Discretion Brewing Company

Most people who like craft beer in Santa Cruz have heard of, and ideally tried, beers brewed at Discretion Brewing Company.  The beer is, let’s face it, outstanding.  Not only is it served on 41st Ave right near local favorite Cafe Cruz….but you can find it on tap at many local dining spots with their headliner beer (in my opinion) Uncle Dave’s Rye.

But what inspired me  to write this Wednesday morning, the day before Thanksgiving is to share with you about a dish I had from their last night that was “off the chain”.

Tuesday Ramen.  This is not your ichiban ramen packet from Safeway.  This is beyond the real deal.  Living in Japan while in jr. high school, I ate a lot of Ramen. Some of the best best soba shops in Tokyo were my weekly spots to hang….if I was not eating sushi, so I feel I have a credible pallet to judge this dish.

This Ramen is by far the best in town, the best in California, the best bar-none anywhere for my taste buds and yes I did have 2 beers but my taste buds did not get distorted (the stout is also just like desert, wow)….so let me just summarize this dish for you.

The broth takes 3 days to prepare.  It is spiced, rich and absolutely delicious.  Ramen soba noodles are from Japan.  Home made kimchi (which works so well with the broth) a soft boiled egg done perfectly, in the broth and with some laces of seaweed the flavor profile is delicious, and then seared pork belly and not just that thin piece of pork most Ramen’s have, meaty juicy portion size chunks that delight.

So what’s the negatives.  On ‘Chopped’ the Judges always have to mention something negative to balance out their critique so here is mine.  This dish is so delicious and enjoyable to eat I ate it all…..way to much food for one person…..yep this is a weight gainer…and I don’t want to split it next week with my wife. I want the whole bowl again, and yes, I plan on going next Tuesday.

Did I mention the chef also prepares a host of other small plates and seasonal dishes that will rock your world.  You can’t really go wrong with a choice here…all not ok…not good…my broach the amazing level on taste.

I obviously dig this place.  On Monday’s they do an event that supports local charities call LOVE MONDAY—–how socially conscious is that?

http://www.discretionbrewing.com/  go to this website and learn more about this special place….and say hi next Tuesday ok?  I will be the guy with chops sticks and a big smile.

Let My People Go Surfing by Yvon Chouinard

“Let my people go surfing” the education of a reluctant business man..by Yvon Chouinard the founder and owner of Patagonia is a book worth reading as a true American success story and we recently read and discussed this book at our Women’s Council of Realtors first 2016 book club meeting.

My wife Judy loves books…her career began as a teacher and 28 years ago became a realtor in Santa Cruz because on a teachers salary at the time she could not afford a home. While skiing in Aspen Colorado staying at a friends house in the bathroom laid this book…and like most all books that make it to that designated reading spot, it is a good one. Going shopping later in Aspen she bought the book and we both enjoyed reading it.

I re-read the book again yesterday. It has some amazing stories of the ups and downs of the business and the authors commitment to the environment. Those who know and love the wilderness “get it”. We should take care of it. Human Beings he points out are the only animal that actually destroys it’s own living space.

As I read the book, I took away from it the question, ” Am I living my life in alignment with my values?”. One of the qualities I pride myself on is not waiting until later to appreciate the now…as the now, just like now, is gone and we are always onto a new present. I try not get somewhere else and miss out on where I am now.

In these days of kids 3-4 years old knowing how to search the internet and play games on their smart phones better than I have thought recently about how in each generation the youth are pushing boundaries the “establishment” just does not get. Long hair and loud music my parents did not get. Being at the dinner table, with 4 out of 6 of us on the phone I don’t get, but I get that I am just older now and more stuck in my antiquated ways.

Yvon to me is the quintessential ” man’s manly man”. It ‘s like in the new Rocky movie “Creed” the actor must pay a right of passage and Sylvester Stalone has the actor who played Creed knocked out, during boxing practice to be part of the club. Scaling half dome in Yosemite or the Mountains of Korea, hiking, surfing and all this author lives his life….they key word in this sentence being “HIS” life.

