Girls’ Day Out #2- Frutilandia and more!

In June I went exploring Liberty Station with one of my most favorite friends- two moms on the loose having a lot of fun!

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.

IMG_9304Which brings us to today: Fruitilandia, Pancho Villa’s Farmer’s Market, and Penzey’s Spices. Two of our stops I was very familiar with, but Fruitilandia was my new venture for today. This place was really neato-burrito.

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.

IMG_9313Holy 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.

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Ermuhgersh! Tostilocos!

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.

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Three forks-full of chicharron… not fried.

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.

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Fruit Salad Pico de Gallo

Fruitilandia could take over the country’s smoothie market. I hope it does.

And I NEED to get out with the women more often!

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Out and about, trouble times three, ha.

 

 

Thyme for Lunch in Miramar -&- Duck Foot Brewery

IMG_9268How lucky can you get? The people on Kenamar Drive- a little side street packed with industrial worksites- get not only Duck Foot Brewing, but a fabulous lunch spot, too. Thyme for Lunch has a menu board featuring breakfast and lunch offerings that can keep me coming back for months, I think, everything looked delicious. With design warehouses, a heating and cooling business and solar company nearby, the brewery and café must be cleaning up.

 

IMG_9269We picked up a Prosciutto and Goat Cheese Panini with Fig Jam, and California Burritos bursting with both French Fries (a must in your CA burrito) and really good quality Carne Asada.

I tried a different beer on this visit- the Choco Porter with Coffee… yum. Like most porters I’ve had, this was also lighter than the stouts but full and rich. Yum. We also brought home a growler of the Double White IPA for Thanksgiving… you’re welcome, family who will be drinking this with us next week!

I’m glad The Husband spotted Thyme for Lunch last week while we came to Duck Foot, and we both had time to meet up in Miramar to bring our lunches into the brewery. That is one of the great things we learned During San Diego Beer Week 2015- if the brewery doesn’t serve food, there is either a food truck for the crowd, or you can bring food into the establishments. So we did! And it was a great lunch, complete with Vanessa from his work, too. Hi, Vanessa! Great seeing you today!

 

San Diego Beer Week #2 Ballast Point Kitchen at Miramar

IMG_9088 (1)One of the first beer discoveries that I made (“Hey, I actually like this!) was Ballast Point’s Sextant Oatmeal Stout on nitro, even, so it was extra-creamy good… mmmm. Beer Stop #2 is their new restaurant and meeting place in Miramar.

IMG_9083I like how the menu organizes the drinks for the less beer-savvy people like me. New to me is the Commodore American Stout- a good, strong drink like a punch in the tastebuds strong. It hits your nose with a huge toasted malty aroma that delivers straight into the flavor. Roasty, coffee-like flavor.

He likes my beer... uh oh.
He likes my beer… uh oh.

We both loved it. I wish I liked The Husband’s choice of some super-hoppy brew… citrusy, floral beers smell great but I never like the taste. Boo.

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I liked my beer… a lot. But then the two appetizers we ordered to split arrived and really stole the show. Holy cow, whoever made this menu deserves a raise and a half- the menu just changed this weekend and these items should stick around for the next six months.

Do NOT miss the mac and cheese with pork belly! The crispy, fatty pork strip may be only a couple of bites worth of meat but what it lacks in quantity it more than makes up in quality. We also split the duck nachos. More deliciousness! The pickled onions were just the right little tang to go with the bleu cheese sauce and duck.

Great brews, delicious snacks, spacious seating and outdoor area for games and fire pit fun. Thank you Ballast Point people, for getting this sit-down spot to join up with the rest of San Diego’s beer and food fans!

Fall and Winter Menu?
Fall and Winter Menu?
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Bloody Mary and Mai Tai mixes are available!
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Beautiful copper stills for the newer line of spirits.
Might I resume typing, cat?
Might I resume typing, cat?

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San Diego Beer Week (1 week = 10 days) #1 Green Flash Brewing Co.

They say the beer is so good in San Diego that seven days isn’t long enough for Beer Week, so they added three more days to the usual, run-of-the-mill week. And by “they” I mean “me.”

And today was my lucky day! At Green Flash Brewing Company in Sorrento Valley the genius bartender suggested I try Alpine Beer Company’s McIlhenney’s Irish Red. I think it is now tied for my favorite beer- so very low in hops, so malty, so DELICIOUS! Can I say again how glad I am that I’m making myself try new things?



