San Diego

San Diego Adventure

Five of my friends and I drove down to San Diego for the weekend just to relax and enjoy each other’s company! We were supposed to leave in the morning to do the Potato Chip Hike in Poway but it ended up being an epic fail. One friend didn’t wake up on time and another lost their car keys. It was a rough start in the morning!

It was a little bittersweet to not have done the Potato Chip hike because I wanted to take an epic picture on that thin cliff like the one below:

On the other hand, it worked out that we didn’t hike because I’ve heard from others that it’s the most painful hike ever. It’s so painful that there is no way of making it fun because of the nasty uphill.

Since we didn’t hike, we all met up at Phil’s BBQ. I felt a little guilty eating there because I wish I could have rewarded myself with it after a good long hike. There’s always next time to genuinely reward myself for that.

So don’t hate me for what I’m about to say. I’m actually not a huge fan of Phil’s BBQ because I think it’s a little overrated. They have great food and service, but it’s not worth the one to two hour wait. Luckily, our wait was less than 30 minutes but I wouldn’t go out of my way to eat there. There’s nothing too memorable about the food where I have a go to entree that I always order. It all tastes the same as Lucille’s and Wood Ranch. There’s no special sauce that strikes me and makes me want more of. One thing that might set this place apart from Lucille’s and Wood Ranch is that it’s cheaper. It’s more on the casual side where they give you a buzzer for your order and they have bibs!

After eating, we went over to the beach house that we rented out from Air BnB. We hung out at the house and then headed over to the beach to play some volleyball. We somehow couldn’t find any volleyball courts at the beach. I think it was meant to be for us to not do any physical activity for the weekend. We were forced to relax as God was not giving us the opportunity to work out. So we came to a point where we hung out by the water and enjoyed the breeze while the waves were crashing.

We got the chance to watch the sun set! Oh man, it was beautiful! It was crazy how subtly yet quickly the sun went down.

For dinner that night we went to Cotixan Mexican & Seafood. I suggest that you don’t go there. The food was cheap and a-ok. They definitely give you a lot there but it doesn’t give you that feeling of “Oh-em-gee. I need to come back here again next time.” Apparently it’s the Mexican version of McDonald’s because there are so many chains of it.

That night after dinner, we all ended up being grannies. Josephine commented, “It looks like we’re at a retirement home!” After she said that, we looked at each other in the living room and noticed that we all had blankets on our lap and we were literally watching Betty White’s: Off The Rockers. It was pretty funny how ridiculous we were that night for not doing much on our weekend vacation. I think we were all pooped out from just a long day of being out and about.

The next day, we hung outside in the backyard and soaked in the sun. The guys were taking charge of the kitchen. They made us some good guacamole dip for our afternoon snack. Then they stepped up even more for our late lunch! They grilled vegetables and made chili to go with our smoke apple sausage hotdogs! Well done, boys. Well done! We were all definitely stuffed after lunch!

Later, we had a jam session. The guys brought a keyboard and guitar from home! We had some talented artists in the house. Derek was on the guitar, Jerry on the keyboard, and the lead singer was Cindy. Josephine and Phil were the backup singers. I was the manager and producer of the group, making sure that everyone was doing their thing.

At night, we went out to Classics Malt Shop for some ice cream. It’s a cute little mom and pop kind of shop. Then we headed out to Gas Lamp. We checked out a restaurant known for their Ryan Gosling restroom. Say what? Mhm…that’s what I said. There is one stall in the woman’s restroom where the walls are covered in Ryan Gosling’s face! Josephine, Cindy and I were in the Ryan Gosling stall for quite some time SnapChatting our experience there.

Rather than showing you pictures, I thought I would try something new and make a video. Here’s a clip from the trip:

In general, there’s not much to do in Gas Lamp but to walk around and check out some bars and restaurants. Though Gas Lamp wasn’t that exciting, it was still fun because of the people I was with! Thanks Cindy, Derek, Jerry, Josephine, and Phil for making our weekend trip short and sweet!

