SD with the Bestie

SD with the Bestie

E has now left the country, and while I’m going to miss her company so much, I definitely wanted to spend some stress-free time with her before she left. Hence, a weekend trip to San Diego was in order.

She’d been wanting to go there for a while, so I was glad we were able to make it happen. Since I had my sister’s car until the 26th, I was able to drive us down without having to worry about public transit.

It was about a 2.5 hour drive, and we made it into the area around noon. We tried setting our sights for the Point Loma Lighthouse, but ended up just north at a veterans’ memorial.

Views from the memorial // an old-school ship with sails in the disance
Views from the memorial // an old-school ship with sails in the distance

A local who was walking around told us that the lighthouse was actually a little bit west of our current location, so we decided to get back in the car and drive closer. We ended up the entrance to the Cabrillo National Monument, but had to turn around since their credit card machiene wasn’t working and we didn’t have cash in $5, $10, or $20 denominations. The sign outside stated they accepted cash and credit so we thought it was unfair, but we moved on.

Old Townj, San Diego
Old Town, San Diego

Instead, we drove into town from the coast, and found ourselves in Old Town SD, a huge market that housed a collection of street vendors, gift shops, and restaurants. E did some souvenir and gift shopping, but eventually we both were hungry enough to sit down to a late lunch.

Old Town SD Shopping
Old Town SD Shopping

Many of the restaurants featured Mexican cuisine, so we hopped on over to Miguel’s Cocina which was at the corner of a block we were approaching.

Miguel’s Cocina

After informing the waitress we were vegetarians, we were advised not to have their queso dip since it was cooked with chicken broth. As a result, we munched on complimentary chips and salsa. We even got complimentary guacamole since we couldn’t have the queso…score! Haha.

Lunch Spread
Lunch Spread

Between the two of us, we had fresh fajita veggies, veggie enchiladas, beans, and rice. It was all flavorful and delicious, but also quite filling. To-go boxes were pretty much mandatory for us.

After lunch, I asked E where to next. Most of the museums and exhibits were closing soon, so maybe something in nature (and that was free) made the most sense.

We drove back to the coast, this time to Sunset Cliffs Natural Park.

Sunset Cliffs
Sunset Cliffs

Our timing was impeccable, and the views were perfect as the sun was setting.

Gorgeous views
Gorgeous views

E mentioned out loud that it would be the perfect place for a guy to propose. Someone overheard this and couldn’t help but speak out in agreement.

Rocky Shores
Rocky Shores

I was feeling super tired, so we decided to call it a day after walking around and checked in at our hotel. After getting settled in, E went to town with getting my make-up done (for fun) and we tried to watch a movie without falling asleep in the middle of it. Then we talked until we were completely exhausted and fell asleep, like the typical twelve-year-olds at a sleepover we were, haha 😉


We took our time getting ready the next morning, and beat the crowd to the free breakfast downstairs.

At around 10am, we took off for downtown.

Downtown SD
Downtown SD

Honestly, there’s not much to see in downtown…or in SD in general. I’ll admit that I probably wouldn’t be the best person to hire to advocate for SD, as I find it a pretty boring city to begin with. It’s like a beautiful and sunny San Francisco, and yeah, maybe a good place to work, raise a family, or retire, but to me? It’s just too boring, haha 😛 !

E did some more shopping, picked up some gift bags at CVS. and then we were off to our next location—the San Diego Botanic Garden, that was actually located in Encinitas.

San Diego Botanic Garden
San Diego Botanic Garden

Again if I’m being honest, the visit was a waste for us So Cal residents. Many of the plants featured in the garden could be seen all over the southern region of Cali, and I even recognized some from our campus! Still, it was an entertaining walk, and we found intriguing items like this Alphabet Garden:

'Stop and Smell' Alphabet Garden
‘Stop and Smell’ Alphabet Garden

P was for Pomegranate and E was for Elephant’s Foot, LOL!

After that little trek, we slowly headed back north to LA. We did make a stop in Newport Beach, I guess because we didn’t have our fill of ocean views??

Newport Beach
Newport Beach

These piers start to look the same after awhile, but the ocean views never get old. We walked for a bit and then made our way back to the car. It literally felt like a warm summer day and I had to turn on the A/C when we got back in the car…and it was Christmas Eve, what even is this weather?

After I dropped E off, all I wanted to do was sleep! I was still in active recovery mode so no runs were on the schedule. I was able to turn in early for the night, and sleep for most of Christmas Day after a long morning walk. It was definitely a sweet weekend with one of my dearest friends, and—I’ll make sure of it—many more adventures to come.

What was your Christmas weekend like?

Miguel's Cocina Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Making Time for the Good Stuff

Making Time for the Good Stuff

May may (haha) be flying by in hyperactive speed, but at least I got to spend the second weekend of this month with my dad at home in LA! He knew that it would be impossible for me to make it up to Nor Cal after classes finished, since I’ve got a lot of lab work keeping me busy. But luckily for the both of us, he was able to come down for the weekend prior to his business trip stay. 

This particular weekend began with a walk to lab to fulfill my morning experiment duties, but I scheduled it so that I would be finished by noon and available to let my Dad into my apartment complex. He came bearing my favorites—discount Grocery Outlet yogurts, deeply discounted nut butters, and a gargantuan jar of coconut oil that was apparently only ten bucks!! 

We then decided to head over to the California Science Center in Expo Park to check out the Endeavour space shuttle, among other things. 

 The Endeavour at the California Science Center.
The Endeavour at the California Science Center.

