Snow Capped Mountains & A Dragon!

This sounds like it’s about to be an episode of Game of Thrones, huh? Sorry, not quite that exciting 😉 I’m picking up where I left off from my last recap.

February 4th for breakfast I made french toast out of brioche from TJ’s. Y’all have gotta try this!!! The brioche from TJ’s is a game. changer. It’s our new obsession.

img_9296

We were running low on groceries at this point, so I had to get creative for eats. I made a purple sweet potato with meatless crumbles, hummus, and pickled beets from TJ’s.

img_9297

For dinner I made DJ a bubba burger with gruyere, and I had a mixup of eggplant, hummus, roasted peppers, and tempeh.

img_9298

On Tuesday, February 5th we woke up to a sight I have never seen before…. snow capped mountains!!! In the almost three years of living here I have never seen snow where we live!

img_9300

On Wednesday the 6th I chatted with my friend, Rachel, while out on a walk. Even though it was chilly it was a nice break in the day from the school work.

img_9301img_9303

In the evening I made quinoa/brown rice pasta from TJ’s with basic tomato sauce and gruyere shredded on top.

img_9311

Thursday morning the 7th I tried a new breakfast out! And while this post doesn’t contain a literal dragon, it does have dragon….fruit! Kori posted about these packs, and I forgot how delicious they are! I found a couple packs left in the freezer and mixed in a frozen banana, some coconut, peanut butter powder, and granola. Mmmm! It’s like ice cream for breakfast. I’m not a big Acai bowl person, but I love love love this.

img_9304

I went to Boys and Girls Club in the afternoon & the kiddos were in rare form! They had a bunch of candy leading up to class, hehe. I didn’t mind though- I love their energy. Also, I got a text from Amy, my SIL, that there was an explosion in SF. It turns out it originated in Hong Kong Lounge II, a restaurant on our bucket list and one of the city’s premier spots for dim sum. She was sending me pictures and it looked BAD. She only lived a couple blocks away and the fire department was having a hard time getting the fire under control at first. She almost had to evacuate, but finally they stopped it once PG & E turned off the gasline. It’s seriously tragic- I feel awful for the owners of the restaurant and all the others that were affected. I don’t think anyone was badly injured, thank goodness.

On Friday the 8th I finished up some big assignments during the day and then met up with Tammy for happy hour on Santana Row.

We went to a new spot, EMC Seafood & Raw Bar.

img_9305img_9306img_9308img_9309

I adored the decor & the general vibe. Such a fun little spot.

img_9310

Their oysters for happy hour are $1.50! They were huge & really yummy! You can tell just how fresh they are. Wowza.

img_9280img_9278

We then split some ahi tuna crispy rice. I’d never had crispy rice before, but Tammy explained it is a southern California delicacy! So good. Love the texture/flavor together.

img_9277

We also had the truffled salmon sashimi. Good lawd, this was everything. I think it might have been my favorite thing we ate.

img_9279

We also tried a few nibbles of the uni pasta. It was creamy and tasty..almost like alfredo! I haven’t liked uni when I’ve tried it in the past, but this uni wasn’t quite as bitter. I will say I think this dish was far overpriced. I probably wouldn’t order it again and would just stick to straight seafood dishes. But people rave about it- so maybe it’s just me! I took a dish home for DJ. He tried it and gave it an 8/10 which is a pretty good rating for him.

img_9276

On February 9th for dinner I made DJ a chicken parm with garlic naan bread. I made the breading with frozen bruschetta that I had made about a month ago (I just defrosted it, put it in the food processor, then put it on the chicken once I basted it with eggs). Y’all know I am a freezing fanatic, but why waste food when it can go to good use?! He loved it!

img_9274

I had cauliflower mashed potatoes, beets, boca crumbles, and pumpkin butter that did not photograph well, imagine a big ol’ purple thing of mush, ha!

Also, I just had to include how beautifully our Tim Cantor collector’s book fits into our home!

img_9275

I’ll stop here 🙂 Hope you all are having a great start to the week!

Questions for you:

  • Have you tried Uni?
  • What are you looking forward to most this coming week?

xo <3

signature-1

Advertisements

San Diego Part 2: Yummy Eats, Marathon Expo & Balboa Park!

