Dennis and I took a much needed vacation in October and began with camping in Grand Canyon National Park. Yep, actual tents outdoors for that real camp feel! We were a tad jealous of the RVs though as temperatures dropped to the 30's after dark, and we shivered while heating a dinner of canned soup and ramen noodles with a jet boil. We also forgot marshmellows. *sad face* We nodded off early to keep warm in our tents. The next morning consisted of a spam breakfast and we packed tuna sandwiches for lunch.
We headed to the Kaibab Trail, choosing the 3 mile roundtrip hike to Cedar Ridge checkpoint and back. There was gorgeous scenery everywhere.
This is a view of the downward path on Kaibab Trail. This was a tiny fraction of the path. What a climb!
I love trees and their branches. Gives landscapes a little more variety too.
We spent the rest of the time visiting the lookout places and taking tons of pictures. I was grinning inside because we had more scenery pictures than food for a change! I'm totally serious...
We also saw deer at our campsite! They get quite close because they're probably used to humans camping on their lands!
After our day was complete, we took one look at cans of soup and decided we'd eat out for dinner instead. Hah.
When I was younger, I used to do occasional artsy stuff for myself or friends. Then after getting a job with income, I kind of got lazy and started buying things instead. This year my workplace had a pumpkin carving contest including money prizes and suddenly I had some motivation. Time to get crafty!
I turned to my trusty google images search to look for NO CARVE pumpkin ideas. THIS is what I ended up creating:
It's Cinderella's pumpkin carriage including mice (pre-transformation)!
We’ve been digging the latin food these days, especially after events like Latin Food Festival and Taste of Old Town. Lucky for us, we were recently invited to try out mexican food at Café Coyote in Old Town San Diego. How could we say no?
Tourists love Old Town in the summer and during holidays but crowds do seem to clear up a bit when the weather cools. We found street parking on San Diego Ave 1 block south of the restaurant.
I was surprised to see such a long line at 6pm on a Sunday, but it moved fairly quick. The restaurant itself is gigantic, like a shopping plaza with multiple sections including upstairs seating, patio area, and dining on both sides. It could fit 900+ people at once. Wow.
Right outside the restaurant, you can see fresh tortillas being made. With a full house of diners, you know they are making thousands each day.
After getting seated, complimentary chips and salsa were brought out. Dennis decided to add Guacamole ($8.95). These are made fresh daily with Hass avocados and traditional ingredients and served in a fried tortilla bowl. Portion size was decent for two people. The guac itself was not fully whipped and had chunks of natural avocado. I think a tiny bit more lime would have made it perfect. I recommend eating with fresh hot chips. Request new ones if they aren't! Besides that, the standard appetizer salsa set off my "spicy" senses but it was still manageable.
Apparently October is "Taste of <SD area>" month. There's Taste of Downtown (Oct. 2) and North Park (Oct. 11) plus some new ones we hadn't heard of: Mission Hills (Oct. 14), Bankers Hill (Oct. 22), and Point Loma (Oct. 23). These events are a great way to sample and discover new restaurants in various neighborhoods. OSY was able to attend three of the above but our stomachs wish the events were more spread out, especially after Vegas last week where Dennis insisted we try 2+ buffets!
Anyway, this year's Taste of Downtown was on a Thursday from 5-9pm. Yep, FOUR hours to roam around downtown with bellies to fill. So what did we find this year?
First stop was Union Kitchen & Tap which had Farmhouse Meatballs made from Brandt ground beef and ground pork. The lighter Italian and parmesan flavor was delicious and an excellent start to our tasting adventure!
Across the street was Rocking Baja which sounded familiar. I realized we sampled its sister restaurant at Taste of Old Town! I enjoyed the bright flavor of the toppings and crispy battered fish of the taco though the side shrimp was just alright. The crusty garlic bread was beautifully done.
Fun prop alert! I thought the hilarious face was better than the brownie at Dick's Last Resort. Too much Hershey's chocolate made the dessert taste like sugary frosting.
At The Field, they served Guiness beef stew. The consistency is a little thinner than I prefer but our favorite part was soaking the earthy nutty bread!
I was shopping at UTC mall when Dennis called to ask about that night's dinner plans. Since there were multiple restaurants where I was, I decided we should try out Corner Bakery Cafe. It's part of a chain with about 170 locations nationwide including at least three in the San Diego area. Besides sandwiches and salads, they also have fresh baked bread for sale that you pass on the way to the register.
I really wanted a panini that day. The Chicken Pomodori had ingredients that I love so that's what I ordered.
Cheese and beer? It's definitely October now! We've been invited to check out The Wedge Escondido, an event we heard about earlier this year through the Escondido Chocolate Festival. The event will also be held along Grand Avenue so we're anticipating the delicious delights of restaurants we previously sampled as well as some new ones! Cheese styled. We're ready! Are you?
The past two years, we attended the Tequila Trail (2012/2013) but this year the event got a new name! So welcome to the Taste of Old Town everyone! With so many other events under the "Taste of" branding, it was sure to draw an even bigger crowd than before! The event had designated driver tickets (food only) and regular tickets (food and tequila/beer) from 16 participating restaurants.
Here's the flyer by the fire. Ha, that rhymes a bit! The event was on Thursday Sept. 18 from 6-9pm in fabulous Old Town San Diego.
The event had a raffle that included Old Town restaurant gift certificates, tequila, and more prizes. More good reasons to come back to Old Town!
We had been waiting all day for this event. We met up with our friend Jon and as soon as we had our tasting guides, we hit our first stop at The Patio. Their delicious mexican mole had a flavorful sauce that was especially good with the super tender meat! There was also Pacifico beer served here for those drinking.
McDonalds is everywhere. But most don't have THIS. We were invited to try out their new Build Your Burger concept. Only four McD stores in the US currently offer this, two in San Diego and two in Orange County! The concept isn't new but the kiosk implementation is where it's breaking some ground in the fast food industry.
So THIS is the inside of the McDonalds on 3805 Midway Drive in San Diego. Huh? Are we in the right place? Yep, it was remodeled a couple of years ago. Wow, actually kinda impressed. There's no more playpen though!
Hello Ben the Guide! Check out these new aprons too! He was here to walk us through the Build Your Burger process, which is actually quite simple.