Friday, 30 March 2012


Say cheese.

Stilton, cheddar, camembert, munster, gorgonzola, taleggio, gouda, roquefort, pecorino, manchego, parmigiano reggiano, gruyere.

There is a charming little cheese shop in the Flower Hill Mall in Del Mar.

Soon they will be moving to a bigger space near Wine Connection.

Which means more room for cheese.

Classes are held at the downtown location.

Are you tempted to sign up for 'get to know cheese'?

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Windy Day in Diego

Behind our house is a narrow backyard, fence, steep downward slope, tall pine trees, sidewalk and a two-way street.

From inside and even standing on the back patio, it seems like we have lots and lots of space. And nature.

Which is deceiving but quite nice all the same.

The tall trees enhance the excitement of the little bit of windy weather that comes our way.

Inviting us to step outside and listen.

Here is a recent wind storm followed by a downpour --- both are relative terms as we are talking about San Diego weather which can be summed up by ten months of sunshine, May Gray, June Gloom and a scattering of drizzle in what we pretend is winter.

Select HERE to listen and see and be amazed.

Ok, it's not that dramatic.

But for this part of the country, it was pretty darn exciting.

Monday, 26 March 2012

Feathered Visitor

It was a matter of days.

The nest was built.

A lodger settled in.

Directly above our front porch in the eaves of the roof.

Leaving a trail of debris below.

The bird wins every game of 'who can stare the longest?'

It is rather disconcerting.

As we are highly competitive in this household.

I'm not saying we gave in or gave up.....but we have started using the side entrance.

Friday, 23 March 2012


Started using Facebook years and years ago to stay in touch with friends from other countries (it was a great way to share photos).

My cell phone is often low on battery or not on my person so never bothered with Twitter.

But I am a little bit hooked on Pinterest.

Come on.

One day you can learn how to decorate wall sockets.

The next you can see your very own thoughts verbalized in a quote.

There are pictures of how to bring bunnies into your Easter feast.

And little girls dressed like Audrey Hepburn.

All things that I guess you can live without.

But you don't have to.

Are you addicted to Pinterest?

Or do you have a life?

Wednesday, 21 March 2012


My love for the chocolate marshmallow cupcake at Sprinkles in La Jolla has stiff competition.

From Babycakes in Hillcrest.

Specifically the blood orange cupcake - perfect balance of flavors and not too sweet.

Chocolate Peanut Butter (on right, slightly squished from car ride home) was very tasty
but the Blood Orange was divine and worthy of a return trip!

What a fun place.

Tuesday, 20 March 2012


Spring is here.

Fill your home with daffodils.

And go open up all the windows!

Monday, 19 March 2012


We might be the last couple in San Diego to try this relatively-new eatery in Hillcrest called Snooze.

During our 35-minute wait, sipping the free coffee and water set up in the corner, we chatted with locals. Everyone we talked to was a 'repeater', raved about the food and told stories about their one-and-a-half-hour wait that was still 'totally worth it.'

We had the parade on our side. It was starting fairly soon and perhaps that was the motivation for the quick turnover on Saturday.

The servers were dressed for the holiday, friendly and had take-out boxes at the ready as most of their customers were there to over-order.

The couple next to us ate a full-size pancake, two entrees and were taking a pancake home (they were also quite influential with our own menu selections).

Bella! Bella! Benny - Thin slices of prosciutto, Taleggio cheese, and perfectly poached eggs
on toasted ciabatta, topped with cream cheese hollandaise, balsamic glaze and arugula.

Sandwich I Am - Udi's soft pretzel roll filled with scrambled egg, cheddar cheese and a sausage patty,
served with a side of smoked cheddar hollandaise & house hash browns.

There would be a photo of the small pancake we ordered (side dish size) but it was so quickly consumed that there was no opportunity for a shot. Forks were flying over the pineapple upside down pancake - buttermilk pancake topped with caramelized pineapple chunks, house made vanilla creme anglaise and cinnamon butter. 

Other pancake choices on the menu included the red-eye velvet pancakes!

So join the crowd.

Then walk it off by heading to Balboa Park.

Sunday, 18 March 2012

St. Patrick's Day Parade

It rained. The wind blew. But the parade went on...

With marching bands and kilts and uniforms.

There were cars and boats and fire trucks.

There were exuberant groups representing their Irish heritage.

There were Girl Scouts, soccer players and dancers.

And last but not least.

Irish setters.

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Parade Fashion

Not to be confused with a fashion parade.

This is what spectators wore to the St. Patrick's Day Parade this morning in San Diego.

From over-the-top to everyday

Friday, 16 March 2012


Location-wise, it is tucked between the Carlsbad Flower Fields to the west and Legoland to the east, yet I wasn't aware of GIA (Gemological Institute of America) until I read about the EGGSTRAVAGANZA exhibit.

In front of the building is a tower with a rotating crystal - it sets the tone.

Turns out that GIA is responsible for the 4Cs - the grading system to compare and evaluate diamonds - carat, color, clarity and cut.

Debbie, our knowledgable tour guide (a graduate of GIA), spent two hours describing what takes place at this nonprofit institute - education, research and instrument development.

We saw gems and gems and then more gems.

Did you know that the largest part of the diamond is the girdle, which separates the crown on top and the pavilion below?

The classrooms, filled with microscopes and other instrumentation is not just for students. 

Next week there will be FBI agents dropping by to learn about diamonds (part of the job since they deal with stolen goods).

We learned about pearls.

Originally found in the Cook Islands but renamed Tahitian pearls, a sexier name for marketing purposes.

There was an entire wall dedicated to exquisite photos of magnified inclusions (any material that is trapped inside a mineral during its formation).

In the lobby, this piece catches the light --- almost 1 million carats of rock crystal quartz from Bahia, Brazil with golden rutile inclusions. A project that took 7 years and 6 months to complete.

Although I went to GIA to see the eggs...

I'm glad I stayed for the tour.

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

EGG-citing Collection

A German fellow, by the name of Dieter Jerusalem, spent forty years amassing rare and unusual gemstone materials that he cut and polished into the shape of an egg.

There are over 850 pieces in his collection.

EGGSTRAVAGANZA is on exhibit at GIA in Carlsbad.

After you view all the eggs in the main lobby...

(take your time and walk around all the glass cases)

....go on a hunt for the additional twelve that have been hidden.

I'll help you.

Can you spot the egg in this display?

Eleven to go.