Friday, September 17, 2010

Adventures in San Diego!

Every semester, or at least every year, my friends and I like to take a trip down to San Diego. One of the best parts about going to college is Southern California is without a doubt the location. My school is located in LA county, but we are really right on the edge of LA county and Orange county. LA is a less than an hour away (with traffic) and beaches like Huntington, Laguna and Newport are just a quick jog down the 5 freeway. Have I mentioned that Disneyland is 15 minutes away from campus too? San Diego is in my opinion one of the best spots SoCal has to offer. If you've never been, you will not really understand until you go. San Diego is just. so. nice!

We got up early and planned to leave at 8 am to make the about two hour drive down. After a quick stop at Starbuck's (my friends wanted breakfast) we were on the road. I enjoyed my breakfast (packed as usual) in the car while talking and enjoying the beautiful scenery of the ocean.

La Jolla coast

Our first stop was La Jolla, one of my most favorite places on the planet. As soon as we got there, there was 3-hour parking spot right in front of us - score! We saw the seals, laughed in the sea breeze, got a little wet from the waves, and walked on top of the La Jolla caves. We also took pictures at each stop -- thank you kind people that snapped them for us!! After seeing the ocean views we walked up to some shops. I normally don't like art galleries, but we walked into one that had nature photography and it was breathtaking! Soon it was time for lunch, so we decided to go to Downtown SD to try and find a spot to eat.

"Bird of Paradise" flower
After a lot of driving around trying to find our bearings and food, we finally just parked and went into the mall. I got a salad at a little place in the food court. I was not happy about the lunch options, but I chose the safest possible thing. It was a CHEAP salad :( It may look delicious, but looks are deceiving. The place only had a olive oil/canola blend, which I was not about to eat and so I had no fat on top of my salad. Yuck! I should have asked from some avocado!

Something DEFINITELY tasted funny here. I couldn't pin point the source!

With the mediocre lunch (for me) behind us, we decided to walk to the famous Ghiradelli Chocolate Factory and Ice cream parlor. My friends enjoyed the chocolate samples. We all wanted something ice creamy but the prices were HIGH. Too much for five college students to handle, so we left.

Boats and beautiful shining water!
Next we walked down to the water and saw the boats, tourists and many restaurants with a shopping area. People were walking around enjoying themselves, getting lunch, watching guys play with fire, or sitting for a caricature drawing. I liked it for the pretty pictures of the marina/boats and water :) I don't really like touristy places, so I was kind of ready to leave. Not to mention one performer doing an act with fire was trying to get me to look at his performance, but I was not buying into that. I'm not a tourist!

We found our way to the car much faster than we left it, and we didn't even have to pay for parking - yay validation option! For the next stop we zoomed over the bridge to Coronado. We walked the beach, took pictures and of course, walked through the Hotel del Coronado. This hotel is fancy, and very expensive to stay at. Luckily it's fairly open to the public, and it's nice to walk around. We saw a beautiful couple having their wedding reception. The bride was gorgeous and she gave me some inspiration for what I want my dress to look like some day. It was fun to talk to my friends about dresses, the boys in the group were just smiling and putting up with our girly chatter.

View from Mt. Helix
Our next stop was Mount Helix, the tallest place in San Diego. You can see 360 degrees around on top of the mountain. The view was breath taking. We arrived around 6 o'clock, so the sun was just starting to go down a bit, so the view was not too sunny, it was good picture lighting. It was a little hazy in one direction, which was bummer since we couldn't really see anything. We got to the top and found out that there was a wedding and we could not park and go to the summit. So we settled for stopping on the road up and getting our pictures.

Last stop? DINNER. I told everyone about Sammy's Woodfired Pizza last April when I went for the first  time, so when we planned our trip to SD I decided this is where we are going to dinner. The food is so delicious, made from scratch, has a great gluten and soy free menu and is a good value for the price and amount of food you receive. We found the restaurant, ordered, and then THE FOOD CAME!

Caesar salad w/ chicken - the dressing might be the best part!

Gluten free caprese pizza - that's basil on top!
I ordered the small caesar with half chicken (the full is HUGE) and also a gluten free caprese pizza with extra feta. The chunks of tomatoes didn't even bother me the next day! They were so juicy and tender. This is the third Sammy's location I have been too and I must say that the service here was THE BEST, but the pizza was NOT the best. The crust seemed different that other locations, REALLY thin and not as thick or doughy. I still love Sammy's though and will continue to go back.

And I convinced my friends to split THIS five ways, the Messy Sundae (naturally gluten free!) It was a mess of chocolate sauce, and so fun to eat! The ice cream inside was not my most favorite, but the whole experience was totally fun. Splitting an $8.50 dessert 5 ways? ONLY $1.70, now that's an acceptable price.

Messy Sundae!
With all the food I ordered I only ate half and then had a whole other meal the next day! Perfect! My friends really liked the restaurant, so I think they won't object to going back! Hurah!

Chocolate and friends and a relaxing drive home - what a great way to end a fun day.

Note - I am a little bit behind cataloging all my restaurant experiences - I need to do official reviews on the blog and also on Yelp. It's important that people discover where to find gluten and soy free REAL food when the are eating out. Soon (when I get the time) I will be doing a post talking about eating REAL FOOD while eating out and all the things I have learned in the process. Hopefully it can help others who are like-minded with their food options.

Also, I don't know if you can tell, but on nearly all my pictures from this trip the bottom right hand corner is SO BLURRY! I am so bummed because it's ruined some of my otherwise good shots :( I think my lens needs to be cleaned, but on other pictures the blur is not as present or is not there at all. Weird!

No comments: