Pickles, Planning, and Pasta

Robin’s Cioppino for our last 2014 dinner

To close out 2014 we stopped at Whole Foods and bought all the fixings for Robin to make our annual year-end meal, cioppino.  We’ve had a lot of cioppino this year but the home-made variety has become our year-end tradition and it just so happens that fresh seafood is pretty easy to come by in San Diego.  So we filled up on cioppino and bread and fittingly ended 2014 with very full stomachs.

Also fittingly, we decided to start 2015 with full morning work-outs, so Robin went for a long walk and I went for a nice run through the East Village, Gaslamp Quarter, Marina and Downtown neighborhoods.  Here are a few pics from our work-out:

We'll have to come back during baseball season!

We’ll have to come back during baseball season!

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View of downtown from the marina

View of downtown from the marina

Popular New Year's day activity in San Diego

Popular New Year’s day activity in San Diego

It’s really nice living in a city where you can count on the outside temps to be somewhere between 65 and 75 every single day!

I got back to our apartment well before Robin and was just about ready to hop in the shower, when a very excited Robin showed up with very wonderful news…….look what she found at one of the local grocery stores:

Those of you following our blog closely (or who have had the experience of grocery shopping with us), know that half sour pickles are one of our favorite foods.  We can be obsessed with finding them (we made Robin’s sister Debbie take us to several stores in Chicagoland until we found our pickles) as we can not pass a grocery store without at least checking.  I would say maybe 10% of the stores we’ve searched throughout the country carry half sours.  So, I put my running shoes back on and we quickly emptied the shelves at Jimbo’s!  It was a good day.

Friday was cut and color day.  One of Robin’s monthly tasks is to find a local salon that uses Redken products and makes stylist appointments for both of us.  The process is for Robin to get her color applied, then while waiting the requisite 30 minutes for the color to take, the stylist cuts my hair (which takes 10 minutes), then back to Robin for finishing touches.  So far we have completed this routine in Orlando, Columbia, St. Louis, Boston, Washington DC, Omaha, and Seattle. The Freelance Salon is the San Diego carrier of  Redken products so back to the Hillcrest neighborhood we went for our appointments with Diane.  She was great. Mission accomplished.  Now back to the apartment for sandwiches and pickles.

Saturday we walked to and through Balboa Park, one of San Diego’s most popular must-see destinations.  The nation’s largest urban park in size, Balboa is home to 15 major museums, several performing arts venues, lovely gardens, sports complexes, and of course the world famous San Diego Zoo.  Although our visit was strictly meant to be aerobic and not cultural (we’ll be back later to thoroughly take in the sites), we couldn’t help but be amazed by the interesting venues and architecture.  We learned that early in the 20th century the Park hosted a couple of major international expositions which left several historical architectural landmarks.  Here are some our favorites:

 

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The next several days were primarily committed to researching and scheduling the final few weeks of our journey; a task that turned out to be much more difficult than we imagined.  We’ve been thinking we would visit Death Valley and Sequoia National Parks, maybe even the Grand Canyon, if we felt the weather would cooperate.  Then we decided the weather would not cooperate, and that staying in a warm climate was really starting to appeal to us.  Problem is, going to a warm climate really appeals to a lot of people, especially this winter.  So finding a place to stay for extended periods of time became the challenge. At first we thought about staying in San Diego, but moving to the Mission Bay / Mission Beach area.  So we found a couple of places that looked reasonable (on the internet) and got in the Old Home to go check them out. Yuk.  Back to the drawing board. Day two we decided to pack a lunch (yes, pickles) and walk a couple of miles of the Ocean Front Walk on Mission Beach to see the various properties and note the various rental agencies. Bottom line, the nice properties were either way too expensive or already reserved, and the affordable available properties were dumps.  It was getting depressing.

Ocean Front Walk on Mission Beach

Ocean Front Walk on Mission Beach

We finally decided to expand our search area and push our dates back a week…..success. So the plan, as it stands now, is to visit Tucson for a week (attend the Waste Management Open (PGA), Saguaro National Park, and I’m hoping to convince Robin to visit Tombstone), and then return to San Diego for a two-week stay in La Jolla (where we got real lucky and found a great place smack dab in the middle of La Jolla Village).  From there we will visit friends and relatives in LA, and then most likely call it a day and head for home (weather permitting maybe another park or two).

So feeling better with an itinerary and reservations set for the rest of the way, we got back to business, which on Wednesday meant Robin worked all day and I took the Old Home in for a scheduled servicing to San Diego Land Rover (hard to believe we’ve traveled 15K miles since Boston).

The loaner

The loaner

This time no problems, no issues.  Whew.

Thursday we walked to Little Italy and had a great lunch at Bencotto (thanks Ina).

The black pasta is squid ink tagleatelle!!

The black pasta is squid ink tagliatelle!!  Voted San Diego’s best pasta dish for 3 years.

And today we did a walking tour of the Gaslamp Quarter.  Even though we have been walking through the Gaslamp for almost 2 weeks now, we never really “looked” at the Gaslamp.  Turns out many of the buildings (Victorian) were built between the Civil war and WWI. This National Historic District covers over 16 blocks and today is mostly restaurants, bars and boutique hotels.  Here are just a few of our favorite buildings:

Horton Grand Hotel is really something.  Beautifully restored the inside is just as impressive as the outside.  Wyatt Erp lived here most of his 7 years in San Diego.

Horton Grand Hotel is really something. Beautifully restored, the inside is just as impressive as the outside. Wyatt Earp (OK Corral) lived here most of his 7 years in San Diego.

Built in 1888 as a brothel (no shortage of brothels in San Diego those days). When it was shut down in 1912, the 138 women (what) who were arrested were given a choice to either join the “Door of Hope” Charity and reform, or take a one-way train ride to LA. 136 went to LA (only to return a few days later), one was pronounced insane, and one became San Diego’s first telephone operator.

Old City Hall.  Built in 1874.  We like how the windows are different on each story.

Old City Hall. Built in 1874. We like how the windows are different on each story.

Ingle Building, 1906.  Now a Hard Rock Cafe, it has a really cool mural depicting deceased rock stars Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, John Lennon, Jim Morrison, and Elvis.

Ingle Building, 1906. Now a Hard Rock Cafe, it has a really cool mural depicting deceased rock stars Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, John Lennon, Jim Morrison, and Elvis.

Came home to watch the Warriors beat Cleveland and enjoy a great dinner prepared by Robin.

Salad with blackened salmon and barley lentil soup

Salad with blackened salmon and barley lentil soup

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1 Response to Pickles, Planning, and Pasta

  1. Nancy Cilenti says:

    Hi you two!! Happy New Year!! Loving your posts, as always, and really enjoying so many memories of the 6-year span I visited Jack and Bobby while they both attended San Diego State in 2001-2007… A couple of favorite restaurants that I hope you can try (if not now, then when you come back to stay in La Jolla)…Filippi’s at 1747 India Street in the heart of Little Italy. You walk through an old-world Italian deli to get to the back where the restaurant is…great Italian pasta dishes and pizza..from the ceiling hangs old Chianti bottles and the tablecloths are the red and white checkered type. My favorite restaurant (and the scene of many happy occasions while the boys were there and my Mom and Dad came down with me) is Trellis in the Town and Country Resort on Hotel Circle on I-8. Trellis (at least I hope it is still there) had live music and dancing on Friday and Saturday nights and EXCELLENT food. Many a happy meal at white tableclothed tables at the side of the dance floor…Jack would even take me for a spin…and his Grandma too! You must go there on a Friday or Saturday if you can! Have a wonderful safe trip and we will see you when you get back to San Ramon!!

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