San Diego Part 3: Barbusa, Carlsbad Marathon, & Crack Shack!

Happy Monday, y’all! This last couple weeks has been jam-stinkin’-packed, especially with school, so I’m getting posts out a lot slower than usual (I feel like a broken record, saying this). I finished up a huge project last night so now I have at least a couple hours today to maybe get one or two posts written!

After spending the day in Balboa Park, we went back to the hotel to get ready for dinner. They had complimentary wine and tapas in the lobby so we grabbed some tostadas & an apertif before our reservation.

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We then went to Little Italy to carb load before the big race! We said this would our dinner to celebrate my birthday as well as Pete’s whose was on the 23rd 🙂

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After much research, we decided to try Barbusa,  a Busalacchi family restaurant. The Busalacchi family are renowned for owning a medley of authentic, delicious Italian restaurants in the San Diego area.

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This was a unique spin on an Italian restaurant. It was more contemporary with distinctive decor, but still had a “warmth” about it.

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There was a tribute to famous Italians on the wall- can you identify any of them?

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My one and only complaint was the volume- it was noisy! It was almost uncomfortable how loud it was- we didn’t mind, but it doesn’t encompass that old school “romantic” ambiance of most Italian restaurants.

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Our waiter was just awesome! He was helpful navigating the menu, especially the wines and had a thick Italian accent. You know you’re getting the real deal when the waiter is 100% Italian!

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The bread!!!! This was delicious.

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For an appetizer we tried tempura squash blossoms. These were very enjoyable- pretty & tasty!

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My mom and I split their caesar. This was the best caesar dressing I’ve ever had! I compared it to my mom’s she uses for the grilled romaine she makes at home. No anchovy type flavor, just smooth deliciousness. I think it had a hint of balsamic with it that was just wonderful.

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My mom and I split two dishes (I love when we go out to eat together because we have identical tastes- so we just split a couple dishes usually). The first dish we tried was the Garganelli funghi with black truffle oil, oyster mushrooms, and whipped panna. Phenomenal. It reminded me a lot of the dish I had in Disney at Il Mulino!

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Just when I didn’t think I could have anything more yummy, we tried the Gnocchi e Zucca with roasted butternut squash, sage, and cream. Oh goodness gracious this was melt-in-your-mouth-savor-every-single-nibble deliciousness. You could tell the gnocchi was truly homemade. I usually have the philosophy that it’s best to try new things whenever given the chance, but if we come back to SD I may need to stop in for this dish again. Gosh, I can’t even put it into words!

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DJ tried the Carbonara con Piselli. This had fettuccini, sweet peas, caramelized onions, pork pancetta, and egg yolk. I tried some without the meat and it was so creamy and savory!

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And last up, Pete enjoyed the Bolognese al Forno with baked anelletti, beef and sausage ragu, english peas, and tres formaggi.

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And of course, we had room for dessert! We tried their deconstructed cannoli. Oh. WOWZA. It was scrumptious. Whatever they use to make their creamy cannoli filling was just creamy gold. The cannoli itself was cooked to perfection!

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Picture time!

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These two are just so much fun! After dinner, we went back to the hotel, opened up some bday gifts, and then called it a wrap!

After a night of tossing and turning from eagerness to run the race, it was finally 4:30 am and time to get up, lol. I can’t tell y’all how excited I was to run- I watched that darn clock all night. Also, not being able to run much was driving me nuts during the tapering!

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It was chilly, but a perfect temp for a race. We set off and the first seven or so miles were accompanied by a spectacular sunrise.

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I seriously don’t know what overcame me, but I was feeling guuuud. I think it was all the pasta and pent up energy. Eat pasta, run fasta!!! Anywho- y’all are probably so sick hearing about this from my other social media spots, but I qualified for Boston.. and seriously have NO clue how. All I can say is Jesus really is in the business of miracles, cause this is one! I was with the 3:30 pacer group for most of the race and then just gave it all I had at the end. I will say when I realized I was on pace to qualify I started visualizing crossing the finish at that time (3:30). I believe 100% in the power of visualization, and whenever I started losing steam I imagined crossing that line with 3:30 reading across the time board.

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Go, Djers, go!!

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Post race pics!

img_8773This was DJ’s first marathon!!! If he didn’t want to run this race I wouldn’t have signed up to begin with. I’m already reflecting so fondly on our training season, and to say I’m proud of him feels like an understatement. He’s an athlete, but not a runner specifically.. so this was a HUGE accomplishment for him. He didn’t run at all before, never even a half or anything, and one day just said, “I’m gonna run a marathon”. He did awesome!

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Our attempt at a selfie, haha.

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After the race we headed to Crack Shack for lunch! We were both definitely sore, but my stomach was more upset than anything. Still … we were ready to chow down!

