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Re: Wanderfood Wednesday: Epicurean despot (by mark at 5/09 2:16 PM)
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23 April 2010
Photo Friday: EarthFair in Balboa Park

In honor of the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, here are a few teaser pics from EarthFair which took place in San Diego's Balboa Park last Sunday, April 18. This enormous fest, which spread throughout the entire park, provided classic California crunchy goodness, and of course some great people-watching!

bag lady
plastic baglady from the Algalita Marine Research Foundation

En route to find the world music stage, we encountered this woman dressed entirely in plastic bags. Her group's exhibit raised awareness on the perilous impact our society's addiction to overpackaging has had on our planet. (Can you tell this is an issue I am firmly behind?) I also loved her octopus accoutrement, and she was happy to strike a pose with oktpodi.

Pacific Garbage Gyre
representation of the Pacific Garbage Gyre

save the shrimp!
save the shrimp!

reducing our plastic consumption is everyone's responsibility
reducing our plastic consumption is everyone's responsibility


More fun pics coming soon from EarthFair and the rest of last weekend's San Diego trip! In the meantime, check out more fabulous travel photos at Delicious Baby's Photo Friday.


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21 April 2010
WanderFood Wednesday: fish tacos and a fabulous view at George's

I took a llllllllllot of pictures during our recent visit to San Diego, indeed I did. (Hey, it's not my fault everything is so damn gorgeous everywhere you look!) You're going to have to wait a bit longer while I process all those photos, gentle reader. But in the meantime I have a delicious teaser, just in time for WanderFood Wednesday.

Oh, how did I love our lunch at George's at the Cove in La Jolla? Let me count the ways.

ridiculously amazing view
well, there's the ridiculously amazing view

wonderful beer & wine list
the wonderful beer & wine list

pasta with clam sauce
pasta with clam sauce

mmmmm, fish tacos
mmmmm, fish tacos

um, yeah, a good time was had by all
um, yeah, a good time was had by all

view looking up at George's from down in the cove
and here's a view looking up at George's from down in the Cove


If you find yourself in La Jolla, you just gotta check out George's. Be sure to head to the "Ocean Terrace" on the top level, where you get the best views. The food is amazing on all three levels; you just can't go wrong. The ceviche was so good I couldn't even get a picture of it before we scarfed it down. And you can walk off all those delicious calories afterwards by taking a nice stroll down to the Cove to admire the birds, seals, and oceany goodness.

Hop on over to Wanderlust & Lipstick's WanderFood Wednesday for more mouth-watering travel foodie posts.


RECOMMENDED:
George's at the Cove
1250 Prospect Street
La Jolla, CA 92037


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Posted by sonia at 12:00 AM | Link | 3 comments


17 April 2010
Torrey Pines

oktapodi, you & me's goin' placesbaby yoga is fun!Day 2 of our long weekend in San Diego kicked off with a leisurely breakfast and chillaxification at the homestead. Since the whole point of coming out to the Left Coast was to spend time with my new nephew, it was nice to hang with him in his natural habitat. We'd met him a few weeks before at Nana Z's funeral, but there was just too much hustle & bustle to truly appreciate The Jack Attack in full form. Plus he'd almost doubled in size since we last saw him! (Many Cartman jokes ensued, through the course of the weekend.) It was fun to see my brother in dad mode; Eric and Dey are clearly relishing their new role, even if they're not getting much sleep.

 

Torrey Pines fresh air goodness classic coastal desert landscape please don't climb on the bluffs

The afternoon's activities centered around a hike to Torrey Pines National Reserve, a true So Cal experience. While some people (you know who you are!) hear Torrey Pines and think world-class golf, those less inclined to chase after a little white ball come to Torrey Pines for the dazzling coastal desert landscape and friendly hiking paths along the beach. There are several trails to follow, all of them fairly accessible even to pallid TPS reportjockeys. It was delicious to be out in the fresh air and exercise our floppy appendages!

the gang at Torrey Pines
the gang at Torrey Pines

We took the beach path back to the car, watching with some bemusement as the entire beach patrol and several emergency vehicles were called in to rescue some dumbass twentysomethings who'd ignored the huge PLEASE DO NOT CLIMB THE BLUFFS signs. Sheesh. After a quick lunch in Del Mar (swank!) we headed to the supermarket to get supplies for the evening's festivities.

chillaxed and garlicrific dinner party
chillaxed and garlicrific dinner party

A perfect California day was topped off by a perfect California BBQ at Eric & Dey's place. With the addition of Dey's sister and nephew, Eric's chum from high school, and a vendor-turned-comrade whom I rarely get to see, we grilled up a bunch of kebobs and had a garlic-laden Mediterranean meal. Good friends, good food, and good weather. What more could you ask?

