There A Fish

After a few days in Santa Cruz, we drove to Monterey, California. We drove through California’s heartland, stopping in Watsonville to get some strawberries. Yes, when you are eating tasty strawberries on the East Coast in the winter, this is where they come form.

Monterey is famous for its amazing aquarium and because John Steinbeck wrote about Cannery Row.

We had to pay a two hour plus visit to the aquarium. The aquarium has a huge tank and it is the first that I know of that was able to actually grow kelp in a tank (it reflects the bay waters that are right outside the walls of the aquarium).

The variety of different sea creatures is truly stunning. You can spend a whole day at the aquarium.

They even have a small aviary so you can see cool birds:

My favorite part of the exhibit: jelly fish. There are so many different kinds I didn’t even know about.

And in second-place for cool creatures I enjoyed looking at are sea horses!

If you are ever near or in Monterey, go to the aquarium! I have finally unpacked in Connecticut and have my second day of classes. The last few days were whirlwind of travel with my parents and celebrating my birthday more. More photos to come.

Surf’s Up

After a few days in Sacramento, it was time for the annual trip to Santa Cruz. This year we lucked out with beautiful weather (it was actually warmer than it has ever been in Santa Cruz during our visit).

There was also a big swell so surfers were out in full force the three days we were in Santa Cruz.

This was also one of the first times since I was about nine that we found beautiful sand dollars on the beach. To clean them we set them in water with bleach and soap mixed in and set them out in the sun (this way they turn white and smell better).

The morning’s in Santa Cruz tend to be very foggy and overcast, but that never stops the surfers from waking up early and going to catch a wave.

Santa Cruz has a nice wharf full of restaurants and shops. Stagnaro Brothers is our restaurant of choice with the classic seafood choices like fried calamari. You also get a nice view of the Boardwalk which has the Giant Dipper roller coaster (the oldest wooden one on the West Coast).

The sea lions love to sleep on the wharf and on the boat docks around the wharf. The babies are super cute (admit it, I know you were thinking that).

Victor saw an episode of Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives on the Food Network that featured a restaurant in the Santa Cruz harbor named Aldo’s. I’d never been there so I figured, why not? We had a lovely view from our table of ships coming back into the harbor.

The featured dish on the show was cioppino which is  a traditional Italian dish with loads of seafood in a thick spicy tomato broth. It was delicious and I recommend getting some on a cooler evening.

After diner we drove to downtown Santa Cruz and went to Chocolate for some dessert. This picture speaks for itself. Just go and indulge and order a Belga, you won’t regret it.

The next morning Victor and I went surfing. This was the first time I had ever tried surfing but I had a blast in my full body wetsuit in the cold Pacific. I even managed to stand up and ride part of a wave before wiping out. Finally I can say I am a true California girl. But after two hours of paddling, falling, standing, and swimming, I was one hungry girl. So I went and got some Mexican food as you can only get in California or Mexico. Las Palmas is the place and they’ve been around for over 50 years.

Then we went and saw some real surfers and beautiful views near Natural Bridges State Park. This photo doesn’t look real to me, but I suppose, everything this clear, sunny, and beautiful never does.

All the local surf shops were competing against one another and Pacific Wave took the win.

I’m finally back in Connecticut and still have photos from California so more to come soon.