While I was taking this panoramic shot with my phone, one of the museum employees walked over to me:

panorama endeabor

At first it was awkward because he was just staring as I was slowly moving my phone sideways, and I quickly defended myself saying “oh, I was just taking a picture of the surroundings, not you!”, but he ended up being pleased that I was “taking interest” with the exhibit. He stopped to chat with me and my dad for a little bit, and from our conversation I learned that his name was Joe. He pulled out some samples from his jacket of different materials used in the construction of the shuttle, and gave us some “insider information”, but he was actually more impressed by how much my dad knew about everything he was talking about. It was still nice to be able to stumble into a conversation with someone who was especially trained to provide information about the exhibit!

We were at the museum for about 2.5 hours, and decided to walk over to the nearest Starbucks for a late afternoon latte. My legs and feet were dying to get some rest, since I was on them since the early hours of the morning! We sat outside and enjoyed our warm coffee before heading out to dinner. Since my dad had a car, we drove over over to My Vegan Gold near Silver Lake. 


Even though it was after 6PM, the setting outside still had a sunny and bright “it-feels-like-3PM” feeling to it. This caused the interior of the restaurant to be illuminated in a pretty way:

 I love the brick wall and 'Veganism' statement :)
I love the brick wall and ‘Veganism’ statement 🙂

The restaurant wasn’t packed on this Saturday evening, so we had our pick when it came to finding a table. We found one near a window at the center of the restaurant, and once we were situated, tried to figure out the best thing to order off the menu.

To start off, we had the Thai “Beef” Jerky (soy protein), which was cut into strips and sauteed with jerky sauce and coriander seeds. It also came with lettuce romaine leaves to make wraps!

Thai Beef Jerky Sauteed soy protein marinated with jerky sauce and coriander seed serve with romaine heart

My dish was this spicy jackfruit plate, which featured shredded jackfruit that was most definitely spicy, and veggies stir-fried in a cornstarch-based sauce on the side. It also came with a side of sticky rice, which was great for mopping up extra sauce on the plate!

spicy jackfruit - sauce, garlic, onion, spice, with sticky rice and veggies

I forgot what my Dad had (and obviously forgot to take pics…), but I do remember having some of what he ordered, haha!

For the remainder of the evening, we drove to the nearest Sprouts for some groceries (one of the reasons I love it when people visit me and they HAVE a car!!), and then crashed back at the apartment. I went to sleep early since I had a long run/lab duties on the schedule the next day…

On Sunday after my long run and lab duties, I was free when the clock struck noon once again! I was able to schedule a room viewing for the afternoon, and I guess the timing was all-around perfect since Dad was in town! Unfortunately, I don’t see myself living in the housing that we saw, and so even though it was back to the drawing board for potential housing options for next year, I was glad to be able to scratch something off my list!

At around late afternoon, Dad needed a nap so we drove to the nearest Ralph’s. He slept in the parking lot while I treated myself to another B&J’s core—ever since that Speculoos flavor, I’m now on an unofficial “quest” to try all. the. cores.


And Boom Chocolatta? Massive flavor explosion—in an extremely good way.

I mean…mocha and caramel ice cream, with cookie bits mixed in and a chocolate cookie core. It was totally worth all the stares I got when I ate this outside at a table near the parking lot. 

 Give me the fudge!
Give me the fudge!

When my dad woke up from the much-needed rest, we made a few stops to pick up some random items like nail clippers and Truvia, but were on the road a little after 5PM headed towards Costa Mesa.

Dinner tonight was  Native Foods at The Camp!

the camp costa mesa

The Costa Mesa location is one that is near & dear to my heart. It was where I experienced the glory that is Native Foods for the very first time…almost three years ago!!

NF Costa Mesa

Since it was Mother’s Day Weekend, they had a special ‘spring wellington’ dish being made and served. My craving for the native nuevo nachos was at an all-time high, so I went with that while my Dad volunteered himself to be the adventurous one from the both of us and try the wellington.

Even though we had to sit outside since pretty much all the booths were full on the inside, we were able to enjoy the sunshine and cool breeze drifting in from the nearby ocean. And once our food came out, it didn’t matter where we were because all attention was focused towards what was ’bout to be chowed down!

native nuevo nachos after my own heart

I guess the nachos have shrunk in size compared to the dinner portion that was served at my last visit to this location three years ago, but it only made me appreciate my dish even more.

The spring wellington was brought out with good presentation, but the promotional poster didn’t reflect the portion size on the plate (in other words, where is the rest of the wellington…certainly not underneath that humble pile of spring veggies…)

spring wellington

We left The Camp soon after finishing up dinner since nothing much was going on, and drove over to Newport Beach to catch a look at the ocean before driving back to the city.


The temperature was beginning to cool down, and the breeze was picking up in strength, but the view couldn’t be beat.


On a Sunday evening, when the sun is thinking about starting to set, where would you want to be?


The sand was so pristine, and there was barely anyone walking around except for a few locals with dogs in tow. It definitely put Santa Monica—and even Manhattan Beach—to shame 😉

The timing for everything was just right in this weekend. Despite racking up certain responsibilities and being tied down by commitments, I was fortunate enough and grateful to be able to see my dad in the midst of all this exciting chaos! This fun and playful weekend was exactly what I needed to prepare for (and make through!) the following week.

Do you like taking enjoying nature in quiet or busy settings?

My Vegan Gold on UrbanspoonNative Foods Cafe on Urbanspoon

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