Hey, everyone!! School + other responsibilities are really vying for my attention right now, so it’s gonna probably take a while to catch up on these posts & your posts! Hang tight though- I’m hoping to get a huge chunk done by Thursday or so to take a couple hours to catch up 🙂

In Part One we left off with the four of us- my mom (Momma Jill), step-dad (Pete), DJ and I heading into Gaslamp for the evening. I instantly recognized the Ghirardelli store with its neon lights beaming down the road… the last time we were here I had to stop in and grab some chocolate squares to satisfy my sweet tooth! It’s crazy how long year ago feels, yet also crazy how quickly it flew by.

img_8661

Time for some authentic Mexican cuisine! This was the one type of food we had to get while we were here.  San Diego is famous for it! Last time we went to La Puerta, probably the most popular spot in Gaslamp. It was pretty good & a unique spot- but I wouldn’t necessarily say worth the wait. We decided to try the place next door that had great reviews- Las Hadas. I’ll say right off the bat- I think it was way better than La Puerta. There was no wait, the food was just tremendous, and the service was impeccable. A+++.

img_8670img_8662img_8665

We started with some fresh guac and chips to start.

img_8664

DJ ordered the Surf and Turf Burrito with skirt steak, shrimp, cilantro rice, pico de gallo, avocado salsa, jack & cheddar cheese. It was topped with a cajun salsa and jalapeño crema! I’m sitting on the couch next to DJ and asked him to describe it in one word- he said, “Really good” … that’s two words, but we’ll give it to him. 😉

img_8667

My mom and I split the vegetarian fajitas with roasted corn, black beans, bell peppers, onions, cilantro and fresh seasonal vegetables. These were just terrific! I was a little skeptical since they didn’t have red/yellow/orange pepper mix (my personal fave for fajitas), but the combo worked beautifully. We raved about them basically with every bite.

img_8668img_8669

& last but not least, Pete enjoyed the steak fajitas!

img_8671img_8672facetune_18-01-2019-20-16-54-1facetune_18-01-2019-20-19-02

After a wonderfully satisfying meal, we went to the Art Gallery of my favorite artist- Tim Cantor. His art isn’t for everyone- it’s certainly unique, but it resonates with me. I was excited to show my mom and Pete! They were troopers, appreciating the fact that I appreciated it, hehe. My mom is such a social butterfly and struck up a conversation with the woman who was working there. It turns out she is Tim Cantor’s wife, and offered to show me the original of my favorite painting Thieves of May in the back of the studio. I had chills. I got emotional when she showed it to me. Magic happens when you take Momma Jill places, hehe.

img_8673

On the way out, my mom surprised me with his collector’s book, Affinité, as a birthday gift! I was insanely excited- this immediately became one of my most treasured possessions.

facetune_30-01-2019-23-06-48

San Diego also has great options for rooftop bars and views. We weren’t quite ready to turn in for the night, so we decided to go to Altitude Sky Lounge , home of the best panoramic views of the city last time. (We discovered this last time we were here)

img_8675

The part DJ loves the most is you can overlook Petco Park.

img_8676img_8677img_8305

What a memorable evening! <3

On the morning of Saturday January 16th, we swung open the blinds to see this expansively gorgeous view of the city!

img_8679img_8680

After getting ready for the day, we met up with my mom and Pete in the lobby.

img_8678

Here is a cute pic of their little coffee bar setup!

img_8681

They even had Mexican Hot Chocolate available- too cute.

img_8683img_8684

We filled our water bottles up with watermelon water & hit the road!

img_8682

First things first: Food. Am I right orrrr am I right? We found a cute little spot close to where the marathon Expo was located in Carlsbad called Beach Plum Kitchen. We did call ahead for Yelp, but still managed to try a bit of coffee cake on our way in 😉

img_8689img_8688

That stuff was guuuud.

img_8686

Such a stinkin’ adorable brunchy spot.

img_8685img_8692img_8691img_8690

My mom and I both tried their honey lavender latte. Holy cannoli guacamole ravioli- this was SO good. I had to restrain myself from chugging the deliciousness down all at once.

img_8693

My mom and I split two dishes: The avocado toast and smoked salmon!

img_8696My mom did say that my homemade avocado toast was better- I’d have to agree but that’s because I make it with Oren’s pita bread- can’t top that stuff! 😉

The smoked salmon bagel hit the spot though! So yummy. This is easily one of my all time favorite brunch dishes. If you haven’t tried lox, you gottta. I’ll never forget the first time I had it a few years ago! Life changin’ .

img_8697

Pete and DJ both tried a skillet hash & gobbled um’ all up!

img_8699img_8698

Expo time!! This expo was a lot smaller than others I have been to- especially the Flying Pigs one in Cincinnati- that one was massive. Even the Big Sur one seemed much larger with more vendors too. Either way it was still fun to frolic around (yes, frolic).

img_8700

Got our bibs!!!

img_8304

Funny seeing you here, Mr. Friar! This is the San Diego Padres’s mascot.

img_8702

We didn’t stay too long, just made one round through the vendors. I mainly like getting all the free protein bar samples haha. The coolest thing I discovered was Ultima. This stuff is like a gatorade alternative, but much cleaner. I had it throughout the race & it really did feel hydrating. Gatorade always makes my mouth feel dry and sticky.  DJ had the idea to take the coast back to San Diego. My gosh the views were beautiful. We briefly passed Torrey Pines too- a famous golf spot.

img_8701img_8703

Next up: Balboa Park!

img_8704

We strolled around enjoying the bright, sunny afternoon.

