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Feb 11th
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Sugar and Spice

DINING_DONUTSAn entire generation has been born and become adults since Allbright’s Donuts began treating the Branciforte neighborhood to an incredible array of pastries and savories. Considered by many to be the best shop in town, donuts, croissants and bagels are still made fresh daily.

Be prepared for a time warp, as swivel chairs fixed to a linoleum-tiled floor and upholstered in retro orange vinyl encircle two U-shaped faux wood counters. Vintage advertising posters depict donuts of yesteryear. Even the proprietors seem not to have aged a day since I enjoyed my first apple fritter, and today these pastries are still the same two-fisted size they were two decades ago.

 

Every morning, neighbors meet for coffee. A seasoned gentleman waxed nostalgic about donuts as he ate his bran muffin before the discussion turned to gardening.

Parents stop by to fuel their youngsters with bagels ($1.45 to $2.95). Toppings range from peanut butter and jelly to ham, eggs and cheese. Juices and milk are quickly grabbed from the cold beverage case for breakfast on the run.

After school, teenagers inhale energy drinks and tuna-stuffed croissants. The croissants, a perfect example of the soft, flaky French layered pastry, are as big as the fritters, and filled with flavorful, lightly dressed tuna salad.

A dozen freshly made cake donuts will set you back just $6.95. The crisp circumference of glazed Apple Fritters ($1.25) hides a fluffy, moist interior which is laced with cinnamon and diced apples. A star-shaped Old Fashioned ($.75) melts in your mouth. The puffy rectangular Maple Bar ($1.25) is evenly coated with sweet and sticky frosting and filled with custard pastry cream, while cylindrical jelly donuts are sliced and spread generously with raspberry jam.


Allbright’s Donut Shoppe, 1055 Water St., Santa Cruz, 423-1785. Open from 5:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.

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Heart Me Up

In defense of Valentine’s Day

 

“be(ing) of love (a little) more careful”—e.e. cummings

Wednesday (Feb. 10) is Ash Wednesday, when Lent begins. Friday (Feb. 12) is Lincoln’s 207th birthday. Sunday is Valentine’s Day. On Ash Wednesday, with foreheads marked with a cross of ashes, we hear the words, “From dust thou art and unto dust thou shalt return.” Reminding us that our bodies, made of matter, will remain here on Earth when we are called back. It is our Soul that will take us home again. Lent offers us 40 days and nights of purification in preparation for the Resurrection (Easter) festival (an initiation) and for the Three Spring Festivals (at the time of the full moon)—Aries, Taurus, Gemini. The New Group of World Servers have been preparing since Winter Solstice. The number 40 is significant. The Christ (Pisces World Teacher) was in the desert for 40 days and 40 nights prior to His three-year ministry. The purpose of this desert exile was to prepare his Archangel (light) body to withstand the pressures of the Earth plane (form and matter). We, too, in our intentional purifications and prayers during the 40 days of Lent, prepare ourselves (physical body, emotions, lower mind) to receive and be able to withstand the irradiation of will, love/wisdom and light streaming into the Earth at spring equinox, Easter, and the Three Spiritual Festivals. What is Lent? The Anglo-Saxon word, lencten, comes from an ancient spring festival, agricultural rites marking the transition between winter and summer. The seasons reflect changes in nature (physical world) and humanity responds with social festivals of gratitude and of renewal. There is a purification process, prayerfulness in nature and in humanity in preparation for a great flow of spiritual energies during springtime. Valentine’s Day: Aquarius Sun, Taurus moon. Let us offer gifts of comfort, ease, harmony, beauty and satisfaction. Things chocolate and golden. Venus and Taurus things.

 

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