Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Random Ramblings... Upcoming Mental Health Day...

Warning: Rambling-a-Plenty ahead...  And some reminiscing which may, or may not, interest you (more likely to be "interesting" if you're from the San Francisco Bay Area!)...

K?  You have been warned!

* * * * *
Have you ever reached a point, in life, where you just kinda felt "Out of Kilter?"

I think I'm there.  And I think I need a mini Road-Trip, so I'm taking Friday off!

Oddly, what prompted all of this (aside from the stress-induced skin condition bullsh*t which - FINALLY - seems to be showing miniscule signs of improvement) was a delivery from the Farm Share, last week.

Part of the delivery was a bag of fresh(ish) English Peas - the kind you have to "shuck" before you eat 'em.  And I got ALL excited when I saw them.  But, alas, they were *not* as fresh as I like.  No, the shells were kinda soft, and none-too-easy to pop open.  The peas tasted fine, but not quite what I remembered...

See?  When I was a kid (Oh Gawd - yes - here comes the "rambling" part!), my dad used to take me on long drives - always in search of local Farm-Stands (of which there were NONE in our li'l corner of Suburbia on the San Francisco Peninsula).  In the early days, we'd drive down to San Jose (which is where I live now) - and this was "back in the day" BEFORE Silicon Valley even existed!  Yes, it used to be all orchards!  Anyhoo, San Jose was excellent for fresh fruit and "warm-season crops."

In later years, we discovered Half Moon Bay which was about 15-20 miles, due-west, from where we lived.  Hop in the car, go up hwy 92, and head for the coastline.  Drive straight up the hill, leaving civilization behind...  Then down toward Crystal Springs Reservoir (a truly picturesque lake), then a hilly, twisty, woodsy climb, up toward Skyline Blvd.  Once you cross-over Skyline, you head back down the (equally) twisty road and descend into verdant farm country!

Along hwy 92 (which was one of my first "Twisty Road" experiences when I first learned how to drive), there are several family-owned fruit and veggie stands where you can buy all sorts of fresh produce.  Mostly "cool-season" stuff:  Cabbages the size of basketballs (no exaggeration!), artichokes, fruits a-plenty and TRULY fresh peas!!!  We are talking *just* off the vine!

Anyway, we'd generally head out to the coast and have lunch first - at Ketch Joanne's at Pillar Point Harbor.  Only THE BEST fresh seafood "joint" on the coast.  I'm sure there are those who would beg to differ (as to the "BEST" designation - but I am entitled to my opinion, right?).  In looking at their fancy-schmantzy web-site, it looks like they're trying to be all up-scale and "gourmand" but, in my mind, it will always be a "joint!" (which is actually a good thing!  I don't *do* pretension!).  Dad and I were definitely "regulars" there, and he'd always flirt (innocently) with the waitresses.  I *always* ordered the same thing: A fried seafood platter with prawns, scallops and rock cod.  THE Best (cardiologists be damned!).

Then we'd turn around and head back towards home - with me BEGGING to stop and rent horses at one of the local riding stables! (LOL, I think we may have rented horses ONCE!).  All of the good fruit stands were on the right-hand side of the road, coming back (trust me - you do NOT want to attempt a left-turn on hwy 92!).

First stop would generally be Tom and Pete's - which is pretty close to downtown (near the intersection of hwys 92 and 1).  Good variety of produce, and there was a fresh seafood place right next door where you could buy a freshly boiled dungeness crab - we're talking "steaming hot" (which they would crack and wrap for you - on the spot).  You could buy the same thing at Pillar Point, but we usually waited 'til we stopped at Tom and Pete's.

Then we'd continue our drive back.  I think our favorite stop was Marsh and Sons (BTW - none of these places has a website!  I actually kinda like that, too!  But they are Yelp-able).  THAT was where we'd stop to buy peas.  Oh My GAWD were their peas good!!!  Seriously, these peas were mere *minutes* off the vine (oftentimes, we'd wait 'til one of the "pickers" showed up with a fresh box!).

A third stop we'd sometimes make was G. Berta's.  That's where we'd pick-up a basketball sized cabbage, assorted other fruits/veggies, and maybe a small bouquet of flowers...

We'd always buy two BIG paper bags full of peas (at Marsh and Sons).  The first bag rarely made it home because we'd be eating them (and tossing the shucks out the window :::gasp:::) on the drive home.  The second bag usually *did* make it, and we'd give it to my mom who would literally shriek with glee "Ooooh!  PEAS!!!"

We never, EVER cooked 'em.  They never lasted that long!

Another good stop, on the way back, is Half Moon Bay Nursery.  Dad was always big into gardening and he routinely grew tomatoes the size of boxing gloves - again, no exaggeration!  So, I'm pretty sure that's where I got my "Gardening Gene!"  I think we stopped there a couple-three times, over the years.  It wasn't a "regular" stop, but I definitely have fond memories of the times that we did.

I've gone to HMB nursery a few times, on my own, through the years and - no matter what time of year you go - it always seems like a truly Magical Place.  Even on the coldest, rainiest days (which, in HMB, it really doesn't get all THAT cold - since they're so close to the coast), they'll have a wood-stove burning to keep the main greenhouses warm, and they pump-in really nice classical music.  I could spend hours there, just wandering around and taking it all in!  Difficult to describe, actually, but they segregate their flowering-plants by color, and when everything is in bloom...???  Well, it just takes your breath away!

So Bottom Line:  I have decided (all because of the not-as-fresh-as-I'd-like peas from the Farm-Share), that I am WAAAAAY past-due for a drive out to the coast!

So I re-jiggered my schedule and am taking Friday off for a mini-Road Trip.

I checked with P, and it seems she's already got other obligations - so I will go by myself.  And that's okay!

Going to Ketch Joanne's might be a little weird, all alone, and I hope I don't get all verklempt - that might be embarrassing! (I've only been there, maybe three times since my dad passed away in '89).  But I am jonesin' for an artery-hardening fried seafood platter!  Followed by fresh peas! Ohhhh yeah!!!

But I am NOT buying ANY veggie plants at the nursery, k???  I might buy something ornamental for the front-porch by NO FRIGGIN' VEGGIES!!!  NO FRIGGIN' WAY!!!!!

Hopefully, I'll be able to snap some super nice photos...

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