Santa Paula’s Cruise Night 2015 Season Opens

By Sheryl Hamlin

A balmy Mediterranean evening welcomed the crowd who came to feast on blocks of collectible cars and culinary treats from Santa Paula’s Main Street restaurants.  Reminiscent of “A CHICKEN IN EVERY POT AND A CAR IN EVERY GARAGE” from the 1928 campaign of Herbert Hoover, drugs food and cars were plentiful.

First things first, a starter of Cabernet wine and homemade potato chips from Rabalais’ Bistro, on the corner of Main Street and Davis, where specialties like Chicken Gumbo and Grits with Shrimp carry a New Orleans’ provenance. Rabalais also hosts monthly wine tastings on the patio and features creatively decorated pastries for each season. For information in the next Wine Tasting date, click here.

Wine and Chips at

Wine and Chips at Rabalais

Procter Band

Procter Band

Not only is the Rabalais food uniquely delicious, but the patio is directly across from the band which started up around 5:00 pm, so the crowd started to form early. Note that Santa Paula’s Mayor Procter’s band “Johnny and the Love Handles” was the feature for the evening. A group soon gathered on the street in front of the band to enjoy the sounds.

 Rabalais Patio

Rabalais Patio

Rabalais Patio

Rabalais Patio

Two other restaurants in the Main Street triptych are Garman’s Pub and The Mupu Grill. Garman’s features an extensive restoration of an old pool hall complete with the city’s longest bar. The Mupu Grill, furnished with banquettes from the old Chasen’s in Los Angeles whose interiors were done by Paul R. Williams in the 1940’s, has a clubby, city feeling and was reportedly used as a filming location for the movie ‘Argo’. Garman’s was prepared for the night by asking for age identification at the door! Mupu’s patio started to fill up by 4:30 pm. By the warmer month of May, the Main Street windows of Garman’s will be open with revelers sitting watching the scene beer in hand. Just try to get those seats!

Garman

Garman

Mupu

Mupu

After some fortification at Rabalais’ Bistro, it is time to tour the cars. Most of the entries are American vintage, but there were a few European cars, including the full block of wonderful Volkswagens from many eras.

Ford was well represented. Shown below is a Ford Model T c-cab truck from the 1920’s.

bakery_ford2

 

bakery_ford3

This Ford Hot Rod was considered “best in show” by some. When the owner drove it away, a collective “Ah…” could be heard.

Ford Hotrod

 

ford_hotrod2

This 32 Ford pickup truck just oozed charisma…..

32_ford_pickup1

32_ford_pickup2

Europeans were not left out. The VW’s took over an entire block off of Main Street and was one of the most popular conversation areas.  This red MGB was a lucky “barn find” recently restored by the owner.

VW Row

VW Row

MGB

MGB

After an exhausting tour of the rows of cars, it was back to Rabalais’ Bistro for more wine and Gumbo. Thanks to everyone who brought vehicles to make this evening stand out.

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Sheryl Hamlin: With an MS in Industrial Engineering, Sheryl Hamlin spent years in technology with stints at Motorola, Tandem Computers and various startups. She has been on the boards of neighborhood organizations both in San Francisco and Palm Springs where planning issues were her specialty. She now resides in Santa Paula and loves the historic fabric of the city.  Ms. Hamlin’s blog Stealth Fashion  and  technology product ‘ Plug and Play Webmaster’.

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