Saturday, June 22, 2013

11th Anniversary in San Diego

Today is our 11th anniversary and are spending the weekend in San Diego.  We arrived late last night to the very romantic Vagabond Inn.  Yes, I am using sarcasm because the Vagabond is not a romantic hotel at all. Unless you get the Jacuzzi suite for $300-$400 a night, then I guess this might be considered a romantic place to go.  But since I'm cheap frugal, we kept it about $80 a night for a decent hotel that included free breakfast, parking and wifi.
 
 
 
They got fancy with the T.P.
 

We usually never buy anniversary gifts or cards; but make them.  This year the traditional gift for the 11th wedding anniversary was steel.   We decided to make each other a gift with steel as the theme.
These are the gifts we made for each other.

Steel Wool Sheep
I made for Hubby

The Steel Couple
Hubby made for me

Day 1 - Saturday
 
Our anniversary morning started early since we had a kayak tour at 9:00 in La Jolla which is about 15 min. away.  I got a discount on Goldstar for a Guided Kayak Tour of the Seven Caves through San Diego Bike & Kayak ToursWe had never been kayaking and read this was something you got to do in La Jolla. 

 We checked in, rented a wetsuit, got a locker and walked down to the beach to meet with the rest of the group. There were about 8-10 other double kayaks on the tour; but only a couple of us who had never kayaked.  A lack of kayaking skills showed after they pushed us out over the tides because we started paddling the kayak in circles.  Not once; but twice.  Everyone else was together waiting for us while we figured out how to steer straight.  We finally caught up and continued toward the cave.  We got the hang of how to steer; but speed was our other issue.  We were always the slowest ones and in the back of the group.  Some people with kids were paddling faster than us. 

  Our guide was very friendly and informative.  We got to see sea lions swimming right next to us as well as hanging out on the rocks.  We also saw Garibaldi fish.  The water conditions were good enough that we got to go into one of the caves.  We got lucky we were able to go in.  The time came when we had to go over the tides to get back to shore and let one kayak go at a time.  We saw a few people flip over as the tide came over them.  I was not looking forward to flipping over.  We rode one wave which was pretty fun.  We were almost to shore when I looked back to a huge wave right behind us.  Sure enough we got caught in it and flipped over.  My oar took my arm backwards and hubby got hit in the head with the kayak.  Thank goodness for the helmets they make you wear.  Despite our issues, we still had a fun time!
 
  

After Kayaking, we went on a food tour with Bite San Diego.  They often offer half off tickets through places such as Living Social or Groupon.  They have several food tours in San Diego and we did the Hillcrest tour.  I found it interesting that most of the eateries we went to were houses converted into restaurants.
There were about 15 of us in the 3 hr. walking tour.  Our first place we tried was Jimmy Carters Cafe.  There we ate a tostada, a beef and a pork quesadilla type dish and a calamari taco.  I would have never ordered a calamari taco; but it was quite tasty.
 
 
This is the table where we sat.

 
Our next stop was at Sanfilippo's to get a bite of some mushroom pizza.
 
 
The 3rd stop was R-Gang Eatery. The Top Chef contestant, Rich Sweeney owns this restaurant.  Here we tried their signature cheddar and chive Tater Tots served with chipotle sauce.
 
Our next place was Baby Cakes who seemed to be famous for their cupcakes.  They do have a restaurant menu and bar as well.  As we entered, they had us drool over a window case full of delicious looking cupcakes.  But when we got seated, they served us a snicker doodle!  I felt a bit disappointed that we didn't get a cupcake.
 
 
  
 
Our last stop was at EmpireHouse where they served us a BBQ bacon cheeseburger slider with a pickle on the side.  I can't remember the last time I had a pickle.  Both the slider and the pickle were great.  Our waiter was very friendly and the owner, Larry was a cool guy.  He told us how his restaurant got started, the story behind his industrial farm d├ęcor and his food.
 
