thursday things – we went to san francisco!

san fran bridge

I totally typed up a post for Thursday Things last week, then I got onto a plane and flew to California and woke up Thursday morning and instead of hitting “Publish” I got into a car and drove from San Francisco to Napa and forgot all about my Thursday Things post. So sorry, guys. Really.   Continue reading

thursday things: we went to san diego

san diego sea set

We went to San Diego.

Where the sunsets are gorgeous, even when the clouds are rolling in.

birds of paradise

And even the plants are better.

Seriously, my dad spent YEARS of his life babying a bird of paradise plant at home, and  I never once saw it flower like this.  These plants are everywhere.

We spent a week living within walking-distance of the beach.  It was amazing.

aaron

We imagined what life would be like if we lived there.  And didn’t have to go to work.  We could just bum around the beach all day and leisurely stroll from store to store.

In Phoenix, everything is brown and the sprawling city is not very walkable.  In La Jolla, it is the opposite.  There were a bajillion restaurants, cafes, and shops all within a few minutes walk.

We enjoyed this view with our Easter brunch.

easter brunch

We walked around a lot.

We walked around a lot more.

We went to the Birch Aquarium and saw lots of jellyfish and seahorses.

jellyfish

We watched them feed the sharks.  We took a lot of pictures.

And I took pictures of the BF taking pictures.

aaron san diego

We went to the famous San Diego Zoo, where I got to see one of my favorite animals, the adorably sleepy red panda.

redpanda

We did the “backstage pass” where we got to watch spotted leopards frolic, and howl with a wolf.  Which caused an extreme desire to find a way to acquire one for myself.  There is no way those things could be even a tiny bit vicious.  I don’t see it.

We also got to get up close and personal with a rhino and a zebra.  I touched a bearcat (did you know they smell like popcorn?), and stood (kinda) next to this cheetah.

cheetah

Apparently it’s too dangerous to let you stand right next to her.

Or to hug her.  Snuggles were definitely out of the question.  I bet she likes snuggles.

BF and I also decided, officially, that the “Giant Panda” is a stupid and gross animal.  Look at him, he’s just a mess.

giant panda

Go home, Panda, you look drunk.

We spent a day wandering around Balboa Park as well, which is filled with beautiful gardens and like a bajillion museums.  We went to the SD Museum of Natural History, which advertises with pictures of dino bones.  We did see some dino bones.

trex

But they are right in the entrance and the only ones they have.  I would say it was probably the worst museum I’ve ever been to, which I mean in the least offensive way possible.  It’s not horrible, it’s just super small and there isn’t a lot to see.

So, yeah, save your money on that one.

And now… what we ate.

Our first night there, we ate at La Taverna.   If you follow on Instagram you may have seen these.

meatballs

We shared the “tiny meatballs with crostini” appetizer, Aaron got gnocchi, and I got pasta al pomodoro fresco.  All of it was delicious.

We took a cue from Serious Eats and checked out the burger at Nine Ten.

nine ten burger

The burger was pretty dang good, but the rest of it, not so great.  Service wasn’t that amazing and the restaurant was filled with old people.  Like, 70+ years old “old people”… then again, could’ve been an off day I guess.

cucnia urbana

We also checked out Cucina Urbana where I got a meatball pizza, BF got a sandwich of some sort.  I really dug the ambiance, and the food was pretty amazing too.  I would love to try their drinks, but I think a cocktail midday is probably frowned upon… even though it was vacation.  Next time we go to San Diego we will definitely be going there again.   I’ve heard good things about their desserts as well.

We had breakfast at The Cottage, walking distance from where we were staying.  I got lemon ricotta pancakes, BF got eggs benny, and the biggest latte in all the land.

pancakes the cottage

We also ate at Prepkitchen, where we had a pretty stellar charcuterie plate, some tasty patatas bravas, and there were probably a few other items…

prepkitchen

In summation…

We are already trying to figure out when we can go back, and where to stay… and fantasizing about living there… no big deal…

seal

So, if you’re planning a vacation, here’s what we did and where we ate.

What we did: 

Where we ate: 

thursday things

I’ve been in Wisconsin this week for work and I got to enjoy the first snowfall.  It didn’t stick, of course, but I still got to wake up and see snow outside.  Which is something I haven’t seen in a long time (and probably won’t see again for quite some time).

One of our events took place at the Kohler Design Center, and I couldn’t believe all the different designs of bathroom and kitchen decor that they had.  I think my favorite part was the giant wall of toilets, possibly because of the giant Grecian statues that were also on the wall, as though they were there to showcase the toilets.  I mean, toilets are nice, but I think I’d rather take one of those statues… 😉

I’ve never eaten so much in my life.  Every two hours we have a new buffet spread to choose from, then I sit through some classes and then two hours later, it starts all over again.  I don’t think I’ve ever spent such a large portion of my day so painfully full before.  It’s gotta be some kind of record.

