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San Diego, CA

9 Jun

What a beautiful place San Diego is…

Must admit, this wasn’t a city I had considered traveling to, when deciding where to vacation next but, they were hosting Yelp Spring Break 2016, and after last year’s one I knew I had to attend.

First thing I noticed was how beautiful it is, even from the little window on the plane.  The view coming in is amazing!

The weather even more!  We went mid-May and it was still low 70’s and high 60’s – no humidity.  Coming from hot and humid Florida, this is a BIG deal!

On top of that, everywhere I looked there were these beautiful purple flower trees (my favorite color) as if they were expecting me all along.  Way to make a girl feel special!  :p

Our Airbnb added to the enchantment of the arrival.  A cute, old, yellow house, surrounded by those same trees.


When you stepped in, you felt like you crossed a timeline, antique décor, dark wood, my favorite part was the third floor… open space, multiple beds, one bath, it felt like a “frat house” or camp house (at least from what I’ve seen on TV).

Our first day there was a short one, since we had several delays at the airports but we still got to attend one of the YSB events and then eat at Juniper & Ivy.  If you haven’t been, this is a must.  It has a romantic but casual vibe to it but best part is the food.  We decided to order “family” or “tapas” style so we could try as many dishes as we could (who know when we’ll have the chance to come back).  Drinks, Devil Eggs, Sea Urchin, Foie Gras Cookies, Gnocchi, Chicken Liver, Duck, and more…  Everything was excellent!

San Diego has a great selection of Craft Breweries.  Even though I was not able to sample a lot of them, we did try some and also a very cool whiskey bar called Seven Grand

Little Italy is another must, for every one visiting San Diego.  Restaurants, shops, nice spot to walk and spend a day outside.  We were lucky to try Landini’s and meet the owner.  His passion for the food they prepare and his restaurant immediately shows.  And their pizzas are truly one of the best I’ve ever had.  So much that we ordered it again, (delivery this time) before we traveled back home.

Also in Little Italy we found iDessert.  Fun place, where you can create your own “stuffed” meringue dessert, completed with liquid nitrogen, making you feel like a mad “sweet” scientist.   Great for kids of all ages.


La Jolla is another great spot to visit.  Beautiful waterfront walkway, with views of the sea lions (you can even walk down to the beach to get a closer look and pictures), and further down the seals (these are lazy – they sleep almost all day).

While walking along the fence, you will also see a bunch of cute little playful squirrels.  Dare you not to take dozens of pictures of these!

Either before or after your walk, stop at Bobboi – this is authentic Italian Gelato.  The owner has worked hard to keep the authenticity of these, making them every morning with organic and pure ingredients.  They will let you sample as many flavors as you like, and it will be tough deciding on just one or two after this.

If you have time, go to Torrey Pines.  This was my first time hiking (Florida is flat) and it was easy, beautiful and fun.  It’s a great place to relax, leave “real life” behind for a couple of hours, and just enjoy the views and fresh air.  At the end you’ll find yourself at the beach, where you can walk some more, or sit and relax for a bit while taking more pictures.

Of course, the San Diego Zoo is a must.  Famous throughout the USA, and one of the biggest I visited – wear comfortable shoes.

Here you can see pandas, polar bears, otters, giraffes, elephants, tigers, monkeys, flamingos, and so much more.

Coronado beach is beautiful, especially during a sunset.

The Air & Space museum was another favorite.  They have 4D movies, simulator rides, observatory area.  Very interesting and interactive museum.

Of course, Tacos a are a must…  We found El Zarape on our last night there and by far the best tacos we had on our trip.

Also, is great to see the local hangout spots and that’s exactly what Waterfront Bar & Grill is.

I know there’s a lot more to do and see in San Diego, and can’t wait to go back.

But for now, here’s my trip in a nutshell and hope it helps you plan yours.

Safe and fun travels!

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Florida Renaissance Festival

23 Feb

I love this Festival!

Every year Quiet Waters Park transforms into a land seen a long time ago and far away.

I’ve been going regularly for years now and it never gets old.  It is one of my happy places.  It’s even become an “annual tradition” for some friends and I, who also make this event so much fun to go to.

