Saturday, May 31, 2008


You can't see much of the brick in this photo, but the Horton Grand Hotel's edifice is an amazing restoration story. The "new" hotel is comprised from two separate hotels (The Grand Horton Hotel and the Brooklyn Kahle Saddlery Hotel) that were built at different locations and opened in 1886. To make way for the construction of the Horton Plaza shopping mall, the two hotels were completely disassembled - literally brick by brick, then numbered, cataloged, and stored in local warehouses. They were reassembled to build the Horton Grand Hotel which opened in 1986.

Friday, May 30, 2008


Whatever you want to call them - heroes, subs (submarines), grinders, hoagies, or Po' boys - I love them all! I picked up this sopresatta friuli sandwich, which is Italian dry sausage cured in wine, at Mimmo's. Along with pizzas and pastas, Mimmo's also has submarine sandwiches on the menu, even for dinner. Nothing wrong with a sandwich for dinner.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

A Turtle in the River

There's a nicely paved sidewalk alongside the San Diego River in Mission Valley. It's a pleasant and pretty walk, however for most of the walk you only get brief glimpses of the water here and there. The brush is pretty thick between the river and the sidewalk. Which complicates things when you tell your 4-year old that you're going for a walk at the river and then she sees no river!

I spied a little path down to the water, which we snuck down prove we were, in fact, walking near a river. While sitting at the water, I happened to see this turtle sneak up to the surface...only to disappear in a flash when I moved my hand. I'll bet there's a turtle-ologist out there who can identify this guy. But that's not me, so until that person steps up I'll call him Steve.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Time warp

Click on the photo to enlarge and see how many famous faces you can recognize from this mural on the side of the Antiques Row Cafe. They've got lots of memorabilia inside too.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Presidio Park

Back in March, I was thinking about our canyons and wondering how to capture them best. This one is manicured compared to the ones in our neighborhoods, but I hope this photo of Presidio Park gives an idea of what some of our canyons look like. The park has several short easy trails over its 49 acres. Click here to read the low down on the trails.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Bear Flag

It is Memorial Day, so I thought I'd do some flag waving for you. You don't see the California flag as much as the US flag, but here it is flying high in front of a local bank. Our flag depicts the now extinct California Golden Bear.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

The road-eating monster

A monster siting from Expat: This road-chomping-spitting-out monster arrived in my neighborhood the other day. Mounted on tank tracks, its function appears to be -- not in the language of civil engineers -- to bite at the high bits and spit out onto the low bits.
I guess it worked. A stretch of Bachman Place (92103) now has a very spiffy new surface.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Old crow

Today is my birthday and I thought this photo I took at City Farmers Nursery was apropos. Caw, caw! The crow is not real, but a plastic replica on a stick to scare off the real birds.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Row, row, row your boat

Can you see the see the upside down boat hovering over the entrance at Gulf Coast Grill? The steering wheel and navigational lights are still intact. The boat and other ocean themed furnishings should clue you into the menu offerings - a swell of seafood: oysters, clams, calamari, crawfish, prawns, and all kinds of fish.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Liberty Station Vons (in Point Loma)

The most creative grocery store I've ever visited award goes to the Vons located in Liberty Station. Firstly, there's these cute bicycles which house the flowers. Secondly, there's the fact that these are located outside, which is technically the *middle* of the store. To both the left and the right there are buildings where one walks into doors and can shop - the produce located on the left of the entrance and the dry goods located on the right - in the middle are flowers.

And for a firm thirdly, there are cashier stations located all over the place - I guess for convenience, but I feel like I should purchase the goods that I pick up in that area before moving on to the next area. Which for me, would be pulling out my wallet 4-5 times!

It's totally weird, and kind of cool. I've only shopped there once and I couldn't get the hang of crossing out the door of the produce side of the market, walking out in the open, and back into the other side...I felt like I was going to be accosted security at some point!

Do you have any really creative grocery store layouts in your neck of the woods? Have you shopped here, and what did you think of it?

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Posting from Chinatown

Here is another unique topper that distinguishes one of San Diego's neighborhoods.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Birds of a feather

Can you believe that there once was an ostrich farm in the middle of our city? Well, it is true. Kind of near where Trolley Barn Park is now is where Bentley's Ostrich Farm once stood in the 1900's when women's ostrich feather hats were popular. Click here to see an old photo of the farm's entrance or here, to read a memoir of the neighboring Mission Cliffs Garden and the ostrich farm.

Monday, May 19, 2008

So blue

I passed by this cute little blue accented house in North Park on trash day. My photo doesn't capture it that well, but the stones on the border and at the curb are also painted blue. What a sight!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

There's a large hotel...