Solana Beach

I met up with Chelsea at The Beach Grass Cafe which her husband suggested. Thanks Eric for the suggestion! I was excited to check it out as I read good reviews about it on Yelp. Yelp showed 4 out of 5 stars with a little more than 300+ reviews.
Chelsea & her Chai Latte

I was in the mood for some kind of scramble so I ordered No.5 under the scrambles section. This had turkey chorizo, avocado, tomato, spinach, and cheddar cheese with a side of fruit. Oh man, I was stuffed from my chorizo scramble! Every bite of it was so good and it did not disappoint me at any point. All of this beauty was worth the one hour drive to Solana Beach from Orange County. Of course, catching up with Chelsea made the drive even better!
No.5 Scrambles

Because we ate so much, we had to walk it off. So we walked over to the Design District which had a bunch of boutiques with numerous handmade artwork.
Design District

For example, this one store had strings of butterflies hanging. It was almost beautiful yet a little scary because the butterflies would move fly around a little.
Hanging butterflies

The butterflies definitely caught my eyes because of the bright colors and intricate touch involved.
Handmade butterfly

Another store just had random things like these sunglasses we tried on.
Lady Gaga right next to me

One of the more hip stores we checked out was called Solo. It was like an Anthropologie/Hallmark/TJ Max Home Goods kind of a store. So this store had this stuffed animal where you hang it on a wall. This one animal in particular reminded me of The Fox by Ylvis that’s been going viral.
The Fox at Solo

The stuffed animal is kind of cute. Kind of, right? If you don’t know the song, The Fox, then come check it out on Youtube below:

The Design District reminded me of a more calm version of Newport Beach or Corona Del Mar. It was nice to walk around and see all the random artwork there. After walking around the Design District, we decided to head back back home. Hopefully next time we go to Solana Beach, we can go during the summer when it’s not so cold!

Thanks Chelsea for meeting up in Solana Beach! Tell your hubby I said thanks again for suggesting The Beach Grass Cafe!

Happy Birthday Chelsea! (Part 1)

Chelsea’s 25th birthday is close to Thanksgiving, so we decided to celebrate it early! Amy, Chelsea and I dressed up and ate at Vintana Wine and Dine in Escondido. It’s a pretty fancy shmancy formal restaurant located on the second level of a Lexus dealership. Though it’s only on the second floor, there’s a great view of the city lights at night within the restaurant and outside in the patio. The whole design and layout of the restaurant is so elegant at night with the contemporary chandeliers lit up and hanging so gracefully from the ceiling. 

L to R: Amy, Chelsea, Tina

L to R: Amy, Chelsea, Tina

For dinner, I had the Lemon Linguine with Fennel and Chile Chicken Breast. It had sun dried tomatoes, roasted pear onions, slab pepper bacon, basil, mozzarella, arugula, and pecorino. I enjoyed every color and flavor I took a bite of. The ingredients were all well evened out that no one ingredient was too strong or overpowering than the other. 
Dinner

Of course, we had dessert to celebrate Chelsea’s 25th birthday.
Birthday girl

We shared a plate of cookies a la mode style. There was a chocolate chip cookie with chocolate chip ice cream, topped with melted white chocolate and pieces of orange peels. It sounded good from the menu and looked good in person but it didn’t taste as delicate as we wanted it to. The cookies were too hard as if it wasn’t fresh at all.
Dessert

Afterwards, I gave Chelsea her birthday gift. I have to say that I really liked what I got her that I got some of the same stuff for myself…Heh. But! Because we are best friends and people get confused who is who since we look alike so much, it gives us more reasons to have the same things. Sarcasm, my friends. Sarcasm. I got her a pair maroon colored tights to go with her holiday outfits and a pair of Kate Spade earrings shaped in a black bow with gold outlining. 
Gift time!

We ate a lot and talked a lot at dinner so it was time for us to head home to get some rest for the next day’s adventure in Temecula.