First up is the Organ and Pavilion- this is the largest outdoor Organ in the world, prettty cool.

img_8737img_8738

Next up is the picturesque view of the Japanese Friendship garden.

img_8739

Last time we did the museums but were pretty underwhelmed by them. This time we just decided to enjoy their exteriors, haha.

img_8933img_8740img_8742img_8743img_8744

Afternoon ice cream time!!! Really- is there anything better than soft serve?

img_8745

We found this spot kind of on the outskirts of the park near the zoo that was like a little art village. I don’t know how we missed this last time, but it was too fun!

img_8747img_8750img_8932

My mom and Pete have a travel wall in their home. She found the most beautiful little painting from the park to add to it.

img_8748

After the park we went back to the hotel to get ready for dinner. I can’t wait to share with you where we went!

Questions for you:

  • Favorite Super Bowl commercial? Ours was the Bud Light & Game of Thrones one! Also did anyone else find the half time show kinda awkward?! They are all so talented but I wasn’t vibin’ the Travis Scott/Adam Levine combo.
  • Since I am sooo behind on reading posts please tell me something going on in your life right now 🙂

xo <3

signature-1

San Diego: Part 3- An Italian Oasis, Museums, & Shout House!

HAPPY TUEEESDAY! It’s actually my Monday.. cause ya know, nurse life. But guess what? I get the first four hours off unexpectedly due to unit staffing! I’m thinking this is for the best considering I’ve already spilled oatmeal on myself after overflowing it in the microwave and burning my tongue on my coffee. It’s gonna be “that” kind of day so maybe it’s a good idea that we don’t place human lives in my hands until I wake up a bit ;).

Alas, we come to our last post from San Diego, but I think it may just be my favorite.

We left off coming back from the Zoo in Part 2… Hungry as a couple of bears.

Per recommendation from a couple friends, we had to try the infamous Cucina Urbana. I want to say straight up– If you have one meal to have in San Diego, and if you are a human being that has any kind of love for food, GO HERE. Besides the brunch (which is just in another food universe), this was hands down, our favorite meal.

It’s the ultimate tasteful experience the from the warm farmhouse feel to the contemporary aesthetics to the food itself.

img_7428img_7426img_7427

It was romantic, yet casual. All the food on their menu had Italian roots with unique twists.

We debated between the stuffed fried squash blossoms and the grilled octopus. We settled on the octopus (Can you believe it?!).. this was tremendous. I even liked this better than the octopus from Mister A’s, and I told DJ it was easily the closest I have had to Marco Prime’s (one day I will shut up about the octopus from Marco Prime- today is not that day). This octopus included speck + celery + cashew + lemon yogurt + salsa verde. Mmmmm mmmm!

img_7429-1

I am an odd bird, and I’m not a huge fan of traditional pasta… don’t kill me! If I have the option I would much rather choose a seafood dish or pizza usually over pasta. But the waitress convinced me I had to try this dish, and I would not dare go against the expert’s suggestion! This is the chili thread farfalle with tahitian squash + brussels sprout leaf + red cabbage + burrata cider fonduta.

img_7430-1

The verdict? Unbelievable. Seriously (I have my serious face on) one of the BEST pasta dishes I have EVER had. If I could go back to San Diego for one thing- I think I would grab this.

Anywho… DJ’s opted for their mouth-watering lasagna. There was not one little nibble left at the end of the meal.

img_7432

After, we grabbed the check and rushed back to the hotel so we didn’t miss a beat of Bachelor. Also, fun fact- Tipsy Crow, a local bar/dive, airs Bachelor on Monday nights. We considered going, but decided we just wanted to relax in the hotel room and get some room service desserts!

img_7431-1img_7433-1

The next morning, we walked to Gaslamp for breakfast. (This is going to be a comida saturated post).

img_7435-1img_7438-1

The Breakfast Republic was beckoning to us from our Yelp app.

img_7439-1img_7463-2img_7440-1img_7443-1

Every. little. thing. in this restaurant was paid mind to from the coffee mugs (Need) to the napkin holders.

img_7442-1img_7441-1

I had their mushroom & pesto benedict- mmmm mmm!

img_7447-2

Deej tried their pancake flight with oreo pancakes, traditional pancakes, and bacon pancakes… Take a look at their pancake menu! It’s amazing! I thought they were SUPER good, but DJ is a bit pickier 😉

img_7448-1img_7451-1img_7452-1

Also, to settle the whole debate with male/female restrooms in California, they just stuck the M right in the middle of the two restrooms. I thought this was hilarious… and actually ingenious… and interesting….