Expat is watching it unfold at Hotel Circle - and just in time for the start of the tourist season.
For several weeks the Holiday Inn on Hotel Circle South has been draped like a Christo art project -- its beds cold and empty, its coffee shop silent. Now we discover that when the wraps come off, looks like it'll be presto-chango time.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

The jacarandas are out early

Anyone recognize the building from this photo and story from Expat?
These beautiful trees are normally a June phenom, to cheer us up in the June Gloom. This year they've come to cheer us up in the May Grey instead, possibly commiserating over the poor performance of our baseball team.
How do you pronounce the name? I favor zhac... but wikipedia allows zhac... hac... and djac... So all of us are right, regardless.
Tip: Don't park a car under a jacaranda in July, it'll ruin your paintwork!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Italian sunshine at Lib-Sta

This meal from Expat makes me happy as a clam!
Tireless in our search for fine food & fun, we checked out Solare in the heart of Liberty Station last weekend. It's quite a swanky place, with several seating areas including one highly romantic table-for-two right inside the wine store. For some reason, we were seated in the "Mafia Room" (that's my nickname, not an official name, so don't go blurting it out), with personal control of the lighting and background music (our chosen setting for music: OFF). The two dishes in the pix are:
Seafood bisque with Sardinia-style semoule pasta and squid ink (on the permanent menu)
Clams with polenta (daily special)
We loved the Albarinho (visible in the pic below).

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Mission Bay

At the end of Mission Blvd. to the south, there's a little park, with a beach quite near. The water is technically part of Misson Bay, so the waves are quite mellow. This photo was taken at that spot, where the water is a gorgeous blue. It's a really relaxing spot.
Go check it out sometime!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Electrical box #13 - vino

This electrical box shows all the fixings of a great meal and it sits next door to the Italian restaurant Paesano in North Park. Check out the other electrical boxes that I've shown before: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


Pillars and cobblestone, features of the Craftsman style, welcome you to North Park's historic craftsman neighborhood. The sign honors "two men whose work is most abundant in the district", David Owen Dryden and Edward Bryans. Click here to read an interesting article about cobblestone use in San Diego. The author surveyed its use, within a ten mile area that includes parts of North Park, and recorded over 300 cobblestone walls, many piers/pillars and chimneys, as well as an entire home.

Monday, May 12, 2008

It's alive!

Okay, two embarrassing things. The first - I watched Jackass the Movie 2.5. After watching the completely stupid, ridiculous, and all out audacious things these guys do to their bodies, it made me think of a gross thing that happened to me that I could see these guys doing for fun. Which leads me to the second thing - once when I was swimming in the ocean, a small hermit crab crawled in my ear looking for a home. I kept rubbing at my ear thinking it was water in my ear and then out it came. It only stayed there for a few minutes, but I was pretty grossed out. Feel free to (anonymously) comment on your most embarrassingly gross moments!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Angel's Trumpets

For Mother's Day, I thought I'd share with you one of my favorite flowers called Angel's Trumpets (Brugmansia is its official name - but how ugly is that?!) Above is the pink variety and to the left the yellow variety as seen at Balboa Park. Happy Mother's Day and hope your day is filled with gifts from your angels!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

All your ducks in a row

I just happened past the Farm House Café (from yesterday's photo) and saw this cute family of ducks on the side of the restaurant. Is this making your mouth water for fois gras yet?

Friday, May 09, 2008

Farm House Food

Another enjoyable meal from Expat: The latest dining sensation in North Park is the Farm House Café on Adams Avenue. Owner/chef Olivier Bioteau is from the Loire region of France, and serves up a limited and ever-changing menu of delicious dishes. Thanks to a rave review in the Reader, this cramped little place is "reservation only" for the time being.
My dinner was sea bass served with artichoke, fava beans, fresh tomato and a little chervil. The sauce was so marvelous I went through three slices of bread mopping up every last drop.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

NTC - The North Chapel

Out in Point Loma, there used to be a Naval Training Center (NTC). They've closed that now, and turned it into Liberty Station - housing, a very cute shopping center, and a school or two. The amount of urban renewal there is pretty incredible, and it's all beautiful, in my book. Here and there, there are things that were left as they were, and The North Chapel is one of them.
The North Chapel was built in 1942, and was restored in 2006. I don't think any services are held there regularly, but it is available for use. What a pretty place to host an event!

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

No more steam

Okay, well the Reuben E. Lee never really had steam in the first place. It doesn't have an engine and was used solely as a restaurant which closed in 2003. Anyone know the status of what the owners, Sun Road Enterprises, plans to do with the boat?

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Sunset at Mount Helix

Not much more to say, except I wish the sky was more clear!

