As I finish catching up on the blog, and tying up all the loose ends from 2016, I saved this post for last. Not just because it was a bit of a catch-all collection of things, but also because spring training is just a few weeks away. And with it comes the dawn of a new season, the promise of that elusive world championship, and hopefully a six-month long diversion from things that are much more sobering.
So…into the rewind machine! It was late September, it was a Friday afternoon, and I happened to be scrolling through Facebook when I saw that my longtime friend Gary posted that he had extra seats – excellent seats – to that night’s Dodgers game. I reached out immediately, found that he still indeed had the seats, and started locating people to go with me. I’m not much of a spur-of-the-moment guy, but it happened to be the right place at the right time. And then Gary told me that it was the night they were honoring Vin Scully, and there was no doubt that I would be taking advantage of this.
A very special night at Dodger Stadium.
Ever since my sister Maggie, her now-husband Ben and I drove from San Francisco to LA in one day during July of 2015, I had been thinking about taking a similar but slower road trip. While we had fun, and stopped in a bunch of places, everything felt very rushed. It would have been nice to explore more, not to mention a round trip instead of a one-way journey. Well, now in possession of a car and some free time, I figured heading up to the Bay Area to ring in 2017 wouldn’t be a bad idea in the slightest.
The germ of the idea started when my San Francisco friend Mimi was in town for Thanksgiving and we were just chatting about future plans. As I talked to some friends about it, it seemed I wasn’t the only one who thought it would be a good idea. Kasey was going to head up to SF separately, to see her family, and would drive back down with me. Ailene would be up there to get ready for her move to the Bay Area, and would also drive back down with us. So it was turning into a great adventure.
Kitschy but cute touches in the touristy Danish village of Solvang.
Upon returning from my scouting adventures, I was busy wrapping up the final Smorgasburg of 2016, fulfilling an enormous holiday order I’d received, and then getting ready for the annual cousins’ Christmas – which happened to be a Chrismukkah celebration this year with the first night of Chanukah falling on Christmas Eve. It was without doubt a fantastic and tasty few weeks.
Final Smorgasburg featured the debut of the cinnamon babka. I really love this variety. And the streusel topping doesn’t hurt either!
One week after my scouting trip to Portland, Oregon, I embarked on a second scouting trip. This time, I ventured to the desert. Phoenix hadn’t been on my radar much at all when I’d been pondering places to move and open a bakery, but when a recent article I’d come across listed it as one of the cheapest big-to-medium cities in the US to rent an apartment, I thought it was worth a look. After all, money that doesn’t go to my rent can go straight into the business.
It had a few things going for it: cheap rent; close to LA; growing food scene; doesn’t snow; and some friends and family. However, after having such an amazing time in Portland, I was prepared for a letdown in Arizona. After all, Phoenix isn’t the small, walkable city that Portland is. This was evident the moment I headed out in my rental car (again, something not needed in Portland) and drove to meet my cousin Nancy.
Some of the many combinations available at Fractured Prune Doughnuts.