Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Daphne Visits Santa Barbara

Nori has a beautiful home in Santa Barbara where she spends the "Mud Months in the spring and fall each year.  I had been invited to visit, and when I mentioned it to my daughter Daphne, she said she would be in Los Angeles the previous few days and we could meet, drive up to Santa Barbara, and spend a few days together with Nori.

The Hungry Cat is famous for seafood, a little gem tucked into the wall at Sunset and Vine in Hollywood.  Daphne had discovered it online and recommended we meet there.  I took a cab from LAX, a ride that cost me more than my plane ticket from Grand Junction to Los Angeles...what a surprise.  My heart raced when I saw Daphne approach; we hugged and immediately got to the gossip of the past month, the cuisine, her seminar at Agape, and life on the East Coast.  For a woman born and raised in a log cabin in Alaska and an Inupiat village in the Arctic, she has transitioned into the culture, music, and arts, and theater.

We started off with fresh oysters on the half-shell with three sauces.  Daphne had a salad, I some decadent fish dish.  It's hard to remember, since I was so delighted to see her again.  I live in Ridgway, Colorado, many miles from Jersey City & Manhattan.  But it's closer than I used to be: 32 years in Alaska.
Daphne and I with the Hollywood stars in the sidewalk

Then we were off up the coast to Santa Barbara in Daph's rental Jeep Liberty.  Nori had suggested taking Highway 1, the Pacific Coast Highway, for it's scenic beauty.  I hadn't seen this many people in a few years, and I compared it to my quiet rustic life in Alaska and the San Juan mountains of Colorado.  Still, the journey was about 2 hours as we drove into Nori's yard.

Daphne and Nori had never met, so it was a nice opportunity for them to get acquainted.  Nori's son Andrew came for dinner.  At Daphne's same age, the two blonds spent the evening talking while Nori made a slow baked salmon.  I cooked creme brulee, but poured the boiling water on my foot in an accident as I removed the pan from the oven, howled and tore off my shoe, but not before suffering four 2nd degree burns to the top of my foot, limiting my activities for the next couple of weeks. We seemed to talk the night away, not caring about the hour.

Next morning we drove to the old Santa Barbara mission and it's rose garden.  The mission was founded in 1786 by the Franciscan padre Junipero Serra, reconstructed many times after fires and earthquakes.  The present structure, the fourth dates from 1820, reinforced in 1927.  But we were after the roses.  Daphne had bought me a camera for my birthday, perhaps the nicest present I've ever received, so I was on a mission to photograph. 

Nori drove us down town to the harbor for a walk.  It was lunch time, so we stopped at Brophy Brothers for a snack that turned into an early dinner: I had  huge pile of batter-fried calamari, Daphne and Nori had salads overflowing with shrimp, avocados, and other delicacies of the area

We wandered the streets, looking for sunglasses, clothes, gear, and books.  Chaucer's Books, one of the last beautiful independent book stores anywhere is always on our agenda.  Daphne loved it and loaded up on poetry of Hafiz.  I found the current issue of the Paris Review, a magazine I've devoured for years.  Harold L. Humes, Peter Matthiessen, and George Plimpton started the magazine in 1953 in Paris; Plimpton remained the editor for 50 years.  Now Lorin Stein, a proud Johns Hopkins grad, is the editor.  I treasure every issue.
Dinner.  I must sound like a "foodie" with all the emphasis on eating.  But that's what we, and eat, and eat.  We met Andrew downtown and wandered to Jane's for a dinner we didn't need, but wanted badly.  Here Daphne dives into her roasted duck.
Tuesday we shopped again, looking in every bike shop.  Yesterday was sunglasses; today was bicycles.  My son Thor and daughter-in-law Sarah are heavy into the mountain bike racing scene.  Thor had thumped his head trying to loosen an inset 32mm nut, so I went on a quest for the perfect tool.  Not to be found, so I'll make one when I return to Ridgway and my shop.  On the way, Daphne found a fine cruiser/commuter bike:
     More eating: El Cielito, for an early dinner before Daphne had to leave.  They were closed after lunch, and we were late; too early for dinner, but they still had great tapas at the bar.

On full bellies we wandered through the farmers' market on State Street, two blocks of flowers and food from local farms and gardens.  I came away with a baguette and a dozen farm eggs; Nori got veggies and flowers.
Loot from the farmers' market

It was time to start winding down.  Daphne had been with us for three rewarding days.  What a treat for a dad!  She still had the two-hour drive back to LA, so we waved her good-bye as she pulled out of the driveway to continue life's merry ride.

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