Saturday, June 21, 2014

Best Eats San Diego

Soda & Swine
2943 Adams Avenue, University Heights (San Diego,) California  92116
Though predominantly laden with meat choices, Soda & Swine was a lunch destination because, like so many upscale restaurants, it boasts a menu that includes a delicious vegetarian choice - meatballs made with quinoa and pesto to be served over a bun or spaghetti (pasta) with a sauce of choice: marinara, chipotle, mushroom cream or more pesto. It sounds divine to any vacationer who has breakfasted light after hitting the Torrey Pines Trails or other beautiful morning walks.

Costa Brava
1653 Garnet Avenue, Pacific Beach (San Diego,) California
Even after living in Spain for three years I love this website's explanation of Spanish culture and cuisine: What are tapas, what is tortilla española, paella, and more...  We stopped in to enjoy the last of the World Cup match between France and Switzerland with a caña (a glass of beer - Enrique), a sangría (summer in a glass -my choice- here's a recipe you can enjoy at home),
garlic and lemon shrimp
and gazpacho (cold vegetable soup- another favorite.)
4661 Park Boulevard, University Heights (the best part of San Diego),
"It's not how you begin, but how you end," the Spanish saying goes, and so it was with our restaurant/cafe journey for this SoCal leg of our trip. Lauds to the hands-down best eats spot so far, Plumeria. The tiny and tastefully exquisite restaurant in both design and food selections, showcases delicate crystal chandeliers against purples and greens, almost like an IKEA meets Polly Pockets, and taunts guests with intoxicating aromas wafting from the moment you enter.  Just look at this menu! Appetizers, Chef's Picks, Salads, Main Courses, Noodles and Side Orders, all vegan and vegetarian (can we say I was happy dancing on the table at all of this?!)  before you even get to the desserts and drinks, which were as wonderful as the food. We chose a sublime rose petal herbal tea that was most delicious.
Banana Caramel Cheesecake Egg Roll, Chocolate Lava Cake and Japanese Green Tea Ice Cream

Qué Chido

En camino al restaurante español, Costa Brava, estos dos chicos guau pararon a que les pudiera sacar una foto.
On our way to the Spanish restaurant, Costa Brava, these two cool kids stopped so we could take their picture.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Travel Depot

The top of Travel Depot's checklist touts that it has everything for the traveler, except the tickets. And it's true! Traveling back and forth from Spain to the States a couple of times a year, I was sure I didn't need anything else until I found a leopard print "Luggage Hugger," a stretchy fabric band to wrap around my suitcase to protect the zipper and make my suitcase easy to locate. How great is that?! Eye candy printed maps and guide books make even the greatest homebody want to travel with unfettered wanderlust, one book at a time.
Found this in a recent article on Pacific Beach/Mission Beach:
The Internet might be a great place to research for your next great adventure, but Traveler's Depot is the place to gear up for it. One of the only travel stores remaining in the region, Traveler's Depot has occupied a Garnet Avenue storefront since 1986. Owner Kay Thayer brought it eight years ago from the original owner, and Ben Vo has been the manager there for more than four years.  

We met Ben, I mentioned Kay and home exchange and we all fell into easy conversation. He told us how he has traveled extensively, and even spent a two-year stretch, in his words, as a vagabond, seeing the Americas, Europe and more. Thanks Ben, for this fun picture at top of our time in the shop.
The most interesting bit of trivia about the store also appeared in the article interview:
What's your most popular item?  People always ask what is the one thing we recommend for travel and it's travel underwear. Seriously, they are lightweight, they wick away moisture and they can be washed in a sink and dried overnight. After people try them, they come back for more and more. 
I didn't happen to get any today, and now knowing this I just might have to go back tomorrow and get my own package of undies!

Be sure to visit when traveling to the area!
1655 Garnet Ave, San Diego, CA 92109, United States

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Extraordinary Desserts

After an evening out in search of the best burritos in town this side of the California/Mexican border, like the vegetarian Chile Relleno Burrito, we wanted to end the evening with a special dessert. What we discovered to our delight and eventual total sugar overdose was a dazzling choice of sweets as beautiful as they were tasty.
Después de salir por la noche en busca de los mejores burritos a este lado de la frontera México / California, como el vegetariano Burrito de Chile Relleno, queríamos terminar la noche con un postre especial. Lo que descubrimos para nuestro deleite y eventual sobredosis total de azúcar fue una selección deslumbrante de dulces tan hermosos como sabrosos.

Extraordinary Desserts combines pastry making artistry, sublime tastes and attentive service to inspire and wow, making this the number one dessert destination for those living and visiting the area.
Extraordinary Desserts combina la pastelería artística, sabores sublimes y un servicio atento que te inspira y te "flipa", wow!, haciendo de éste el destino número uno del postre para los que viven y visitan la zona.

There were no printed menu here. Instead we took our note pad, reading descriptions of the desserts' ingredients written on typed cards for each cake or pastry, and penciled in our wish list of the desserts on display.
No había menú impreso aquí. En vez de eso tomamos nuestro bloc de notas, leemos las descripciones de los postres y sus ingredientes escritos en las tarjetas de cada tarta o pastel expuesto, y lo apuntamos en nuestra lista de deseos.

Our group of six finally narrowed it down to following choices, which we handed to our waitress once seated at a long black slate table with high-backed chairs and candles that ran the center between us.
Nuestro grupo de seis, finalmente redujo sus opciones a las siguientes, que entregamos a la camarera una vez sentados en una larga mesa de pizarra con sillas altas y velas que recorrían el centro entre nosotros.

We were all smiling because we are just about to sample and share:  
Estábamos todos sonriendo porque estábamos a punto de degustar y compartir: 
Carmel Macadamic Cheese Case
Blood Orange Ricotta Torte
Danish Pariessene
Torta Misu

White Chocolate Linzer Torte

Friday, June 13, 2014

California Here I Come

When the wintry winds starts blowing

And the snow is starting in the fall

Then my eyes went westward knowing

That's the place that I love best of all

California I've been blue

Since I've been away from you

I can't wait 'till i get blowing

Even now I'm starting in a call.

California, Here I Come!

Right back where I started from

where bowers of flowers

bloom in the spring

each morning at dawning

birdies sing at everything

a sunkissed miss said, "Don't be late!"

that's why I can hardly wait

open up that golden gate

California, Here I Come!
California, Here I Come (yeaaaaaah!)

Right back where I started from

where bowers of flowers

bloom in the spring

each morning at dawning

birdies sing at everything

a sunkissed miss said, "Don't be late!"

that's why I can hardly wait (come on!)

open up (open up! open up!) that golden gate

California, Here I Come!

Monday, June 2, 2014

Los Afinadores de Piano

Our friend, Kay, just sent a message about the piano at her house in Califonia where we will be staying. We inquired about the piano, thinking how great it would be to play again - I, Risa and Mark. Besides her poetic way with words, she has a way of seeing the interesting and lovely in things.

Kay writes, "The piano tuners made beautiful music for an hour after they gave the piano it's final tuning and a new string. It was a wonderful treat.
Don't you just love their dress? The long black aprons have Steinway written on the front.
A real class act and the kindest men ever! It turns out to be quite a fine instrument. I bought it in 1967, new.
I hope you enjoy it."

Enjoy it? Oh, I'm sure we will! Four years have passed since my fingers have touched black and white and they are absolutely itching!