Nice, new dog park in Mission Valley

Living in central San Diego, there are few options for dog parks if you have a small to medium-sized dog that cannot go off-leash without fencing. Until now. The Civita development

as part of the master plan for this 14.3 acre park located off of Friars Road and Russell Parkway has recently unveiled the first phase of a large, open space park with multiple attractions with plans to open the next phases in the coming months. When completed it will include an outdoor, small amphitheater, a museum of Mission Valley history, community garden, recreation center and pools for the homeowners of the Civita community, walking trails, basketball court, ping pong tables and more. You can find out more information here.

Bathroom signOutdoor Amphitheatre

While exploring this new park, I saw an interesting crysal sculpture and learned on the Civitas blog of a pop-up art exhibit coming to town in the next two weeks. It looked intriguing so I purchased tickets. You can find out more on the exhibit’s website–Wonderspaces. It proclaims to be an event with food trucks, beer and interactive art spaces. Lots of exciting stuff!

Wonderspace

This article mainly focuses on the dog park, which just opened about two weeks ago. It is located at the top of the park, after climbing several flights of steps or coming from Murray Ridge Road, you can park at the top. The park has two runs, one for small dogs and one for larger breeds. In the dog parks are drinking fountains, trees that provide shade, several structures for agility training or play and plenty of grass.

Large Dog Run

It is nice to have something as equally nice as the dog park up in Encinitas without having to make that long drive.

 

Bliss Path

Yesterday, I had woken up remembering my dream from the night. In my dream, I had gone into a dark temple which was empty except for the Priest who I could not see. I sat down in this circular space and crossed my legs and the Priest started the chant, “Ommm”. I joined along with the chant “Ommmm”. It sounded empty and dull at first. Soon after there was another voice joining in and gradually the chant multiplied and before I knew it the room was full of people chanting and forming dance circles.

This was the right frame of mind to start off my day and serendipity led me to this trail that I had no idea existed. I found the San Dieguito River Trail by chance, I had planned on going to Del Mar dog beach but the tide was so unusually high that there was not much of a beach for the pooch to run around. So we ventured down the road to look over the marsh that was now a large body of water on the east side of the road. I crossed over the road to that side and saw a walking path and took the road less taken. Apparently, many people are also not aware of this trail because it was virtually empty save for the three to four people I came across in the 3 miles that I walked this trail.

Not long after I started walking you come upon the train tracks for the Coaster and so the trail does not officially start until after the train tracks. I cannot endorse crossing the train tracks, there is little warning of an oncoming train and they are fast so best to start after the train tracks. There is parking, I believe just where the path starts, you can consult the map I linked here or find parking just outside of the Del Mar Public Works building.

Continuing on this path were landscaped trails, benches, tranquility, peace and all kinds of different varieties of birds that crossed my path. There are signs posted allowing fishing in certain areas as well. The fog tempered any glare from the sun and made me feel that I was up in the Pacific Northwest, perhaps walking along the Deschutes or some other river trail in a cooler climate.

There are informative signs posted along the trail and I learned that this is a newer portion of the Coast to Crest trail and work began on this portion in May 2016. There was a walkway that also goes down into the middle of the marsh but it was closed at this time for construction to protect the wetland habitat.

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As I crossed Jimmy Durante Blvd. to get to the other side of the trail, I passed what looked to be a new brewery being constructed. That will make for a nice riverside summer stop for a local brew and relaxing views.

new-brew

Along this stretch of the trail, it looked more landscaped and more signs were posted listing volunteers and the history and biology of the area. One engraved plaque on a stone really caught my eye though..

love-sign

It is hard to read from the photo, but it says, “This Riverpath made possible in part through the generous donation of land by Mary Lou Jefferson in memory of her husband Philip Jefferson”. I thought what a loving tribute to her husband to share this beautiful space with others in memory of her husband. So fitting for Valentine’s Day coming  around the corner. Evidently, many volunteers and donors put a lot of work into making this path a reality.

At this point, the trail or path seems to end at an overlook, former site of the  ‘Grand Avenue Bridge’. The Del Mar Sandpiper, a local paper, provides some interesting information on the origins of this former bridge, which is now a wetlands overlook deck.

old-grand-ave-bridge

I look forward to the completion of this ambitious Coast to Crest trail project. For more information on that, the San Dieguito River Park website has a plethora of info by clicking on the hyperlink under Coast to Crest trail project.

After my dream, I truly found my bliss on this path and that my friends in these crazy times is much-needed. Namaste.

 

 

 

Hipster Gustatorial Guilt

So, it’s January 2017, been a while since I posted here. Sorry about that. Life. School. Work. Times, they are a-changing. I have some guilt about that…but on that topic of guilt–baked goods. January is supposed to be the time of the year of New year’s resolutions, getting out that gym card membership and putting it to use, buying some new yoga pants with the Christmas or Hanukkah Geld. Not.hitting.up.the.bakery. Oh, but yes, this one, Yes!!!

Blackmarket Bakery, this one, don’t worry about the guilt. We are living in stressful times and sometimes we need a little guilty pleasure, a little indulgence. And if we are going to blow the bank calorie wise, it had better be worth it, right? And this place is. The morning I came here after a rough work shift, I had the homemade biscuits, egg and cheese sandwich with sausage gravy. Mmmm, mmm, mmmh! For my other half, I chose the dark chocolate croissant and the espresso–en pointe, my friends, en pointe!

