Even just reading the categories in this year’s gift guide makes me remember why I love Santa Cruz.
In our last issue of Dilated Pupil, things got kind of … weird. I mean, we interviewed the UCSC banana slug mascot, and he talked about how living on campus helped him to come out as a hermaphrodite—“twice the junk at half the speed” is I believe how he put it.
Hard economic times make for a lean dining scene, but by the same token, the seeds of recovery usually take root in the restaurant landscape before they can be seen in other sectors. When people have money to spend again, their hunger for interesting tastes returns as well, and in Santa Cruz, empty spaces are being filled and local favorites are expanding to meet this budding demand. Christina Waters documents these changes in this issue, and local foodies will be happy to see the spaces vacated by Benten and Louie’s Cajun Kitchen opening again with concepts that will add new dimensions to Santa Cruz dining.
It’s ironic that many visitors experience Santa Cruz primarily via car. This area is known for its natural beauty, we have the beach and the redwoods, and yet a vacation here can easily be reduced to a series of car trips—back and forth, here and there, point A to point B. That will certainly get you to a lot of great places in Santa Cruz, but I’ve noticed that a deeper theme has risen from the stories in this Visitor Guide.
Did you know a Santa Cruz man has a vision for completely revolutionizing how we grow our food—and a multimillion-dollar tech company has bought in? Did you know modern homesteaders have found a hub for everything they need to live off the land in Ben Lomond? Did you know there are both pros and cons to growing succulents?
Yeah, it takes a village and everything, but boy is it hard to shop for. Individuality is highly prized in Santa Cruz, which is why our Gift Guide this year focuses on a wide array of individuals you may need to find something for this holiday season. Need something for the foodie in your life? The hipster? The outdoors type? The wine lover? You’ll find dozens of recommendations inside, for all types of near and dear, and they’re all based on a guiding principle of shopping at independent, local businesses, keeping our holiday dollars right here in Santa Cruz County. Happy holidays to you and yours!
It was either Pliny the Elder or Green Day who said, "Make the best of this test, and don't ask why; it's not a question, but a lesson learned in time." How about the ancient wisdom, right? In any case, there are actually hundreds of questions that can come up for college students in Santa Cruz County, and in this issue of Dilated Pupil, you'll find hundreds of answers.
In the late 1970s, Lee May was looking to “get out of the big-corporate world,” as he recalls now. He and a partner started some weeklies locally, and in 1977 he hit on the idea of a Visitor Guide for Santa Cruz. “It was a little black-and-white tabloid we put out six times a year,” says May.