Lolita’s & Extraordinary Desserts

Our original plan was actually to go to Phil’s BBQ in San Diego. We first went there but found out the wait to order was about 2 hours. We literally stood in line to think of Plan A and B. After 5 minutes of standing in line and trying to consider many other options, we rushed off to Lolita’s Taco Shop.
Long wait at Phil's BBQ

Luckily, Lolita didn’t have a long line that went out the door when we got there. We got there right before the rush happened.
Lolita's Taco Shop

My friends and I ordered all sorts off the menu. Majority of us got some kind of burrito whether it was the usual carne asada or California burrito.
Carne Asada Burrito

My carne asada burrito was as good as Albertross or any other Mexican taco shop. But, it was a tad bit on the dryer end. The salsa did help to bring more flavors out of the burrito.

We all agreed that it was not a good idea to eat burrito and some Carne Asada fries. It was just too much for us to take in.
Carne Asada Fries

But of course, we had room for dessert. San Diego is known for Extraordinary Desserts. So we went straight to Extraordinary Desserts after Lolita’s. All the desserts there were intensely rich in flavor. Too rich that I felt like I was going to get a cavity.
Dessert

But the sweetness of all the desserts made it so good. All of their desserts are really extraordinary. None of their desserts can really go wrong unless you just don’t like fruity or tarty flavors.
More sweetness

Next time I go to San Diego, I hope to try a new dessert joint. Going to Extraordinary Desserts a few times is more than enough.

Thank you friends for a long night of eating and good time of fellowship! Thanks to those who drove to San Diego for the adventure! Here’s a YouTube video that I put together just for fun with a new app I just discovered called Qwiki:

La Jolla Adventure

Amy, Chelsea and I finally reunited after a long distant friendship. Literally! Amy and I went to visit Chelsea down in La Jolla. We first went wedding dress shopping for Amy since she just got engaged a few months ago! We went to Here Comes the Bride which is where Chelsea bought her wedding dress. I can’t talk much about what she tried on because you’ll just have to wait for her wedding. The boutique had all the dresses organized by price range. There was great customer service and of course, beautiful dresses. Check it out if you’re looking for a dress. Wedding dress to be specific.
Here Comes the Bride

After Here Comes the Bride, we grabbed lunch at a well known restaurant that’s been on Food TV Network before called Studio Diner. It’s open 24/7!
Studio Diner

I got the monte cristo since I haven’t had that in so long. Ok, 3 years to be exact. It was so worth the fried and greasy sandwich mess with the raspberry spread! So good. I recommend it to everyone!
Monte Cristo

Amy got a club sandwich and Chelsea got the Boob Sandwich that has chicken breast with avocado and bacon!
La Jolla 010

The food there was so homey and made with heavy love.
La Jolla 009

From Studio Diner, we headed to Downtown La Jolla. I’d compare Downtown La Jolla to Orange County’s Fashion Island in Newport Beach and Beverly Hills in Los Angeles. Downtown La Jolla had the outdoors shopping and high end stores feelings to it. It was too expensive to purchase anything but fun to just window shop.
La Jolla 022

We stopped by The Living Room for some pastries and coffee. It was a small and cozy place to hang out with the mismatched furniture. Kind of like Central Perk from Friends. I got an iced vanilla latte which is my usual at any coffee shop. It was kind of expensive compared to Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf or Starbucks. But then their drink size proportion was huge for a small. The drink was creamier than what I’ve tried at other places which was nothing bad. I would have to say that the expresso was probably a tad bit stronger than my usual. Overall, I wouldn’t mind getting the ice vanilla latte again at The Living Room.

We walked over to the beach to see some waves and sea lions. It was such a beautiful day out there with the sun shining and the fresh air.
Lovely La Jolla.

Eric met a new friend there, a squirrel. The squirrel seemed pretty friendly.
Eric and the Squirrel.

We saw some sea lions just sun bathing out in the open with no shame. They were fun to watch though they were doing nothing. We probably watched them lay there so freely for a good 15 minutes. It was surprisingly entertaining.
Beach

We walked back to our cars from the beach so we could start heading home. It was so much fun reuniting with Amy and Chelsea like the good old days in high school! There was so much more to see in San Diego but not enough time. Amy and I are going to see Chelsea again soon for another La Jolla adventure!
Last picture of the day.

Swapped Clothes

When Chelsea came up to Orange County, she had a great idea to swap clothes and then return them two weeks later. We always talked about swapping clothes since we have similar taste but the whole distant friendship stopped us from actually swapping. But, it finally happened!

