Soft pretzels always transport me back to the Santa Cruz Boardwalk.
Santa Cruz was one of our main family vacation destinations. We went in the summers to get away from the heat and in the winters to escape the “cold.” We would walk along the beaches searching for the big bulbous seaweeds that we’d stomp on and they’d crackle and pop.
In the background you could hear the constant sound of The Big Dipper roller coaster on the boardwalk. It felt like forever before I was tall enough to finally go on the old wooden roller coaster, but once I was you couldn’t get me off of it. There was also the Pirate Ship, a gigantic “boat” on hinges that held 50 people or so and would swing back and forth. It was always fun to sit at one of the ends as those went up the highest. There was also The Wave, that’s no longer there. A circular ride that would swing each little car in and out as it went in circles and always played Beach Boys tunes…. nothing can beat being swung into the air, feeling like your flying, with the beach behind you and songs about surfing playing loudly. There’s so many rides – too many to describe, the Sky Chair, the Haunted Castle, the Loggers Revenge, the Cave Train (or as I used to call it the Flinstone ride)….
And of course I used to love the Merry-go-Round as well, which wasn’t just a boring old ride, but had a hole in the wall at the back where if you sat on the edges you could grab a metal ring and try and throw it into the hole. If you one, the gigantic painted clowns head on the wall would light up and bells would go off, it was quite the achievement.
We ate many different types of food at the boardwalk, but for some reason soft pretzels stand out in my memory. Maybe because they were right outside of the Merry-go-Round, and there was nothing like riding a few rides, then buying a soft pretzel and soaking in the sun while biting into that soft, chewy dough covered in salt. Fueling up for more ride-going and beach combing. I’m thinking after writing this post, its about time I got back and had me a Santa Cruz Boardwalk Soft Pretzel.
And if you want to be braver than I and try to make them yourself, here’s a recipe I found. Maybe I’ll get the courage to try it myself (baking is definitely not a strength of mine!).