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The line was insanely long and was taking a while. We were a bit nervous because my mom and Pete had an afternoon flight, but once we ordered the food came lickety split.

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We finally put our orders in and then grabbed a picnic table in their cute little sitting area. On our way over I saw all these delicious sauces they have to choose from! We basically tried one of each naturally.

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Their milkshakes bring all the marathoners to the yard! I didn’t know if my stomach could handle a full one, but I definitely had a few generous sips of each. Pete tried the strawberry shortcake and DJ had the Cookie Monster. I have to say, they were both insanely good- but I think I liked the strawberry shortcake better. The real pieces of cookie in the Cookie Monster were mighty tasty though. It’s a close call!

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I was craving something fresh and cold. Veggies sounded perfect. My mom and I both ordered a Downward Dog. This consisted of local veggies, quinoa, hummus, sunflower seeds, and lemon yogurt vinaigrette. This satisfied that craving entirely! Mmm I can nearly taste it.

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The guys ordered the Senor Croque that had chicken, bacon, egg, cheese, maple butter, and brioche.

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We all split the fries with the different sauces- and lemme say- they top notch !!! I would seriously go back just for those. Mm!

We decided to go straight to the airport after dropping my mom and Pete off since we weren’t really feeling like frolicking around the city. I know, I know- me turning down an opportunity to frolic in a city?!? My stomach just was not having it. We got to the airport too early apparently to check in (I didn’t know that was a thing), so we had to wait in the little pre-security area. I grabbed a coconut water and read on my Kindle app while DJ caught up on all ESPN world happenin’s.

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Once we got through security and found our gate we vegged out for a while. We realized we were kinda hungry again around 8:00 pm, so we decided to stop into Prado at the airport. The big Prado is a pretty famous restaurant in Balboa park! We haven’t had the chance to try it yet, so why not preview it here?! And y’all thought I was done being a tourist- nevvverrr.

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We split their fish tacos cause I had a bunch of snacks on me, and we were only an hour flight from home if we wanted more food. They were tasty!! The portion of blackened fish was a bit small, but whatevs, airport food- ya know?

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Oh my gosh.. did I do it?.. did I actually finally finish our San Diego trip recap?!! Pause for dramatic effect…

I’m gonna try to crank out a catch up post at some point this week, but I’m kinda in that season where I feel like I’m saying “yes” a lot, and my planner is very full on top of school work. It’s all great stuff- but just busy busy. More on that to come! Goodness, I’m so excited to catch y’all up on what’s going on.

Questions for you:

  • If you run races, what is your favorite race you have ever done?
  • Valentine’s Day- yay or nay?!

xo <3

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San Diego: Part Two- Sunsets, and Gaslamp, and Bears, oh my!

Well I should probably get this part two written one of these days, whaddya say? I left off Part One with us heading to La Jolla!!! La Jolla was breathtaking- I’ll just let the pictures mostly speak for themselves. It’s just about a twenty-five minute drive from downtown San Diego.

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When DJ and I discussed our favorite parts of the trip after the fact, DJ said La Jolla was a candidate.

The cove is a gorgeous little beachy/cliff strip of land along the ocean. Up from the water’s edge is a quaint city with an inviting atmosphere and a small town feel.

We were immediately greeted by the cutest sea lions. They were a couple of lazy bums, plopping around on the sand until the tide came in too close.. then they would scootch a couple inches, probably the most movement they would have the whole day.

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What. a . life. Am i right?!

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And there was one that was determined to stake his claim.

 

We walked around the sidewalks, edging past other tourists, all of us trying to sneak in glimpses of the glorious views. Per my good friend Annie’s recommendation, we had to see the sunset at the cove. I absolutely understood why as the sun started making it’s way toward the water.

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Babe & Views, Views & Babe

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We sat on a dusty cliff and chatted in the most serene, calming moment accompanied by the background hum of waves and people’s murmurs. I looked over at Deej and said this reminded me of our moment on the cliffs in San Francisco months ago. At that time I had such anxiety, I felt such a hopeless, heavy, suffocating weight on my shoulders. I told DJ now I felt joy, excitement, and a new found hope in the future. This year has been hard (to say the absolute least), but I’m thankful to have had him by my side through every step.

On our way back to the car we spotted an acapella group, and drug DJ toward them to watch to his chagrin. Let’s just say this is not his cup of tea, but I loved it!! Babe & tunes & views!

 

After La Jolla, I had said it was time to rally, rally, rally!!!! I still was not 100%, but much better than the night before. Ohhhhh and you know how I wasn’t sure we were going to ever be hungry again following that massive brunch? L O to the L. We were ravenous. A serious sunset can take it out of ya. We headed to the Gaslamp Quarter to grab some grub… it was only about a mile and a half walk from our hotel.

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I love the energy of the Gaslamp quarter. It’s considered the historic heart of San Diego, yet it has such a contemporary and lively vibe about it all.