He is not trying to fit into the expectations of someone else’s pre-ordained destiny for him like a Jewish mother does for her son “you would be such a good doctor or lawyer” but instead follows his own path regardless of societal expectations and in fact leads by trusting his gut knowing he is in alignment with his core values. His leadership team and affiliations with other like minded people create a harmony in business and life that are intertwined.

The book is historical, philosophical, a simple easy read that in part is also inspirational. What kind of mark am I going to make on my journey until I die? What kind of mark are you going to make? Am I living my life in alignment with my core values? are you?

As a realtor in this phase of my life, I find that engaging genuinely with my clients/who often become my friends that helping them navigate the sale or purchase of their home is a real privilege. It may sound corny or old fashioned, but being trusted feels pretty dam good..Just like when one rappels down a mountain, knowing your buddy has your back makes you trust the fact you can do what you may never have thought possible, given you give yourself the chance.

Ok…enough about me, and let’s sum this up….have not written about a book before, this one is a easy read that you may not know about so if you get inspired….

Pick it up and I feel confident you will enjoy it.

the title…is a metaphor for all of us…let me people go surfing. Enjoy!

Dining at Ventana in Big Sur

My daughter was visiting from NYC and our father/daughter time is often spent on the drive from Santa Cruz to Big Sur… this time I decided to take her to Ventana for breakfast and I have to say that was one of my best decisions of the day.

We looked over the menu and expected prices to be in the untouchable zone, but found they are reasonable and you get very large portions.  I picked the home run winner which was the eggs Benedict with Pork belly and a tomato hollandaise sauce.  Eggs were perfectly poached which, as one who enjoys the small things, this chef knows exactly what he is doing.  The service was wonderful by “Hector” who keep our coffee cups full with rich coffee.

After breakfast, Omar Perez the manager, asked me “how was it?” I had to just ramble on about the food, service and how happy I was.  He thanked me and I asked to see the dinner menu for fun.  He then began to share how they had a new chef and farm to table mentality.  For  $75, a 4 course pre-fix menu looks, as Guy F. says. “off the hook”…this is not a diner, drive-in or dive, but I know Guy would love this place as the creativity is a food network delight.

Here is a sample of some of my choices; first course, yellow fin tuna crudo with melon, wasabi, seaweed and watermelon radish, 2nd course, petite osso bucco with porchini, fava and pea mash, pickled ramp and cherry pepper, 3rd course, sirloin strip steak with grilled white asparagus, cipollini onion, smoked potato puree, garlic chives, blistered shishito peppers and for desert how about Baked Alaska cherry sauce, cherry ice cream and candied pistachio.

Omar shared that mainly guests of the hotel dine with them but not the general public. I asked to see a wine list, and he shared some of his thoughts on the local wines, and then kindly asked, “got a minute?” and off to Pinot and Cab tasting we went… Wow that was a nice treat.

The executive chef is Paul Corsentino and I must say I only shared with you a small sample of what he has created on his menus, we did not even discuss lunch… and that is another special story.

After you dine, check out the gallery next door with local artists paintings, jewelry, pottery and more.  This is a relaxed and serene spot.

As you know I am focused on Santa Cruz real estate but just got a new listing coming soon in Dublin…which is even farther away from Big Sur… I hope to get lucky and get a listing there soon, and of course you know where I will taking the seller.

The manager’s name is Omar Perez, and the website is www.ventanainn.com  If you call him, he will take VIP care of you, and you will smile as you drive home after one of the best meals around, bar none.

Kuwamba Jazz Center; One of the most special places in Santa Cruz

Kuwamba Jazz center is one of the most special places in Santa Cruz for world class music with a venue that loves to support the artists and our community.  In 2015 this center will mark it’s 40th year anniversary in being the venue for Jazz, education and community support.