 
 
A few hours after stuffing our faces with delicious food, we went to La Jolla for our anniversary dinner at The Steakhouse at Azul La Jolla.  I was looking forward to a steak dinner; but was not very hungry from all the food at the food tour.  However, I ordered the 6 oz Filet with a loaded baked potato.  The meal was very good.  This is now one of my favorite places to eat steak.  They have 2 spots to eat; one is the patio where it's lit at night or the ocean view.  We chose the ocean view seating.  They only have about 5 tables for 2 that are really nice window seats overlooking the ocean.  I reserved one of those; but didn't get it and was not going to wait forever for it.  Instead we got a nice velvet feeling booth that also had a great view.  After dinner, the waiter asked if we were celebrating a birthday or anniversary.  We said, anniversary and he gave us a complimentary brownie alamode.  It was sooo good!  I did not have room for dessert; but had to make some for this. 
 
 
 
 Brownie Alamode


After dinner, we went to check out The Comedy Palace.  I got a discount on tickets through Sweetjack.com.  Tonight's comedians were The GI's of Comedy.  They are 4 guys who are veterans of the armed forces.  They were very funny and got me to laugh at loud.  Since there is a 2 item minimum, we ordered drinks.  Those were watered down and not great.  They couldn't even give me a decent Shirley Temple.  




Day 2 - Sunday
We went on a scavenger hunt through Urban Quest Adventures.  I got a discount through Sweetjack for this too.  We started at Old Town and used our cell phone to answer questions.  They had us go on the MTS to stop in Little Italy and make our way to the Port of San Diego. This tour was really fun and we learned a lot from the cities we went.  This was supposed to be a 3 hr walking tour; but I guess we were a little slow and took our time. 
It ended up taking about 3 1/2 to 4 hrs.
For lunch, we stopped at a place in Little Italy for a slice of pizza to go.  I got sun-dried tomatoes with spinach slice and hubby got a meatball with mozzarella slice.  When we arrived back in Old Town, we each got 2 handmade flour tortillas with butter from El Coyote.  Yum! 
These are some of the places we stopped at.




MTS Transportation


Fire Station Museum - In or near Little Italy
 





"The less things change, the more they remain the same"

 

 
 

Recipe for Marinara Sauce.
 
 
 
 
 
 
The Star of India is the world's largest sailing ship.
 
 
Pathway leading to the transit station.
 
 
By the end of our fun weekend, I have sore arms and a sun burn from kayaking, a full stomach from all the eating, and a small blister from all that walking.  Was it all worth it?  Yes! I would do it all over again.


 
 
 
 
 
 
 



 


Monday, June 17, 2013

My Birthday

Happy Birthday to Me!
Hubby was not able to take the day off work this year; so I had a fun girls day out with my girls.  We slept in, went to have tea and lunch at The Tea Gardens, then got our nails done at Beth' Nails.  It's been 11 years almost to the date since I had my nails done for my wedding day.  I am way past due!  Later, I took my daughter to her swim lesson then caught up with hubby and my parents to a dinner at Macaroni Grill.  I have never had such bad service in a restaurant as we had here.  There were only about 5 tables seated in the whole place and the waiter was absent the whole time.  He couldn't get anything right and gave us the wrong food.  Because of the terrible experience we did get our salads free and free desserts.

 
 
 
 


 

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Father's Day at Pacific Park

Happy Father's Day! 
Today, we celebrated by going to our usual breakfast spot with hubby's parents at Millies in Granada Hills.  I got my usual California avocado omelet with hash browns and a biscuit with gravy.  My oldest was especially excited to go out to breakfast just so that she could have bacon.
My picky eater recently decided to try bacon and is in love. 
I never cook bacon, so it was a treat for her to have some today.
 
After a full belly, we headed over to the Santa Monica Pier so the girls could ride the rides at Pacific Park.  I had bought a Groupon for unlimited rides for them. They enjoyed a couple fun hours here riding about 7 or 8 rides twice.   I read they were giving free basketball shots to dad's in honor of Father's Day.  Hubby is not into basketball; so we did not take advantage of the free try.
 
After a visit to Santa Monica, we went to my parent's house for a chicken and steak BBQ and called it a day.