Okay, okay…I admit it. San Diego isn’t my “real” home. Well, not in the sense that I grew up here – it isn’t my hometown. But as I’ve been saying for the past several years, I have a “Napa Valley heart with a San Diego soul.” When this is my geographic home, I’m happier than I’ve ever been. I find that even when I’m bored, I thrive here more than anywhere else. When I’m not living here, I can be kicking ass and taking names, and still I miss whatever the ‘je ne sais quoi’ that San Diego brings alive in me. That said, it’s been a long time since I’ve been here for any length of time, much less a proper visit (3 years, in both cases).
Having said all that, I should also preface this post with the (semi-) necessary info that New Year’s Eve is my favorite day of the year. I literally look forward to it all year long, and do my best to really make the most of the magic at midnight every year. Over the summer, I started thinking that I’d really like to ring in 2012 in my “other home,” and happily, my plans have come to fruition. Yesterday, I worked a few hours in Napa and then stopped by my house to change my clothes before hitting the road. I drove the six hours to LA, where I spent a lovely evening with my sweet cousin (who’s a former roommate & close pal of mine), and then this morning I drove the rest of the way to my fair city. I really did take a deep, happy breath just at the “San Diego City Limit” sign – and then I stopped in North County (Vista, to be exact) to meet my friend Jennifer for lunch. We’ve been friends for several years, and keeping in touch long distance is always hard, but we do our best to see each other whenever possible, and as luck would have it she happened to have the afternoon free.
She took me to a little Mexican place she likes called El Callejon – honestly, she had me at “they have really good margaritas.” Because really, what’s one of the things we do best in SD? Mexican food, of course! She was right – chips, fresh pico de gallo, and a round of fresh fruit margaritas (strawberry for her, mango for me). *side note: I was so happy to get out of the car that I didn’t unearth my camera for this stop. Sorry I have no pics, but I hope my descriptions will suffice*
Jennifer ordered her favorite chicken flautas with green sauce, and I had perfectly cooked & seasoned carne asada tacos with rice and beans. I originally planned to skip the second margarita, but Jennifer insisted and then when I heard that they had banana, I could resist no more. If you don’t know by now that I’m a sucker for the unusual flavor, you will never, never know me. Anyway, Jennifer was right to nudge me – the food was great and the first margarita was yummy, but the banana was the best part of my lunch. It was thick and not too sweet (read: real banana!), and absolutely fantastic. I can’t wait to go back!
After we finally finished our marathon catch-up session, we walked around the corner to Jennifer’s favorite local cupcakery, Little Cakes, which I’ve been dying to try ever since she started talking about their weekly Monday “Happy Hour” – by one, get one free cupcakes once a week for one hour. Since I planned to meet up with my sister and her hubs (if not other friends as well), I left with a box of four, rather than one, but promised myself I’d wait to dig in until I had help, so I wouldn’t eat the whole box solo! Those, however, I will take pretty pictures of and update you as to how delicious they are – stay tuned for that!
I’m now settled into my weekend digs in Pacific Beach. I’m staying with a host I found through AirBnB, a great site that connects travelers like me with people who rent extra apartments, rooms, etc for reasonable prices. Isabel’s house is unbelievable, and she’s a doll to boot. I’m about to change my clothes and head back up to North County (Escondido this time) to meet the aforementioned sis & bro-in-law for dinner at a great brewery…more to come (and I promise, there will be visuals from here on out)!
Ahhhh…it’s so good to be back!!