Even on a Sunday night, it was hopping on every corner.

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We were craving some good Mexican, and La Puerta had the reputation as being some of the best around. The 40 minute wait confirmed those rumors.

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It has all the rock and roll vibes and all though decorated to give off casual, garage like feels, it was meticulously decorated. The right side of the wall was covered in fake green moss contrasted by a wall of actual criminal mug shots. It was the most unique restaurant we may have ever been to.

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We tried their street tacos- I had the grilled veggies and DJ tried the carne asada. So good, the ingredients were fresh and delicious. The whole meal definitely hit the spot.

Funny(ish) story: The waiter brought out a CD player with our bill… we thought it was basically an eccentric billfold. We put the card in and when he came back to grab it, he was confused…not seeing a card or cash visible. We explained it was in the CD holder, and he said, “Oh no, that’s just staying on the table after you head out.” Whoops! Oh well. But a CD holder would be a creative way to collect cards and money….

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We stopped by our dear San Diegoan Ghirardelli cousin after because I had a serious sweet tooth. I grabbed a few Ghirardelli squares to munch on as we strolled around the street of Gaslamp. (If you ever pass a Ghirardelli they pass out free chocolate squares inside of that season’s flavor).

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After strolling around after another food coma, we decided to head to Altitude Sky Lounge- A rooftop hangout promising the ultimate views in San Diego.

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I highly suggest stopping by here if you visit San Diego. The ambiance was amazing- relaxed and comfortable. They even had a large flickering fireplace that people chatted around into the late hours of the evening.

And the views speak for themselves….

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We were even able to look directly into Petco park

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We walked back to the hotel with happy tummies and happy memories.

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On the 15th (yes we are finally into the next day), I woke up bright and early for a good workout. I loved looking out the window and watching the sunrise. I am trying to read through the “100 Books you should read before you die” list this year. I read, “The Lovely Bones” while working up a great sweat. I will say, it is quite disturbing, but I couldn’t put it down. I have so many highlighted sections and quotes from it that I’d love to share sometime soon.

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DJ and I headed out for the day for our long anticipated trip to the renowned San Diego zoooo!!!! We parked near Balboa park and decided to walk over.

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We did the Go San Diego pass, which I think was the best way for us to do both Balboa and the Zoo. It was the cheapest way and included nearly everything. The only thing the 3-day pass didn’t include vs. the 3,5, and 7 day pass was Sea World. We were okay with that, but if you want to visit sea world I suggest doing the 3, 5, or 7 day pass!

We grabbed breakfast from the cutest little coffee stand in Balboa park. I opted for oatmeal and DJ munched on a slice of lemon poppyseed bread. The coffee was tremendous…

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…Until I spilled some on my white sweater….. ya win some, ya lose some.

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The zoo, oh the zoo!!! Y’all know what a zoo has so I won’t go into much description. This was by far the best zoo I have ever been to. It had everything… it truly had creatures I had no idea existed. I would suggest blocking out at least three hours to see everything.

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DJ navigated us with the map, making sure we didn’t miss a beat!

These little guys below are >100 years old!!! How sturtling is that. I couldn’t believe these little critters were born back in the 1900s. And they were HUGE, I didn’t know turtles (or tortoises?) this large existed. The pictures do not do justice to their size. Males can weigh greater than 500 lbs. 500 LBS. I was in turtle awe.

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Gotta love a good croc.

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One of our favorite exhibits was the gorillas.

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The Easter Giant Eland is one of those creatures that looks magical, and I didn’t know anything like it actually existed in our world. They were spectacular.

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We started getting pretty hungry again after the Panda Exhibit (love love love!). We stopped by Sabertooth grill for some grub. Nothing like some good fried food to accompany a zoo day. DJ wen with the classic grilled chicken tenders and I was pleasantly surprised to see they had a vegan burger!

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Once we were all fueled up, we went back making sure we didn’t miss a single exhibit. We stopped by and watch the Jaguar Keeper talk (super fascinating) and listened the formidable lion bellowing in the neighbor exhibit. Apparently, it’s roar can be heard up to four miles away!

This sweet little man below was one of my other favorites from the exhibit. I didn’t take a picture of it’s name, so I don’t know what type of animal it actually is, but it was precious!!! Does anyone know?!

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The baboons probably should be a PG-13 exhibit to be honest.

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And if you don’t think God has a sense of humor…..

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Badgers are hilarious the way they scamper about.

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To cap off our adventures, we did the sky ride. Definitely do this to get a full look into the zoo! The sun was just starting to set so we had some pretty views of Balboa Park and the sky as well.

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We headed back to our car after several hours of exploring what felt like another world.

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We then made our way to dinner in Little Italy. I will include that in our last part of the trip, Part 3!

Have y’all been to the San Diego zoo?! In general- what’s your favorite exhibit?

xo <3

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