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
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 😉

Cozy
Cozy

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

 

Getting Ready

Getting Ready

It’s hard to believe that within a week, I will be living on my own for the first time. I commuted as an undergrad, and even though I did spend my first year in the dorms, I came home almost every weekend without doubt. Seeing as I will now be about 7 hours away, that’s not going to be possible.

But that’s okay. I’ve been waiting for this transition—for this time to stand on my own two feet (as cliche as it may sound)—for quite some time now. It’s just hard to believe that all this waiting is coming to a close and that it is finally happening.

My Dad and I had to fly down for my program’s orientation last week (he for business), so that also gave me a good opportunity to check in on my apartment and get some other errands done. The orientation was in the morning, and I was out by early afternoon. I was able to cool off with a chilly find from Sprouts as a snack.

Artic Zero Sea Salt Caramel

One of the newer flavors of Artic Zero—Sea Salt Caramel 🙂 ! It was so scorching outside and in the car, so this was a great way to cool off on the way to the hotel. I also think this is my new favorite flavor, since it actually tastes like a caramel fudgesicle, if not ice cream. 

After checking into the hotel, I spent some time resting up before we decided to head out to some place local for dinner, since driving in LA traffic didn’t seem like something my Dad and I both felt like doing. Finding some fresh and filling food was not a problem, however, since Natural Selection was only 5 minutes away from the hotel.

Outdoorz

The restaurant itself was located in a small space, but inside decor was beautiful.

SAMSUNG

indoors

The ceiling was my favorite part—it’s raining fruits 🙂 !

SAMSUNG

There was a menu on the wall, but I already knew what I wanted since I had taken a look at their menu online prior to heading out.

SAMSUNG

We found a spot to sit at near the front window, and on the wall across from us were some picture collages of organic food/local farm produce logos cut out from boxes.

Wall Decor

After about ten minutes, my Dad’s drink came out: a strawberry-kiwi all-natural juice. It definitely tasted like the fruits were freshly-pressed, but it was a bit watery for my taste.

SAMSUNG

Soon after the drink came out, our plates arrived. I tackled my Hawaiian Burger with a knife and fork. The pineapple ring was what classified this burger as Hawaiian I suppose, but overall it was a tasty burger. I especially liked the teriyaki/yogurt mayo combo (and adding siracha helped with the flavor too)!!

Hawaiian Burger - Veggie or turkey patty, jack cheese, grilled organic pineapple, organic tomatoes, onions, lettuce, yogurt based mayo, teriyaki sauce on a whole  wheat bun
Hawaiian Burger – Veggie or turkey patty, jack cheese, grilled organic pineapple, organic tomatoes, onions, lettuce, yogurt based mayo, teriyaki sauce on a whole wheat bun

My Dad’s Meditteranean Wrap—he was eating the other half when this picture was taken 😛 .

Mediterranean Wrap Grilled chicken breast, feta cheese, black olives, organic baby greens, cucumbers, hummus and homemade Mediterranean dressing
Mediterranean Wrap – Grilled chicken breast Veggie patty, feta cheese, black olives, organic baby greens, cucumbers, hummus and homemade Mediterranean dressing

While it would have been nice to have more fruit on the side, I appreciated how they were at least blackberries and kiwi—in other words, a “pricier” offering 😉

Not sure when my next post will be up, but since this week is going to be jam-packed with things I need to do, will do, and hope to do regarding my move and school, blogging may have to take a back-seat until when I am all settled in 😉 !

What are your thoughts on moving?

Natural Selection on Urbanspoon

I Love This Place Too Much

I Love This Place Too Much

Even though my quick trip to So Cal wasn’t planned as a vacation, I sure ate like I was on one!

The first night was no exception, since the destination on the GPS was programmed to Native Foods in Culver City…an exact 6 hours away from home :P.

Native Foods - Culver City

Even though I was with my Dad, we still ordered too much food for the both of us. I guess the excitement of even being at Native Foods got to us. But it’s not like we were the only ones. It was packed even around 7:30pm!

Crowds

Since it was just as packed inside as it was outside, we decided it would be best to just enjoy the outdoors while the sun was still out, and sat at a table that still needed to be cleared. An employee did come by quickly and clean up the previous party’s plates.

On the Table

My Dad was willing to eat anything, so our order was on me. After some pondering over the menu (I was very indecisive for some reason), I decided to go with some favorites and also to try a special they were having.

It took a bit longer for our plates to arrive because of the crowds, so I used the opportunity to freshen up in the bathroom.

Native Foods CC Bathroom

Very clean and very nice, if I do say so myself ;). I also noticed this adorable poster:

Elephant Poster

And the reason why elephants were in the bathroom…

Why

It’s basically an explanation of Chef Tanya’s (Native Foods founder) love for elephants and her support for them.

When I came back outside, our food was all set and ready to be dug into.

Southern fried Native (soy) Chicken with hearty red beans and brown rice, steamed veggies, and kale dressed with ranch and BBQ sauce and served with homemade cornbread.
Soul Bowl
Southern fried Native (soy) Chicken with hearty red beans and brown rice, steamed veggies, and kale dressed with ranch and BBQ sauce and served with homemade cornbread.
Nuevo Native Nachos Homemade corn tortilla chips covered in black beans, Native Taco Meat, Native Chipotle Crema, Native Cheese, salsa fresca, and guacamole. Topped with corn, green onions, cilantro and jalapenos.
Nuevo Native Nachos
Homemade corn tortilla chips covered in black beans, Native Taco Meat, Native Chipotle Crema, Native Cheese, salsa fresca, and guacamole. Topped with corn, green onions, cilantro and jalapenos.

The nachos deserve another picture…

Native Nuevo Nachos!!!

The BOMBay Sub Special Meal Crispy breaded cauliflower topped with fresh tomatoes, creamy scallion cashew cheese, green onion garnish & toasted curry aioli on a warm grilled baguette. Served with housemade potato chips.
The BOMBay Sub Special Meal
Crispy breaded cauliflower topped with fresh tomatoes, creamy scallion cashew cheese, green onion garnish & toasted curry aioli on a warm grilled baguette. Served with housemade potato chips.

Here’s a close up of the crispy sweet potato chips…

Chips on the side

I have no idea why, but my Dad thought it would be a good idea to get sweet potato fries on the side as well

Sweet Potato Fries

I sampled all dishes (even one or two sweet potato fries), but my focus was attacking those nachos, since I have been craving them since I first tried them last year. I think the chipotle crema is what makes them so drool-worthy.

My Dad took charge of finishing the Soul Bowl, which was packed with with rich, steaming kale and held a layer of rice and beans on the bottom. I had some of the (fake) chicken skewer, which was my most favorite part of the bowl.

Both of us split the sub, but only had room for the cauliflower cutlets. We tried some of the bread, and I used some of it to mop up any leftover nacho topping—it was very useful, and super scrumptious ;)!

Despite our underestimation of the food, we did quite well.

Good Customers

Oh, and we couldn’t leave without grabbing some dessert. We shared the carrot cupcake back at the hotel.

Carrot Cream Cheese Cupcake Fresh grated carrots combined with cinnamon and orange juice.  Baked to perfection and topped with a vanilla cream cheese frosting.
Carrot Cream Cheese Cupcake
Fresh grated carrots combined with cinnamon and orange juice. Baked to perfection and topped with a vanilla cream cheese frosting.

While I do have more professional and academic reasons for why I would like to move to SoCal, I don’t think Native Foods is a bad reason to move either…man, I love this place too much ;).

Native Foods Cafe on Urbanspoon

What is your favorite vegetarian/vegan take on a meat dish? 

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