There’s no excuse for mediocrity, today. Quality makes all the difference between a life well lived and a life endured. This doesn’t mean that you have to be excessive or spend a lot of money to achieve quality experiences. Quality shouldn’t have to be as rare as it is. First of all, if you consume less you can consume better. Buying a bottle of cheap liquor makes sense if your goal is to forget your worries for a night even though it’s going to cost you the morning. Buying an expensive bottle of whiskey that you savor and drink small amounts of over time actually creates a greater value even though you spent more money at the time of purchase, because you give the experience time and space to happen out of respect for the quality of the drink. If you pick up a bottle of Wayward Whiskey by Venus Spirits from 41st Ave Liquor and you have a visitor to entertain, then you can offer them a nice glass of whiskey on the rocks and your life will be fun and filled with more drinking scenes like those classic vignettes in detective fiction by Raymond Chandler and less like those bleary-eyed laments in early Bukowski. Great drinks compliment great food. When it comes to what you put in your body, don’t you want the best? Again, this is a quality over quantity equation. I’m not saying that you should break your bank by shopping for the most expensive things. I’m merely suggesting that if you value quality you can find ways to incorporate it into your life. This Bob Salad from the Cremer House is an example of a way to treat yourself well. The Cremer House is a reflection of my sister Emily’s desire to share quality experiences with people. The Corned Beef that is featured above is also her creation. She owns a brewery and a restaurant and she spends her time working to deliver the best possible experiences to the people of Santa Cruz, the Santa Cruz Mountains and beyond.What would life be without music? It’s impossible to say, but surely it would be much more difficult. Music is a powerful art of connection. When we listen to music together we share an experience. Evoking visceral emotions, playing with words and tones, drawing out time with rhythm, engineering a body of sound: musicians create an amazing happening when they play. The Blues is central to American music. The influence of Blues on almost all other American musical forms cannot be denied. We are lucky enough here in Santa Cruz to have some great music that comes through town. Added to our already rich musical heritage, Aptos St. BBQ and Mission St. BBQ have been hosting world class Blues acts. These intimate and free concerts are one of the best things happening in Santa Cruz 2016. Every night from 6-8, you can eat dinner while listening to live music that is a direct continuation of true American roots music. Last night, Alabama Mike played with Big Jon Atkinson at Mission St and brought the heat, soul, and style that makes Blues music so universally enjoyed.