If you want a small taste of the California coastal hippy vibe, or you are in love with people watching, then Santa Cruz is the place for you! It’s a small town that is best known for its boardwalk, a bright, kitschy, carnival like amusement park that is nestled right on the beach. When Mike and I went for a weekend away without the kids, we decided that we wanted to explore the town of Santa Cruz that lived outside of the boardwalk and I am so glad that we did!
There are tons of things to do in Santa Cruz, especially if you love being outside, but the best stuff was kind of funky!
A place called the Mystery Spot was calling my name. What could be better than seeing something mysterious?! Unfortunately, the weather did not make me want to go stand in line for a long time, so instead I tried convincing my husband that a $10 tarot card reading would be tons of fun!!
The man ran in the opposite direction as quickly as his broken hips would let him when I nearly walked into a creepy psychic shop. Who knew that kind of thing weirded him out?! Marriage is a mystery…
I did, however, convince him to stop by the Big Foot Museum, because Big Foot is a real thing here in California! Even if it is only as real as the people who imagine it to be…
Breakfast Is the Most Important Meal of the Day and Linda’s SeaBreeze Cafe Doesn’t Disappoint!
Mike convinced me that we should do some normal people things while we were in Santa Cruz. So, I relented and we went out to breakfast at Linda’s Seabreeze Café. I was hyped up to try their cinnamon buns, which I heard they were famous for. To be 100% honest, I was a little disappointed in them. They were super dense.
Linda’s Seabreeze Café had some killer freshly squeezed orange juice, though! Plus, their amazing homemade raspberry jam (that went perfectly with some buttered sour dough toast) was a major treat.
OMG, and their Huevos Yucatan breakfast special?! What could be better than 2 eggs sitting on top of corn tortillas that covered a plate full of black beans?! Oh, and it was topped with half an avocado, and then served with a roasted plantain, roasted potatoes and a side of homemade salsa…
Seriously, nothing is better. Nothing! It was heaven on a plate.
Did I mention that Linda’s Seabreeze Café had a self-service coffee station set up for their patrons while they waited for their name to be called?! They must have known that I, the caffeine queen, was coming un-caffeinated. They even offered soy milk! For a lactose-intolerant person like me, that was the best thing ever!! The service was great and our waiter was friendly, but not too chatty, which was pure perfection.
A good trip always needs a little adventure!
After breakfast at Seabreeze Café, we had some time to kill, so we meandered over to Mission Street Tattoo where I (very bravely) sat still while I got my first ever tattoo.
Ron, my tattoo artist, was a half German and half southern boy, who had lived in New Orleans for a while, and kind of reminded me of my cousin J a little bit. Except Ron had full sleeves, because what tattoo artist doesn’t display their love of body art?!
Check Out Ron’s Other Work –> Here.
After a short wait, Ron came over and asked me what I was thinking of getting. I showed him the last card that my mom had sent to me. It was from my 29th birthday. I wanted her signature from the card to be put on my left wrist, along with a simple butterfly – I continually see them when I think of her and they have quickly become a symbol of hope and love.
Ron took pictures of what I wanted and after a few minutes he had me sitting in his chair. I was waiting for the anxiety to kick in — because when you are so afraid of needles that you give birth to three children without any pain meds just so that you can avoid them, you’d think that the fear would be pretty on point. It wasn’t. This tattoo was something that I have been wanting to do since my mom was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2013.
I watched him prep his station, and with all the trust in the world, I put my arm down and let him ink a permanent reminder of my mom on my wrist.
Did I tell you that I stalked every single artist’s Instagram page and online reviews for days before we left? I wasn’t going to a place where the art sucked or where I feared their cleaning abilities. I had complete confidence in Ron and I wasn’t disappointed!
Check Out Mission Street Tattoo’s Yelp By Clicking –> Here.
Through-out the process, he asked me if I was okay, which I was. Well, at least until he did the word Mom. After that, I tried to convince him to leave the butterfly outlined, but he was like, “No, it needs shading.”
I knew he was right, so I put my arm back down and let him continue to stab me with ink.
Isn’t she pretty?!
Always Ask A Local Where To Go!
Before we left Mission Street Tattoo, I asked Ron where he suggested we go for lunch. The best travel rule, if there were any, is to always ask a local where to go. I told him that I wanted the best food in Santa Cruz and I could care less what the place looked like. He directed us to a true New Orlean’s style Cajun restaurant called Roux Dat. He promised that the food was as good as any place he used to go to in New Orleans and he wasn’t lying!
Check Out Other Roux Dat Reviews–> Here.
Mike started with the jambalaya. It was thick with shredded chicken, sausage, and shrimp and the flavors of the meat were balanced out with celery, onion, and a tomato based sauce that had a robust smoky flavor. It was the winner for the best chicken dinner! Seriously, we took leftovers. 😉
The thing that I was most excited about, though, was the Café Du Monde café au lait! I hadn’t had coffee with chicory (which makes it taste nice and strong) in over four years! To be safe, I took four lactose tablets so that I could enjoy that bad boy. I was in coffee heaven!
It paired well with the fried shrimp po’boy that I ordered, too. While the po’boy wasn’t as moan worthy as the one I had at Darrel’s in Lake Charles, Louisiana (read about Darrell’s here), it was worth every bite that I took. Darrell’s is a hard place to beat, but Roux Dat came very, very close! The French bread was nice and soft, and it actually came from Gambino’s bakery in NOLA! The shrimp was perfect and Roux Dat’s homemade pickles gave it that little extra something that made me savor the flavor even more. Overall, I would give this po’boy four stars.
After we stuffed ourselves with the delicious fried doughy goodness that are beignets, we rolled on out of there and went back to our AirBnB for the night.
Our first day in Santa Cruz was full of adventure, filling food, and so many other things that I have not even mentioned yet! While I could go on and on, I will stop for now and leave the rest for another day.