Onto other things…

Traveling is a lot of fun.  It’s like gambling.  You get to stress out and deprive yourself of sleep and pack yourself into close quarters with complete strangers and just hope against hope that your immune system is strong enough that you don’t end up catching something terrible by the time you get back home.  I saw a grown man cough directly into the beverage cooler in the airport gift shop.  I then decided it was probably a good idea to purchase some Emergen-C.  I don’t care if it’s all hype. Here’s to hoping I don’t die of SARS or the plague or something…

If I do get sick, I’m pretty sure this soup from Motiva Beaucoup will easily nurse me back to health.  It looks so good I might just make it when I get home.  I’m sure I could freeze the leftovers, that way it will already be ready for me if sickness strikes.

On the up-side, I got to check out the new Sky Mall…  Looking over someone’s shoulder of course.  I’m not touching that thing.  I’m glad I got to see it though, or else I would have missed this amazing gift.  I know what I’m getting the BF for Christmas…

For the low, low price of $49.00 plus shipping and handling??  How could you possibly pass up a steal like that?!

This link about the health benefits of coffee makes me feel much better about the amount of coffee I have been consuming since I arrived in Wisconsin.  Or, ya know, since I was old enough to enjoy coffee.  But especially since I got here.  It’s only one hour time difference but you would be surprised how exhausting it is to eat and learn all day long.

Also, I saw this book in the chocolate shop at our hotel and almost died laughing.

Just saying…  Maybe they should have looked at it in print before really committing to the name.

Last but not least, I just had to share this tip since my mind was medium blown.  I know that ice cream season is long gone for a lot of you, but did you know that you can make any ice cream recipe dairy free with coconut milk?   Thanks to one of my favorite blogs, kitchen simplicity, now you do!

Speaking of minds being blown, you may not have seen this on my Facebook update.  I recently learned that a very small percentage of my Facebook fans actually receive my updates.  If you want to make sure that you never miss an update (or miss less of them) you will want to make sure you go to the Wee Eats Facebook page, hover over the “liked” button, and select “Show in News Feed”.

If you’re still having a hard time seeing page updates, you can click the drop down arrow in the top right of the page and select “Add to Interest Lists”.  You can do this with all your favorite pages, it basically just lets you make your own list of the pages that you want to see updates from.  Of course, you then have to use those lists to see the actual updates. If you want to use that route, you can read the nitty gritty here.

Sorry, I digress, the moral of the story is, even if you follow me on Facebook, you may have missed the amazing factoid I learned last week, so let me show it to you here!  Err, there (look below!)

thursday things

This Thursday Things comes to you 21,813 feet in the air!

My vacation officially starts today. No work for the next 13 days! I couldn’t be more excited. I’m en route to Boston for a whirlwind weekend of bakery treats, lobster rolls, and whatever else BFF and I can stuff into our bellies. My main goal: Flour Bakery. I’ve made her famous sticky buns before, but I’m sure the real deal is infinity better. If anyone’s been to Boston, feel free to recommend a few places to check out in the comments below!

After that, I head to Michigan/Ohio to see my family for about a week and then it’s back to the desert. Hopefully BF can survive without me for that long, I left behind some frozen food for him, but I’m sure he will just eat out every day anyway… Boys.

BF took me on a pre-vacation getaway over the weekend to Sedona. We went up to watch the Perseid meteor shower but really I’ll take any excuse to get out of the valley. Turns out there was a crazy dust storm on the night we were up there so that made me even happier that we weren’t home. If you’ve never seen a dust storm, they look like this.

We had a pretty awesome view from our hotel, ate some surprisingly good BBQ over at Red Rock BBQ, and despite a day full of clouds, the sky cleared up in time for BF and I to catch some amazing views of the meteor shower from atop Airport Mesa. All in all, a pretty awesome weekend, if you ask me.

Oh, and I met a leaf bug. He was guarding the door to our hotel room. Isn’t he the cutest guard ever? Isn’t he?? I caught him in his power stance and used the opportunity to make him look super hardcore. He’s fierce.

In other news, our cats are both completely bonkers. Yes, she is upside down. No it’s not the picture .Her new favorite activity is running in circles upside down on the cat post… Don’t ask me why. Wish I’d caught a pic of her falling off, which is always equally, if not more, hilarious. Though I love her crazy eyes in this one.

The oh-so-sweet Shannon over at A Periodic Table awarded me her “Versatile Blogger” Award. Shannon and I met through our various Serious Eats: Sweets features, her beautiful blog helped to guide me through my Momofuku Cornflake Cookie journey, and now that (thanks to the BF and tireless searching on the interwebs) I have finally acquired malt powder, I fully intend to thank her by stealing her pretzel ice cream recipe. Once I”m back home, of course.

We can’t end today’s post without mentioning that yesterday was Julia Child’s 100th birthday (or would have been, had she lived to be 100). Did you know that 573 pounds of butter were used on her show “Baking with Julia”? Which makes sense when you remember her famous quote, “If you’re afraid of butter, use cream.” If you have time, check out Julia’s 10 Essential Cooking Tips.

