My First Friday: The Hunt for the Trout

Friday is already the best day of the week. Sure Saturday and Sunday are awesome, but there is something about Fridays. Fridays are the build up, the day of anticipation, and for whatever reason-they can’t be beat. Every First Friday of the month, Santa Cruzans’ get an extra special send off into the weekend with the First Friday Art Tour.

5:00pm My First Friday started off at Hula’s Island Grill, because as the line out the door most evenings suggests, the food and tiki drinks served here are the BEST.

5:30pm Stopped by the Downtown Kiosk to pick up my “Passport to Adventure” for the “Find-The-Trout Scavenger Hunt”. In the spirit of the Ebb and Flow Event celebrating the San Lorenzo River, various downtown businesses had hidden a Steelhead Trout image within their stores. Being the type of person who loves to play the kind of games ordinarily geared towards those 12 and under, I was hooked.

THE CHALLENGE: find five trouts. THE PRIZE: 1 cookie from Pacific Cookie Company. GAME. ON.

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5:35pm Bee-lined for New Leaf Community Markets, first on the list for the Trout Hunt. After a trip up and down every aisle to no avail, I left downtrodden at my first attempt. I found out about an hour later that no one had yet been able to locate the trout in New Leaf. While New Leaf has an amazing selection of organic and natural foods, it can be hard to pick a small picture of a trout out of all that yummy goodness.

5:40pm The Artisan’s Gallery is a must for First Friday because not only do they always feature some amazing local artists, but the store itself carries some very cool products like candles, housewares, artwork, glass, ceramics, wood work, and jewelry. I found the first of the trouts in the kid section near the back. Another plus to making the stop into the Artisan Gallery is that their back door drops you right into Abbott Square.

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5:55pm Abbott Square was packed, and full of energy. There were people in line for the food trucks, people perusing the tables of information about the future of Abbott Square, and tons of heads looking upwards at the newest addition to the square: mirrors attached to the walls around the entrance and huge red balls hanging down that, with their reflections in the mirror, form two large circles. Very cool stuff. Definately worth seeing.

6:05pm Design by Cosmic hosted “Shred- A Musical Surfing Collaboration” featuring the Santa Cruz Guitar Company and Ventana Surfboards and Supplies. Cosmic is already a super cool space to spend time, but mix in some beautiful handcrafted guitars and surfboards, beer from Corralitos Brewery Company, and tasty bites from Hulas, and you’ve got yourself a recipe for a pretty awesome party. Had I not been on on the hunt for the Trout, I may have have been convinced to camp out here for the evening, but as any good fisherman (Fisherwoman?) will tell you: you can’t ignore the call of the fish. Plus I wanted a cookie.

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6:20pm Palace Arts is a particularly difficult place to find a 2” x 7” picture of a fish. Between the aisles and aisles of art supplies and the front section filled with the funnest gadgets you never knew you needed (I want that iWrench iPhone stand!) it was a bit of sensory overload. After receiving the clue that the Trout “wasn’t at eye level” the fish was found on the ceiling above the front entrance.

6:30pm Berdel’s was a brief respite from the hardships of searching for the elusive fish. We found the trout almost immediately, prompting the Berdel’s staff to move the fish to a more difficult location. Having easily found the fish, freed up time to take in the art by Santa Cruz artists Sander and Olin Borgeson. The huge paintings, by Sander Borgeson, that lined the top of the store were probably my favorite pieces of art from the night. These huge paintings were so multidimensional, compelling, and beautiful.

6:50pm Stripe--as usual on a First Friday-- was packed, and was filled to the brim with First Friday-ers, customers, and those of us in search for the Trout. It also turned out to be the go-to spot for running into people. We ran into Chip - DTA ED and First Friday Organizer, Richelle Noroyan - City of Santa Cruz Council Member, of course Stripe owners Suna and Dana, and the fourth Trout sighting of the evening. Four down, one trout to go!

It's the possibilities that come with a Friday. It's the magic of First Friday Santa Cruz.

7:00pm On to one of my favorite downtown spots, the True Olive Connection. There is something about wall to wall vats of Olive Oils and Vinegars, the welcoming energy of owners Susan and Mike Pappas, and the bustling excitement of customers as they try different flavors of oils and vinegars that draws you right into the store. Its a place people want to be. I discovered two things during this visit to the True Olive Connection: the fifth and final trout, and my new favorite vinegar-peach balsamic.

7:15pm My moment had come. Through all the trials and tribulations of searching for the trout, I had never lost sight of the end game and my ultimate goal: the Pacific Cookie Company cookie. I proudly handed over my “Find-The-Trout Scavenger Hunt” passport in exchange for a chocolate covered macaroon. After biting into that moist coconut cookie, I knew it had all been worth it. I also knew I needed something delicious to wash it down with- off to Lupulo!

On First Friday, you never know who you will run into, what you will see, and where you will end up. It's the possibilities that come with a Friday. It's the magic of First Friday Santa Cruz

Artists Meetup at the First Ever Etsy Meetup

Ding Ding Ding Goes the Trolley