I almost hesitate to write this because our friends Jay & Judy on s/v Wind Raven are currently stuck in Charleston, Oregon waiting for a favorable weather window to make their escape. I checked the NOAA sites and it looks downright stormy up there. But, maybe this will keep them enthused about getting out of there.
It was an absolutely gorgeous day here in Santa Barbara today. The temperature was in the mid-70s, the sky was mostly clear, except for the always-seem-to-be-present clouds over the top of the Santa Ynez Mountains. It being Saturday, the streets were filled with lots of beautifully tanned southern Californians riding bicycles, walking their dogs, eating at sidewalk cafes, or just hanging out. Santa Cruz Island, our probable next destination, was clearly visible across the channel.
One of our missions today was to get some groceries. So, armed with our list, our backpacks, and each clutching a shiny new quarter for the trolley, we headed out. We decided to get off the trolley a little early and walk along State Street. Lulu wanted a new pair of pants to replace the ones that she finally wore out after only 10 years. And I wanted to stop at The Green and Yellow Basket which is a hat store. All along State Street there are lots of interesting little places. Oh, there are the usual suspects: Macy's, Barnes & Noble, Banana Republic, Border's, Starbuck's, Starbuck's, Starbuck's, Saks Fifth Avenue, etc. But there are also a lot of small independent places. One is called "The James Joyce" which is apparently an Irish Bar. Seems like there were several Irish bars along State.
At Carrillo Street, we turned left and headed over to Ralph's Supermarket. This is when we really knew we weren't in Oregon anymore. And, actually, this may only happen in Santa Barbara. Here's what passes for a supermarket in downtown SB:
Can you believe that? The architects, Lenvick & Minor, won several awards for it. Matter of fact, I borrowed these photos from their website. They have several other photos of the market on the site. You really should check it out. Ralph's prices were not great but they weren't all that bad either. And, they're only a block from the trolley to cart us back to the boat.
Our next clue that we were no longer in Oregon (or Washington or even Northern California) was when we tried to find the pants Lulu wanted. She has been wearing Carhartt work pants for years now. We both have although I switched to Riggs Cargo Pants a few years ago. Even though Carhartts started out as work pants that carpenters and plumbers and such wore, they've been adopted by nearly everyone that wants comfortable, long-wearing, good-looking britches. Or so we thought. They're ubiquitous in Oregon. We also saw them frequently in Eureka/ Arcata. But, truth be told, I can't say we've seen them since then. But everyone's at least heard of them, right? WRONG! Everyone we asked in SB returned a blank look and had absolutely no idea what the heck we were talking about. Not sure what Lulu's going to do about trousers now.
After we returned to the boat and dropped off the groceries, we headed back to town to get some Chevron Delo 400 30W motor oil. Shouldn't be too tough to find. I wanted to get several gallons to have on hand. I need 1 gallon right now for an engine oil change. Our first stop, Carquest, had one gallon although his computer said he should have had nine. He had several gallons of 15W-40 but the engine manual specifically says not to use multi-grade oils. Bummer, too, since the Delo 400 was on sale at Carquest. "The good news is that we're having a buy-one-get-one sale on that oil. The bad news is that we only have one gallon." From Carquest we walked over to Milpas Avenue to O'Reilly's Auto Parts. Lots of 15W-40, no 30W. So we walked to The Auto Zone. Lots of 15W-40, no 30W. WTF? Finally, as a last resort we walked to West Marine. I'll be an SOB if they didn't have GALLONS of the stuff! So we bought three more to go with the one I got at Carquest and headed home happy.
But let me backtrack a bit. On our way to West Marine, we just happened to happen across one of the 4 locations of The Habit, which won the Best Of Santa Barbara award for hamburgers. So we stopped for a bite. They were indeed very good burgers. Nothing fancy, just good burgers. They didn't hold a candle to the burgers we got at the Sandbar & Grill in Newport, Oregon, or the ones we got at 101 Camp in Beaver, Oregon, but for a place that's just a burger place, they were pretty darn good.
And let me backtrack even further. Remember how I said we had to try a couple of the "Best of Santa Barbara" winners? Well, yesterday afternoon we went to Brophy Bros. right here in the harbor for their award-winning clam chowder and Bloody Mary. The restaurant was packed, even at 4:00 PM on a Friday afternoon. The clam chowder was actually quite good. Lots of clams and it definitely tasted like it was something they put together there rather than buying it from Sysco's. I'd be happy to eat another bowl of it right now. But, if we go there again, I might have to try the cioppino just because I've never had cioppino. As for the Bloody Marys, they were quite tasty. The glasses had pepper on the rim and the drinks were nice and horse-radishy. But you know where we had the best Bloody Mary ever? A few years ago we had flown to Reno to see Todd Snider in concert just for the pure hell of it. While we were at the airport waiting to board our flight home. we noticed some folks drinking some good-looking Bloody Marys. They said they got them at some bar that was inside the security area. Lulu went and got us a couple and they were great. Limey, horseradishy, spicy, lots of Worcestershire sauce. Besides, there was just something about having a Bloody Mary while waiting in line to get on your plane at 9:00 in the morning that made them extra special. But I digress. Suffice it to say that we had a great day today. Tomorrow we may have to get a little work done. Like changing the oil in the engine and transmission and cleaning up the engine room a bit. Lulu plans to clean the decks and the dinghy. But that's tomorrow.