San Diego Part 1! Cafe 21, Coronado, & CVS

Hey all!! I am so excited to finallllly share our time in San Diego with you 🙂 It’s my favorite city in the US- I just LOVE it. The school load has been pretty intense this week, so I am just now getting out this recap. If you are curious to see our previous San Diego adventures I will link them here: Part One, Part Two, and Part Three.  January 17th right before we left I received this beautiful delivery of flowers for my bday! It was so special, and they are stilll in full beautiful bloom today 🙂

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We booked a late evening flight out (around 9:30). The flights to SD are generally pretty cheap & short since it’s within the same state- and this time the best deal was through Alaskan airlines. We love when the cheapest price is through Alaska- it’s one of our favorite airlines (and it’s the best terminal in SF’s airport!). We arrived to the airport obnoxiously early per usual, so Deej and I decided to have a little popcorn shrimp snack & wine and chit-chat about our week since we had been in our own little work/school worlds since Sunday.

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While waiting our gate I was able to catch up on some blogs, my favorite way to pass the time!

We had a bit of a delay getting to the airport & then getting off the tarmac, but the short flight was great- this plane was massive and even had the free movies to choose from. I watched Game Night, but the flight was soo short that it cut off before the movie was over. It was SUCH a good movie, and I’ve got to finish those last ten minutes one of these days haha. Finally around 1 am, we arrived at our Hotel- The Kimpton Palomar. We got a great deal on a room with our Orbitz bucks!

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Our check in concierge was extremely chipper for it being so late, lol. I loved her energy though! She informed us that there was coffee in the lobby in the morning, but if we wanted we could have a Keurig brought to the room. I jumped on the Keurig option, naturally. I love having a warm cup of coffee to accompany me in getting ready in the morning.

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The hotel has a Mexican restaurant right downstairs too called Curardero. We never ventured to it- but it seemed like a fun option!

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The rooms were simple, pretty & clean!

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Okay, it seems silly to take a picture of the soap- but that hand soap was some of the most wonderfully scented doggone soap… the sandalwood particularly came through!

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I took a nice 2 am shower (I always feel the need to shower after being on a plane) & then snooooozeeed.

In the morning after a big cup of steamin’ jo (or two), we walked down the road to Cafe twenty-fun, I mean…. Cafe twenty-yum.. okay okay it’s really called Cafe 21. 😉

I heard about this gem from Kate at LiveintheNautical when she visited SD. Alsoo, when I went to their website I saw you get a free entree if it is your birthday month, so trying it out was a no brainer!

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cah-uuuute.

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The decor! The menu! The food! The ambiance! Even the way they serve the water is too cool. Let’s call it what it is: A millennial/hipster/blogger’s paradise. My mom and Pete texted us that they’d landed, and met us right on time to get some good eats! My mom hasn’t missed a marathon yet, and she was not about to ruin her streak. I say she’s my good luck charm 🙂  You may remember the last Big Sur Marathon (that was such a great weekend!). I was excited Pete was able to join- also it was his bday month too- so we got two free entrees with our meal, what a steal!

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We had to try their Bloody Mary’s which people rave about over YELP. We ordered three off the menu, and decided we would just decide who wanted what once we tried them. We first tried one that had a whole real prawn in it. (it was a bit too cocktail saucey tasting for my liking). But this was Pete’s favorite of the three so he claimed it!

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Next up we tried the “California Greenin'”. Now THIS was my cup of tea. Those grilled cheeses were insanely good too. I could have ate a plate of those alone as my breakfast- mmmmm! Not your traditional bloody, but pretty darn refreshing! It reminded me of those Naked juices, I think the one called the Green Machine?

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My mom opted for the “Ol’ Yello’ Mary with fresh yellow heirloom tomato, horseradish pickled veggies, & the yummy grilled cheese. This was a very close second (in my opinion) to the California Greenin’. It was pretty tasty! I will say though- if you are craving a traditional bloody, this is probably not your place. These are pretty nuanced in flavor & doesn’t give that great hearty tomatoey kick. Kate said that Breakfast Republic had the best bloodies of the ones she tried, and I would totally take her word for it! We tried Breakfast Republic last time we were there, and it was a fantastic breakfast (I need to try a bloody next time though!).

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Food time! Deej had their wonderful pancakes with maple syrup, raspberry and kiwi purees, fresh fruit and seasonal house-made compotes. The mix of jams and the syrup was beyond satiable (I had a bite of course 😉 ). All our meals basically end up as family style- lol.

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Pete ordered this GORGEOUS bananas foster. I mean… can you take it?! MMmmmm!

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My mom and I split their shrimp corn cakes which was probably the most frequently mentioned item on the menu per Yelp reviewers. This had poached eggs, kennebec potato, wild shrimp, sweet corn, mozzarella, cilantro cream sauce, & fried basil. I think this was actually my favorite of all three dishes. I’d say if you come here, this is a must.

