Saturday, 30 July 2011

Katy’s Cafe

Is casual and comfy and feels ‘lived in’.

We ordered breakfast sandwiches.

All the regulars were greeted by name.

You don’t need a shirt to get service.

The walls focus on surfing and whimsy.

A 3-D mural in the bathroom makes you feel like you are sitting on the bottom of the ocean (no photo as I didn’t think to take the camera in with me).

Breakfast at Katy’s Cafe lets you ease into the day before exploring Imperial Beach.

All the way to the end of the pier.

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Outdoor Surfboard Museum

Along Palm Avenue, between 3rd Street and Seacoast Drive in Imperial Beach, there are surfboards along the sidewalk.

Or rather silhouettes.

I particularly like the shadow embedded into the concrete sidewalk.

They are lined up on both sides of the street.

Depicting the different shapes and sizes of boards over the years.

You can even rest on a surfboard bench while you take it all in.

The art is also functional.

 Although not sure if it was intended to be a bike stand…

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Imperial Beach Sandcastle Competition

The sandcastle hat was almost as tall as the man wearing it.

This weekend we watched teams of adults play in the sand.

We arrived super early.

Squares were cordoned off with yellow caution tape.

Many competitors had a model (drawn)….

or molded in clay, depicting their game plan.

The sand was plentiful but it was necessary to haul in the water.

One bucket or two buckets at a time.

Or a coordinated bucket brigade. Wearing gloves. Smart gals.

Judges walked the beach all day long.

Only hand tools were allowed.

Shovels, rakes, tools to ‘tamp down’ the sand.

A very large ‘tamper’.

There was also technique. This gal preferred the ‘add on’ method to lettering as opposed to carving.

She slapped on a very wet glob of watery sand to show us.

Spray bottles were used to moisten structures.

This guy didn’t mess around, he wore a tank on his back.

As the hours ticked by, mounds of sand turned into faces.

And angry birds.

By noon, the crowds were thick.

We didn’t stay to hear who won. 

Or see the finished sandcastles.

But so enjoyed the progress, which started as a blank canvas of sand.

Monday, 25 July 2011

$49 Facial

A quiet room for filling out the multi-page questionnaire.

Once thedailysave (a program that offers over 50% discounts on neighborhood goods and services) started posting $49 facials around town, I jumped at the chance.

And became a bit of a facial junkie.

I've had three in as many months.

Which is quite unusual as I probably haven't had a dozen in my entire life.

First I went to Patricia in Encinitas. Very no-nonsense, got down to business, very relaxing experience as there was no chit chat. Afterward, she offered a selection of items that I would need to keep my skin looking good and I said no thank you.

Then there was Nicole in Del Mar. Liked her a lot. Told her I was treating myself to affordable facials this year and she smiled and told me I must have excellent genes as I wasn't doing much to take care of my skin. Walked out of there with the softest skin and an over-priced moisturizer that I now use religiously.

Third was Jillian up in Carlsbad. Seemed more medical and technical. The pre-questionnaire was pages and pages long. Afterward my face felt sticky on the surface but underneath the pores felt plumped up and happy. Bought an over-priced sun screen to protect my face from future sun damage.

I think I am going to stop now.

As I get more and more relaxed and my skin gets softer and softer, I am succumbing to the need to fill my medicine cabinet with a whole slew of product.

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Pico De Gallo

This is not another post about lettuce.

I am moving on.

To tomatoes.

As there are a boatload of ripe tomatoes in the garden right now. And by boatload I mean I filled a large colander last night.

When life gives you tomatoes, it is probably a good idea to make a salad. But that would require lettuce.

Instead I made pico de gallo for dinner.

Who am I kidding? I served chips and salsa after work tonight and opened a bottle of Skinny Girl Margarita.

But at least 1/3 of the meal was homemade.

Technically pico de gallo is a combination of fresh uncooked ingredients. Which is how it started.

Chopped white onion. Squeezed a lime over top. Added chopped cilantro. Diced the aforementioned boatload of tomatoes. Sprinkled sea salt and ground some pepper. Finely minced a jalapeno pepper.

Then came the twist.

Since this was gonna be a one-pot meal surrounded by Tostitos Scoops, it seemed necessary to dress it up a bit.

Grilled an ear of corn and scraped the kernels into the mix. Boiled raw shrimp from the freezer, chopped and added.