With the baguette toast, cheese, and meat appetizer, a couple of Alpine beers and great conversation, we passed a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon. I think I will like San Diego Beer Week 2015.

Friday Night Football and Food-to-Go… The Habit Burger Grill Review

 Fast Food chains have been classing it up more lately, have you noticed? We have seen several great food joints open up in our area, and alongside our great classic spots (In-N-Out!!), we’ve never had better choices here in So Cal. A recent article in Bon Appétit Magazine shares which ones they think should be on your food radar:

FastfoodRestaurants-MainImage-2800x2800-620x620The Fast Food Restaurants You Should Be Watching in 2015

We in the Land of In-N-Out Burgers have the privilege of knowing a good, basic burger when we see one. Tonight we hit a new restaurant… new to me, at least, and one of the places mentioned in the Bon Appétit article- The Habit Burger Grill.

IMG_9028-0Bottom line: the fries were really good! As much as I love In-N-Out, I really love everyone else’s fries more than theirs. The onion rings were nothing special at all. But about The Habit’s Burger? Well… it was definitely good, just not great. The price was great, about $7 for burger, drink, and fries, but I think my hamburger tasted only marginally better than a Big Mac.

If I want a great hamburger, I’m still going to head to In-N-Out. I have heard, however, that the salads and other sandwich variety is really nice at The Habit. So, if you want more variety, The Habit is a good spot- great prices, good selection, and really good fries. But if it is a basic cheeseburger or hamburger you are craving, stick with In-N-Out.

San Diego’s Little Italy, Ballast Point Brewing, and A Lovely Afternoon

What to do on a Sunday afternoon when you have a bit of time and many options… it’s a little too warm and humid for the beach or hiking (IMHO only, I am sure), we don’t feel like watching a show or game on TV…

IMG_8100How about hitting Ballast Point in Little Italy for a snack and, true to this year’s challenge, try a different drink? Well, don’t mind if I do!

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“Piper Down Scottish Ale- Sweetly complex, with roasted toffee flavor, roasted pumpkin, and a subtle addition of spice.”

I shouldn’t be surprised, but still was- they have a fall beer brewed with pumpkin and spices. Of course they do. The entire nation goes crazy for (my favorite) warm spices associated with (also my favorite) pumpkin pie this time of year. So I had to try it, don’t you know. This Scottish ale does have a very, very subtle hint of spice and pumpkin, which I think goes nicely with a usual caramel-y taste of a darker brew. Not enough to scare off traditional ale drinkers, but different enough if you want a taste outside the ordinary.

As The Husband and I enjoyed our brews and snacks, we had to ask- why don’t we get to places like this more often with friends? The patio at this Ballast Point has several covered cabanas with their own fire pits and can be reserved. No excuse. This is on our To Do with Friends Soon list. Bonus: the music isn’t too loud and you get to watch the planes coming in to land at Lindbergh, making this a great meeting place for people of all ages.

Spanish Caprese Salad and PBJ Wings (Peanuts, Blackberry jam and Jalapeno glazed)
Spanish Caprese Salad and PBJ Wings (Peanuts, Blackberry jam and Jalapeno glazed)
Looks like a fun event!!
Looks like a fun event!!
I can NEVER get tired of watching the planes land at San Diego's Limburg Airport
I can NEVER get tired of watching the planes land at San Diego’s Lindbergh Airport

Best Sangria EVER

Thursday night was a “Favorite Things” party for my Moms Club. I brought a bottle of Sophia’s Rosé by Francic Coppola to share and came home with another friend’s favorite scented bath salts. What a great idea for a party, huh? All attendees came armed with a gift wrapped favorite thing in the price range of $10-15, attached a number to the gift, and drew a random number. Last year I brought a Pineapple and Sake Teriyake sauce made by Vine and Branch, and Sweet and Spicy Garlic Mustard from Garlic Festival.  But the best thing I found last night was my drink. Stop your search, I have found it- The Best Sangria ever to be served. Get to one of the two locations for the San Diego area seafood restaurant, “The Brigatine.

The not-so-secret ingredient would seem to be the blackberry brandy to the usual line up of sangria stuff. Remember that! Add blackberry brandy to a sangria… Got it?

I’ve never been to The Brigatine, but will return. Often. And I guarantee, I will be thirsty.