Castroville Cotillion Coat

Even the frugal people I know seem to have a relatively vast number of outdoor apparel items, so I’m not sure why I get all Pat Nixon when it comes to coats. [Of course I bet Pat’s vocabulary got a bit salty when the topic turned to her husband’s political advisors. And I also wager she had a closet full of fur she wore around the house.]

Last I checked the PNW was neither a predominantly warm nor dry place, but for some reason whenever I see a coat my increasingly diluted New England Miser gene takes over my brain to say, “You already have a (black) raincoat and a (plum) toasty faux-lamb number and a (hideous) windcheater and that’s PLENTY, missy.”

New England Miser Gene has been out in force this year, emboldened by grave newscasters shaking their heads over economic drama. Every time I passed one of my favorite local shops and lusted after a particular coat, she was a total nonstop brat.

“BUT IT’S A LIMITED EDITION,” I gasped at NEMG this fall, knowing the coat’s stock would shrink month after month. NEMG wouldn’t let me rationalize it.


“THE OWNER IS OUT OF THAT DEMENTED FABRIC I LOVE AND I CAN’T GET A COAT MADE FROM IT LATER–IT’S NOW OR NEVER,” I calmly and logically shared with NEMG. But NEMG countered that the coat was best suited for temperatures between 40 and 65 degrees. And that we were having an ususually frigid winter. So the coat stayed at the shop.

Then, a week before Mr Vix and I were set to leave on our California road trip, a miracle: the last coat in my size was spending the holidays on the 50% off rack due to a (rather severely) ripped lining. If desired, I could nab it ahead of time. And if desired part 2, I could have it chopped several inches and swap out the buttons for another $10.

Despite the fact that I don’t sew, NEMG mused that it might make sense to buy it. After all, I could patch it up with Stitch Witchery and some trucker decals, right?

I wasn’t about to argue.

Especially as the I knew coastal California temperatures would likely be right up my new coat’s alley. And that the background color—a dark blue-toned green that changed with the light—would be so much more festive under San Diego’s blue skies than my serviceable black raincoat.

I mean unless the Grinch has one’s heart, how is this anything but uplifting?

Birds of a feather flocking in sunny San Diego

Though the color deepened to brownish-green under San Francisco’s cloud cover, and the fabric’s mild sheen made it positively glisten when the rain hit:

Glimmering in rainy San Francisco

On a stop between those two fine cities, I felt compelled to sample Castroville’s chief delicacy and had to clutch my napkin. My lands…my coat’s shifting colors were similar to an artichoke’s many possible hues!

Castroville's annual Artichoke Festival turns 51 this year ('10)

Just to be sure I wasn’t unduly influenced by the wiles of a steamed whole ‘choke , I made sure to stop off for an artichoke-avocado taco. To better and more objectively assess my coat and all. While I’m fairly comfortable standing by my initial judgement, I may need to triple-check my impressions by whipping up an Artichoke Caprese Salad now that I’m home.

Artichoke caprese salad from artichoke booster

Hmmmm…I’m beginning to see the roots of that old knock-knock joke I learned as a kid:


Q: Who’s there?

A: Artie.

Q: Artie who?

A: Artie chokes ’cause he eats too much!”

Come to think of it, I believe my New England grandmother taught me that one.

As dusk falls on the Artichoke Coat, it billows slightly in the breeze--the better to flash its tattered blue lining

4 Responses

  1. Oooh, gorgeous coat!

    Hope you enjoyed the artichokes, my favorite food! We used to stop in Castroville where you could buy 10 artichokes the size of your head for $1.

  2. I totally adore your coat.
    So far I have only danced around the edges of artichokes, but the salad you made looks divine and even just the poster is totally wall-worthy!

  3. The coat is cute.

    And now I have to go and eat an artichoke.

  4. Deja –Thanks! We were severely tempted by the bulk artichokes but resisted the urge to buy. I am too lazy to make fresh ones (HI CANS) so it was a real treat to have ones plucked from the fields.

    Struggler — ME TOO. [I mean, “Thanks!”] I have to cop to non-salad-making–it’s not tomato season here–but I’m going to cheat and do a version that involves sundried tomatoes. And pasta.

    I *am* going to attempt to recreate the artichoke-avocado tacos, though…the ingredients are a-waitin’ and how bad can something involving two of my favorite foods be? Sure, the canned ones aren’t quite as good IMO but artichokes are great in so many things (especially roasted or grilled).

    LPC — Thanks as well. [And see above, ha. YUM]

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