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Posts Tagged ‘PCH’

I used to work at a surf camp in the summertime back in my late Jersey years and one thing we always taught all the kids was that a friend of mine is a friend of yours.  In surf culture it works like this:  I have a good friend Rick and he knows someone who lives on Maui.  As it turns out I am traveling to Maui and being a broke ass surfer trying to turn a dollar into fifteen cents I reach out to Rick and ask him if maybe he could hook me up with his boy out on Maui.

Rick calls his buddy Keoni and says “hey bud I got a really solid friend here who I can totally vouch for.  He needs a place to stay on the island.  Can you help him out”?  Now Keoni and Rick go way back and he knows and trusts Rick’s judgment.  If Rick claims I’m cool that is all Keoni needs to know and more times then not a person in his shoes will put up a total stranger based on the word of a friend.  That is how friends of friends become friends in the surf world.

I have spent the majority of my travels couch surfing on friends of friend’s couches and have always put up friends of friends in my own abode as well.  It’s a reciprocal process.  You can’t take advantage of the system unless you plan to give back to it or the whole thing will come crashing down.  Hypocrisy in the surfing underground railroad just does not work.  If you take a couch then you must be willing at some point later in life to offer a couch.  That is just how it goes.

So when I got call from former roommate and brother from another mother Cory Kisiel wondering if I could put up two of his friends I was more then happy to oblige even though I already had and currently still have my boss sleeping on the couch.  In this case they were suppose to be two nice ladies from Jersey just looking for a place to crash on their summer graduation cross country adventure.  As it turned out there were three of them, Melissa, Devin and Danielle, but like I always say the more the merrier.

Turns out these were some of the most chill women I have ever had the pleasure to spend time with (get your minds out of the gutter folks they were very respectable females and actually helped restore my faith in their kind a bit).  They were cruising up from L.A. and being it was their first time in California I had them take the PCH up through Malibu for the best scenic results.  While they were driving up I prepared an amazing pork roast dinner, which I slow cooked for nearly 12 hours.

It came out remarkable, the best pork roast I ever cooked.  The bones came out clean being pulled with my bare hands.  I coupled it with a Lemon risotto with cranberries, corn on the cob and mash potatoes (don’t worry I promise to have some new recipes up soon).  It was quite the feast.  My Roommate Bryan and his two friends also joined us as well rounding out the dinner party to eight, the biggest one I have ever hosted here.  It made me realize to my own embarrassment that I need to buy new plate and glassware, not having anything matching and not nearly enough wine glasses to go around.

Next day the girls were cruising up to Lompoc to go skydiving, which went off amazing for them, despite the fact that they were a bit apprehensive.  I gave them some classic Lisanti words of wisdom “Girls you miss 100 percent of the pitches you don’t swing at”.  If you’re a regular reader then you have definitely heard that one pounded into your skull a few thousand times.  I coupled it with “Well I reckon if you jump and survive it will have been a good time and if it doesn’t work out then SPLAT! No Worries”.  They did not die and were glowing from the experience.

Meanwhile I was off slinging drink all over town.  I tried to send the girls on a fun valley adventure to Ostrich Land, Solvang and few other choice locales there, but they decided to cruise back to the Barb and enjoy the beach.  Later they called me and asked how they could get to Montecito to see how the other half lives. That night I cooked the best version yet of a new dish I have been working on I like to call Pasta alla Rosado.  It’s a pasta casserole dish similar to baked ziti but utilizing a tomato/roasted red pepper puree.  I think the dish came out rather incredible, as did everyone else who partook.

After dinner I just could not let the ladies leave without a night experience of the Santa Barbara Downtown party scene.  Devin and Danielle were exhausted from the day’s excitement.  Melissa on the other hand took it like a champion, got dolled up (she looked exquisite by the way) and rolled with my boss Steve and I.  It was a Wednesday leaving us no other option but Sharky’s.  By the time we got there the line was crazy long and the cover was $10.  At one time I had some swing there but these days after taking an almost two year hiatus from the scene Im back to square one.

When all else fails I go to my standard drinking joint the good old Wild Cat.  Wednesday is hit or miss there, but luckily for us the place had a healthy mix of folks.  I looked rather proper walking in with a woman of Melissa’s standing.  Truth be told what Lisanti Adventure would be complete with out at least one night at the shitty kitty?

