Monday, May 28, 2012

San Diego Pictures and the rest of day 3!

We headed for the 'gayborhood' called Hillcrest to hit Snooze, a fun and trendy breakfast joint. We had a 30 minute wait, so we walked around a bit. We found Babette Schwartz's place, one of the drag queens at the show last night and the hostess. There were a ton of fun things, though unfortunately, Babette apparently doesn't wake early and the store didn't open until well after we were on our way.

Breakfast was amazing.. I got eggs benedict italian style with procuitto, balsamic arugala and toasted ciabatta. Snooze is known for their interesting pancakes. I asked the really great waitress what her favorite is, and she said 'cinnamon sticky bun' without hesitation. It had a cinnamon and cream drizzle and white chocolate chips hiding inside. Heaven! Absolutely worth checking it out!

We headed home after breakfast, stopping in Dateland, a small town with a rest stop known for its date products. I heard the date shake was great and decided to try it, and was not disappointed. It was quite interesting! Traffic wasn't bad heading home and got in mid-afternoon with plenty of time for laundry, email and getting some critters settled! Pictures!!!


Sunday, May 27, 2012

San Diego day two

We woke up and headed to Old Town to walk around a bit in the historic district, the first area settled by the europeans in California. It's very quaint and slightly tourist trappy, but parts of it retain their old feel of times long past. We went into a few shops and walked around a bit. We walked past a restaurant where women gathered over a big table rolling out tortillas for the breakfast meal.

Then we headed to the edge of little Italy, the oldest continuous neighborhood in San Diego to Extraordinary Desserts for their European Breakfast. The owner is a San Diego native who is a french-trained pasty chef. She has a huge array of every delectable sweet known, and they make what they feel like that day. You walk in and see a huge case of some of the most gorgeously decorated cakes, tarts and torts I've ever seen. It was a quite impressive display.

We met with my friend's friend and her family. A beautiful 7 year old fashionista with light auburn hair just like her mom, and a three-year old boy with hair in big blonde curls. The breakfast spread was impressively laid out and extensive. They had the best granola I've ever had with lots of nuts and dried fruit. Smoked salmon, several kinds of fresh bread, pastries, cheese, veggies.. and a nice but small sampling of little desserts to tempt the palate. Mmm...Her friends were great and I really enjoyed getting to know them.

Then we headed out to Balboa Park, a huge area of parks, gardens, restaurants and museums. We planned to go to the Museum of Man, but after driving for at least 20 minutes through parking lots to find nothing at all for open spots, and several close calls with aggressive drivers cutting us off to try to gain better positions, we decided to give up gracefully and move on.

Instead we went to the Marston House, which was lovely! It's a 1905 arts and crafts house owned by George Marston. His daughter, Mary, lived there until her death, and donated it to ensure it's preservation. It wasn't one of the nicest homes on the street, but most were sold for the land. There's even a large apartment complex right across the street! The gardens were beautiful and on a 5 acre lot. The house is huge, even by today's standards, and boasted quite a few bathrooms with running water and electricity, walk-in closets, and amenities that seem rather modern. There were also several screened in porches and areas built to take advantage of the air flow to cool the rooms.

We walked through a park for a bit and headed back to the room to relax for a bit. We had plans to meet my friend (who lives in SD) at Lips, the ultimate in drag queen dining. What a hoot! The gals were fabulous an the one that waited on us was done incredibly well. It was 'Show tunes Sunday' so we got to hear some great tunes! I did this once at Jacques on Boston and it was so much more tame. The gals entertained us with very off-color hilarity before the show even started. The food and decor were surprisingly good. It was so wonderful catching up with my friend. She had never been to this place, but had been to one similar before. Fun night for sure.

The table next to us were a bunch of 'golden gals' as one of the performers called them. One, Kay, was celebrating her 75th birthday. Another kept going up on the stage dancing, and a third was a rockette in NYC 65 years ago! Bless her heart! Kay shared with us that she and Rebecca, in a blue sequined shirt, who kept going up on the stage to give the gals tips, just lost their husbands. I commend them for getting out and living life! And in such style, so to speak.

Last night in SD before heading home to the desert. Hell, as I call it this time of year! Ick. Can't wait to see my furry babies though, so looking forward to it. And on Saturday I get my latest foster, a boy named Donovan who I'm going to spring from county and the 'e' list (euthanasia), which he's bounced off and on of. Saving a life.. that's what it' about! So, a lot to look forward to in going home. Tomorrow am we're going back to Hillcrest, the 'gayborhood' to a restaurant called Snooze. We may meet up with my friend's friends that we saw for breakfast today.Probably will head out after. Cheers!! I'll be in Philly in July and then *Yellowstone* in September, so you'll have some more adventures before the year is through! Goodbye for now.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

San Diego!

The lure of a long weekend sparked my enthusiasm to travel, and I decided that I want to dip my toes in the sand. Booked a week ago, we headed out mid-day on Friday. The drive is around five hours from Phoenix, though it seems like FOREVER. Not much to see. Oh sure, you go through Gila Bend (ick), Yuma (blech). Then drive on and on through sand dunes, through some mountains, then down, down, down into San Diego!