RELATED LINKS:
* Torrey Pines National Reserve (highly recommended!)
* browse all San Diego pics
* previous day's post: California's all right, somebody check my brain

 

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Posted by sonia at 12:00 AM | Link | 0 comments


16 April 2010
California's all right, somebody check my brain

We began our San Diego junket, after an uneventful flight and a quick lunch, with a trip out to Jacumba Hot Springs. Some might question the logic of a cross-country journey followed immediately by a drive out to the middle of nowhere. But when my aunt offered to take us to the natural springs, it seemed an opportunity not to be missed.

We drove nearly an hour outside San Diego, past some stunning desert landscapes. It's easy to forget that the lush green scenery we take for granted on the East Coast is not the norm in other parts of the country. Or, as my grandmother famously declared upon first visiting her daugher in San Diego, "These mountains don't grow trees, they grow rocks!" OK, it's not for everyone, but I relished the change of surroundings.

Auntie, Mark, and oktapodi consider making a run for it
Auntie, Mark, and oktapodi consider making a run for it

Before hitting the springs, we made a run for the border. Jacumba is literally right across the border from Mexico, and this was an opportunity to check out the infamous fence. Politics aside, it was a bit of a trippy experience. The actual fence was a mishmash of materials, ranging from corrugated metal sheets to a porous-looking series of rusty beams. The omnipresent border patrol skulked around in the shiny SUVs, and the Mexican side of the fence actually looked more well-maintained.

days gone by, indeedda poolBorder approach duly documented, it was time to hit the Springs! Jacumba Hot Springs Spa is a quirky little morsel of times gone by, when Depression-era movie stars came to soak in the sulfuric salubrity. The place is retro and then some! Back in its heyday, it was the place to be seen. These days... well... my aunt put it best as we were getting out of the car: "funky!"

frozen in time
frozen in time

There are several different pools fed by the nearby spring, but to really soak up the essence of the place I recommend spending time in "the spa," a small room containing a tiled pool about the size of a hot tub. It was hot & stinky and a little slimy, but the most interesting characters streamed through there. For, as with days gone by, one goes to the Jacumba Hot Springs as much for the peoplewatching and conversation as for the purported health benefits of the mineral-laden water.

Sufficiently aromatic, and more than a little pruney, we piled back into the car and headed back to civilization. By the time we got back to my brother's place in San Diego, between the jetlag and the somnolent car ride, we didn't last long before crashing. But our San Diego stint was off to a great start!

Next up: Torrey Pines

RELATED LINKS:
* Jacumba Hot Springs site
* browse all San Diego pics

 

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Posted by sonia at 12:00 AM | Link | 0 comments
14 April 2010
WanderFood Wednesday: what a pair!
DC Foodies Do Good red wine & chocolate pairing

Tahitian Vanilla Bean, Hazelnut, and 64% Bittersweet chocolates
Tahitian Vanilla Bean, Hazelnut, and 64% Bittersweet chocolates

You can keep your raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens... Two of *my* favorite things are red wine and chocolate. And clearly I'm not the only one who feels this way, as evidenced by the near-maximum-capacity crowd at DC Foodies Do Good's April Tweetup: What a Pair! A Blind Red Wine and Chocolate Tasting at Carafe Winemakers in Alexandria.