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After our scrumptious brunch we headed back to the hotel to change into some beach-easy clothes.

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Before hitting the sand, we all decided to take a peak at the rooftop pool. It was such a fun little set up! If it was warmer out we would have taken advantage of it, but it was a bit too chilly for that.

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Time to drive over the bridge to Coronado! It’s always pretty exciting to see all the massive ships & fleets of boats.

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Ah I just love Coronado <3 It has so much character and such a peaceful vibe.

img_8429img_8430We found the same place we parked last time and walked to Hotel Coronado to hang out at the beach there.

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Even if you aren’t staying at the hotel, you can still enjoy much of what it has to offer for free.

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We walked around the grounds a bit, enjoying the historical odes at every turn.

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Inside we spotted this old elevator that is still operational- I don’t know how we missed it last time!

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I’ll never forget our INSANE brunch we had here last time! We walked around the shops attached to the perimeter of the hotel, and of course, had to stop at the ice cream shop.

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Their flavors are too fun!!!

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Time to soak up some San Diego rays! My mom and Pete took a long walk on the beach & I read some articles for school. DJ listened to his podcast and lounged next to me too.

We even had a little visitor. Linda, I felt like you getting these shots! 🙂

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It started getting a bit chilly in the afternoon, so we went to the restaurants outside the hotel to have a glass of red wine to warm us up & enjoyed a vibrant quintessential Californian sunset <3

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While we were sitting outside we noticed a man at the table next to us that was sporting my school of nursing’s shirt from 2018. I had to say something! I hopped over, introduced myself, and turns out he and one of the women at the table were professors. They were there for a nursing conference with the rest of the school of nursing. They were super friendly & we chatted for a few minutes- turns out I may even have them as profs near the end of my program! I wrote their names down in my notepad, so I won’t forget haha. Small world. Too fun!

img_8490img_8491On the way back we stopped at a CVS to stock up on carby breakfast items for before the race. I grabbed some mini wheats & DJ got a box of cereal too (Can’t remember what). Once back to the hotel, we got ready to hit the town! I’m excited to share our evening, but I’ll save that for next post 🙂

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Questions for you:

  • Are you watching the Bachelor tonight? Let’s discuss.
  • Favorite cereal? I’m alll about them mini wheats- I love the chocolate & regular. Mmmmmmm!

xo <3

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San Diego: Part One- Mister A’s, Coronado Beach Brunchin’ & Mission Beach

Long time no see!!! But I can’t say long time, no SEA! This past week, DJ and I zipped to San Diego (MY FIRST TIME) for an impromptu getaway. On a whim, I requested a couple days of PTO, not thinking it would get approved. But I’lllll be all the darned, I got em’!!! We quickly planned our trip, and I’m pretty confident I spent more time planning than we were actually there. I LIVE to plan a trip.

Since last year, I have been sick sick sick (overly dramatic use of the New Year). This virus is hanging around much longer than the usual.

It’s actually kind of entertaining— like “What form will it take this week?!” Behind week one we have a runny nose! Behind week two we have a dry nagging cough! Feeling adventurous- week three has a sinus infection and body aches! I thought I was getting better around the second week, but the last day I worked on the 12th, I entirely lost my voice by the end of my shift. Trying to give report to other nurses was painful.

The next morning (The 13th) I woke up with a swollen, hoarse, scratchy throat, horrifically runny nose, and swollen face. Happy 24th birthday to meeee! I felt all the body aches and allll the sick. Luckily, I was fueled up my hot coffee and ibuprofen which alleviated the symptoms a ton. PS. Get your flu shot if you haven’t. This year it is SO bad, you guys. Not something to mess with. I get that it is only 10% effective.. yadayadayada.. but majority of those who have become severely gravely ill did NOT have their shot.

Anywho, I was adamant I wouldn’t let this bug get in our way. Mind/matter. I was ready to rally through it and not miss a beat of what we had planned. “Rally” became the theme of our trip. Every time I felt like utter crap, I just said, “But imma rally!“.

The sweet guy gave me the greatest birthday card in the world and this flower birthday cake before hitting the road. I meannn come on now, how ingenious is this since obviously we wouldn’t be there to actually consume a cake. Even now (on the 22nd) the flowers are still in full bloom, without a wilt in sight. And it said, “Hope your birthday takes the cake”….

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I blew out those candles with all the energy I could muster and we jotted over to San Jose’s airport. Neither of us have been in this airport before, and we loved it! Easy & simple and much closer than the SF airport for us.

Naturally…. had to get some Peet’s with LOTS of honey and cinnamon lathered all over the foam of my cafe au lait.

