By Sharon Byrne
Last year, I penned an ode to the terrific men in the Milpas area that put their hands on this community, and give it a ton of love.
The one’s for the ladies.
Ami Kang at Jack’s Bistro has a ready smile, and created the Milpas Panini, with hand-carved Tri Tip and a spicy chipotle dressing. She braved the Milpas roundabout at 6 AM with coffee and breakfast for the Christmas Tree crew, a welcome treat!
Right up the street, Pam at Your Place Thai will greet you at the door, and serve up all the wonderfully spicy dishes you can stand. There’s a reason she always wins “Best of Santa Barbara”, an honor Ami also won this year.
Mama Lu is one tough cookie, having survived a gang assault on her premises in 2010. She serves the only Taiwanese snack dishes in the city, a secret known amongst the Asian community here, and now you know it too. I can’t read the Chinese menu, but when I see a fragrant dish going by, I ask what it is, and order it next time. They deliver too! Even when you place obscure orders like, ‘something with beef, veggies, a lot of pepper, in a red sauce…” The dishes are amazing! All three ladies put sumptuous entries into the Taste of Milpas™, and helped us get the holiday lights up on Milpas.
New neighbor Natalia Govoni opened Sheer Delight in the 400 block of North Milpas, and she’s got some gorgeous Brazilian lingerie. Want to feel beautiful? Put on anything in her store, and you will. She’s also a tremendous volunteer, and fierce advocate for the business community on Milpas. She welcomes a great conversation, so definitely stop by for a chat.
Dahlila Alv at El Dorado Jewelry is an absolute jewel. Can’t figure out what to get your sweetheart on that special occasion? Go see Dahlila! She constantly comes up with great ideas for things we could do on Milpas to create excitement and make things better, and her enthusiasm is highly contagious.
Behind Dahlila is new Milpas business owner Tere Jurado. She makes jewelry by hand, and some of her pieces are stunning.
New neighbor Linda Sun Stein opened Zen Massage at 500 N Milpas. She’s right next door to Carlota at Omar’s Insurance, who educated business owners on ways to get tax credits under the Affordable Care Act. Carlota and her husband put a great antique truck into the parade.
Chris at Mariah Mazda is a doll, and loves doing the Trick or Treat. Kathy at Marborg is an angel. We rely on Marborg’s help for the Taste of Milpas™ and Holiday Parade. This year, 3 lovely Marborg ladies set up a table on Milpas for the Trick or Treat, and had a blast with the kids! Kim Garden at Mission Linen is a longtime parade supporter, and we love seeing the vintage Mission Linen truck in the holiday parade. Karen Feeney at Allen Construction calls me to make sure she is on the Trick or Treat route, and sponsored the Taste of Milpas™. Juanita at Cesar’s Place has the best Shrimp Cocktail in the city, and Cesar’s is a hit in the parade with their antique truck.
But it’s not just the business ladies that bring love to this community. We have rock star residents and non-profit leaders too.
I arrived at the old Milpas Post Office in early December to clean it for the holiday party. The place was a dusty mess. I sent out one email, asking for volunteers, a couple of days before. Note to self: organize better. As I was contemplating my task, a team of women converged on the old Post Office like Navy Seals, loaded with Christmas cheer, and armed with cleaning supplies, ladders and decorations. Betsy Cramer, Mary and Patty Robles, Abbey Fragosa, Bea Molina, Martha Jaimes, and Natasha Todorovic cleaned, shined, and decorated. The place was completely transformed inside 2 hours.
The men helped, of course. They mopped, hung lights and tried to figure out the electrical situation. They quickly realized the ladies had command of the situation, and applauded. MCA President Alan Bleecker marveled at the team transforming the place.
“It’s always the women, isn’t it?” he asked. “They can make anything happen.”
The women were back at 5:00 AM the next morning to help put up the tree, with Martha updating the star for the treetop and Sue Burke braving the roundabout to hang ornaments.
Raquel Lopez at la Casa de la Raza and Carolyn Brown at Boys and Girls Club of Santa Barbara work tirelessly on behalf of our community’s children and families. Juanita Hernandez and Casie Kilgore are outstanding principals at Adelante and Franklin, respectively. We are continually impressed with Monique Limon’s drive for this community, and strong advocacy for the children here. She’s very hands-on, a quality I greatly admire in a school board member.
They all deserve a huge de-stressing massage with the healing ladies helming the Santa Barbara Body Therapy Institute. Thank you so much, ladies, for all you do for this community!