I’m in Monterey for my family’s annual trip.  This time we’re staying at the Otter House, a cottage in Pacific Grove owned by some Buddhist religious group.  There are inspirational sayings in every room and on every windowsill.  Lots of eastern spirituality books.  To think that years ago sardine packers probably lived here with cheap rent.


The tunnel bypassing Devil’s Slide appears to be nearly completed, though I don’t know the time line.  Smart growthers generated a rare victory there as the developer interests had preferred a four lane bypass and had already lined up federal matching funds for it when the voters sent them packing and instead began construction on a two-lane tunnel.  There should be a plaque to those activists, among them Moonshadow who posts here often.


Back in San Francisco, at 19th and Taraval, Zim’s Burgers is long gone.  They made terrific burgers back when I was a kid, then doubled in price and halved in quality in my young adulthood before sliding into mere memories of dying SF nostalgia.  The location was iconic, though they had other locations as well.  It was where some of us as teenagers went for a late night meal following a concert at the Cow Palace or a movie at the Balboa.  You met all sorts of colorful people there, both positive encounters and bad.

A couple of restaurants have since occupied the premises without long term success.  The latest tenant is Sushi Raw.

Fortunately, the elderly company running the Bay Bakery dim sum nook just down the street are alive and well and inadvertently and quietly resisting the cultural homogenization with class and grace.  Contrary to the speculation of my last report, the make their own stuff.  I watched them doing it.  While we were waiting for our large order, they offered up free coffee and offered samplings of their rice cake and something which reminded me of mochi balls of Japanese origin, but with bean paste inside, and coconut outside.  Delish.


The New Leaf Community Market, a Santa Cruz based mini-chain of natural food stores along the lines of Eureka Natural Foods.  It’s in the spot which was occupied by Alpha Beta during my childhood.  No way would this new store have survived back in the day.  We had a few hippies, but barely enough to support a small health food store in Montara, which eventually failed.

It was packed yesterday.  I have mixed feelings, though the gentrification is just about completed anyway (see my past whining about it).  Parts of the coast side of San Mateo County are borderline gated communities, and there isn’t a home there for sale for much less than a million even now.  On the other hand, New Leaf preempted Whole Foods, and that’s always good news.  Too bad they didn’t make it south to Monterey in time.