Above: top left- Lupine (Arizona Lupine?); top right- Beavertail Cactus; bottom- Desert Sunflower
Some of the wildflowers at one of the highway park entrance signs, pictured below, include Desert Pincushion, Desert Dandelion, and Blue-eyed Scorpion Weed, and in the pic on the left, you can also see an Ocotillo “skeleton.”
It’s simply lovely. I mean LOOK HOW GREEN THE DESERT HILLS ARE! Below left, an Ocotillo’s tips are ready to fire up it’s red blooms. Below right a Cholla cactus is usually the only green thing you would see in this picture.. again, look at those GREEEN HILLS!
Henderson Canyon Road is stunning this year:
Coyote Canyon has water! And amazing flowers!
More flowers, Ocotillo, and Agave along the Coyote Canyon drive (off-road, not for casual tourists in sedans):
Along the coastal chaparral of the Guy Fleming Trail wildflowers are bursting forth thanks to the downpours we’ve seen this rainy season. If you can’t drive out to the desert region this spring, get over to Torrey Pines State Reserve and enjoy the beauty before the heat returns and withers away these blooms.
Thanks to my handy-dandy spiral bound book-
Native PlantsTorrey Pines State Reserve & nearby San Diego County Locations
by Margaret L. Fillius, 2nd Edition
This book is available for purchase at the visitor center atop the preserve, and if you’re lucky, the author will be on site leading a nature walk.
What happens when you put a family of five into an SUV for thirty hours of nearly straight-through driving to visit their old friends and attend the Rose Bowl? They have fun. We helped our old friends get their wiggles out by putting them through our Tourist Treatment, specially constructed for Hoosiers.
You get some terribly centered selfies…
Some Christmas Card worthy photos…
A whole LOT of drinking…
And pics that were as much fun to see and share as the whole day.
Seven years ago we were all canoeing on Sugar Creek in central Indiana:
And this is the ridiculousness into which we have degraded:
The South Park/North Park community has a gold mine here. You buy your little sampler pottery bowl for $20 and get to taste five chilis. Want more? Buy another five sample pass for $15 and reuse your bowl. Bring your bowls back from the previous year, too, if you like.
All of the tax deductible proceeds from this event go to benefit the Spanish, art, and music programs at McKinley Elementary… to the tune of over $50K last year.
I realized really quickly that the best strategy for tasting the best chili is the most simple- when my bowl is empty, I try the chili from the nearest booth. It is that simple- they are all are delicious!! One of my favorites was the Duck Confit, Lardon, Sausage and White Bean Chili from Café Madeleine for a non-traditional chili. I’m not the biggest chili fan… OH MY GOSH THIS WAS DELICIOUS!!
My overall favorite was a Pork Belly and Smoked Brisket from The Deck at Moonshine Flats. An unbelievable, savory, meaty, flavorful taste and overall the best chili I’ve ever had. So there. Eat your heart out, every other place. This is something that is served in Heaven, I am sure.
Another out of this word chili came from City Tacos, and may well have been completely unplanned. When they ran out of their Albondigas Chili, they substituted Carnitas. I am already a huge fan of carnitas, and this sample was pushed over the top when topped by chicharrones and tortilla chip strips. I KNOW, RIGHT??? CHICHARRONES!!!
“Into the fun zone we go,” declared the ID checker we entered the Beer Garden. When one of our group (we’re looking at you, Johnnie!!) was holding up the Chili Sampling (Round 2!) with their unfinished beer, we decided to institute a new motto: Drink for Those Who Can’t… as in, if you can’t finish fast enough, we are now going to help finish it for you!
Music at both ends of the festival, student pottery available for purchase from the incredible gallery that is partly responsible for the SoNo Fest, unique vendors, and a handful of food trucks rounded out the sights for the day. Food trucks? I guess if you think you don’t like chili, you still will find some great eats here.
Six months is way too long to wait. Time for another “field trip,” this time with Dee Dee and Suzanne, friends from our church’s Bunco Club. Incidentally, Bunco Club needs to be renamed to “Let’s Have a Blast Chatting about All Our Favorite Things, Then Finally Get Around to Throwing Those Dice” Club (at least on the day it was held at my house, oops). Well, we chit-chatted about so many different favorite products, foods, restaurants and other places that we promised to go on a field trip to a few of these spots the very next week.
According to Dee Dee, Fruitilandia was once a dumpy-looking small shop across the street from it’s current location at 4328 University Avenue in San Diego. Now it is located in a bright spot, still offering smoothies and all kinds of fabulous Mexican drink specialties.
We asked about the different snack options and were all in for sharing a Tostilocos, and tried the Strawberries and Cream (unfreakingbelievably delish), Pico de Gallo Fruit Salad, Fruit Salad with cottage cheese, raisins and honey, and a Licuado.
Holy cow, where has a Licuado been all my life? It is kind of like a Mexican milkshake, only lighter, like a smoothie. And tastier. And more refreshing. Choose which of many fruits you want blended into your drink with the milk- I chose pineapple and mango. Wow. Delish.
The three of us split a snack that we decided was like a Walking Taco… on steroids. We barely made a dent in the Tostilocos- served in one opened small bag of Tostitos was cucumbers, jicama, fried peanuts, tamarind bits, spicy sauce and chicharron strips. I’m pretty sure there were 42 other things in there, we just couldn’t get down to the bottom of the bag.
Imagine how sad I was to find that the chicharrones were not fried… boo hoo hoo! I definitely prefer my chicharrones fried. Pork skin cooked this way is like calamari, only a little more firm. Not bad, but not to my taste.
Fruit Salad Pico de Gallo- something I never had, but always meant to- chunks of fruit with chile. Definitely tasty, now all my So Cal and Mexican friends and family can get off my case. I think I liked the papaya and watermelon best.
Fruitilandia could take over the country’s smoothie market. I hope it does.
Vista may host the oldest and longest running Farmers Market in the San Diego area, but La Jolla has one of the best- the La Jolla Open Aire Farmers Market. A couple dozen international food stalls serve breakfast and brunch foods for you to snack on while you shop at a wide variety of produce stands- organic and conventional. Need to pick up some specialty oils, vinegars, or specialty food treat for a gift (or a treat for yourself)? La Jolla’s Farmers Market has you covered. To top off the variety of vendors the market includes upwards of forty or more stalls selling hand made clothing, trinkets, art, and the odd collection of curios for sale.
One guy dives shipwrecks, for instance, and has a small table of items he has brought up from the ocean floor. He’s dived all around the world and has brought up literally millions of dollars worth of gold and artifacts. Go visit him and ask questions- he’ll tell you about the most expensive individual find, oldest, surprising, and the dive that made him the independent hobbyist that he can be today. It was quite fascinating to hear his stories.
Anyone selling cage free eggs had great prices here- as a matter of fact, they were some of the best prices that I can recall from all the local markets. Some of the egg vendors really appreciate it if you can bring back the cartons and reuse them, how’s that for reusing and recycling?
This is a wonderful, lively, varied, great place to shop. We know people that spend the entire morning and afternoon here in La Jolla- they attend their church’s early service, eat a nice breakfast at Harry’s Coffee Shop, then hit the Farmer’s Market. I think they have a great thing going, for sure.
More than one person buying from Belinda’s Cocina swore to us that they eat here every weekend because it is The Best Mexican Food in The Entire Area. Our chile relleno and chorizo burritos were fabulous.