Jullie: Girls Date in Santa Cruz

My cousin Samantha has been featured in quite a few adventure posts already, particularly in vacations to the Philippines and to Disneyland. We just share a love for eating, traveling, and exploring a city. Often when we get together, it's for some kind of combination of those things. Most recently, we decided to drive down to Santa Cruz for a spur-of-the-moment Girls Day!

First, we walked through a cute neighborhood of beach houses, taking in the beautiful view of the ocean, until we reached old railroad tracks that lead right to the Beach Boardwalk.

Just walk across, Sam said.

It'll be fun, she said.

Nope. Nope. Nope. The photo you see above, of me crossing the bridge, was taken as she asked me, "Why are you walking funny?" Well, I was walking funny because I was taking calculated steps, trying to NOT trip and fall to my doom.

For being a pretty adventurous person, I have my limits when it comes to heights. The bridge wasn't exactly crazy-high...but those wood planks were spaced farther apart than was comfortable. And I looked down. And I kept imagining falling right down. *sigh* Next time, I'm taking the regular walking path.

Eventually, we worked up an appetite from all the walking/sight-seeing and searched for nearby dinner destinations. We ultimately decided on I Love Sushi, which was located in the downtown area, close to all of the shops, art galleries, and cute little cafes. If you're ever on that Pacific Avenue strip, I Love Sushi is on the next street over, and it's a super quick walk from the parking garage.

When Sam and I arrived, we were lucky all we needed was a table for two. The place was pretty packed and with a good lively buzz. It was so busy that we ended up getting seated towards the back, in what was mainly used as the Karaoke Room. (Karaoke Room, though! Sounds like a fun place, right?)

I get really excited when I find fantastic sushi joints, and I Love Sushi is definitely on my list now. I would absolutely come back here! For having quite the crowd to deal with, our servers were still quick, yet attentive. We were given miso soup, edamame, and a couple of 'small plates'-type dishes to munch on while we waited for our orders.

And, oh, there were plenty of special rolls to choose from. What caught my eye were the few named after Bay Area sports teams. Of course, I had to order the Giants roll! It was a shrimp tempura, avocado, and fresh salmon combination, and it was delicious.

Sam and I both agreed, though, that our favorite of the night was the Fuji Roll. Mango and shrimp tempura, topped with tuna, jalapeno and lemon slices, unagi sauce, spicy mayo, and chili threads. It was just so bright and yummy (and pretty...). It had so much flavor! (And it was really pretty...) I wanted to order another one just to take home...

At last, for a dose of caffeine before the late-night drive home, we walked back over to Pacific Avenue to find a coffee shop. Santa Cruz Coffee Roasting Co. really hit the spot. We sat at the big surfboard table (which was beautiful!), kicked back, and ended our night on a really relaxed note.

I Love Sushi was definitely the highlight for this trip, but I love the charm and character of Santa Cruz as well. Can't wait to go back!