Dallas is the furthest known eastern outpost of California classic In and Out Burgers and Fry’s Electronics. After this, we are in foreign territory, where I sometimes don’t understand what the natives are saying, and they know I am a stranger. Even as I have my reasons for leaving California, there are some things I know I will dearly miss (other than my friends and family.) In no particular order, here are 10 things I know I will not be able to get out East.
- Sees Candies. These are the freshest chocolates you can get, and I’ve had chocolate tasting parties to prove they are better than Godiva or Ghiradelli and other fancy national brands. My friends and I spent our teen years getting their free samples in the mall, but it paid off because as an adult, it was an easy and inexpensive gift.
- Sand dabs. I would stake out the fishmonger at our local farmer’s market for this fish. You can’t always get them, and there is certainly a season. But they need just the lightest of seasoning, cook quickly, and taste sweet and delicate. I don’t think anyone outside of the Monterey Bay even knows what they are.
- In and Out Burgers. Everything is made fresh and on site, and nothing can compare to a single, a milkshake, and fries after a day outside.
- Being 1/2 hour away from the beach. I can mark the stages of my life by how I enjoyed the beach. When I was young, I splashed in the waves; when I was a teen, my friends and I would sunburn ourselves on the sand gossping for hours, or go to a nighttime bonfire. I had dates on the beach; I took my children there; and sometimes it’s a good place to meditate and get away from it all. I can still name all my favorite beaches and which to go to when. Now if I see a beach again, it will be one with those tame Atlantic waves on the Florida coast.
- Friday Nights at the De Young. This is a culture vulture’s dream: a free party to enjoy great art, listen to music, make art crafts, learn more, and experience new cultures. One time we went, Chinese dragon dancers were playing with an audience of art lovers outside; inside a Brazilian bossa nova band was getting people on their feet dancing; we posed with the drag queen MC at the bar; talked to an artist painting outside in the sculpture garden; and strolled through the art galleries for free. I regret not going more often.
- Crisp dry autumn days perfect for hiking and riding. The Bay Area weather is always mild and pleasant, but it is pure perfection in the fall. The air is crisp, the temperatures are in the mid 70s, and every time you go outside you’re happier to be there.
- Wine tasting at Loma Prieta. This winery is at the top of Loma Prieta, and you can sit in its courtyard, looking over the vinyard all the way out to Monterey Bay. The wines are good, and we always make a point of getting a bottle or two and having a picnic there, often with friends or family.
- My hot tub under the stars. No matter how hard things were, Peter and I could go out in the hot tub at night, look up at the stars above us, and count our blessings that we were lucky enough to live in this paradise. We knew the people who bought our house understood it as they made sure the hot tub was included in the sale.
- A walkable neighborhood. All the basics were within walking distance of my house. When my children were young, I walked them to the neighborhood park. For several years, Peter and I walked to the nearby Starbucks for exercise and a social breakfast. If I had a few items to buy and wanted a break, I walked to our local grocery store. On top of that, we had a (nearly) dedicated bike lane that took us all the way to downtown. Our future home is far more suburban than our old one, and I’ll be lucky if it’s anywhere near that convenient to stores and parks.
- The redwood trees. I love to hike through these trees which reach far up into the sky. We have camped beneath them on family trips up to the Northwest. We learned about them and their complicated DNA which makes them both complex and almost immortal at Henry Cowell Park. And our deck was made with their glorious and durable wood. But the trees only grow in the Northwest, and fear I will find other trees boring in comparison.
- Fresh avocados and other fruits. We would put a bit of avocado on everything: tuna salad, sandwiches, pasta, and it was always delicious; now I am beyond the area where avocado is a 50 cent add-on option. I still remember packing fresh fruit from the grocery store and flying with it to Massachusetts, where my friends marvelled how delicious the fruit was compared to what they had access to, stressed after a long travel. I will have to get to know the (sigh, more limited) fresh produce selection in my future destination.
I’ll get used to the losses, I suppose, but don’t be surprised if you see me indulging in these any time I return to my former state.