Why hello there! I'm Rachel. Welcome to my own little corner of the interwebs where I chronicle my daily adventures. My blog began under the name explorology as a study in exploring my career interests and the city around me at my alma mater UC Davis. Still embodying that same Spirit of Adventure - I am now exploring where I was born and raised - the San Francisco Bay Area. Expect all things food, film and fun sprinkled with bits of travel, artwork and post-grad life advice.
Like I said before, my family & I are a bit of seafood snobs – especially – when it comes to sushi. After checking out Butterfly Beach, we searched for local Japanese restaurants on our Garmin and ended up at Sakana. This was during my pre-iPhone days so I had no idea it had such high accolades on Yelp.
Sakana is not your traditional Japanese restaurant. Catering to the American sensibility, every other item on the menu was infused with white truffles or cream cheese.
Although the dishes were beautifully presented, a lesson to Sakana and all those in Southern California – looks cannot substitute for substance. Maybe we just came at a time when the fish was not as fresh but that is no excuse for a big-ticket establishment. Don’t let my smile fool you -the salmon sashimi on my salad was thinly cut! All their high score reviews is just another example of how money can’t buy you taste. We were all missing our East Bay faves – Nama & Miyuki who give generously at a fraction of the cost.
On our last day in Santa Barbara, before we made the drive up north, we stopped by to check the view of Butterfly Beach adjacent to The Biltmore. Known for serving as a backdrop to many a Hollywood film and a home-away-from-home for celebs off-camera, this Four Seasons hotel combines high class luxury with Mediterreanean charm.
We didn’t get a chance to explore the inside but perhaps one day. To my delight, this was one of the rare times my brother was game for portrait taking.
He’s such a character!
I’m not much of a beach person but I imagine this would be a nice location to catch the sunset – water for days.
Today marks the 225th anniversary of when Franciscan Friar Fermin de Lasuen founded the “Queen of the Missions” on the Feast Day of St. Barbara. As a native Californian with a Catholic school upbringing, visiting this beautiful Mission was not just a photo op but also a chance to connect with my roots.
I remember back in 4th grade we visited a local mission and had to choose a partner to make a presentation on one of the 21 historic missions. Maggie & I made a miniture model out of foam board and lots of acrylic paint. Wish I had a photo to show you.
Back in 2003, I was fortunate enough to visit Assisi, Italy during a trip to Europe through my high school. Seeing where St. Francis lived and served was so humbling and the vibrant and detailed frescos that canvased the interiors were awe inspiring. It amazing to me that one person from centuries ago can still have such influence on the present day.
After a successful day of shopping the 4th of July weekend sales up and down State St. (bought my first fedora at Urban AND my first designer purchase – flats from Betsey!!), my parents and I decided to fuel up at Brophy Bros located right on the Santa Barbara harbor.
Coming from the San Francisco Bay Area, you could say we are sort of seafood snobs. We were quite dissapointed that they had run out of oysters. Like really? The ceviche was OK – the fish was not chunky and its greyish hue was a little off putting.
I will say that the rest of the dishes were excellent. Super creamy clam chowdah. Plump shrimp with hearty portions.
I tend to only eat half my meal when I go out (I love me some leftovers!) but unfortunately our hotel room did not have a mini fridge. I hate wasting food. I did bring it to go but seafood, especially shrimp spoils fast. If you’re in town I’d definitely recommend coming here to dine by the sea. See Brophy Bros on Yelp.
Everyone by now is a week into Fall Quarter, adjusting from summer break, and getting into the groove. Likewise, I am more settled living at home, working my first post-grad job (!!!) and back into blogging.
So, what have I been up to since I last posted…
Well, I graduated! After I picked up my cap and gown, my friend Todd and I did a photo shoot around campus to commemorate the occasion. Here’s a select few:
Graduation day itself was pretty amazing. My friends and I scored front row seats! It was funny because the back row had filled up for the middle column and we were very hesitant on what to do and the ushers kept motioning us forward until we were like,”Ohhh!”
Melanie, Me & Jessie (Thanks Martin Wong for the photo!)
How my cap was decoratedTo infinity & beyond!
Graduation was just how I expected it to be – unmemorable speeches, a long long list of names and yet one of the happiest surreal moments of my life. I contemplated recording myself receiving my “diploma” but I am glad I decided to just live it with my fullest attention. I swear, I think I walked ahead before my name was even announced because of the adreneline running through me. It was almost an out of body experience with slow motion smiles and nodding, looking to the crowd, and BAM – over in an instant!
Here’s a little video from the day:
I am grateful to have experienced the whole thing with my lovely roomie Melanie & to have had quite a few friends in my half of the L&S commencement ceremony – more people to cheer for. Also, loved that my family had a great view of us from right behind the stage and lots of friends came to greet me afterwards with flowers and hugs. When all the photo taking was done, my family and I headed over to Fenton’s in Vacaville to celebrate with their biggest sundae – The Banana Special.
That’s it folks! My summer was spent enjoying my last days in Davis, moving my stuff back home, venturing off to New York for three weeks, working in Detroit for AAJA Voices on scholarship with a wonderful bunch of people, then flying back home on a Sunday mid-August only to land a job the Friday afterwards.
I feel pretty lucky to have found a job that I love right out of college. But I also know that I put in the work to really discover who I am and what I want out of a career and UC Davis definitely helped me do that. Interning at UComm, starting this blog, joining AggieTV, minoring in writing – all of these things helped me explore my interests and at the same time build a portfolio for a job I never knew I would want when I first started college. That’s my biggest advice – get to know yourself through trial and error. College is a buffet, try a little bit of everything and go back for the stuff your gut loved. Trust your gut instinct! 😉 (oh ho ho!)
If you ever want to talk anything UCD related, career advice, which restaurants you must try, feel free to contact me any time. I love receiving messages and love talking about Davis. Email me at rcagana @ ucdavis dot edu. Tweet me @RachelAgana. And to follow my life after college http://blog.rachelagana.com/ (It will soon be filled with my summer adventures)