Monday, May 05, 2008

Theatre at Mount Helix

An intimate theatre atop Mount Helix has only 1000 seats, but they pack them in for concerts and plays during the summer. It would be great on a warm summer nights eve. Have you seen a production at this venue?
P.S.: Happy Cinco de Mayo!

Sunday, May 04, 2008

From mountain to mountain

We have two landmark mountains here each with a cross at their peak, one is Mount Soledad and the other is Mount Helix. Mount Helix is said to be "the crown jewel of East County" and provides 360 degree views - one side looks toward the Pacific Ocean, another to the El Cajon valley, and the one above looks north toward Cowles Mountain.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

The pipes, the pipes

Expat continues to help me out with another photo and story about goings on about town: Hotel Circle is just one of many places in our city that's a bit disrupted at the moment. The plan is to take all electric power lines underground, getting rid of unsightly overhead lines and increasing the efficiency of transmission. My only question is -- what are the overhead sneaker artists going to do now?

Friday, May 02, 2008

It's Cassis time

What's your favorite warm weather drink? Let's take a break for a drink courtesy of Expat: When the hot weather comes we think of cassis -- the french word for "blackcurrant", the liqueur made from it, and also a divine little fishing port/resort just East of Marseille.
A glass of dry white wine and a teaspoon of cassis liqueur makes the classic summer apéritif known as kir. Since the amount of cassis needed is so small, one of those $22 bottles of L'Héritier-Guyot generally lasts us all summer. In fact, when the heat first came upon us this year we discovered enough cassis left over from last year to get us started.
Get yours at Beverages & More:

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Theme Day - Numbers

There are numbers painted on the ground aside the trolley tracks at America Plaza. I don't know officially what they're for, but my guess is that they're for the drivers - this one being, "if you have 3 cars, stop here."

