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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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.

The Flavor of Summer

We were wrapping up a successful doggie playdate and thinking about ice cream. One of the dog owners said, “You have got to try Handel’s. It just opened and it is great–homemade ice cream.” You say the word homemade and that is enough for me. So, we wrapped up the doggie playdate early in search of this rosetta stone of ice cream.

The ice cream spot is right up the corner from Moonlight Beach in Encinitas, off of Encinitas Blvd. from the 5 freeway in the Loft Condo building. They just opened last weekend.

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When you walk in there are rows of freezer cases everywhere and they make about 48 flavors of homemade ice cream every day. Delicious ice cream, fresh ice cream. I know because we tried it and it was delicious. My daughter, who, unless it glows in the dark and has gummy worms and confetti candy spackled all over it usually poo poos the good stuff, liked it. I had coconut ice cream in a fresh waffle bowl and she had vanilla oreo in a waffle cone bordered in chocolate and peanuts. The dog had his own ice cream (doggie ice cream), but since he is spoiled and the doggie ice cream was Purina brand he preferred the human ice cream better.

I think this place is going to be bumpin’ this summer, so try it before having to wait in line for half an hour. They have all kinds of sundaes, toppings, shakes as well. The flavor(s) of summer. Delicious.

http://www.handelsicecream.com/index.html

Mission Basilica San Diego de Alcala

Many San Diegans such as myself have driven by this sight for years and had no idea how truly beautiful the mission and the surrounding property is right in the heart of central San Diego. It is located in Mission Valley adjacent to Qualcomm stadium, home to the San Diego Super Chargers, amidst a sea of condominiums and lifestyle apartments and strip malls and franchises. Not the most graceful location for this storied facade of California’s earliest history of settlement.

Mission Basilica San Diego de Alcala is heralded as the first mission in the western United States. According to the information I read at the museum, the Spanish King had sent Franciscan missionaries to the area to establish missions and convert the natives to Christianity under the guise of establishing a presence amidst territory encroachments by the Russians and other foreign powers. Father Junipero Serra was to lead the Franciscan missionaries in establishing these missions. And it is telling that the purpose of these missions is in the name as Alcala means ‘Citadel’ in Arabic/Spanish.

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Can you imagine if Father Junipero Serra had not undertaken this mission impossible to convert the resistant natives to Christianity? We would be eating goulash and blintzes at happy hour instead of Taco Tuesdays and Corona–so unAmerican!

I am grateful that Father Serra settled and established a missionary colony of 21 missions across Alta California as far north as San Francisco with the San Francisco Solano mission built in 1823. The Mission San Diego is quite different than when it was first constructed in 1774. It has withstood Indian attacks, abandonment, conversion to a citadel and fire.

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I believe this is an important and often over-looked part of San Diego history and amidst the chaos that is Mission Valley, this site is a peaceful oasis and a serendipitous discovery.

For $5 you can spend an hour meandering through the mission and exhibits, look at finds from archaeological digs on the site such as military buttons and 19th century spectacles and delight in the beautiful native landscaping.

A San Diego treasure!

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Fiesta Island Dog Beach

I’ve lived in San Diego half my life and recently discovered dog shangri-la. Partly because I had never been a dog owner before, but this is to my knowledge, the largest, enclosed (mostly) dog park/beach that I know of in San Diego. If any reader knows of a larger one, please share in the comments below.

Fiesta Island is about 97 acres of beach park with any number of events going on there at one time from races to jet skiing and the annual Over-the-Line Tournament. It is a “Yah Yah boy” central, what my Mom would call the pick-up truck, bandanna-wearing, hootin’ and hollerin’ youngins’ you would see flying by on the road. I always wanted to be one of those “Yah Yah” boys because they looked like they knew how to have a good time. Anyhow, I digress…

My dog loves this place, he can run and run without hitting a fence for some time and there are the calmer waters that he likes to wade in and lots of friends to play with. It is our happy place.

On one side is the bay and on the other side of the dog park is an enclosed part of the bay with more water, a large meadow in the middle with some trees, you can even exercise leash-free with your dog running laps inside the fenced area! Seaworld forms the southern part of the border across the water and there are more meadows that are leash free outside of the fenced in part.

For more information, I found a You Tube video that shows video footage of the dog beach:

And Fiesta Island also has a Facebook page for dog owners called Fiesta Island Dog Owners (FIDO):

https://www.facebook.com/FIDOSD/

If you have a pet or even if you don’t and need some cheering up, this is a great place to go. Bring a bowl and water for your dog as I do not know where there is available water and enjoy!

 

 

 

 

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