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We flew Alaska and loved it! Granted, it was only about an 1.5 hour flight, but we were in the air much quicker than it seemed usual for most airlines, and it was all over a pleasant flight.

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We made it…500 tissues later!

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I turned a corner in the afternoon and was feeling much better by the time we landed.

Since this is a travel post, I will include quite a bit of information on the more practical travel side (skip this if you aren’t planning on visiting anytime soon, or ever, which would be a crime, and I may try to convince you otherwise)……

When DJ and I were trying to figure out the most cost friendly/ location convenient way to do San Diego, we found that doing the package deal seemed the way to go. We were able to snatch a flight, hotel, and rental car for <$1,000. Granted, parking is a bear, especially at The Westin where we stayed, it was $50 a night!!!! We found a lot directly across from valet that was much cheaper, but overall- that’s something that definitely needs to be taken into account when visiting. We debated if uber/lyfting vs. driving was cheaper, and honestly with all the parking fees it probably would have been about equal, but at least with a rental you have the convenience to get up and go wherever you would like at any time. But like I said- parking is a pain in the neck, so we would definitely consider just ubering next time). We also were able to walk to Gaslamp from The Westin which helped immensely. If you want to do San Diego, I highly suggest staying right in downtown so you can walk most places and not have to pay the uber fees at all (except for when visiting other beaches/Coronado island). ALSO, if debating Westin Gaslamp vs. Downtown 100% stay at the Downtown location. It is maybe a 0.3 mile difference, and the Gaslamp hotel is much more expensive. We loved the Westin downtown complete with a pool, hot-tub, amazing workout facility, beautiful views, super clean, an in-room coffee maker (essential), quiet, awesome bar, and friendly staff. Like I said, only downsides would be the parking cost & the fact that breakfast is not included. But the breakfast is tremendous if you vouch for it (it’ll be included in my last San Diego post).

This is the view from the hotel window. If you want to explore the Westin downtown, click here!

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We got all snazzed up and headed to our first destination in America’s Finest City: Mister A’s.

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Despite having totally lost my voice at this point, I had not lost my appetite. I’m one of those people that only lose my appetite if I have the literal plague. I actually usually get more hungry when sick, especially with colds. The ibuprofen definitely helped with the swallowing ailment too.

Mister A’s is located on the twelfth floor of a building overlooking San Diego. It promised to have the best view in San Diego, and the best food. Can’t pass that up, am I right?

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This is one of the classiest little restaurants we have ever been to.

Now, the foooood. Let’s chat food. I’m eating spoonfuls of PB while writing this to keep the hunger at bay. I suggest you do the same.

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Prior to the meal they brought out bread and butter with a complimentary little bread nugget with a light whipped aioli and hummus creme.

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Even their butter is served in the most beautiful fashion!

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Do you spot the sea salt below? We have never had anything like it. It was out-of-this-world delicious. It was unlike any sea salt I have ever had. I could actually go on for days about how much I loved this stuff. I need to find out where it is from and how I can acquire these little guys.

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I nearly ate their physical menu everything on it looked so good. After much YELP research, we decided to try what seemed to be two of their famous apps- the black mussels provencale with garlic, shallots, and fresh herb butter and their plancha grilled octopus with romesco sauce. I’ll tell ya what, those octopi are the closest I have tried to Marco Prime’s (the best octopus dish in the world). If you follow, I have been on a hunt for that flavor ever since. Gosh, this stuff was good. DJ LOVED the mussels, I preferred the octopus, but still thought they were savory and scrumptious as well. I even asked if the seaweed was edible, and the waiter goes, “Well it’s more for garnish, but I guess technically?”. I joked that he could leave the empty plate so I could savor the seaweed. He thought I was serious, and looked a bit horrified.

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For the main course, I had their main scallops with champagne butter, savory cabbage, walnuts, and parmesan. Oh. so. stinking. tasty.

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DJ had their lobster tail served over zucchini and basil. It was easily one of the most generous servings of lobster tail I have ever seen!

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We also tried their truffle mac as a side and ya know, we thought it was pretty subpar. It needed more salt (luckily we still had our handy dandy sea salt on hand). I’d suggest trying a different side, everything else was phenomenal, but the mac and cheese we could have done without (shocker, I knowww).

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We ended the exquisite edible extravaganza with decaf coffee (for me), a sweet complimentary slice of carrot cake (YAASSSS) & their chocolate royale with dark and white chocolate mousse, caramel ganache, and praline crunch (highly recommend).

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Sometimes my eyebrows have a life of their own, but gotta let them live, ya know?

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The views did not disappoint. It was a perfect end to the evening.