Tanisha pours mystery wine #3
Tanisha pours mystery wine #3

Wine educator Tanisha Townsend of The GrapeVine set the stage by explaining that we'd be served three wines in a double-blind tasting. This meant that we would need to pair the wines with both the correct varietal and the correct description on the sheets in front of us. Whew! Fortunately the DC Foodies crew was up to the task, and we diligently set about identifying the merlot, cabernet sauvignon, and grenache (which, craftily, was a fortified wine similar to a port).

handmade goodies
handmade baked goodies

Meanwhile we were treated to chocolates by Artisan Confections and some handmade baked goods from Cakes by the Pound. Heaven! Tanisha explained the difference between “dark fruits” prominent in a cabernet sauvignon and “red fruits” that typically dominate merlot. Darker chocolates, with deep-roasted flavors, pair well with wines having dark, toasty, or chocolatey notes themselves. And the less-sweet the chocolate -- typically those with a higher cacao percentage-- the more likely it will play nice with red wine.

Jennifer, Amy, and Mark do their homework, while Fox 5's Gwen Tolbart supervises
Jennifer, Amy, and Mark do their homework, while Fox 5's Gwen Tolbart supervises

But, let's face it, you can dutifully listen to all the wine education your little pea brain can hold and it still comes down to this: Drink What You Like. Break the rules, it's more fun that way! And I can say without hesitation: red wine & chocolate, me likey! Very erudite, eh?

more fabulous Artisan chocolates
more fabulous Artisan chocolates

This post is part of Wanderlust & Lipstick's WanderFood Wednesday series. Head on over there for more delicious foodie travel posts!

And if you're a DC-area foodie do-gooder, please join us for one or both of our May events:
* May 6 - Tweetup #5: Stout & Stilton, An Extraordinary Night of Beer and Cheese Pairing
* May 22 - Do-Good Event: breakfast service at Carpenter’s Shelter


RELATED LINKS:
* Carafe Winemakers (where you can blend and bottle your own wines!)
* The GrapeVine LLC | Facebook tasting club
* Artisan Confections
* DC Foodies Do Good


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Posted by sonia at 12:00 AM | Link | 1 comment
09 April 2010
Photo Friday: wish I were here

It's been one of those weeks where I look at a picture like this and just sigh...

Bella Venezia: stunning little random canal
Bella Venezia: stunning little random canal

RELATED LINKS:
* browse all Venice pics from our 2009 trip
* check out more fabulous travel photos at Delicious Baby's Photo Friday

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Posted by sonia at 12:00 AM | Link | 0 comments
02 April 2010
Photo Friday: signs of spring

Roll the car windows down, dust off those flip-flops, take whatever allergy medications allow you to go outdoors without dissolving into a sneezing-wheezing mess... it's springtime, kiddies! After a fairly brutal winter, we've skipped a few short weeks ahead and it's time to celebrate Mother Nature instead of cursing her.

Here are a few quick before & after signs of spring around my 'hood:

pear tree, winter
the pear tree in our backyard, circa mid-Feb during snOMG

same pear tree this week, white for a totally different reason!
same pear tree this week, white for a totally different
reason!

cherry tree in our front yard, mid-snowpocalypse
cherry tree in our front yard, mid-snowpocalypse

same tree, much happier this week!
same tree, much happier this week!

I have no idea what this tree is...
I have no idea what this tree is called...

...but it sports the most gorgeous blossoms this time of year
...but it sports the most gorgeous blossoms this time of year

joy! the hostas I thought I killed last year have actually returned
joy! the hostas I thought I killed last year have actually returned

the mint in the front planter always comes back
yeah, the mint in the front planter always comes back, but it's still nice to see it


A totally different sort of wildlife comes out this time of year, too. Witness:

woolly winter creature
wild & woolly winter creature

mild springtime urban deckdwellers
mild springtime urban deckdwellers


BTW, with the exception of that last shot, which was taken by one of my brothers during a recent family gathering in Philly, all of these photos were captured with my iPhone. It definitely doesn't replace my trusty SLR, but I'm pretty psyched with the quality of the snaps.

The other two classic signs of springtime in Washington are, of course, the Cherry Blossoms and the WaPo Peeps Show Diorama contest. How are you celebrating spring?


For more great travel photos, be sure to visit Delicious Baby's Photo Friday.


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Posted by sonia at 12:00 AM | Link | 2 comments