Prior to coming over, I asked her how much clothes she was going to bring. She said a bag or a suitcase. I really didn’t think she was going to do that. But, guess what. She wasn’t joking. She came over to my house with a huge suitcase (literally) of clothes! I was quite surprised. She got the chance to look through my closet as I looked through her suitcase. Below is all that I borrowed from her.
Chelsea's Clothes.

At the end of our swap, she ended up wearing some of my clothes. From head to toe: beanie that I finally returned to her after 3 or 4 years, yellow and white flannel from Banana Republic that was $20 or less, green anorak from Old Navy for about $30, and off white pants were Chelsea’s from Anthropologie.
Chelsea modeling naturally.

We told each other that we had to take pictures of our outfits. So Day 1 was on a Sunday and we wanted to dress nicely for church. We both wore dresses from Anthropologie with black tights and a pair of oxfords. By the way, we are huge Anthropology fans.
Swapped Clothes Day 1

Here are some pictures of us from a week of swapping clothes. The brand of the clothes we wore included: Ann Taylor, Anthropologie, Banana Republic, Costco (Yup, Costco is there), Forever 21, Gap, G-Stage, J-Crew, and Old Navy.
Swapped Clothes Day 2-5

Below is our favorite dress from each other’s closet. They’re both from Anthropologie. The one on the left is my favorite of all from Chelsea’s closet. It’s a simple and chic dress perfectly appropriate for the winter season. I wore it a few times with a red belt, black tights, and gray flats. Chelsea’s favorite outfit from my closet was a dress that I call the wise man dress on the right. Without any accessories, the dress looks like something a wise man from the Bible would have worn. To make it more fitting and sophisticated, a brown leather belt with a bow in the center completed the outfit in addition to black tights and either brown flats/oxfords/boots.

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Can’t wait for spring season to swap clothes again! Chelsea, a bag of spring clothes are waiting for you in my closet as I wait for another suit case to be lugged into my house.

Surprise Chelsea!

Chelsea’s husband texted me earlier in the week about doing a surprise for Chelsea. Chelsea told Eric, her husband, how she wanted to see the Nutcracker and that the last time she saw it was with me. So Eric, the loving husband that he is, thought it would be a great idea for me to surprise her at the door and then take her to watch the Nutcracker together. Great idea, huh? Uh-huh.

When I arrived in Diego, I texted Eric that I had just parked. He responded that he was going to “poop” so that Chelsea could open the door.

I knocked on their door and looked down on the ground so that she would not see my face through the peep hole. She opened the door and I actually don’t remember the first thing I said to her exactly. But I must say she was definitely surprised to see me! She kept asking me what I was doing at her place. I responded casually saying, “I was just around the neighborhood.” She kept asking me the same question why I was there. At some point I asked her if I could come inside since I was just standing there with my bag of Korean pears to give to them.

Eric and I ended up explaining the whole surprise to her. She responded, “No wonder Eric kept telling me to get ready!” I told her that we only had an hour left until the show starts. So she quickly got dressed up and we were off to downtown San Diego!

We grabbed a quick bite at Sushi Deli which is Chelsea and Eric’s favorite place. Service was great there. Since we were in a time crunch, we couldn’t order a lot but we ordered enough. We literally had 15 minutes left until the show started. We told the waitor our time crunch situation and he was definitely understanding and was quick to give us our food in less than 5 minutes! So we got some California Rolls and garlic edamame for about $6. I need to try that garlic edamame again the next time I’m in San Diego. They were really good!

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Luckily the theater was one or two doors down from Sushi Deli. So we power walked to Spreckles Theater. Yup, it’s called Spreckles. Don’t ask why. I thought the same too. We made it right on time for the show to start!

This Nutcracker performance was definitely one up than our previous Nutcracker show. There was live music and the story line made more sense than before. We’re hoping to start a new tradition to step up the quality of the Nutcracker as we get older! I already can’t wait for the next one!

20121225-232059.jpgThanks Eric for planning all of this! Chelsea, it was so good seeing you! Glad we were able to watch this together!