There are other people playing today's Theme Day. Go choeck 'em out!:
Albuquerque (NM), USA by Helen, American Fork (UT), USA by Annie, Arradon, France by Alice, Aspen (CO), USA by IamMBB, Athens, Greece by Debbie, Auckland, New Zealand by Lachezar, Austin (TX), USA by LB, Avignon, France by Nathalie, Barrow-in-Furness, UK by Enitharmon, Barton (VT), USA by Andree, Belgrade, Serbia by Bibi, Bellefonte (PA), USA by Barb-n-PA, Bicheno, Australia by Greg, Bogor, Indonesia by Gagah, Boston (MA), USA by Cluelessinboston, Boston (MA), USA by Sarah, Whit, & Leyre, Bucharest, Romania by Malpraxis, Budapest, Hungary by agrajag, Buenos Aires, Argentina by Karine, Busan, Korea South by iamnbinb, Canterbury, UK by Rose, Chandler (AZ), USA by Melindaduff, Chateaubriant, France by Bergson, Cheltenham, UK by Marley, Chesapeake Daily Photo (VA), USA by ptowngirl, Chicago (IL), USA by Focused Light, Christchurch, New Zealand by Michelle, Clearwater (FL), USA by Smaridge01, Clearwater Beach (FL), USA by Smaridge01, Cleveland (OH), USA by iBlowfish, Cologne, Germany by April11, Concordia Sagittaria, Italy by Patrizia, Coral Gables (FL), USA by Jnstropic, Corsicana (TX), USA by Lake Lady, Dallas (TX), USA by turtle, Darmstadt, Germany by Elsch, Dunedin (FL), USA by Smaridge01, Durban, South Africa by CrazyCow, East Gwillimbury, Canada by Your EG Tour Guide, Evry, France by Olivier, Forks (WA), USA by Mary, Geneva (IL), USA by Kelly, Glasgow, Scotland by Jackie, Greenville (SC), USA by Denton, Gun Barrel City (TX), USA by Lake Lady, Hamilton, New Zealand by Sakiwi, Hampton (VA), USA by ptowngirl, Helsinki, Finland by Kaa, Hobart, Australia by Greg, Hong Kong, Hong Kong by Rachel A., Hyde, UK by Gerald, Inverness (IL), USA by Neva, Ioannina, Greece by Christos-Ioanna, Jackson (MS), USA by Halcyon, Jefferson City (MO), USA by Chinamom2005, Jogjakarta, Indonesia by Jogja Portrait, Joplin (MO), USA by Victoria, Katonah (NY), USA by Inkster1, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia by Edwin, Kyoto, Japan by Tadamine, Larchmont (NY), USA by Marie-Noyale, Las Vegas (NV), USA by Mo, Le Guilvinec, France by ds2944, Lisbon, Portugal by Sailor Girl, Lisbon, Portugal by Maria João, Lodz, Poland by ritalounge, London, UK by Mo, London, UK by Ham, Mainz, Germany by JB, Malaga, Spain by Paula, Manila, Philippines by Heyokity, Maple Ridge, Canada by Susan, Marseille, France by Alex, Medan, Indonesia by KT, Melbourne, Australia by Mblamo, Melbourne, Australia by John, Memphis (TN), USA by SouthernHeart, Menton, France by Jilly, Mexico City, Mexico by Poly, Mexico City, Mexico by Carraol, Minneapolis (MN), USA by Mitch, Minneapolis (MN), USA by Greg, Minsk, Belarus by Olga, Misawa, Japan by misawa mama, Monrovia (CA), USA by Keith, Monte Carlo, Monaco by Jilly, Monterrey, Mexico by rafa, Montpellier, France by Marie, Moscow, Russia by Irina, Mumbai, India by Magiceye, Mumbai, India by Kunalbhatia, Nancy, France by yoshi, Nashville (TN), USA by Chris, Nelson, New Zealand by Meg and Ben, New Orleans (LA), USA by steve buser, New York City (NY), USA by • Eliane •, New York City (NY), USA by Ming the Merciless, Newport News (VA), USA by ptowngirl, Norfolk (VA), USA by ptowngirl, North Hampton (NH), USA by Amy, Norwich, UK by Goddess888, Nottingham, UK by Gail's Man, Ocean Township (NJ), USA by Josy, Omsk, Russia by Nataly, Orlando (FL), USA by OrlFla, Oslo, Norway by Lothiane, Owasso (OK), USA by Jennifer, Paderborn, Germany by Soemchen, Paris, France by Eric, Pasadena (CA), USA by Can8ianben, Pasadena (CA), USA by Petrea, Penang, Malaysia by Maltelda, Perth, Australia by Elevation7, Phoenix (AZ), USA by Cheryl, Pilisvörösvár, Hungary by Elise, Port Angeles (WA), USA by Jelvistar, Port Elizabeth, South Africa by Sam, Port Townsend (WA), USA by raf, Port Vila, Vanuatu by Mblamo, Portsmouth (VA), USA by ptowngirl, Prague, Czech Republic by Honza03, Quincy (MA), USA by Cluelessinboston, Rabaul, Papua New Guinea by Jules, Ramsey, Isle of Man by babooshka, Riga, Latvia by Riga Images, Rollag, Norway by Stormel, Rotterdam, Netherlands by Ineke, Saarbrücken, Germany by LadyDemeter, Saigon, Vietnam by Simon, Saint Paul (MN), USA by Kate, Salem (OR), USA by jill, Salt Lake City (UT), USA by Eric, Salt Lake City (UT), USA by atc, San Diego (CA), USA by Felicia, San Diego (CA), USA by Zentmrs, San Francisco (CA), USA by PFranson, San Francisco (CA), USA by Louis la Vache, Seattle (WA), USA by Kim, Seattle (WA), USA by Chuck, Selma (AL), USA by RamblingRound, Seoul, South Korea by Phil, Sesimbra, Portugal by Aldeia, Setúbal, Portugal by Maria Elisa, Sharon (CT), USA by Jenny, Singapore, Singapore by Keropok, Sofia, Bulgaria by Antonia, St Francis, South Africa by Sam, Stanwood (WA), USA by MaryBeth, Stavanger, Norway by Tanty, Stayton (OR), USA by Celine, Stockholm, Sweden by Stromsjo, Stouffville, Canada by Ken, Subang Jaya, Malaysia by JC, Suffolk (VA), USA by ptowngirl, Sunshine Coast, Australia by bitingmidge, Sydney, Australia by Julie, Székesfehérvár, Hungary by Teomo, Tacloban City, Philippines by agnesdv, Tel-Aviv, Israel by Olga, Terrell (TX), USA by Jim K, Terrell (TX), USA by Bstexas, Tokyo, Japan by Tadamine, Torun, Poland by Glenn, Torun, Poland by Torun Observer, Toulouse, France by Julia, Turin, Italy by Livio, Tuzla, Bosnia and Herzegovina by Jazzy, Twin Cities (MN), USA by Slinger, Vichy, France by Delphsnl, Victoria, Canada by Benjamin Madison, Vienna, Austria by G_mirage2, Virginia Beach (VA), USA by ptowngirl, Wailea (HI), USA by Kuanyin, Washington (DC), USA by Rachel, Wassenaar, Netherlands by Rich, West Paris (ME), USA by crittoria, West Sacramento (CA), USA by Barbara, Weston (FL), USA by WestonDailyPhoto, Williamsburg (VA), USA by ptowngirl, Willits (CA), USA by Elaine, Yardley (PA), USA by Mrlynn,