Ok, now it is no longer pico de gallo.

But whatever you want to call it, it was delicious.

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Walter Andersen Nursery

Since my lettuce bolted, it was time to plant some replacements. My single head of red curly leaf, purchased locally, appeared dormant after weeks in the ground.

Figured it needed some peer pressure.

I found red leaf romaine.

Out in Poway.

In the midst of a business park.

Walter Andersen's nursery is bursting with choices - whether you need a bit of color.

Or extra vegetables to take you through the Fall.

Rows and rows of choices.

I picked up peppermint (because it smelled good) and another type of green bean (because the one I originally planted is a bit of a tangled mess).

To get there, take the 1-15, exit Scripps Poway Parkway, go east, make a left on Community Road and it will be on your left hand side (on Danielson Court).

Friday, 15 July 2011

Watching the Sun Set

We live a few miles from the beach.

So on a Friday, after work, during the long days of summer, there is plenty of time to grab beach chairs, drive west, stop by Roberto's for some rolled tacos and guacamole.

Wait patiently for a parking spot along the coast.

And then discuss summer plans while the sky changes.

Darkening as the clouds drift and cover. 

A burst of light just as the sun goes down.

Rather nice finale to a long week.

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Tree House

A dear friend (childhood buddy of my husband) lives in Maine. He and his wife are the proud grandparents of two little boys who live out-of-state. It was mentioned in a recent email that he was starting a project for when the kids come to visit.

Going to build a tree house.

What comes to mind for you?

I picture discarded wood nailed together to form a platform and some haphazard means to climb to the top.

Not the case.

Not at all.

I was blown away.

These are a few pictures he sent.

Love all the attention to detail – the binoculars, the bucket, handrails for assistance on the climb.

We will scrap our long-term plan to retire in California.

If they let us move in.

Monday, 11 July 2011

Road Race

               Bay to Breakers in San Francisco

               Turkey Trot in Dana Point

               Wharf to Wharf in Santa Cruz

               Carlsbad 5000 in San Diego

               10K event in the Beijing Marathon

Remembered the satisfaction of crossing those finish lines while I was watching the procession of runners in Coronado a week ago…

Perhaps it’s time to start training again.

This morning I ran one mile and then walked three, which means I have a long way to go.

But first I have to find a road race with an attractive t-shirt design for the finishers --- that has always been one of my primary motivators.

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Dosa, Samosa and Idly

That was what we ordered on an afternoon trip to India.

Ok, it wasn't really India but a shopping center in San Diego filled with Indian restaurants, markets, a hall that offers classes in Bollywood-style dancing and a clothing store that featured threading (an ancient method of hair removal).

The best part was an opportunity to mix with patrons looking splendid in saris and Nehru jackets.

Start with lunch.

We ordered dosa, a flat pancake with a variety of different fillings and were told to help ourselves to the sambar, a spicy soup filled with vegetables, a meal in itself.

There was also a selection of chutneys – coconut, peanut and tomato.

Our dosa contained potatoes and peas.

Vegetarian samosas were deep-fried and deliciously crunchy.

The idly, a steamed bun, was rather bland and needed the dipping sauces.

After lunch, we checked out the markets.

Jugs of mustard oil, packages of naan, bags of lentils and jars of spices filled the shelves.

And for those so inclined, a wedding kit for under $20.

Whether you are recently engaged or just hungry, take the 805 freeway, exit Miramar Road, head east and make a left on Black Mountain Road. The shopping center will be on your left.

Friday, 8 July 2011

Chino Farm

Has a stand.

And it looks pretty much like any other farm stand.

Except that it is in Rancho Sante Fe, one of the highest income communities in the United States.

No prices are listed. 

And you know what they say, “If you have to ask how much it costs….”

Each vegetable and piece of fruit is presented in all its pristine glory.

I almost bought a basket of baby Brussels sprouts.

Entranced by their miniature green cuteness, forgetting momentarily that I detest Brussels sprouts.

And the taste, well that is why so many high-end restaurants feature their produce and why so many locals make the drive, for a perfect tomato or the sweetest strawberry.

Easy to get to, just off I-5, exit Villa de la Valle, go east for a ways and then turn right on Calzada Del Bosque and drive past the crops. The stand will be on your right.