The Ren-Fest transports you, not to a different era but, to a whole different world, where everyone is happy to see you, they’re joyful, and entertain you with funny shows, where you are guaranteed to laugh.  There’s pirates, there’s wenches, fairies, pixie dust, wings, world travelers, Vikings, and so much more.  Pick a weekend and you can be any one of those, if you chose to dress up.  I started doing this several years ago and the festival became a whole new experience to me.

When you dress up, it’s like you’re part of their world.  They’re always nice there but, now they appreciate the effort you put into it and your excitement to be there.  Patrons also get excited to see you and some even ask to take pictures with you, giving you the opportunity to meet new people.

There’s duels, tight rope walkers, fire eaters, washing well wenches, a mud show, jousting tournaments, all these to be enjoyed by everyone at the fest.   If you want a more interactive experience, sit up front and maybe you’ll be picked to be part of their show.  There’s also giant chess boards, knife throwing, and bow and arrow games, a “spooky” maze, you can throw tomatoes at one of the fest characters, they even have big bubbles to “walk on water” on the lake, and they added zip lining last year too.  There is something for everyone!

I personally enjoy the shows, and love seeing all the vendors, like the wing maker, with beautiful handmade wings in every size and color (one of my favorites there); the moon necklaces, where they show you what moon you were born under and what it means, with a glow in the dark moon charm; all the swords (some showing really nice craftsmanship), knives, and beautiful big dresses with amazing corsets, kilts, leather…  the list goes on and on.  Oh, and the music…  I had the pleasure of listening guy playing bells that were enchanting, and there’s also a lady playing the harp by the water.

Of course there’s food like the traditional turkey leg (imagine a strong man in a kilt eating this…  makes you feel like you’re back in time), gyros, funnel cakes, ribbon fries (these are addictive), and to wash it all down, cider, beer, mead, and some other drinks.  This also will make the fest better and more realistic (hey, wine was thought to be good for health, and Beer and ales were very popular drinks during that era), plus all that walking and laughing works up a thirst  😉

If for nothing else, it’s a great place to people watch…  See the creativity everyone has put in their costumes, makeup, etc. To some, this might be all weird and eccentric but, to me it’s fun, creative, whimsical, playful,  and full of great imagination.

Go, step back in time, and leave the “real world” behind, let the fairies show you the way, and enjoy your day at the Ren-Fest.

Jousting Tournament (to the death)

 

Steampunk/ Time Travelers Weekend 

Pirates Weekend 

Vikings & Valkyries Weekend 

Favorite Beer Tent 

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Favorite Wing- Maker

Some of the great shows: Iris & Rose



Broon  & Moonie

  

 

Cu Dubh

 

 

Craft Beer Festival & Burger Bash

19 Jun

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I started my Saturday at the amazing Craft Beer Festival & Burger Bash at the PGA National Resort, in West Palm Beach.

The event is very well organized with over 60 beers to try and about 20 burgers. 

The breweries each featured at least 2 of their beers for us to try.  They even had local craft beers on tap like Holy Mackerel, The Native, TBC and more.

My favorites of the day were:

Rooney’s Old Irish Ale
Widmer Brothers Brewing Alchemy Ale
Coronado Brewing Company Idiot IPA (I tried this one for the name)  :p
Breckenridge Brewery SummerBright
Know Breing Wilua Ale

Now, as I said, this was also a Burger event so of course we tried those too.  They give away 3 prizes, which we get to vote, and my winners were:

In my opinion, Chuck Burger Joint  definitely deserved the “Best Burger” title.  That burger was perfection.  Classic, juicy, flavorful, comforting…  Not surprised at all they got the  “King of all Burgers” title last year.
My “Best Alternative” went to Cha Cha’s with their slider Kale & quinoa burger with humus on whole wheat.
My last award, the “Most Innovative Burger” went to Vic & Angelo’s Saltimbocca Burger.  This was a sage infused burger with black garlic aioli, sun-dried tomato marmalade, prosciutto di parma, gorgonzola dolce and baby spinach.  All I can say is I want more!!  Absolutely amazing that burger…
Other two worth mentioning were the ones from III Forks and Four Seasons.  

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This was their Second year doing this event and, by what I experienced, I’d say (and hope) they have many more years to come.  Making a note to lookout for next year’s dates, you should too.