In the lyrics of the great Notorious BIG, "Going going back back to Cali Cali" . . .
California. I like to think of it as my second home. And I'm pretty lucky for that.
My brothers, Kris and Justin, moved out to the Bay Area after graduating from RPI almost 12 years ago. When one left for the west coast for a job, the other followed not too far behind. They lived together for years which was not surprising since they always shared a room at home, went to college together and then joined the same fraternity. Twins—always have been and always will be inseparable. You can guess that I was the tag-along little sister that wasn't shy about putting on the army hat; dressing in combat; and play with legos and monster trucks if it meant feeling included. This, of course, was my last resort if I was unsuccessful at getting them to play "house" with me and my Barbies. So it's no wonder I find myself going out to Cali every six months to make time to play. Except now they have wives and starting families of their own. I have a 5-month old niece who's a bundle of joy and completely spoiled by her grandparents!
Going to Cali is a breath of fresh air. The weather is comfortable all year round and the active lifestyle is just like we all assume—healthy, fit, and organic. Although growing up I could never see myself living in California (we often visited our only aunt, uncle and cousins in Palo Alto) as I grew older and my taste changed, I realized what a booming, community oriented place Cali is. The communities nestled in Silicon Valley from San Francisco to San Jose are quiet unique among one another, the coast line and beaches are unlike the East—I love Panther Beach (for the lack of a website, check out this vimeo) and I have to mention two of my favorite places in the world, Carmel By-The-Sea and Big Sur.
Then you take a closer look and the food scene is vibrant. There are countless fresh and organic options but also an abundance of Vietnamese and Mexican choices to boot! The small shops are great and the wedding industry is the best with photographers, venues and backdrops to die for.
When I visit, although the time is always too short and dedicated to spending with family (like working on cars with my dad and brothers or slumber parties with my niece), I try to seek out a few gems wherever we go. This trip I came across a few in the Bay Area.
On Saturday, we drove to the beautiful community tucked along the hills called Los Gatos. We laid out at Vasona Lake County Park, played bocce and ate jamón I brought back for Barcelona. We had rustic well-done pizza and farm-to-table salads for lunch at Oak & Rye and topped the afternoon off with the best gelato in town just up the street at Dolce Spazio. Then my brother and sister-in-law walked me to Lu Lu Pom. A gorgeous retail showroom offering interior design and interior architecture services. Everything at Lu Lu Pom was shiny, chic and luxurious! I wanted to take home everything!
On Sunday, we walked the Cal Ave Farmers Market in Palo Alto where you can find beets, kale and carrots for days! I discovered The Acme Bread Company and pastries, Baia Pasta, Thomas Farm organic flowers and Plumline jams—all beautiful and delicious! Plumline's apricot jam along with some cara cara oranges and pomelo fruit made it safely home with me to Boston!
Whether it be Napa Valley, San Fransisco, the Bay Area or even SoCal, Cali always rejuvinates my mind and warms my soul—literally. I can't wait to see where my next visit takes me . . . or maybe one day I'll be there for more than a long weekend . . .
Until then, back in Boston,