East Bay View (a blog about several things)

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Monday, April 02, 2007

"Secret Santa Cruz"

Coming from Berkeley, Santa Cruz's famed weirdness seems mild, Pink Umbrella Man notwithstanding. But everyone's so chillaxed that run-of-the-mill things turn out better. Consider local institution Tacos Moreno. The vege taco I bought from was enveloped in two tortillas, and they were wonderful, flexible without being floppy, the calmer outer flour wrap neatly complementing the more intense inner corn.

That was lunch on Saturday, and after wandering around town -- including a stop at Donnelly Chocolate, of which more later -- I checked into the hostel and chatted to my new roommate Steve up from San Luis Obispo; feeling that nagging obligation to be interesting, I eventually divulged that I was originally not from Berkeley but from New Zealand. After a round of isn't-this-world-amazings, I headed down to the Boardwalk and the Giant Dipper, the oldest still-operating roller coaster in California, opened in 1924. I'd rate it on a par with the Cyclone: there's more airtime but the laterals aren't as vicious.

At Cafe Limelight I had an excellent, rich cup of chicken, mushroom and wild rice soup. Then a rosemary foccacia panini with artichokes, red pepper pesto and mozzarella: the cheese-to-pesto ratio was perhaps too high, but it was satisfying nonetheless. Two other things to know: the service gets a big gold star, and they have a dog menu.

To the highlight of the day, and indeed of my life so far. Just after eight, Marianne's Ice Cream was ridiculously crowded, with three or four customers jiggling around each square metre of space in front of the counter. Still, the wait was only ten minutes before my number was called, and I plunked down my $4.10 for a double cup, a scoop of pumpkin on top of a scoop of macapuno (baby coconut).

Let's start with the second scoop. After clearing the pumpkin for a 6000 point bonus, getting transient whiffs of coconut towards the end, my expectations for the macapuno were sky-high. As I shovelled the first spoonful into my mouth, I thought, well this tastes like coconut, but shouldn't the taste be stronger? And then I passed the substance to the back of my mouth and I was like, ah, there it is. Tragedy followed: the ice cream near the sides of the cup had congealed into something coarse and not creamy. That makes it sound worse than it was, but it was a major come down. Next time I'm getting a cone.

As for the first scoop: the thought accompanying the first spoonful was wow, this really tastes like pumpkin. The thought accompanying the second spoonful was HOLY CRAP THIS IS GOOD. It was magnificently thick and viscous without losing its creaminess. Grant that I'm a sentimental fellow, but this is the first time ice cream has brought tears to my eyes. Who knew that varieties of ice cream were also varieties of religious experience?

Still to come: Junior Mike's Mess, and a nice sandwich. To be continued.

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  • At 10:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    "Who knew that a varieties of ice cream were also varieties of religious experience?"

    I'm really enjoying the recent turn towards food on this blog.


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