The real estate venue is small, but it’s about location, location, location and anywhere you sit or stand in this venue you get a prime spot for a very reasonable ticket price   You can become a member and at a certain level get reserved seats, or show up early and have some organic chili or an entree du jour that is balanced and fun. Deserts, local wines, beers on tap and by the bottle, and a volunteer team and staff that know how to do what they do and an audience that is mature and sensitive to really listen to the talent they bring home to Santa Cruz.

Last night I had the honor of seeing Larry Carlton and his drummer who was a rhythmic plenum, his bass player that was the king of taste, and the keyboard dude who plays with George Duke.  Larry telling stories about Les Paul, the Gibson bus, Joe Sample and the Crusaders, and then playing his Gibson 335 with the experience and technique of non-less than one of the best guitar players in the world.

Don’t know about the place?  Like Music?  Got 30 bucks saved? Shows start on time and are in time.  This place is a true gem and every time, yes every time I go, I think to myself, that was a good idea.

Dating?  Jazz?    Yes

Married, date night. Jazz? ….Yes,

Solo, just want to take some time to groove alone…Jazz?  Yes

So Mark, What is the downside?  I can only think that is challenging to go to as many shows as they provide. So many choices, some much talent, I know I have missed out on some great shows over the past year…

But I am not going to make the mistake again right now and it’s time to call…..yep…I think Stanley Clarke is my next choice.

Go to this website ok?   http://kuumbwajazz.org/

Call and speak to Brian…tell him Mark said he was the best…and if you need help on deciding which show to see, he’s not shy to tell you. In fact, one time he told me a name of guitar player…and stated, “you don’t know him”, and I said – “so tell me about him”, and he said “no, just come see him”… this guys knows – trust me.  Have fun!

AJ’s Fuel and Market Chevron Station in Soquel

Santa Cruz area locals know this place is a lot more than a fill up and a car wash so I wanted to share with you also about this unique Chevron Station located in Soquel.  Yes they have gas, propane, water, car wash, vacuum for your auto needs but for me that is the convenience when I need some local shopping or snacking fast.

You can choose Hallah meats and chicken from their case.  If you go at lunch time you may need to wait in line as the locals know this is one of the best places for a burger, wrap, Gyro salad or chicken wrap to eat in the store or on the patio or take to go.

This is a family owned business that makes me feel at home, as they remember you, smile and make you feel as a part of their extended family.  I end up spending $55.00 on gas and leaving with marinated chicken and organic locally grown vegetables fresh  from the garden, and if I want to stroll down the spice isle, come home with some middle eastern spices, curry, and unique flavors.

Need something special?  I wanted to get a nice Brisket for family dinner and they ordered for me one special, trimmed it up, and it came out amazing (with my mother’s recipe which I can share another time).

Local fresh fish hits the cooler and after a game of racquetball at Cabrillo Fitness sometimes I will get the lamb salad or ask them for grill some scallops up and put it on the Greek salad for me, I will bring home a nice dinner easy to prepare and shopping in the European style of getting fresh every few days and enjoying the shopping experience.

They are humble, kind and smile a lot at this local spot.  Not the selection of Costco, but they know that is not why you are there and they take pride in being what they are, in my mind the best place, bar none, to get gas in Santa Cruz.

Check it out! you will smile too!

http://www.ajsmarket.com/

The Fish Lady of Soquel

Want to enjoy a fun stop to meet family or friends for a “party” and you don’t have to do anything but just show up?

Sharon Hadley is known around these parts as the “fish lady” as she as been supplying fish to local merchants and locals for decades.  She and her family are hard working locals who have evolved her business, Fish Lady of Soquel, over the years to become much more than your average seafood house, stocking fine choice beef, local sausages, frozen and fresh sand dabs which I personally love to buy and bring home and sauté” a couple few up and a large selection of local wine.