The next morning the girls packed up and headed up San Francisco.  Having no place to stay there either I took the liberty to call my minion turned partner in crime John Mauriello and asked if he could put the ladies up for a night to which he obliged.  Once again I sent them up PCH to get the best vistas and adventure for their buck and even set them up with this little burrito joint in Santa Cruz that in my opinion makes the best burritos I have ever eaten in my entire life.

There you have the surfing couch share system working in full effect again.  Cory set the girls up with me.  I in turn set the girls up with John.  At the end of the day everyone was more then stoked.  Melissa, Devin and Danielle have been on the road for almost two weeks and I believe have another week or so to go before making it back to New Jersey.

They keep their own blog of the tales from the road less traveled upon.  I highly recommend giving it a view: http://traveltheus.myblogsite.com/.  If you want to read their take on the time spend in Lisanti Land this link will plug you into it directly: http://traveltheus.myblogsite.com/entry18.html#body.  I always think it is interested to read the same instance described from two different points of views.  Their blog will also be featured on my link bar if you care to visit it in the future as well.

The Jersey Girls and I

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Empty Waves of north county

When I initially decided to travel to San Francisco I had a few must visit items.  Alcatraz was one of them and the giant redwoods was another.  Alcatraz was out because upon research the cheapest tour was $26 and just a tad to pricey for John’s and my budget.  Yesterday the plan was to meet up with my old roommate Brennan and go up to the redwood forest.

Being from Santa Barbara I never even thought to check the weather report before plotting out how I was to spend each day of my trip.  In Santa Barbara 300 days of the year you can count on sunny days where the temperature always gets above 70 degrees F.  In San Francisco however things are well a little bit more fickle.  While on the phone organizing the day’s festivities with Brennan he mentioned I should check how the weather was going to be.  Sure enough rain was forecasted and upon waking up it was raining and miserable out.

“When one is given lemons why not make lemonade”?  It may have been cold and rainy out but the wind was light for north county Santa Cruz and according to the surf report there were waves.  I love surfing north county and driving the PCH south from SF to Santa Cruz is one of the most awe inspiring rides a person can embark on along the California coast line.  The road traverses along steep cliff side banks with the vast expanse of the blue Pacific Ocean to the west and green rolling hills with scattered eucalyptus tree forests about them.

Along the road one also dips down into all these quaint little coves and valleys where a collection of beaches span out offering solidarity and a variety of river mouth, reef and beach breaks usually empty for the taking.  One must be an intrepid soul for although there may not be another human in sight there other creatures who lurk beneath that my not be so kind.  The men in gray suits ask no question and are non-discriminate in who they decide on taking.  I’m talking about sharks folks.  That whole zone is part of the red triangle and a seal rookery.

We started our way south from Ocean Beach down the Great Ocean Hwy and passed a number of almost adequate looking waves.  With 60 miles of road and over 100 surfing possibilities not to mention a guaranteed pay off at Steamer Lane John and I were not about to settle for anything less then great.  In my head I still had a vendetta to settle with a certain river mouth fed beach break called Gazo Creek back when I visited Santa Cruz in the fall of 2009.  Check back to the Myspace.com blogs for that one.  I may post it as a Blast from the Past at some point.

Long story short my boy Mark and I paddled out there just before dark and it was solid 8-12 ft and macking, but near perfect.  The paddle out was a nightmare and when we got out it was way bigger then we thought and both of us were on 5’9’s completely under gunned.  We freaked out, took one wave and came in.  A surf spot had not beaten me like that in years.  Ever since then like Captain Ahab and his whale I have sworn redemption from this wave.

Before getting to Gazo’s we stopped at this tiny road stop Greek pizzeria called Odyssey Café in Moss Beach just about 20 miles south of San Francisco.  I love little hole in the wall mom and pop type places that serve nothing but comfort food.  Some people are all about gourmet and fine dinning.  Sure that has its place in society but for me it’s all about places like this and I spend my time seeking them out where ever I am.

Odyssey did not disappoint and kept the good eating streak alive.  The place had four tables and offered pizza, Greek specialties and sandwiches all at a very affordable price.  I had a gyro and John got a chicken sandwich, both of which were delicious.  Did I mention they had an eight-foot rusted out metal sculpture of Tyrannosaurus Rex out front?  It was a most pleasant dinning experience.  From there we headed to Gazo Creek.

Gazo’s was small and although a few scattered lefts and rights hardly worth the shark risk.  I knew of spot a little farther south just on the other side of Ano Nuevo that I thought could be fun.  It has a name but for this blog’s purposes and the fact that I would love to surf there again with out being pummeled by angry locals I am going to call it The Saw Mill.   Basically the place has some scattered beach break peaks to the north and to the south about four reef breaks with on premiere right and left.  I had surfed the right back in the fall of 2009 and scored it.

