On The Road, Part 1: En Route to Santa Barbara, Seacliff

I’ve been on a hiatus with my postings. As much as I would like to say I was on a sabbatical, my only reason is that life and work proceeded to take over my hours until I finally looked at the calendar and realized 2011 is of yesteryear.

Clearly seeing that I needed to take a deep breath, I started 2012 with a nostalgic meandering drive through Pacific Coast Highway (California Route 1), and headed for Santa Barbara.

My dear friend Katie gave me a coin that’s ‘HEAD/HEART’. The Head is usually the driver for me and the Heart always takes a back seat… But this time, I let the Heart run free. When it crossed my mind to exit at random points, I got off without thinking twice and without someone countering my initiatives. The lack of planning (and companion) was rather liberating.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve always wanted to check out Seacliff/Rincon Beach. With my eyes wide open, I admired all the campers in their trailers, the surfers dotting the ocean, the occasional sprint of a dog chasing the waves, the salty breeze that Californian’s can’t live without… Each passing minute pumped new life into my soul.

.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.

Dear Reader,

Whatever you’re doing, pause for a minute. Take a deep breath.

Surfer at Rincon Beach / Seacliff / Pacific Coast Highway
Surfer at Rincon Beach / PCH © 2012 Shiela Hizon
Rincon Island / Richfield Pier / Rincon Beach / Seacliff / Pacific Coast Highway
Rincon Island / Rincon Beach / Seacliff / PCH © 2012 Shiela Hizon

Surfers at Rincon Beach / Seacliff / Pacific Coast Highway [Hipstamatic/iPhone]
Surfers at Rincon Beach / Seacliff / PCH © 2012 Shiela Hizon
Rincon Beach / Seacliff / Pacific Coast Highway [Hipstamatic/iPhone]
Rincon Beach / Seacliff / Pacific Coast Highway © 2012 Shiela Hizon

Oh Honey

MelJess Bees,Beekeeper, Natural Raw Honey
MelJess Bees,Beekeeper, Natural Raw Honey © Shiela Hizon

Meet James Reese. He’s a beekeeper. (He can help you if you have a bee problem.) But let’s talk honey. Their honey is a delicate taste of goodness that’s sure to compliment any tea or biscuit.

MelJess Bees
Natural Raw Honey
Murrieta, CA
(Contact them via LocalHarvest find out which Farmers Market you can catch them at.)

Peanut Brittles After My Heart

Peanut Brittle
Peanut Brittle from HomeSpun Gifts © Shiela Hizon

HomeSpun Gifts: Tender & Delicious Brittles
Made by Jack and Glenda Cawthron

For all those sweet tooth out there, grab a bag of these delicious brittles (I’m partial to their original peanut brittles). Jack and Glenda are at the Temecula’s Old Town Farmers Market.

Oh So Majestic (Garlic)

Majestic Garlic
Majestic Garlic, La Cañada, CA; Garlic Paste, Pickled Garlic, Vegan Friendly © Shiela Hizon

Garlic… I love the aroma, but that taste does not sit well with my taste bud. As such, I’m not an expert when it comes to garlic (I am one of those who pleads for the cook to “please, please don’t put any garlic”), but there are a lot of culinary experts who can’t have enough.

For all those garlic lovers out there, Majestic Garlic has created a garlic paste that’s sure to put the right touch of flavor into your dish. Oh and they also have pickled garlic! What are you waiting for? Go get some! You know you want to….

Majestic Garlic
website: www.majesticgarlic.com
La Cañada Flintridge, CA
(But I caught them at the Corona Farmers Market)

Ark Collective: Get To Give

It was a refreshing change of scene to step into the Melrose Flea Market with my friend Katie on a Sunday morning. It’s a pretty big market and I never really see everything. Katie said it’s best to go with a purpose: to find a necklace, find a chair, find a vintage pair of boots, etc. So what was my purpose? None, really.

I just like to rub elbows with those looking for a bargain, or maybe find something unique, or be inspired by something … or someone. And I did.

Ark Collective, Kevin
Ark Collective, Backpack "A mission to improve the quality of our underserved youth’s education" © Shiela Hizon

Meet Kevin, a young entrepreneur who has made it a mission to give back. He created Ark Collective after hearing that youth’s in the Los Angeles community didn’t have adequate educational supplies—one being a backpack.

I don’t have the right words to describe how inspiring Kevin is. He’s a forward thinker and has applied his creativity and vision towards a definitive goal of making a difference (in the community).

Check out his backpacks! The size is good enough to fit a 15″ laptop and “encyclopedias” (It’s been a long time since I’ve had to carry a textbook.) These are the ones with custom art design:

Ark Collective Backpacks
Ark Collective Backpacks © Shiela Hizon

I walked away wanting to buy everyone I know a backpack just so more kids can benefit from Ark Collective’s Get to Give program: for every backpack purchased, a new backpack goes to an underserved student. (How awesome is that?!) This is definitely going to be my gift of choice for my nephews and nieces.

Want to learn more? Here’s their story:

Ark Collective - Our Story
Ark Collective, Get to Give program © Shiela Hizon

Head on over to Ark Collective’s website and maybe buy a backpack of your own:
www.arkcollective.com

Thank you Kevin for inspiring us!

Look Ma, No Tears

Gaytan Family Farm, Inc
Gaytan Family Farm, Inc. Red Onions © Shiela Hizon

Mom has made me slice-and-dice hundreds of onions…. and man, are they tear jerkers. I can’t say I love ’em, but check these out: aren’t they beautiful? Look at the art forming from those roots!

Gaytan Family Farm, Inc.
Mira Loma, CA; Santa Maria, CA
Website: goodveg.org/Gaytan.html

Why So Green?

Gaytan Family Farms, Inc.
Gaytan Family Farms, Inc. Mira Loma, CA; Tomatillo, Brussels Sprout, Artichoke © Shiela Hizon

Gaytan Family Farm, Inc.
Mira Loma, CA; Santa Maria, CA
Website: http://www.goodveg.org/gaytan.html

I can’t say I love brussels sprout, but I do love some grilled artichoke hearts or spinach and artichoke dip. I also love tomatillo sauce but I rely on pre-made–bottled and ready for me at the counter. I miss my friend Tony. He made some salsa verde and there’s nothing like enjoying fresh! I hear it’s not hard to make… Anyone want to share their recipe?

Non-Profit: Tikva Children Charities

Tikva Children Charity
Tikva Children's Charities; Non-Profit; San Martin, CA; Shahla Hassani © Shiela Hizon

Tikva Children’s Charities, San Martin, CA
A non-profit founded by Shahla Hassani, a brain tumor survivor.

Shahla sells unique jewelry pieces that she purchased (or were donated) from local jewelers. 100 percent of the proceeds she makes from the sales go to various children’s charities or to people in need.

Tomatoes: Penny Lane Farm

Penny Lane Farm, Betabel, California
Penny Lane Farm; Heirloom Tomatoes © Shiela Hizon

Penny Lane Tomatoes
Website: www.1tomatomama.com

The drive from Northern California back to Southern California deserves a few stops along the way. An early start resulted in us passing by a small Farmers Market along the 101 in a small town called Betabel. Thanks to Betabel, this little project of mine came to life!

Those of us who live in the city never really get to take care of a garden, but it’s always nice when you can grow your own herbs, vegetables and plants. I didn’t buy any tomatoes from Penny Lane Farms, but my friend Katie did. Track my friend’s progress with her little project over at ASpoonfulOf.com