O-H

Apologies in advance – WP and/or my browser are having a few … issues … today. So some of the pictures are blurry, some of the formatting may be off, just wanted to get it DONE and posted :)

Once upon a time ago, this blog began as a way to chronicle a trip that BFF and I made to NYC. In that spirit, I suppose it’s only fitting to provide you with our food guide to Columbus, which is a trip I try to make at least once a year. It’s not necessarily a “best of” Columbus, but definitely my/our favorite places to eat. So if you ever find yourself in that area of Ohio, you’ll know what’s worth stopping for. Even if it is going to torrential downpour during your entire trip. Come to think of it, it rained for the entire NYC trip too… hmmmmmmmm. [ WARNING: All of these pics are phone-cam ]

the birthday girl –
Except that one… stole that one from my sissy.
 
Let’s start at the beginning – We started off the trip in Toledo celebrating my niece’s 7th birthday. Honestly, it had been so long since I saw my nieces and nephews I kinda thought they wouldn’t even remember me. They may not have at first… but they warmed up pretty fast. I guess that’s what counts, right?
 
There was a slight hitch in my plans to head to Columbus, caused by some random delinquent throwing a giant rock through the back window of my rental car. WHO DOES THAT? Seriously! Of course I didn’t have the rental insurance… I mean, honestly, who buys that anyway?
 
It should be covered by the credit card I used to rent it… but still. It was a bit of an ordeal to swap cars out. I taped up the window totally ready to run my errands without a back window and worry about it later, but every little bump I hit caused more glass to shatter… if you’ve ever driven in or around Toledo, OH (or anywhere in Michigan/Ohio), then you will know that the roads are a little bit bumpy… just a bit… 
 
After driving all over town in a busted up rental car, to more than one rental car location, I finally found a location that was able to switch the car out for me.Side note – why can’t anyone at Budget ever answer their phones? Is there a reason only one person is ever working at any location at any given point in time? Can they really not afford to have a second person on staff? Really?? What happened to customer service? That’s a whole separate rant altogether… let’s move on to the more delicious side of life, shall we?
 
Mmm, pancakes.
 
I got into Columbus late Tuesday night, so my first official food stop was the following morning for my Cloud 9 pancakes and BFF’s favorite Prosciutto & Poached Eggs at Northstar Cafe. We hit the one in Easton (the prosciutto/eggs isn’t available at the one near campus). The pancakes are so fluffy I could die, and come adorned with sliced fresh bananas.
 
If you’re looking for something more savory, the prosciutto and poached eggs come on garlicky rosemary focaccia with arugula…. oh, and it’s amazing. Seriously. So good.If you find yourself at a Northstar that does not have the prosciutto & eggs, feel free to give the frittata a try. I don’t think you’ll be sorry.
For lunch, even if you’re not a fan of veggie burgers in general, Northstar’s veggie burger will change your life. Even the fiercest carnivore’s mind will be blown at the awesomeness that is the “Norhtstar (veggie) Burger”. Somehow, their regular burger is EVEN BETTER (also not available at the campus location – but if you’re being touristy, you’d probably rather be in the Easton area anyway).
 
If we’re still in breakfast mode here, Pattycake Bakery has sticky buns that will make your knees buckle. Unfortunately, they’re only available on Saturdays, so I missed them this trip. No worries, though, I still found $20 of baked goods to take back home – including my favorite sugar cookies in the whole world, a classic whoopie pie, and peanut butter cake ball… No big deal…pic from pattycakeveganbakery.com 

pic from pattycakeveganbakery.com

Lingering on baked goods for a little while longer, let’s discuss the french macaron shall we? Are you all familiar with these wonderful little pastries? The cookies are basically made out of almonds (or pistachios, or another nut), sugar, and egg white, then you put a buttercream or ganache in the middle and voila – bite-size happiness. Your place to find these, and other Parisian delights, is Pistacia Vera.so nice of it to stop raining long enough for me to take this picture…

In addition to macarons, they also have a variety of tarts, nougats, croissants, pain au chocolate, and palmiers. But you must try a macaron. Must. Let’s revel in their splendor a moment, shall we?

Are you reveling?

Despite that it was cold and rainy my whole trip, I still had to stop at Jeni’s and try all the flavors. If you’ve been around awhile, you’re already familiar with my deep-seeded love for Jeni’s.

My top 3 are, of course, salty caramel, buckeye state, and askinosie chocolate. Feel free to sample them all, they don’t mind. I am pretty sure I sample all of the flavors every time I go, otherwise how could you possibly make an educated guess about which to choose? I did learn for the first time on this trip that I can sample the ice cream sandwiches too, which I did not know. So of course I had to sample those as well.

Below are: Salty caramel, dark chocolate, and buckeye state for me (in back). Cherry lambic, vanilla bean, and lemon yogurt for BFF (in front – since she took the picture) :)

I know there is more to eat in life than breakfast and dessert (besides a Northstar burger), but if I cram all of that into one post it will be too big to read… Assuming it isn’t already too big to read…

 So, TO BE CONTINUED….