Birthday

How am I 40 years old? Not sure I am okay with it, definitely  don’t want to talk about it.

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We were lucky enough to escape for a full 24 hours! We being me and Shane, no kids allowed. All that was set in stone was dinner and brunch reservations, the rest was…whatever the hell we wanted.  We checked into our hotel room downtown about 4:00 and then to Little Italy where Brian Malarkey’s latest restaurant aka our dinner reservation was. We started at a wine bar that was packed, luckily we got ourselves a table and a nice long chat with the owner.

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The weather was crap, not the day to just stroll from place to place so we needed a game plan. We booked it around the corner to Juniper and Ivy. An amazing restaurant by the brilliant Richard Blais. We cozied up with some wine and just perfect bites of food.

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Pork belly at it’s finest!

The worst part or maybe the best part is that I didn’t take more than two pictures. We just enjoyed the night. Looking back I wish I had, and I knew I should but the moment took over that thought, do you feel me?

After a cracking experience at Juniper we headed around the corner to Herb & Wood. The menu is so great that I struggled to choose. I ended up ordering something I would never order, lamb bolognese with fresh pasta. Not going to dive into food reviews, it was good, not great and having been to all of his restaurants I still, hands down think Herringbone is the front runner.

After dinner we Ubured ( is that even a word? ) to a “supposedly” speak easy wine bar with an Alice in Wonderland theme. The idea was fun,  taking the stairs down to a grass wall that was actually a door. We sat at the bar and quickly realized it wasn’t an actual wine bar, more just a bar that had wine. The best part was the TV above us that was recording everyone coming down the outside stairs to the “hidden” doors. People are hilarious.

We moved on, now pretty good and buzzed we wandered into a bar with a live band. It was a good time but we both were ready for bed. I think we were in bed by 11:00 pm. Not bad for 40!

Our Brunch reservations were for 10:30…. I think. Wags picked us up at the hotel and we headed to Old Town to a restaurant we have never been to. The Tequila Factory,  a restaurant in a hotel in the heart of Old Town. We parked underground and it really was a mess trying to find the restaurant.  Once we reached the hostess she said we were 30 minutes late so we had to wait… unless we were okay with a few stairs. Shane looked to Wags’ and then back to the hostess, we told her we would be at the bar.

Finally we were seated out on the patio, the sun decided to show up. We had a good time, the food…eh,  everyone else seemed to be really enjoying it.

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A guitarist that has been working there for years  serenaded us for a few songs, one was Stairway to Heaven because Wags.

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Our bellies full we strolled through town wondering what we should do next when Old Town Saloon came into focus. An actual  21+ bar and I had never been there. We put money into the jukebox, quarters into the pool table and had a BLAST.

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I used to be good at pool, really. But now I am not. Shane won every game. Bullshit! 40 is in the bag!

 

Birth Day!

The past four years we have been pretty good about going out, making time for lunches and winery days. Dragging Kaili around was like second nature. She just went with the flow, tucked into her back pack of goodies and for the most part kept herself entertained. Averi, on the other hand hasn’t been as complaisant to sit in a highchair or spend time twiddling with play-doh. She would rather manage the back of the kitchen or throw toys on the ground. Who the hells kid is this? I have found myself bowing out of a lot more things these days… just knowing how much of my time and patience will be spent managing Averi instead of actually enjoying myself, so we stay home. But for my birthday, I wanted to go out. Out, out…without kids. To the places that shun kids, the places I haven’t been to in years or ever. So we got a sitter and planned the afternoon checking into places that were just that, adults only.

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It was a whopping good time. I even got the courage, ahem, thanks to my nudging husband, to introduce myself to one of my favorite chefs. If you watch Top Chef than he needs no introduction.

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Richard Blais in a nutshell < Top chef runner up, Top Chef All-stars Winner. Guest judge on Top Chef, learned from some of the Master chefs aka Thomas Keller and now has two San Diego restaurants which is why I was able to capture this photo.>  Happy birthday to me.

We also squeezed in a quick stop at the Waterfront Bar and Grill. The oldest tavern in San Diego and I am embarrassed to admit neither of us had ever been there..hangs head in shame.

IMG_0349I will leave it at this. I had a great time and I crossed a lot of places off of my to-do list but I did not feel hot the next day. Next year I want to go kayaking and eat at Nobu in Malibu. Shane says we should wait until 2017 to decide…whatever, that just gives me time to plan a roaring 40’s birthday eating seaside in Hawaii!

Date Night

I am way behind on my writing. We have been busy the past few weeks and when I did have free time I couldn’t find the motivation to put pen to paper.

Shane and I were given the opportunity to have a date night last week. I have been waiting to try a new restaurant so it took me no time to decide what to do.

Richard Blais, Bravo’s Top Chef  All-Stars winner just opened a new restaurant in Little Italy and it just so happens to be across the street from a new winery. We have been to San Diego Cellars a couple of times but its been during my pregnancy so I have been eager to try their wines.

We spent an hour at SD cellars while waiting for our reservations. Conversations flow easily with Todd, the winemaker and he was filling us in on his future wine making endeavors.

Dinner time rolled around and I walked into Juniper and Ivy like a kid waking up on Christmas morning. I had been waiting for this day for almost a year, to say I was excited is an understatement. We started with a nice bottle of Italian wine to pair with the Kurobuta pork meatball and bone marrow with crispy oysters to start.

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I had never had bone marrow before and I was pleasantly surprised. The meatball, topped with a mole sauce was also good.

For our main dishes, Shane tried the pork porterhouse which the waitress claims to have made grown men cry. I wouldn’t go that far but it was pretty darn good. I went with the white bass in a Veracruz sauce served over mashed black eye peas. I wasn’t thrilled with my decision, turns out I don’t love mashed peas but the fish was perfect.

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We couldn’t leave without trying a dessert so we easily agreed on the Yodel. A devils cake rolled up in a white chocolate ganache, covered in dark chocolate along some hazelnut brittle and deliciously dressed in hot chocolate. We indulged and every bite was delicious.

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It was a great night and  I would recommend you try both San Diego cellars and Juniper and Ivy if you are in San Diego, they live up to the hype.
It was so nice to get out of the house with my husband and have time just the two of us, talking, dining, drinking. I didn’t worry about the kids, I didn’t feel guilty being out, I was just happy.