The Monterey Bay is Cold!!!
Contrary to popular belief, California water is cold! Due to ocean currents coming down the West Coast from Alaska and British Columbia, the water is always assured to be chilly year round, only warming up around Southern and Baja California. You're more likely to swim in a swimming pool that you are in the Pacific Ocean.
The Monterey Bay remains between 50-55 F (that's between 10-13 C) year round. Anyone who does go out in the water, either to swim or surf should probably do themselves a favor and get a wetsuit.
Surf City H3
Surf City Hash House Harriers searches for trail in and around Santa Cruz, California. Hashes are held every Thursday, regardless of surf conditions, rain, flood, snow, earthquake, sun spots, rioting or bar tabs at 6:33 pm.
Surf City H3 events are open to anyone 21 years or older. Old running shoes and desire to have fun
Bonny Doon Vineyard
I remember Randall Graham when he sold his first cases of wine to a store I worked at in Yountville. Long curly hair in a mess and wearing an old T-shirt, it was hard to imagine that his wine could be good. But, we tasted and found the Clos de Gilroy quite good indeed, and since then Randall has made many other types of wines and liquors. Now, many years later, Randall is a celebrity in the wine business, but his tasting room and home remain in the Santa Cruz Mountains at Bonny Doon. Actually, Randall spends a lot of time in Italy, so it's rather rare when a visitor to the tasting room will be able to meet with him. I've taken several groups of students from my California Wine Appreciation class to visit the winery, and Randall continues to be an engaging man who remembers past acquaintances very well. Nowadays, the wines are better packaged than they are produced, in my humble opinion, as Randall has found the secret of marketing drinkable now style wines to restaurants and novice wine consumers. Even so, the winery is worth a visit, and if one has not tried several bottles of his reasonably priced wines, then one cannot consider themself a well versed wine consumer. Besides wine, the winery tasting room sells lots of other stuff that tourists will like more than the junk sold at the Santa Cruz Pier. The tasting room is open daily, except major holidays, from 11:00am – 5:00pm
Between Santa Cruz and Half Moon Bay lies a scenic stretch of coastline with some incredibly beautiful beaches and a the historic Pigeon Point Lighthouse. One can easily spend all day strolling along these beaches; the photo opportunities are nearly endless. Too bad I can only share five pictures here.
Just follow the Coastal Highway (Hwy 1) north from Santa Cruz. Or proceed south from Half Moon Bay.
Great Wine and Artful Food But Confusing Menu
I couldn't get into this restaurant on an October night we happened to stop by. The waiting list was long, and I had a bit of a cold, so wine tasting before dinner didn't seem wise at the time. Nevertheless, I had heard great things about this restaurant, and indeed the wine shop itself is quite a place. The wine choices are not simply domestic, although California is well represented, but European, Australian, and South American wines are there in great abundance. While waiting for food, one can taste, but I noticed that the price of the "wine flight" is a little steep--$3-$5. So that's the catch, the restaurant puts you on the waiting list, hoping that you will hang around and buy up some bottles or at least taste several wines. The only thing that I didn't like was the rather snobbish attitude of the waiters as people waited outside in the cold for up to an hour for a table. As I said, we couldn't do that so we walked down to Costa Brava for good friendly service but without the quality in food. Then, this summer, we stopped there at about 5:30, and found plenty of empty tables. The menu came to use in three pages--wine list, wine shop specials list, and food menu. The menu is divided into "small plates", "appetizers", and "entrees". All menu items are matched with a recommended wine from the shop, but if one wants to buy a wine from the shop and bring it to the restaurant, there's a $10- corkage fee. I found it difficult to distinguish the purpose between the "small plates" and "appetizers", and waitress wasn't much help with either the menu or the wines, but apparently this is sort of like Spanish Tapas and American appetizers. Both are indeed quite small in terms of quantity of food, and unfortunately, the "entrees" are also small, so I left the restaurant both confused and hungry. I've read that the mole made with authentic chocolate is heavenly, but I'm certain that this creative restaurant changes its menu constantly. This place obviously specializes in pairing wine and food, so if you aren't a wine lover, I wouldn't bother going here. The food is extraordinary in quality to be sure, but portions are tiny. My wife's $10- appetizer of smelt was three tiny smelt, each on it's own cracker. A friend's order of merinated mahi, which was something like cheviche, was about 8 pieces of thinnly sliced meat, each about the size of a nickel. My entree of duck was about 10 thin slices of meat, each about the size of a quarter--that was a $19- plate. The food was artistically prepared and well presented on the plate, but the portions were something of a joke on the patron. It would have helped to have a waitress more familiar with the menu, able to suggest a way to get a full meal, and familiar with the basics of wine appreciation. Telling the customer that "that wine is really nice and spicy" isn't enough.