Have you heard about her wine tasting, bar-b-que and music that happens each Friday evening all year long.  Local and mainly California wineries have their winemaker or one of their distributors pour a selection of their wine for you and you can learn about their vineyard, new selections most often with a local flavor.

The venue is unique located in a parking lot setting at 2510 Main Street in Soquel next to the newest local hang for beer drinkers called “Beer Thirty”. and across the  way after a funfest at the fish lady you can stroll over to “Michaels on Main”” for some Friday evening dancing and some more fun.

Now that you know where it’s located, let me share with you one of the most special parts of going to the fish lady on Friday night. Mike her husband is the lead singer, arranger, keyboard and procession player for his band that plays from about 6-8 or so each night. Mike has one of those voices that could easily be on a reality singing show, and he would be a contender. Popular tunes perfect for sipping wine, and having some bar-b-que which is grilled up by his father “Pop” and they have their weekly standards to include: corralitos sausages, angus beef burgers, (about $5 bucks each) and you can select anything from the market case and they will grill that up for you also from steaks to scallops, done the way you like it.

And there is more, as fall approaches Sharon cooks up some tasty jambalaya, and she also makes some nice cheese and fruit plates, smoked salmon plates and I know I am missing some treats but you get the idea.  It’s a locals hang where the occasional jewelry or crafts vender will set up a table for you to buy something special for yourself or a nice gift for family or friends.

Right next door is also a great fruit market, that has organic and local vegetables,   to compliment your shopping experience.  Should I mention that across the street is a nice gas station, so if you go that corner of Soquel, you can sip wine, listen to music, drink specialty beers, dance at 2 locations, shop for quality fish and meats, and get your organic veggies, gas up and be ready to come back next Friday as the show goes on again.

Tell them their groupie fan Mark sent you and they will charge you extra (: or just check it out sometime and say Hi to Judy and I….we’ll be one of the first on the dance floor.

Here is their website  http://www.thefishladysoquel.com/ here is the one for Michaels on Main http://www.michaelsonmain.net/ and here is the veggie market yelp rating http://www.yelp.com/biz/sunnyside-produce-soquel.

Enjoy!

WCR Mastermind First Bookclub Meeting

mcruz book clubBook: “The One Thing” by Gary Keller

Facilitation: Brandi Jones

Date: 2/09/2015

Attending: 18 members of WCR, (this was a members only event)

The facilitator shared that she had read the book 3 times and each time found new insights by reading the book. This reading she shared she noted how the chapter on the “domino” effect resonated with her.

After she gave us some ground rules for the group which included that each person would have 4 minutes to speak, and that if we went over she would “gong” us, asked permission if that was ok? And everyone agreed.

We began to share what we learned. She asked about “ah-ha” moments, and changes we had made, and also if anyone needed or wanted any accountability of their one thing she would be there to help reinforce and support our goals.

Almost everyone read the book in full, some partially and some not yet, but overall it was this writers impression that the membership shared insightful disclosure on a personal level not only how reading the book impacted our business lives, but reflection on our personal lives, values and focus as well.

Many members already had made conscious behavioral changes including the insight to occasionally put themselves first over just saying yes to please others.

The meeting balanced a serious tone of honest disclosure related from recovery of cancer treatment and other medical illness, to laughter about being proud of being a “narly” multi-tasker and now re-evaluating if that is really a good thing. From relationship issues to how to seek an enhanced balance in life was a consistent thematic, and the 90 minutes appeared to fly by.

Ideas flowed on how to evolve the club’s initial enrichment with “The One Thing” book to how the next book, “The Happiness Advantage” by Shawn Achor was going to really take us to the next level.

Was the first meeting a success?

Did it meet expectations?

Was it meaningful? Was it worth the time?

Would you come back again? Suggest it to others?

Yes, Yes, Yes, Yes, Yes and Yes…..to get involved join WCR and come on down to our next meeting which will be held at David Lyng’s office on 41st Avenue on March ????

