Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Deli-issh Eats!

Dick and I may have found our go-to place when we want a deli-ishhh sandwich. For us, it means taking the Highway 25 bypass to get across town and then turning north on San Felipe Road to head towards the Hollister International Airport. It’s well worth driving the extra minute or two to to get to Victoria’s.

This Italian deli is in one of those nondescript industrial-park store fronts. Inside, it definitely is far from bland. It’s cute and clean with a sense of fun. That day, balloons and signs wishing "Happy Birthday Nana" were sprinkled about the shop. The deli is mostly a take-out place, but there are a few tables for sit-down eating.

Victoria’s serves breakfast and lunch fare. The lunch menu includes salads, soups, sandwiches, and pastas. There are also desserts. A breakfast menu is also available. Click here to download a copy of the menu.

We each went with a box lunch, which included a deli sandwich, choice of pasta salad or chips, a cookie, and soda. Dick ordered a turkey sandwich, while I asked for a forest ham. My mom's a light eater, so I figured I could share my sandwich with her. But, I also ordered her a cup of clam chowder, in case the sandwiches were petite.

When we opened the boxes at home, we were very surprised with the hefty portions. How big? Dick and I are not dainty eaters, but I was full after eating half of half of my sandwich, while Dick was content after eating half of his. Leftovers for dinner or for lunch the next day. I, being the cook, am always grateful for one less meal to think about creating.

The sandwiches, the pasta salad that came with my meal, and Mama’s clam chowder were all delish! Fresh, tasty, and tummy-satisfying. A cute, roll-sized baguette came with the soup. Both the soup and roll were hits with my mom, and, she's a very picky eater. Next time we go to Victoria's, I plan on trying the pasta pesto, lasagna, or cheese ravioli. . .or, maybe the Meatball Italiano sandwich…or the turkey avocado or. . . .

The downside to Victoria’s: It’s only open Monday through Friday. Victoria's is located at 1745 San Felipe Road, #3.

For more about Victoria’s, check out these two links:

Monday, March 16, 2009

The Church in Tres Pinos

A few years ago I jumped out of a plane and landed in the field across from the church where I had been baptized as an infant. The jump was planned (of course!) and I was attached to a trained professional skydiver of Skydive Hollister. But, that is a tale for another day.

Today, my focus is on the small, plain-looking church across from the field. I’ve always known it as the church in Tres Pinos, which is several miles south of Hollister. It’s actually called the Immaculate Conception Church, and it is right off of Highway 25.

The church was built in the late 1800s. It has been carefully kept and maintained through the years, both inside and out.


The Immaculate Conception is an active parish with masses held on Sunday and during the week. The doors, I believe, are open during the day throughout the week. I'm not a churchgoer, but now and then I like to step into that church, usually on a weekday. When I enter its sanctuary, I always feel a sense of comfort…of being…of hope.

(Note: The photo of me was taken by Joe Siudzinski. Thank you, Joe!)

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Driving Up Lone Tree Road

When I was a kid, I thought the mountains that surrounded Hollister were just a bunch of hills. What does a kid know! Today, in my wise old age, I am continually taken aback at how awesome they are.

The Diablo Range runs down the eastern side of San Benito County. The tallest peak in this whole range is in the southern part of the county—San Benito Mountain, which stands 5,241 feet high. Sorry. These photos aren't of that peak. One day.

This part of the range is just outside of Hollister. I don’t know how high they are. They do get a now-and-then dusting of snow, and when they do, some folks like to drive up Lone Tree Road to check it out.

The mountains have been wearing Spring quite well. The other day some friends came by, so it was a great excuse to head up Lone Tree Road. As you can see from the photos, it was a perfect day! We even saw wild boars who looked as tame as the cattle.

Monday, March 9, 2009

The Knife & Fork Cafe

For the last hour, I have been thinking about the lemon cake that the Knife & Fork Cafe has listed on its menu. I’ve been to this restaurant on San Benito Street twice, and I have yet to try it. On my first visit (September 2008), I decided to be wise and eat a fortified breakfast of biscuits and gravy. Yum!

The second time there—just last Friday—I was full after eating a grilled Portobello sandwich and a scoop of potato salad. My juicy sandwich was delicious, but the potato salad. Oh, yum, now that is something to drool about in memory. It was just right. For me, that means a bit of crunch with each bite and the potato concoction was not glistening in mayonnaise. I also like that the scoop was placed on a slight bed of salad greens. One of my companions had a grilled salmon salad, which I think I’ll try another day. A big portion of wild salmon was set prettily on a big plateful of greens. It looked well worth the price.

The Knife & Fork opened last summer. It's located on San Benito Street, across from the Veteran’s Memorial Building. You can’t miss it. It’s next to Browns Alley where the building next door exhibits a huge, beautiful mural, which was painted by some Gavilan art students under the direction of their instructor Arturo Rosette. The mural is another reason why I’ll head down to Knife & Fork again. I like looking at it, whether through the restaurant’s side windows or at its reflection in the mirrors on the restaurant’s southern wall.

Currently, the Knife & Fork is open for breakfast and lunch. It’s a friendly and comfortable place to hang out. When my party sat down to eat on Friday afternoon, we didn’t realize they were about to close. Our waiter said not to worry. We got there before the closing hour (4:30) and we could stay as long as we want. Music to our ears. So, we decided to eat an early dinner, which was great for the cooks in the party.

The proprietors say that they’ll soon be open for dinner. They are also getting permits to put out tables in the alley for outdoor service. Oh, boy! I can see sitting next to that mural on a warm summer evening as I finally eat a slice of lemon cake.

For other reviews of the Knife & Fork Cafe, check out these links

Friday, March 6, 2009

Four Places to Hike in San Benito County

(The photograph is courtesy of my hubby Dick. © Richard A. McDavid. All rights reserved.)

The mountains around Hollister are looking mighty green these days, and it won’t be long before all the poppies and other wildflowers are blooming wildly. Are you ready for a hike?

San Benito County has four parks that are worth checking out.
  • Pacheco State Park is on the way to the San Luis Reservoir, heading east on highway 152. The above photograph was taken there a couple years ago.
  • Fremont Peak State Park is south of San Juan Bautista, which is about 7 miles from Hollister. Once upon a time it was known as Gavilan Peak. It was named after Capt. John Fremont who supposedly defied the Mexican government in 1846 by camping there and raising the U.S. flag at the tippy-top.
Anyone know of other hiking places in San Benito County?

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Ten Smells of Hollister, California

I have yet to sniff the Hollister California line of bottled fragrances. But, it intrigues me that some people are willing to buy and apply a smell that would make others (and themselves) think they are living a fabricated Hollister California life.

It also got me thinking about the aromas of my hometown. What could I bottle and sell as Sigh, I’m Feeling Nostalgic for the real Hollister California? These are my top 10 smells (past and present). They are not in any particular odor. Hee-hee, I couldn’t resist the pun.
  1. The wild mustard that bloom in spring
  2. The tons of tomatoes as they are being canned on a hot summer evening
  3. Freshly-mowed grass on a Saturday morning
  4. Morning fog that clings to rows upon rows of tomato plants
  5. The heaps of fresh compost on Highway 25
  6. Manure just laid on newly-prepared vegetable fields
  7. Meat being barbequed on charcoal by next-door neighbors
  8. Gas, oil, and/or burning rubber fumes of a beyond-vintage truck or car passing by
  9. The livestock stalls at the county fair
  10. Approaching rain
What aromas get you thinking of home?



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