The space is also a feast for the senses, especially if you are of a hipster nature. We have the fixie bike all decked out with maker gear, the back patio that looks like a theme park playground almost and all kinds of other delicacies and hipster t-shirts and coffee mugs for sale with just the right saucy phrase to sport around North Park.

And as for the cherry on the top, dedicated parking in North Park, just south of the building. It really doesn’t get much better than that. So, for a stealth mission for some contraband this dieting season, it is all laid up for you here.

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A Fiesta of Flavors in San Marcos

I was looking up an after summer camp ice cream spot for my daughter and admittedly pulled up Yelp. Being that we were in San Marcos, many of our options were Mexican frutas or tostilocos. Immediately, I was transported to a month I spent in San Felipe as a child and the paleteria (popsicle shop) that I would get taken to on a weekly basis. It was rows upon rows of a myriad of flavors of paletas and it was a sweet memory of that time–limon, coco, pina, leche–the possibilities were endless…

I decided to take my daughter to try this paleteria called La Michoacana in San Marcos and a new generation fell in love. I had a chamoya, which was mango and pineapple ice cream with lime and chile powder for some heat to balance out the sweet and my little one was pretty adventurous with some ice cream fruit flavor called “Soursop” which is supposed to have a strawberry with coconut type flavor. The next day she was clamoring for more and altogether we visited the shop three times that week.

In addition to the ice cream and popsicle flavors they also serve up “tostilocos”, which is a Mexican snack of corn chips topped with different toppings like lime juice, chile, avocado and hot sauce.

It looks like La Michoacana is a well-oiled chain of ice cream shops throughout Mexico and the southwest. The shop was very clean, the workers were very friendly, local teenage girls and don’t let language be a barrier to opening up a whole new world of new flavors. I got to practice some of my Spanglish and one of the girls spoke fluent English if that was not possible.

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Korean Kool in Hillcrest

Hillcrest has a new Korean quick service restaurant, HoM KOREAN KITCHEN | HōM Made From Scratch. They took over the former ‘Which Wich’ space and it is a welcome addition to keep Hillcrest up there as a food destination. We had some tough contenders on this block, but Hom offers fresh, quick and unique offerings that ultimately drew us in.

The vibe there is light and airy and young. It makes one feel like you are in some trendy district of Seoul where the young people go with the modern interior, modern pop music and the unique, yet traditional toppings or ‘banchan’, as they call it.

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Portions were very large, enough for an extra meal and they also have homemade ginger soda, which is really, really good. Definitely recommend.

With the menu offerings, you can get as intricate or as simple as you’d like, from Nori chip tacos to beef bone soup.

I am already hankering to go back soon to get my Korean Bibimbap fix.

 

*New Trail Alert*, Annie’s Canyon Trail-San Elijo Lagoon

A friend on Facebook recently posted about this new trail and that is how it got on my radar. I watched the virtual trail video and it brought back memories of Ho Chi Minh trail near Black’s Beach, although this is like a controlled Ho Chi Minh trail, because it has just enough excitement for my more out-of-shape physique without sending me potentially to the Emergency Department, which good luck, getting seen, by the way. So, this looked doable and interesting.

This is a good hike to do in the summer-time as it is along the coast or rather near the coast, so there is an intermittent ocean breeze that brings relief. There is a bit of shade and there are a few different points of entry depending on how long of a hike you want. You can get more info on that here.

Once you get to the sign that says, “Annie’s Trail”, you can take either the one way loop or the viewpoint trail.

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I made the mistake of choosing the viewpoint trail and so when we realized at the top that we had bypassed the cool cave trail and sandstone climb, well, we just had to descend and do it again! Tip: Use the carved in foot depressions on the side of the trail to ascend in the canyon trail, don’t cross-country ski up the sand on the bottom like I did until I realized the foot depressions were easier.

Bring water, I recommend a Camel Bak or light backpack to hold your water so you have your hands free for the strenuous climb part. You will need both hands to leverage up the cliff. It really isn’t that bad though. And it is a short ascent. You will feel like Sir Edmund Hillary when you’re done though. Small risk, great reward.

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Levering up

There were a lot of people out hiking the trail. With 660,000+ views on the County of San Diego website after only a couple of weeks being open, it is not a surprise. Please be courteous with extra people, especially older and younger and yield to those going downhill. Dogs must also be leashed, there are rattlesnakes out there. I know because I have seen several rattlesnakes in the San Elijo Lagoon Preserve before and you wouldn’t want your dog to get bitten by a rattlesnake because it is not a quick hike back to the road. It is, at best about 1.5 miles.

I hope this trail is around for awhile, it is pretty fun, great 360 degree views of coast, lagoon and to the east. Here are more photos below, just click on them to enlarge them.

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Summer is Swinging–Balboa Park After Dark

A chance encounter of the Balboa Park after Dark event last Friday had that jazz standard going in my head:

Balboa Park was alive with food trucks lined up all along the promenade, jugglers and plenty of live music–a DJ, a jazz group at Panama 66 and other bands playing throughout the park. The museums were all open late and a new sculpture exhibition scattered throughout the main plaza.

It was nice to see young and old enjoying the park. Taking in the ambience, eating a churro or fish n’ chips or looking at the duck family parading around the pond.

This is a great event to bring a date, bring your family or friends and dance a little, eat something and check out a little cult-chah…this Balboa Park after Dark event will run every Friday up until September 2nd.

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