Before Nick and I had even started planning our trip to the Bay Area I knew that some side trips were gonna be happening. I'd wanted to visit Yosemite for as long as I could remember, Nick had been obsessed with Vegas for years and I wanted to see sandy beaches and drive down the Pacific Coast Highway. With this in mind Santa Cruz seemed like the perfect destination. We stumbled upon this beach on our drive, I loved running barefoot through the sand.
As soon as we arrived we dropped our things off at the guesthouse we'd booked and headed out for a walk. We stumbled across Buttercup Cakes and almost as soon as I saw the sign saying they had vegan cupcakes I was inside buying a Double Chocolate Cider cupcake.
I ate it wandering the streets and it was the perfect post drive pick me up.
After walking for a while we spotted Saturn Cafe and couldn't resist popping in for a drink and a little sit down outa the sun. I had a root beer (of course!) and Nick had a vanilla shake.
Soon after this we found Amey and the next two days where a whirlwind of fun...so much fun in fact that I hardly took my camera out of my pocket! We had dinner at Cafe Gratitude, I took one of her yoga classes, we walked her pups Snoopy, Stevie and Dotty in the woods together, ate yummy lunches all over town, played with the kitties at her house and ate pizzas and drank beers (of the root variety!) at Engfer Pizza Works. We also went on a super cool kayaking adventure and saw a whale. A freaking whale!! I never expected to see a whale! It popped it's head right out of the water 10 feet from our kayaks. It was so amazing! We also saw harbor seals, sea otters, sea lions and pelicans. I'll remember that day forever.
I'm in the blue kayak and Nick's in the red one.
On our final morning (or so we thought!) we had a super fun farewell breakfast at The Bagelry in Santa Cruz. We bought bagels and Amey picked up some muffins on her way and brought a huge bowl of the most delicious watermelon I've ever tasted.
This may be one of the worst pictures I've ever posted here!
After breakfast we took silly pictures outside and then Nick & I headed back to San Francisco for a night before hopping on a plane and heading to Las Vegas! You can read about that part of our trip here, here and here.
After Las Vegas we spent some more time in San Francisco (blog post coming soon!) and then we made our way to Yosemite, if you read my last post you'll know that that didn't go so well but the upside to the stupid government shut down was that we got to go back to Santa Cruz! Yay! We immediately went to Saturn Cafe to get a burger. I know that a lot of people aren't fans of Saturn Cafe's liberal use of Gardein products but I'm all for it. This stuff's delicious and I would definitely order this Vegan BBQ Ranch Chicken Burger again
Saturn also had pie on the menu and I can never resist pie. I'd never tried peach pie before but it was just as delicious as I'd imagined.
Peaches are super expensive here so I'll probably have to wait until I'm back in the US before I can experience this deliciousness again!
As well as getting to see Amey again (mega yay!) we spent time hanging out reading on the beach...
...went kayaking again, daydreamed about renting a beachfront cottage in Capitola for a whole summer, and ate ice creams from The Penny Ice Creamery.
After actually saying goodbye to Amey and Santa Cruz we drove back to San Francisco via San Jose to get our Veggie Grill fix. I'm a bit in love with Veggie Grill, I first tried it last May in Seattle and then again in Portland and it's one of the many places I would love to see open up over here. I tried one of their newest menu items, the Savoury Kale Caesar. I added the grilled chicken to make this salad feel like more of a real meal to me...can you tell that I'm not a natural salad girl? I can get down with lettuce if it's covered in a tonne of other delicious things like croutons, avocado, tempeh, veggie chicken and a delicious creamy dressing but otherwise keep it the hell away from me!
Obviously you can't just have salad though, no matter how much you pump it up its still salad! So I had a side of the chill out wings. I switched the chipotle ranch they're usually paired with with VG's creamy ranch dressing because that's how I roll.
I looove these, super crispy fried coating and the creamy dressing is the perfect accompaniment. I think these are another Gardein thang. I think I might be a little in love with Gardein products... Gardein if you're reading this please come to the UK soon!