It’s really not a vacation if we don’t center then entire thing around food and drink. Ross is a well-documented beer nerd (and the Homebrewer’s Conference is what took us out there in the first place) and we had a LOOOONNNNNNNG list of breweries to hit. Before we crammed in as many as humanly possible, we made time for a belated birthday wish…
Yep. That’s right. Ross wanted to skydive. Good for him, really. I had no interest. I like my feet firmly on the ground, and those of you who know me know what a challenge that can be, even on the best of days. His appointment was at 3pm, so we had the morning free to do as we pleased, so we did what we do best- eat.
On Lindsey’s suggestion, we went to the Parkhouse Eatery in University Heights. This place was beautiful and the menu was fantastic. We did another divide-and-conquer. Three different orders, three forks-a-flyin’.
Forgive the discoloration of the photos. We were under a red umbrella and mama is no photographer. Lindsey ordered the Blue Cornmeal Flapjacks. I got the Southwest Crab Benedict, and Ross got the Green Chilaquiles (at my very persuasive insistence- see: Great Maple.) All three were excellent, but I think the crab benedict was the winner for it’s uniqueness (and the fact that these chilaquiles were not the Great Maple’s. I’ll repeat- I’ll dream of those chilaquiles for the rest of my life). Lindsey had the crab before, and she knew it would be perfection. They set these three gigantic portions down in front of us, and we thought we’d never eat so much, and shamefully by the time the three of us left the table, there were only forkfuls left on each plate. Great idea before jumping out of a plane…
Speaking of, we arrived at the hangar and had some paperwork to do and time to kill. You realize what a factory operation it is, and how casual they all are about it. Jumpers load up, jumpers return in an endless cycle of repackaged parachutes and go-pros.
He was a little restless after gearing up, so he wandered around a bit, and I took this picture of him, which I love.
He can’t sit still, and he looks like he should be an extra in Independence Day. lol.
That’s a little plane. And this is a very confident, sure expression, right as they start down the runway for takeoff.
I was driven to a landing site to wait for them to plummet to Earth. He landed safely, and I could tell from the look on his face he was thrilled and would do it again in a heartbeat…
As his post-dive wind down reward, he asked to go to Toronado in North Park where he managed to snag a Pliny the Elder on draft. If you are a beer nerd, or live with one, you know what a coup this is for a Pliny-less midwesterner.
The next morning, we’d been in San Diego four days and we still hadn’t made it to the beach. Despite June gloom making it an entirely unappealing option, we got up and went for a long walk along the beach at my favorite place- Torrey Pines State Reserve. There are cliffs and hiking trails. There is a long beachfront. It’s great. On the left is a shot from this trip. June gloom to the max. On the right is the same shot taken back in October on my previous trip:
Depressing. Ross had a hard time believing San Diego was a sunny place.
The rest of Monday became an endless series of breweries. We hit Ballast Point for lunch:
We went to White Labs so Ross could try beers fermented with different yeast strands (that’s as scientific as it’s gonna get, folks.) We hit up The Lost Abbey while we killed time waiting for our Stone Brewing tour to start (spoiler alert- maybe the most disappointing brewery tour ever. I’m sure Ross will write more about this on his blog if you care to check it out.) And we finished this beer marathon by having dinner at Stone (which was a repeat for me, but it was Ross’s Disneyland- the things we do for love…)
The food is not the star of Stone Brewing in my opinion. I think the menu is ok and the food is good, but nothing revolutionary or mind-blowing. You go for the beer, and the absolutely beautiful gardens and atmosphere.
Tuesday was our final day in San Diego, and we didn’t have any specific plans until dinner, so I may or may not shamefully add that we went back to Great Maple for breakfast so I could have one more visit with my favorite meal ever:
If you only knew the things I whispered to these chilaquiles… Ross had the brisket hash and again, we found that the Great Maple knocked it out of the park.
After breakfast we went back to Torrey Pines for another gloomy walk. We were terribly misled (or seriously under-educated about San Diego weather) because when we left our hotel room, the sky looked like this:
When we got to the coast, however…
You can see the tease of blue sky just above the cliffs.
We had the daunting task of trying to pack all the crap we needed to haul back to Indiana. Someone (Ross, cough cough) may have brought an empty suitcase with a box and packing material with the specific intent of hauling back precious material…
That box was heavy as shit. But we managed to pack it all up, and it survived unscathed.
The grand finale for our trip was a meal at Sushi Ota. We lucked out because this place is usually booked for weeks out, unless you want a 9:45 reservation. Also fun fact- it shares a parking lot with a 7/11 and from the outside looks like a hole-in-the-wall. Ross and I like sushi, but there isn’t a great place near us to have absolutely fantastic sushi. I’d never eaten sashimi either until this night because I have nightmares about the quality of the fish that makes it to the midwest. Needless to say, we were not disappointed. The food was great (what I managed to capture of it anyway, we didn’t let it linger long on the table)
And of course, after you have an exceptional sushi dinner, you must follow it up with an exceptional dessert…
We stayed out in the parking lot talking for waaaayyyy too long. We didn’t want to say goodbye to Lindsey, and we didn’t want our trip to end. We had a great trip. Although it looks like all we did is eat and drink (and that’s mostly what we did) we had a lot of laughs, and saw some beautiful things. I know we’ll be back in San Diego soon. Ross needs to do more of the touristy things (which I’d done on previous trips out there) as well as visit when the sun is shining!
Whew. I’m exhausted! So much food. So much foooooooddddd.
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