Sunday, May 31, 2009

What Do I Miss About Cali?


People keep asking me if I am missing CA, or wonder aloud how I could have been so nuts to move to a freezing cold town like Seattle being a CA native & all ('cos like CA is so beautiful and perfect and sunny and like totally awesome dude...), or the most frequent Q of all; "Wow, like doesn't it like totally rain all the time in Seattle?"

The short answer to all those questions is, "Nope."

Lest you think I'm a heartless Californian who just up and left my home state in a huff, with no regard to my "roots" whatsoever, there are some things I miss. I hereby give you a list of some of those things... Enjoy my friends, as this may be the last time I admit to missing CA at all. B/c really? It's far too breathtaking here in WA to poo poo the occasional rain storm. Besides, how many times have I gotta tell you (before you'll believe me) that I actually LIKE rain?

1) Fresh citrus or avocados right from the tree - as in, walk into my backyard, or stop by a neighbors, to pick fresh fruit right there and then, take it home and eat it up. Mmmm! The cost of fresh limes, avocados, etc. are daunting up here. Also, the citrus that does end up in stores here generally tastes like a$$. To compensate, we do have fresh apples, cherries, pears, etc. here in WA that are to die for. You've never tasted an apple like the apples here. Or the Rainer cherries. Don't get me started on fresh flowers either... Peonies, Tulips, Dahlia's etc. abound. And they are as big as your head. I swear!

2) Speaking of avocados... I miss guacamole tacos at Pancho's. A locals-only joint in Long Beach that opened the year before, or was it the year after, I was born (1967-ish). My family went there at least once a week from the day they opened. My brother worked there for about a decade. I worked there for about a year. My ex-BF, his brother, his sister & several friends did too. Frank (aka Pancho), the owner, and nearly all the employees, were (are) like family. I miss taking Declan there for dinner or lunch, everyone was always so happy to see us. There is no replacing a place like Pancho's here in Seattle. Mexican food here pretty much sucks, and even if I did find a good substitute Mexican food-wise, I'd always miss my Pancho's family.

3) Speaking of limes... I miss a well poured Margarita made w/ fresh lime juice. Only fresh limes will do people, Sweet & Sour mix is a big no-no in my book. Good tequila is also a must. No Jose Cuervo will cross these lips, not on purpose anyway. Served in a pint glass, NOT frou frou stemware. On the rocks (never frozen or blended). No salt. Personally, I've had the worst luck getting a good "Cadillac" margarita in Seattle. I'm sure there may be one or two places in this city that can make 'em, but every place I've ever ordered one has been an EPIC FAIL. So for now, I'm back on the vodka my friends.

4) Speaking of booze... I miss being able to buy booze 7 days a week at any darn store I please, from the local grocery, to BevMo, to 7-11. Washington has state run liquor stores! Which means no giant economy sized bottles of Hornitos or Cazadores at my local Costco for those Cadillac Margaritas I was just talking about. I actually have to schlep to the one state liquor store in West Seattle down on Cal Ave. and they're only open from 10am to 8pm, and not on Sundays at all. WTH? How am I supposed to get my drink on?

5) I miss Trader Joes. We do have TJ's here, but the closest one to West Seattle is all the way down in Burien. A good 15-20 min drive. I'm used to doing almost all of my shopping at TJ's, and I'm also used to it being less than 3 minutes from my house in 3 directions. I was there at least 2 times a week, usually more. It was great to have good, cheap groceries (and booze!) just a skip & a hop down the road. We do have several beautiful chi chi "gourmet" markets in West Seattle and a couple of Safeways... but I can't always justify chi chi gourmet market prices. And Safeway? Sorry but yuck!

6) Kind of an oddity, but I miss in-ground swimming pools. I didn't swim much in mine, but I sure liked looking at it. All sparkly in the CA sunshine, the sound of the pump circulating the water in a soothing bubbling way when my windows were open (which they always were), or peering out said bedroom windows to see my chatty, crazy cool pool man Matt making ripples on the surface of the water with his skimmer. Something just quintessentially Californian about a swimming pool in your backyard. Le sigh.

7) Last but not least? Spanish/Territorial style architecture. We take it for granted in the Desert Southwest b/c it's everywhere. But when there is none of it to be found, suddenly smooth cocoa stucco walls, fuchsia bougainvillea blooms, exposed "vigas" & xeriscaped gardens seem an exotic & welcome relief from the zillions of Arts & Crafts, Tudors and Cape Cods crowding the architechtural landscape...

Okay folks. That's all I've got. For now. Besides, Dexy keeps interrupting me (what nerve). Hope you're having a good weekend. Peace out 'til next time.

5 comments:

Martini Mom said...

Yes, the lack of a Trader Joe's is definitely one of West Seattle's downfalls. There have been rumors of one opening in W. Seattle for so long, it's become a bit of an urban legend. Sometimes I can get to the one on Queen Anne (or even the Madison one) quicker than Burien, but it TOTALLY depends on the traffic.

Matter Of Fact Mommy said...

oh dear god, i would have written THE EXACT SAME LIST 14 years ago when i moved from beautiful san diego to washington, DC - where there is 4 months (at least) of winter misery every year. i, too miss being able to stop at ONE PLACE for my groceries, liquor AND beer. where i live in MD, i have to go to (no shit) THREE DIFFERENT PLACES to buy those things.

i love your list, but since i now live in a relatively small geographical area with lots of people and not a lot of land in-between, (DC, MD and VA are within spitting distance of each other) i am going to say that i also miss big, open spaces. but the biggest thing i miss? watching the sun set into the pacific. while the atlantic may be warmer than the pacific, it's just not as pretty.

i could go on and on, but this is YOUR blog. and sorry for never coming around and then writing a comment that's longer than your post, but let's just say i can TOTALLY relate to missing socal. :)

Smiling, Beguiling said...

Martini Mom... I live at the south end of the W Seattle penninsula, so Burien isn't too bad if I take Anbaum all the way over. Queen Anne would be a nice diversion though!

MOFM - There are LOADS of wide open spaces here in the PacNW, one of the things I love most about being here. I can sit on Puget Sound every day, and it never looks the same, but it's always beautiful. Lived on the E Coast twice (Harrisburg PA and Buffalo NY), so I hear ya about the differences in living on the Left Coast vs. E. Coast. PA had way wacky liquor laws btw!

Matter Of Fact Mommy said...

oh dear god, i would have written THE EXACT SAME LIST 14 years ago when i moved from beautiful san diego to washington, DC - where there is 4 months (at least) of winter misery every year. i, too miss being able to stop at ONE PLACE for my groceries, liquor AND beer. where i live in MD, i have to go to (no shit) THREE DIFFERENT PLACES to buy those things.

i love your list, but since i now live in a relatively small geographical area with lots of people and not a lot of land in-between, (DC, MD and VA are within spitting distance of each other) i am going to say that i also miss big, open spaces. but the biggest thing i miss? watching the sun set into the pacific. while the atlantic may be warmer than the pacific, it's just not as pretty.

i could go on and on, but this is YOUR blog. and sorry for never coming around and then writing a comment that's longer than your post, but let's just say i can TOTALLY relate to missing socal. :)

Martini Mom said...

Yes, the lack of a Trader Joe's is definitely one of West Seattle's downfalls. There have been rumors of one opening in W. Seattle for so long, it's become a bit of an urban legend. Sometimes I can get to the one on Queen Anne (or even the Madison one) quicker than Burien, but it TOTALLY depends on the traffic.