I've traveled a few times in the last few months, but mostly short trips to see family. This definitely will not be my year for travel, but I'll make the best of it with some fun weekend trips. I did head down to Rio Rico, AZ a few weeks ago, by the Mexico border. We stayed in a great resort and went down for a heritage festival that a friend of a friend of a friend was throwing to raise some excitement in the area and to get people to travel there. Small turnout but a nice effort for a first festival, and it was fun! Some interesting classes, and we got to meet a man who has his doctorate in ornithology and is a passionate birder. Some of the stories he told us about being in Panama were amazing!

Anyways, back to San Diego.. We decided to hit a spa for a deep tissue massage to work out the kinks from the ride. Then went into Old Town for some mexican cuisine. We went to a place called El Fandango (or something like that!) Great meal-- I tried mole sauce again and loved it. And of course a margarita to replenish fluids. :o) Headed to the hot tub for a quick soak before bed. Looking forward to our explorations tomorrow! Absolutely nothing planned for the day, so we'll see what we're in the mood for when we get up.

We woke to a gray and overcast day and a broken coffee pot. OMG! Hideous! But we made do caffeine-less and made some decisions for our day. The drive was beautiful and much of it was along the water. At one point we were slowed down by a large number of boy scouts walking down the road. Then to our left and right were large military cemetaries that seemed to extend forever. Like headstones stood in perfect row formations extending to the water on one side, and to the trees on the other.

We head out for the Cabrillo National Monument. We stopped at several parking lots to walk around to view the ocean and the tide pools. The rocks swirled and there were some interesting large boulders sitting on very striated rock formations. We wandered down towards the water and looked into some of the tide pools to see what we could find. We drove past a national guard base and a navy base. We then drove up to the Old Point Loma lighthouse and Cabrillo statue. First we stopped at the statue of Joao Rodriguez Cabrillo, a Portuguese explorer who landed in the area in 1542. A statue was erected in his honor overlooking the water and San Diego.

We then walked up to the lighthouse, which was a cream colored structure with an attached house and a separate building nearby. It was brick painted. The rooms were set up as they might have been, and the separate structure had a replica of a lighthouse, as well as information about the lighthouse and the area. The house attached to the lighthouse also had signed up by every room, that talked about what the rooms may have been used for and talked about the family that once lived there. The lightkeeper was Robert Israel. The lighthouse was only used for 36 years starting in 1955. It was short-lived because while the location seemed ideal, the fog often obscured the light. In 1891, a new lighthouse was built at the tip of Point Loma, called the 'New'Point Loma lighthouse. It's in the property of the national guard compound but could be seen from the tide pools area.

There was a man dressed in 1890's attire smoking a pipe and greeting everyone in an irish brogue. He was a 'newspaper man' in 1894, and lived in the area. Interestingly, he lived in Arizona for a while during the civil war, keeping the area safe from rebels and indians. He was at the lighthouse looking for the lightkeeper..

We wandered around for a while then headed out towards Coronado 'island', which is no longer an island but a peninsula as the area between it and the mainland was filled in. We parked on the main drag and wandered through some of the shops on the way to lunch at Costa Azul. A very sweet and shy shepherd mix helped me with my shrimp, and we enjoyed some live music while we ate. We bought some hats then headed off, driving past the Hotel del Coronado ('Del') which is HUGE. It's really beautiful and a local landmark.

We then drove down past the beaches and headed north past San Diego into La Jolla. I had been to San diego maybe five years ago, but hadn't been to La Jolla. It's a beautiful and wealthy seaside town. We went to the Cove, and parked to walk along the ocean. We went down some stairs to the beach to dip our toes in the san. The beach was packed of families and lots of children running around. There were little sea caves that we explored, regaled by the sound of seals sunning themselves on the rocks. There's a grassy area overlooking the water above the beach and we wandered around there for a while before going onto the rocks by the water to enjoy the different view of the ocean. I sure do miss the sound of the water crashing onto the rocks!

We then stopped at Soledad Mountain, a war memorial with a controversy! At the top of a large hill, this monument has pictures and descriptions of the people killed during the wars since WW1. The controversy is around the large white cross built at the top of it. The place offered gorgeous panoramic views, and was only a short drive from the Cove. We walked a lot then headed back towards San Diego.

We went into the Gaslamp district, the historic heart of San Diego marked by a lot of restaurants, bars and theaters. First we stopped at a place called Chocolat for coffee. My friend got a gelato which she enjoyed. We wandered up and down the streets settling on Taka, a sushi place, for dinner. Living in Arizona, it's a nice treat to go to a place near the ocean for fresh seafood! It was quite good. As I was leaving, I noticed a couple that I used to work with! It was strange as not only do they not live in San Diego, but with all the restaurants in the area, that they ended up in the one I went to. Small world, even in a large city!

Having seen the wonderful-looking gelatos, I decided to stop by for dessert back at Choclat. Yummmmm... We drove to Mission beach to walk along the beach and enjoy the sunset. It was chilly with the sun going down, but beautiful. A lot of people were still out as we walked around taking pictures. It's a lot cooler than Phoenix here, and it was breezy much of the day. It was probably in the mid-60s, and got quite chilly as the sun was going down! Nice change from the 100 degree days we are now having in Phoenix! We have some fun things planned tomorrow, and will meet up with some friends. We haven't figured out what we're do during the middle of the day, and will wing it! Woop, woop!!! Night all..