In the bathrooms they have on the wall backwards, “You look fine” so when you look in the mirror……

img_7444-1

You get a little pep talk!

img_7445-1

Even washing your hands is an experience, lol.

img_7446-2img_7449-2

We headed back to the hotel and got ready for the day to hit up the museums in Balboa park!

img_7454-1img_7455-1img_7464-1

First, we went to the Museum of Man.

img_7465-1img_7466-2

DJ might argue that this picture is pretty accurate at times, lol

img_7467-2img_7469-1img_7468-2

To be honest, neither of us were all that excited about it. It just didn’t seem to have anything that really, “Wowed” us.

BUT across the street is a new Cannibal exhibit, and that was very fascinating!

img_7471-1img_7473-1img_7472-1img_7474-1

Balboa is just stunning.

img_7470-1

We walked around Balboa park and hit up the Natural History Museum. Once again, not anything thrilled us too much. We decided we probably could have done without the Museums, but they were worth a shot!

img_7476-1

We couldn’t leave Balboa park without sneaking a peak at the Moreton Bay Fig Tree! It’s over 100 years old and one of the largest in California.

img_7478-1

We peaked into the Japanese friendship garden, but decided we were ready to head out!

img_7479-1

For our last evening we decided to spend it where? None other than the Gaslamp Quarter! We decided to see if we could snag a spot at Rustic Root, a desirable rooftop bar and eatery overlooking the heart of Gaslamp.

img_7481-1img_7480-1

This was a treat!!!! We decided to just pop in for some light apps, and the warm air and casual ambiance was the most relaxing experience.

img_7482-1img_7483-1

We devoured the salmon tartar with green onion , masago , sweet & spicy sauce ginger , papaya , avocado , and shiso as well as the garden flatbread with cherry tomato , jalapeno , roasted garlic , red onion zucchini , pesto , and manchego & jack cheese. So good!

img_7487-1img_7484-1img_7488img_7486-1img_7485-1

After our apps we had quite a bit of time before the last big event on our itinerary. We passed a Tim Cantor art gallery, and I couldn’t not stop in.

img_7491-1img_7492-1

I am obsessed with this picture below. (I knowwww I’m not supposed to take pictures of art, but I couldn’t help it).

img_7490

Alll of his art was impeccable. It blended reality with almost a carnival like, dream state. I spent probably twenty five minutes in the small gallery. DJ ended up just sitting outside, but I couldn’t get enough!

After, feasting with our mouths and our eyes, we headed to the Shout! House. If you are a San Diego native, you know this is the PLACE.

img_7493-1img_7494-1

We still had room for more food, so DJ had the wings and I was dying to try their Mac & Cheese balls.

img_7495-1img_7496-1

The show included Dueling pianos. We LOVE comedy shows and anything of the like. Even though it was a Tuesday night, the place ended up filling up quite a bit. I was in awe of how talented they were! If you need something to do in San Diego, highly recommend this!

After Shout! House, we walked back and swam in the warmed pool at the Westin. This was one of my favorite parts of the whole trip. I love love love swimming, and swimming on a San Diego overlook in this beautiful city on a warm evening was perfection.

img_7434-1

We ended our last night with one more dessert from room service….

img_7498-1

In the morning, we ended with breakfast at the hotel. It was the BEST hotel brunch I have ever had. It was so good that I left a review for them on Orbitz. I know I already reviewed the Westin in part one, but I would say, it’s worth staying here for the breakfast buffet alone (it’s not free, but 100% worth it).

img_7500-1

They had beet and carrot juices that were so tasty.

img_7501-1img_7505-1img_7502-1

AND NUTELLA FRENCH TOAST

img_7504-1

One of my favorite parts of the breakfast was the goat cheese toasts. This would be a fantastic appetizer- toast, goat cheese, blueberries, and rosemary! I will definitely be recreating for a party or hosting.

img_7503-1

We packed up and said goodbye to the hotel <3

img_7499-1img_7506-1

Since our flight was in the evening we decided to spend or last couple free hours at Coronado beach again. We went and laid  (lied? lain? HELP!) out on the beach, reading, and falling in and out of sleep.

img_7507-1img_7508-1

It was a perfect way to end an absolutely perfect trip.

img_7509-1

So, what did we miss?! I would love to hear all your suggestions for next time we stop by this incredible city!!!! Thanks for sharing in these fun memories with us 🙂

xo <3

signature-1