On this particular day the left looked very appealing.  It was far from the best wave I had ever seen but no one was out, it was about chest to head high on set and peeling at least fifty yards down the reef.  I had a couple five to seven turn rides.  It was a bit soft, but every now and then there was the occasional double up and it was glassy.  As we got on our suits the sun came out.  The water was colder then yesterday except it was so much fun out there I did not even care.

John and I had a ball surfing for a solid two and half hours the entire time having the break to ourselves.  In all truth it was near perfect for about an hour and then the tide and wind slowly changed breaking up the lines.  It was still fun but not as easy to make all the connections.  It was by far the best surf session and most fun I have had in nearly a month.  My head has been so clouded lately with lamentations of my failed relationship with Ades.  I think she only popped into my head three times the entire session.

Oops I guess I am going to have to get a punch in the arm from John for that.  I have been obsessing over Adrienne for the past six weeks and now that we are done I need to get her out of my head and mouth.  I told John to punch me whenever I bring her up.  I know it’s a bit inappropriate but it has been helping.  Sometimes I mention her with out even knowing it.  Both my arms are getting pretty black and blue.

After the surf we headed back to town.  Brennan was to come up to the city and meet us for a night of more party shenanigans.   John and I had dinner at this random Chinese food restaurant in his neighborhood.  We ordered chicken chow mien, pork fried rice and General Tso’s chicken.  The General Tso’s was delicious the rest was edible.  I always make it a point to eat Chinese food when I’m in San Francisco.

We met up with Brennan and headed downtown.  I was really excited to go downtown since partying in downtown Santa Barbara is fun I could only imagine how crazy it would be in a major city.  I know it was Wednesday night but I’m sure in New York one can find some very happening parties going off.  John’s fifi being a San Francisco native knew the scene well and gave us two places to go.  The first was a club called Infusion.

At the door there was a small line and the bouncers were pulling that ratio bullshit the guys were pulling on Sunday night.  What is with this town?  Are there no females here?  In Santa Barbara the ratio is solid with out any bouncer interference.  The promoter lady tells us the ratio is 1:1 and unless you have a girl with you the chances of getting in are slim.  If I already had girls with me why the fuck would I need to go out anyway (I had a girl and blew it for just that reason, but that is why I am a fool and am suffering).  The three of us are on line when the promoter tells us to leave.  “Get off the line guys cause your not getting in”.  Meanwhile this pimped out escalade full of gangster looking Mexicans pulls up, all dudes and they walk right in.

I thought she was joking, but then she proceeded to get angry and told us to beat it or they were going to have to take adverse measures.  I have never in my life been kicked off the line at a club before.  We were three well dressed good looking guys that any club should have been happy to let into their establishment.  We went on to the next place, but they wanted $15 to get in on a Wednesday night, Brennan tried to talk the bouncer down to $15 for the three of us, but it was to no avail.

Beaten we went to some other place that had about 35 heads in it, 25 dudes and maybe 10 girls out of which maybe six were not taken and out of that there were really only two decent ones who every other guy there had already hit on.  Brennan always told me how much more fun partying in Santa Barbara was and now I believe it.  All I know is that I hate that I have to resort to going back out to meet people.  Being single sucks. I forgot how little fun the game is.

We bounced out of that place and stopped by an Irish pub that was filled with couples and people over 40 before making our way to a 24 hour diner.  Back in New Jersey I always ended my nights in a late night diner.  It was just the place to brighten up the night.  John was bummed out because he felt he let me down and I was bummed out like I am every night.  We were seated by this very attractive foreign waitress.  She was terrible at her job but good to look at.

It was a classic dingy dinner with terrible food and even worse staff.  Just what the doctor ordered for a smile.  Brennan starts running all these “what if” scenarios like he used to do when we lived together that got all three of us laughing and smiling again.  We ended up hanging out there shooting the shit for nearly two hours.  It was great to be out with two of my best friends and just laugh.  My life for the last two years had been adjoined with another’s and maybe somewhere along the way I lost sight of myself absconded in the collective us.

Now I am finding myself again and it should be a very interesting journey that I need to embrace and not cry about anymore.  John may have been bummed about not finding me a woman up here, but that is not why I came to San Francisco in the first place.  I came out here to celebrate his graduation and be among my genuine friends.  Mission accomplished.

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