Sunday, April 29, 2012

Sunburn & More Ocean

Thursday of vacation, after breakfast at Broken Yolk Cafe, we decided to go to Balboa Park. My parents had been there before, but hadn't seen all of it. I think I read somewhere it's a 1,200 acre park! The zoo is at the northern part of the park. Parking is free, and there is a free tram you can ride to get around the park. There's a lot to see, and the first part we stopped at was Spreckels Organ Pavillion.
The organ, hidden behind the 'curtain'
Sadly, the organ was behind a closed 'curtain.' Also sadly, it wasn't Sunday, which is when there are free concerts at 2 pm.

Bonsai tree
We all wanted to see the Japanese Garden, which is $4, and had a lovely time strolling through. There's a display of bonsai trees and a koi pond.
Koi!
After walking through the Japanese Garden, we stopped at the Tea Pavillion, which is a snack bar counter with outdoor, umbrella shaded table seating. I got a hot tea. SP bought a bottled cold tea, a miso soup, and shrimp flavored chips for a snack.
At that point, my parents headed off to the Natural History Museum to see the Titanic Exhibit (which we had seen when it was in Pittsburgh) while SP & I went to see the lily pond, Timken Art Museum, Fig Tree, other gardens and fountains, the miniature railroad and the carousel, the Spanish Village Art Center, Old Globe Theater and whatever else we wandered past!
Huge fig tree

Lots of artists selling their work: pottery, paintings, drawings, jewelry, glass, etc.
More sadness - the miniature railroad and carousel only operate on weekends and holidays this time of year, so we didn't get to see them. The Old Globe Theater is open only for performances, so we didn't get to see inside, just outside.
Old Globe Theater
It's a beautiful park, and it was a gorgeous sunny day, so it was really nice to walk around and enjoy.

I should mention that by this point in vacation, I was sunburned. It didn't feel that hot because of the constant chilly coastal breeze, but by Tuesday my scalp / hair part had burned and it was painful to wash and style my hair, my nose was red and I looked drunk, and my hands were burned. Wednesday I used SP's sunscreen, but I was still turning red. Not long after we went off on our own at Balboa Park, SP expressed concern about my head, so we stopped in the Visitor's Center and bought a Balboa Park baseball hat to shield my head and nose from sun. I felt a little stupid, I'm not really a hat person, but the straw hats were too big or looked even stupider on me, so... baseball hat it was! Impromptu souvenir.

My advice: in San Diego, if the sun is shining but it feels cool and you need a jacket, wear lots of sunscreen anyway and maybe even a hat.

We met up with my parents around 4 pm and headed back to the hotel to freshen up for dinner. We had reservations at George's Ocean Terrace in La Jolla. George's at the Cove is actually three places at this location in La Jolla: George's California Modern restaurant (which Rodzilla recommended), George's Bar, and the Ocean Terrace restaurant. The Ocean Terrace is on the rooftop with a beautiful view of the cove.
We weren't right next to the side, we were in the middle of the terrace, but still had a lovely view. We ordered a bottle of sauvignon blanc and enjoyed the space heaters & view. Here's what we ate:
Appetizer: Crispy Calamari with fennel & Meyer lemon aioli

Soup for SP: George's Famous Soup, smoked chicken, broccoli, and black beans

Penne with Lamb Sugo for me and mom, served with roasted tomatoes, kalamatas, artichokes, mint ricotta

SP's entree: Garlic Roasted Shrimp with chorizo and piquillo pepper risotto, roasted fennel, lemon, and almonds.

Dad's entree: Mahi Mahi with potato gnocchi, pancetta, artichoke, shiitake mushrooms, red wine-grape vinaigrette.

Mom and dad shared this dessert: Sticky Toffee Pudding Cake, mascarpone whipped cream, roasted kumquats, toffee sauce, salted almonds

SP & I shared Vanilla Creme Brulee with blackberry jam and blondie bar

SP & I also ordered our usual post dinner hot tea 

The sun sets
My thoughts: Service was excellent, from the manager who came out to the street to help us find and use the elevator to the rooftop to our server who was patient with us enjoying a leisurely dinner and being a little indecisive at times. He also offered his suggestions (he recommended the Sticky Toffee Pudding Cake). View was fantastic. No loud music. Nicely spaced heaters to ward off the chill.

The calamari was very good. SP liked his soup a lot but wished the serving size had been a bit larger (he said it was a shallow bowl). He loved his Garlic Shrimp - when I asked him just now to tell me what he thought of it, he said,'Ohhhh that was sooooo good!' Dad said his mahi mahi was the best piece of fish he has had in a long time. He even ate his gnocchi, but he gave his artichoke to mom (dad doesn't like artichokes, mom loves them)! Mom and I both loved our lamb dish. The mint ricotta was such a nice flavor and texture contrast with the rich lamb meat and the pasta. The ricotta was really smooth - it looked at first like a dollop of sour cream. We had no problems finishing our entrees! Mom and dad rally liked their dessert. SP & I thought the creme brulee was very good, the blackberry jam delicious, and the blondie was wonderfully moist and flavorful. Yum!

If in San Diego, I would definitely suggest making the drive to La Jolla for a meal at George's, whether you dine at California Modern or Ocean Terrace. Amazing view and amazing food.

One note: Make a reservation, well in advance!!!! Originally we tried a week in advance to get a reservation for 2 for any evening we were in San Diego, but there was nothing except late afternoon (3 pm-4 pm) and even later evening (after 8:30 pm). When I tried for 4 people, we were able to secure a reservation at 6:15 pm. This place is very popular!

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1 comment:

  1. I'm late on this one, but very glad you had such a nice time!

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