Sunday, February 21, 2016

Pannikin, Chop Suey and a Mechanical Bull

On weekends, one of our local favorites for breakfast is the Pannikin inside the old Encinitas Train Station. Built in 1888, the historic building was moved down the road to its current spot in the 1970s after the station was retired. Tori and I enjoy walking along the North Coast Highway 101 to the coffee house for their pastries and delicious quiches. There is almost always a long line out front, but we always seem to easily find a table.

In the afternoon, Kenny and Jill invited us to go to a Roller Derby bout in Downtown San Diego. Since we were starving, we all went for dinner at Peking Chop Suey in North Park first. I really love their Cantonese-style Fried Rice, it closely resembles my favorite childhood dish from the Chinese Dragon in Leucadia. Ever since that restaurant closed down in the 90s, I have struggled to find a restaurant that can match it in taste. Kenny and Jill ordered the Chop Suey and Egg Foo Young while Tori really enjoyed her Lo Mein with chicken.

Since our dinner ran long, we ended up missing most of the Roller Derby bout so we decided to walk over to the Gaslamp Quarter instead. (Tommy joined us after arriving from Arizona to audition for a show at the San Diego Zoo.) Inside the Double Deuce we watched many people riding the mechanical bull before I convinced Tori to take a turn. Before we met, she had won a bull riding contest at this same bar and I wanted a chance to see her in action. She did great! She took two turns and they both lasted almost a minute. After cruising around the busy Gaslamp for a bit, we stopped at Ghirardelli's Chocolate to share a brownie sundae before heading home.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Valentine's Weekend (Chicken Pot Pie, High Tide and Wild Note Cafe)

Tori and I had a relaxing Valentine's weekend. Saturday morning, we went to Betty's Pie Whole Saloon for their delicious chicken pot pies as well as taking some desert pies home for later.

It was such a beautiful sunny day, we walked along the shore at high tide to Moonlight Beach and did some shopping in Downtown Encinitas. Before heading back we stopped at Solace and the Moonlight Lounge for drinks (Pim's Cup) and an appetizer (Cheddar and Chive Biscuits with Orange Honey Butter and Tomato Jam). Both were great! After watching a movie at home, we went down the road for dinner at Fish 101 for poke and shrimp tacos. There is always a long line outside when we drive past, but the wait is never bad.

Sunday, we went to the small park above Swami's Beach for AcroYoga. It was another day of heavy surf and the big lefts were continuously rolling around the point. Our friend, Federica, joined us and we helped her learn some of the basic positions. I have decided to start learning more arm-basing poses so Tori and I can still have fun while I am rehabbing my hip.

For our Valentine's Day dinner, Tori and I went to the Wild Note Cafe at the Belly Up. We loved the avocado-ranchero sauce that came with our Tequila Chicken Spring Rolls. I am also glad I ordered the Beef Albondigas, a Mexican meatball soup that was so hearty and flavorful. I will definitely order it next time. For our main courses, Tori ordered the Tandoori Chicken and I had the Filet Medallions. At the end, they gave us chocolate-covered strawberries as a special treat.

Monday, February 08, 2016

Balboa Park - Japanese Friendship Garden

Since Tori and I were down in San Diego for my sports therapy massage, we invited Jill and Kenny to go to the Hash House a Go Go afterwards. I ordered the Andy's Sage Fried Chicken Benedict. OMG! The portions were humongous! I really enjoyed the chicken and the mashed potatoes covered with chipotle cream but it was way too much for me to eat. Kenny and Jill had the same thing but they were smart to share one order between themselves. Afterwards, we all decided to go for a walk through Balboa Park to help digest our meal. Kenny mentioned that the Japanese Friendship Garden had finished its recent expansion last year so we paid the $8 dollar admission to check it out.

I had never visited the Japanese Friendship Garden which opened in 1991 in cooperation with San Diego's sister city, Yokohama, Japan and later expanded in 1999. The third phase was completed last year for the centennial celebration of the 1915 Panama-California Exposition where the original Japanese Tea Pavilion stood for forty years. After we admired the Koi Pond and Bonsai Tree collection in the Upper Garden, we descended into the newly landscaped canyon of the Lower Garden. This new expansion was my favorite part, the winding trails passing through groves of flowering trees and circling the picturesque creek crossed by bridges and stepping stone paths.

The wooden decks of the new Inamori Pavilion hung over the lower pond filled with giant Koi imported from Japan. According to our map, a new children's area will be completed next year beyond the pavilion. I am glad I finally got a chance to visit the garden, it was a beautiful day. At the bottom is a panoramic shot of the Lower Garden Canyon.