Friends Revisited

Last Friday we were very excited to welcome our friends Al and Janie Murow to San Diego. The Murows traveled with us at the very start of our journey (Rancho Mirage, Sedona, and Scottsdale) and took us into their Omaha home for a few days last September. We always have a great time with Al and Janie and this visit was no exception….starting with a great dinner at Garage Kitchen & Bar in the Gaslamp District (forgot pictures…ugh).

After going for our morning runs and walks, we set off for a trip to Coronado.  Our intention was to catch the ferry across the harbor to visit “The Del”, the locals nickname for the famous Hotel Del Coronado.  Unfortunately we missed  the ferry (leaves on the hour, every hour) by a few minutes so we decided instead to walk to little Italy for lunch where we found Ironside, a cute little restaurant with piranha head wall paper.

Janie & Al with the Piranhas


Salads and some kind of egg sandwich

Post meal, we returned to the Embarcadero and caught the 2 o’clock ferry to Coronado.



The plan to was mosey over to the hotel from the ferry, maybe rent bikes, or just enjoy the scenery (and a few cocktails) from the hotel bar.  I’m not sure why we thought the hotel was on the bay side (facing downtown San Diego) of the Island (technically a peninsula connected to the mainland by an isthmus) near the ferry landing, because it was nowhere near us.  So, another opportunity for a nice long walk was presented and we took it!  The walk was mostly down Orange Avenue which passes through the historic downtown before finally ending near The Del.

The Del

The Del

The Hotel was built in 1888 and remains an iconic beautiful beachside wooden Victorian luxury resort (that about sums it up).  We strolled the grounds, used the facilities, and headed back to the ferry….but not before stopping at MooTime Creamery for some great ice cream.



Downtown SD from Coronado Ferry Landing

Downtown SD from Coronado Ferry Landing

After a nice ferry ride back to downtown, we decided to stop for sushi at Sushi Lounge on Market and then back to the apartment to call it a day.


So, morning workout, walk to little Italy, walk to the Embarcadero, walk to The Del, walk back to the ferry, walk to downtown for dinner and then home……..13 plus miles!  Ended the day with three Advil and a really good nights sleep.

Woke up the next day very hungry.  Robin had come across a place called The Mission Restaurant on one of her walks and guided us there for  breakfast.  Nice job Rob!

Breakfast at the Mission

Breakfast at The Mission

After our big breakfast we visited Balboa Park so we could attend the weekly organ concert at Speckles Organ Pavillion.  The Speckles organ is the world’s second largest outdoor pipe organ with approximately 4,500 pipes (soon to be 5,000 making it number 1).  It has been in the Pavillion for just over 100 years.  We thoroughly enjoyed the concert by Dr. Carol Williams and highly recommend attendance for anyone visiting San Diego on a Sunday afternoon.


Finished the day at Lotus Thai Cuisine for another great dinner.

Green Curry Chicken

Green Curry Chicken

Monday we did a walking tour of the beautiful La Jolla coast, visiting the various coves and parks.




We found the historic La Valencia Hotel too irresistable to pass up for lunch.  Rumor is that Greta Garbo, Lon Chaney and Charley Chaplin were once frequent visitors.

Lunch at La Velencia

Lunch at La Valencia

Tuesday was a workout and movie day.  We saw The Wedding Ringer, starring Kevin Hart and Josh Gad.  It hasn’t received great reviews…..and we were literally the only 4 people in the entire theatre….but we thought it was very funny and entertaining.

We had a private viewing

We had a private viewing

From there we walked to little Italy for a very filling dinner at Bencotto, then off to My Yogurt so Robin could get her fix.

Sadly Wednesday was our last day with Janie and Al; but we had time for one more  big meal so off we went to Old Town for Mexican.



Thanks again Murows for joining us in San Diego.  It was perfect having you guys at the beginning of our trip, and then again in the final stages.  We had our usual great time and are already looking forward to our next trip.


Although Wednesday marked the departure of the Murows, we were not left alone for long as we were joined by our friends Bonnie and Peter Landini on Thursday.  Bonnie and Peter were also meeting us for the second time on our trip as we celebrated Mardi Gras together in New Orleans last March.

We started our Landini tour by going to see American Sniper followed by dinner (no surprise there) at Cafe 21 where I had a most unusual Bloody Mary…..really more of an appetizer/cocktail……including a couple of tiny grilled cheese sandwiches!


Dinner at Ironside

Dinner at Cafe 21

Friday was spent at the famous San Diego Zoo.  We have been to this zoo a couple of times over the years but this particular visit had a few special unexpected treats for us.  First, a couple of monkeys escaped their new enclosure so we witnessed the Zoo’s finest chase the poor things from tree to tree, fence to fence.  The event was also a top San Diego news story that night.

Anyone see a stray monkey?

Anyone see a stray monkey?

We learned that when an animal escapes (guess this happens fairly often), the rest of the animals are “taken off exhibit”, so we had to wait until the scamps were apprehended before we could visit the Pandas.


Being a relatively cool day the big cats were out of their indoor accommodations and easily seen.

IMG_4972 IMG_5384

The Polar Bears were especially frisky (see YouTube video at end of post).



Late in the day we decided to take a bus tour of the Zoo.  Lucky for us, our driver turned out to be a fairly well know local comedian named Chris Clobber….aka the Zoo Man.  He is best known for his animal impersonations, which he gladly performed for us throughout the tour (and much to the dismay to unsuspecting patrons walking in front of our bus). Apparently he also makes a living impersonating jungle animals for movies…….so next time you hear an elephant or lion or Kookaburra sounding off in a movie, think Chris Clobber!   Here are a few more of our favorite zoo pictures:

IMG_5396 IMG_5008








Saturday we took the Landini’s to The Mission for another delicious breakfast before embarking on a walking tour of the waterfront and downtown.   We then headed off to La Jolla where we hiked down 150 steps through a narrow tunnel to Sunny Jim’s Sea Cave. Peter, who is 6′ 4″, really enjoyed the climb down the tunnel.




Finished another great day with dinner at Parma Cucina Italiana in the Hillcrest neighborhood followed by another great movie (we are almost ready for the Oscars), The Imitation Game.  


In an effort to empty the frig before leaving SD tomorrow, Robin made all of us omelettes this morning.  In an effort to further empty the frig, Robin also made us Bloody Mary’s early this afternoon.  I really should have taken some pictures.  The Bloody Mary’s with half-sour pickle spears looked and tasted really good.

Before taking Bonnie and Peter to the airport, we had time for just one more filling meal, so we walked down to Little Italy for pizza at Monello.  Of course we had to stop and take a picture of the Landini’s in front of Landini’s!


Lunch at Monello's

Lunch at Monello’s

Thanks again Bonnie and Peter for joining us on our journey.  We had a great time and look forward to getting together back home.

OK, time to pack up the place and head to Tucson!




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