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We waddled back to the hotel with a “no regrets” food coma and had plans to visit Gaslamp. I even got dressed up in something a little more versatile to walk through the historic district….but the minute I sat down I realized I couldn’t do it. I ‘d hit my limit for the day and needed to go to sleep. We decided to explore and rally into the night the next day!

In the morning of the 14th I was feeling tremendously better. I even was able to squeeze in a few miles before hitting the town. I LOVE working out on vacation. I feel like I always am more motivated to get up at the butt crack of dawn and crank it out. Plus, it was very important to create an extra stomach for this trip!

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While some people say breakfast is the most important meal of the day (which I would usually concur), if brunch is in the running it may have my vote. According to the Internet (the most reputable source), Hotel Del Coronado hosts the best brunch in all the land in their Crown Room. We made reservations on Open Table and woke up two eager beavers to see what all the hullabaloo was about.

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First, Hotel Del Coronado was more gorgeous and breathtaking in person than one could fathom. It was simply captivating, a historic landmark that inspired not only awe, but wonder. We agreed that one day we would have to actually stay there.

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The Crown Room was spectacular. It was much larger than I envisioned from the pictures. I feel like I am writing about something sacred while describing this experience. It was easily one of the BEST meals we have ever had. We agreed that if you are going to be in San Diego on a Sunday, it is worth every single cent and more. It is an experience of a lifetime and everyone needs to add this to their bucket list ASAP. There is no amount of pictures, words, or BOLD TYPING that can do this justice. It was a few hours in time that will forever be reminisced between the two of us.

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This brunch had EVERYTHING you can imagine. EVERYTHING. I took a bajillion pictures and probably didn’t even snap half of it. We are talking endless lobster, crab legs, sushi, a make-your-own-donut bar, make-your-own smoked salmon bagel bar, endless unique drinks, a Bloody Mary bar, desserts on desserts on desserts to your heart’s delight, waffles, pancakes, prime rib, beef, veggies upon veggies, cheese from every sector of the world and fruit, parfaits, a candy bar, NYC cheesecake……. I’m not kidding.. I haven’t even covered the half of it.

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At the make your own donut bar, they even had a flamer that toasted the marshmallows on top of the donut if you wanted to make a “S’mores” donut!

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THERE WAS A LOBSTER TAIL IN MY BLOODY MARY. WHAT IS HAPPENING.

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And guess the heck what- DJ said he finally found some all-star pancakes that rate up at the top. (If you follow, we have an ongoing hunt for the best pancakes for DJ).

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Below is a donut DJ made, too cute not to snap a shot.

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There were crown chandeliers hanging all over… you know I couldn’t resist..
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Highlights from the brunch included- the crab legs, biscuits and gravy, smoked salmon, pancakes, mimosas (I didn’t actually prefer the Bloody Mary although it was their signature drink), the NYC Cheesecake, and their shrimp… good lawd, it was the freshest doggone shrimp I have had. I also have to say our waitress was perhaps the sweetest lady of all time. She was such a doll and made the whole experience even that much more terrific.

***Cue the food coma***

I questioned if I would ever be able to eat again quite honestly.

After that experience of a lifetime, we made our way back to the car to change into some beachy gear!

We perused their shops and views.

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Finally we made our way to the beach, greeted by the most terrific sand castle I have ever seen.

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We breathed in the fresh salty air, sunk our feet into the soft sand, and let the sound of the waves overwhelm our senses, saturating our lungs with calm.

We laughed watching the sea gulls fly high into the air and drop a shell from many feet up, hoping to discover an edible gem inside. We mainly laughed at how close the shells came to plopping on people’s heads half the time.

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After the amazing time frolicking on the beach (DJ HATES when I use the word frolick), we headed to our next destination: Belmont Park at Mission Beach.

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Oh how this screamed Santa Cruz to us!!! It is truly the Santa Cruz of San Diego.

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We had to ride the historic Giant Dipper! This one and the one at Santa Cruz are the considered National Historic Landmarks.

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It was actually way more fun than I expected for being such an old coaster!!! But I think it can also guarantee a headache after a few rounds 😉

We walked along Mission Beach, definitely a more boisterous beach than Coronado’s. I’d suggest Mission or Pacific if you are looking for more a party, upbeat, and laid back crowd. Coronado is more calm, quiet, and sophisticated.

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We then headed to La Jolla for an epic sunset. I will include that in my next post! I may have to break this into three parts because there is just far too much. It will probably take another post to just finish the 14th, and we were there till the 17th. Oh boy, haha.

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I am still stuck on the couch after working all weekend long and never really recuperating too much, but that means I’ll have a couple days to catch up on here. I haven’t opened WordPress for a few weeks and am excited to sit down and respond to y’all soon and see what you are up to!

PS. If you have any San Diego posts, please feel free to leave in the comments below! I’d love to explore yours too!

xo <3

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