Pasatiempo; World Class Golf and Dining

I, Mark Wise, love Santa Cruz Real Estate.  I am a transplant from Florida who fell in love with a local, then moved to Santa Cruz, and am now enjoying helping folks buy and sell real estate locally.  I have owned homes and investment properties and love to look at neighborhoods, open houses, new construction, and now get the pleasure of doing it as my career.

Recently I was watching a tree trimmer climb very high into a tree and I asked “Are you not afraid?”

He said, “When I was a kid I loved climbing trees, and now I paid for it.” I think you get the point… I love viewing, selling and investing in Santa Cruz Real Estate.

This first blog entry is going to be about a neighborhood that I really think is very special for many reasons and I know I won’t get them all in but here is a start….

Pasatiempo, created in 1929, is rated as one of the top 100 golf courses in the United States.  To achieve that designation is impressive.  I am not much of a golfer but a buddy of mine spoiled me with guest privileges and I got to experience what it is like first hand on multiple occasions last year.

The Pasatiempo staff is gracious, professional, knowledgeable, and they make you feel like a VIP in every conversation.  They chauffeur you down to the driving range and pick you up promptly prior to your tee time.

Pasatiempo’s course was designed by the same person who designed the Masters in Augusta, Alister Mackenzie, and her personal home was located on the 6th fairway.

The Pasatiempo golf course is not the only place that is world class, The Hollins House Restaurant led by general manager Eli Levi provides the best service in the county “hands down”.

Eli Levi is very excited about head chef John Paul Lexenberg’s culinary creations and touts him as an “amazing chef”. He loves to bring fresh-from-the-farmers-market ingredients for his creations daily.

Each night, in addition to the main menu, specials are created. Tuesday is Tapa’s night (with live music) starting at 5:30. Eli Levi suggests reserving a seat outside. Call for reservations at (831) 459-9155.

Personally I have sat on that deck quite a few times and just let the view mesmorize me.  It is peaceful, relaxing and wonderful.  Full bar, outstanding food, and an undiscovered gem. Fine dining in a casual atmosphere. How Santa Cruz….

As I stated above I am not much of a golfer but I am an excellent eater.  Pasatiempo also

boasts the MacKenzie Bar and Grill which has direct golf course and ocean views that are spectacular. I find myself getting the same thing for lunch; chicken cob salad and the soup of the day.  The 1/2 salad is huge and the best in town.  The soups rotate and are made fresh everyday.

Recently I spoke to one of the chefs, Francisco Garcia, and he reminded me of the Eggs Benedict made with caprese (served for breakfast), he says this dish is currently a major hit.  The Burgers also are great, and new are the Asian and Salad wraps.  Happy hour features 1/2 price appetizers and one can make a meal with the appetizers and drink specials.

Open everyday  from 8:30-4:30, MacKenzies Bar & Grill is worth the drive.  The big screen TV is huge and the best seats on chilly days are in front on the couches.

Remember, I am not getting paid to write this, so have no agenda but to tell the truth as I see it.  This place is great, and so is the staff and servers.  The people are wonderful and it’s a nice place to relax.

OK….just to round it out, they have complete catering services for parties, events, and are an outstanding venue for Weddings.  The gazebo at the top of the hill and design near the Hollins  House is as angelic  They provide a full brochure on the scope of services that are offered. Again, worth investigating as the venue is world class.

I hope you have enjoyed my blog on Pasatiempo.  Of course I would love to hear from you with any of your Santa Cruz area real estate needs, or if you just want to find out what your property is worth in this hot market.  You can email me at MarkGTWise@yahoo.com or call me at (831) 420-7038. Hope to you see you Tuesday for Tapas night.

In terms of Santa Cruz real estate, Pasatiempo is one the finest spots in northern California to plan and spend some time or even a lifetime. Santa Cruz Real Estate is the best…and my best to you.