Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Whaling station

The area where Cabrillo landed at Ballast Point later became a whaling station. (Ballast Point was also where the old Point Loma lighthouse was once located. Or click here for more history of Ballast Point from our very own Ballast Point Brewing Company.) Archeologists discovered this site in 1988 where brick ovens and cast iron pots stood in the mid 1800s. Gray whales were killed off the coast and towed to this area where their blubber was boiled into oil.

I just learned about some awesome deals for families for next month that I thought you would love to know about.
San Diego Zoo & Wild Animal Park: Kids 3-11 get in free all of October
Belmont Park is offering free Unlimited Ride Wristbands and more - on the DAY of your birth in October
The Hornblower - 2 children can cruise for free with one paying adult on the 1 or 2 hour Harbor Cruises - click here for the coupon, expires 10/31/09

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Portuguese dancing

Here are the Portuguese American Dancers that performed at the Cabrillo Festival. Their costumes are embroidered wool (and it was at least 70 degrees outside).

Monday, September 28, 2009

Cabrillo Festival

We were to imagine a more pristine coastline in this re-enactment of when Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo sailed ashore at Ballast Point on September 28th 1542 claiming the land for Spain.
Cabrillo was a Portuguese explorer who was sailing for Spain. The festival included food, dancing, and vendors from Native American, Mexican, Portuguese and Spanish traditions.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

The Bells

You may have seen these bells marking the El Camino Real (the Royal Road) throughout California. I saw this one near Harbor Island. The bells mark the 600 mile trail of the California Missions. On the bell it says Loreto Oct 25, 1697 and Solano July 4, 1823. The Loreto Mission in Baja California was the earliest successful Mission aka the "head and mother of all the Spanish missions in Upper and Lower California". The Solano Mission in Sonoma, California is the northernmost Mission and the last to be established.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Goats, dogs, or walruses?

I really liked this Spanish style cupola I saw in South Park, but I couldn't figure out what the heck these decorative animals were. What is your guess?

Friday, September 25, 2009

Big Kitchen

I haven't been to the Big Kitchen in a long time, but it is known for several things: hippies, liberal politics, Judy "the beauty on duty" - tres bien, Whoopi Goldberg once worked there, good food, expensive sodas, outdoor patio, cozy inside, cash or check only, a neighborhood/community favorite, aka Mama's Kitchen.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Japanese Gardens Koi Pond

I recently took a tour of the Japanese Friendship Gardens, a place that I haven't been to since I was a child. At some point between my two visits, they added a koi pond, with these big, entrancing fish swimming around. I think koi are so pretty, and sometimes fantasize about having my own koi pond at home.

The Friendship Gardens are quite an enjoyable place walk through, more so now with the pond. You should check it out sometime soon. For more information, click here:

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Disc golf

We've got the weather to play through all the seasons. And for more than 30 years, we've been fortunate to have one of the first disc (aka frisbee) golf courses in the world. The Morley Field Disc Golf Course is good cheap fun at $2.50 on weekdays, $3.00 on weekends, and $1.50 for disc rentals. Click here for insider tips from a local or info/a few photos about the death of the infamous shoe tree. See you on the 19th hole!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Whose water tower is it anyway?

The photo above is of the landmark water tower between El Cajon Boulevard and Howard Avenue on Idaho Street. I have always thought of it as the North Park Water Tower, but it seems it is also called the University Heights Water Tower. What's your vote, NP or UH?

Monday, September 21, 2009


We have through this Friday, 9/25 to check out Restaurant Week - Expat was kind enough to send this photo and story on his dining out experience:

Just like last year, San Diego Restaurant Week has been extended to Restaurant Fortnight, so slackers who haven't yet taken advantage have another week to get out there onto those mean streets.

Our Friday posse went for Apollonia, which was well reviewed in the Reader a week ago. We were attracted by the presence of taramasalata on the menu and lamb in the moussakà (both features ridiculously rare here in SD). It was worth the schlep to the Costa Verde mall -- a 4-course blow-out for a mere 20 bucks. We all chose the moussakà and it was pretty good although lacking the cinnamon and cilantro that I use in my recipe. The starters were all very good.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Pink house #3

Yesterday I showed a stately pink house. Here is another pink one in North Park. We have such a nice variety of pink houses here, that this is going to become a series. Stay tuned for more pink.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Another pink house

There is no lack of pink houses here. More than a few years ago, I showed a different pink house and promised to show more. This pink beauty is near the Balboa Park Golf Course and from the plaque on the façade I could tell that it has been designated as an historic home.

Friday, September 18, 2009

The Old Mill

This restaurant in North Park was The Old Mill then changed to The Lumberjack, now it's back to The Old Mill again. I never went when it was The Lumberjack, but I hear that the food has not changed much through all the transitions. The food is basic American diner food. What I remember is the biscuits and gravy, onion rings, and old style red, amber or frosted clear plastic drinking cups.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Balboa Park Squirrel

Squirrels make me feel the change of the seasons. To me, they seem to be more active during those transitional days. I could be totally wrong about that. Maybe I'm just more observant of them during the season's changes. Who knows?

I found this squirrel snacking on these palm fruit in Balboa Park a couple of days ago. He was making quite a ruckus. So much for the quiet of nature! He scraped his teeth against the seed creating a loud staccato noise: squeak-squeak-squeak! I stopped and watched him go through several fruit. He sniffed out the desired produce then plucked it off. Peeling off the outer layer, spitting it out until he found the inner, squeaky center. Didn't seem like there would be all that much left of the fruit once peeling it, but there must be something tasty about it!

I hope you are enjoying the squirrels, where ever you are.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

An ocean view

I see the ocean often enough, but I oooh and ahhh every time I see the blue ocean on the horizon. I was driving down Prospect Avenue in La Jolla when I took this photo. The street is divided by upper and lower level lanes - thus the barred railing you see in the photo. At the end of the street is the Ellen Browning Scripps Park.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


Back in April of this year, the first Sonic Drive-In restaurant opened in Santee to much fanfare. I was not familiar with Sonic so I went to check it out recently. There are two options for dining: drive-in, park, and order or walk-up to order and sit at picnic table seating. No one goes inside, they come out on roller skates with your food and drinks.
I asked the young skating hostess if they had to buy their own skates and she said yes, but the company reimburses the cost. I also asked if it was tough being on skates all day and she said that it was fun and not uncomfortable at all.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Community garden

There is also a community garden on the Edgemoor property that is open only to seniors. Among the roses were other flowers as well as lots of tomatoes, squash, and corn coming in. It is unclear how long the gardens can stay. Click here for a list of community gardens in the county.

Sunday, September 13, 2009


The above photo is of Santee's Edgemoor Polo Barn, built in about 1913. The barn may soon become the last reminder of the Edgemoor Farm. At one time the area was a dairy farm and the barn was home to polo ponies. In the 1920's the county bought the farm and used it for a hospital and nursing facility.
A new facility opened this year and the old buildings are slated to be torn down, except for the barn which is listed as on the National Register of Historical Places. I could see this place being made into a nice shopping/historical area like Bazaar del Mundo/Old Town or something like Old Poway Park. Too bad for us if it is not saved.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

More Air & Space

I made a quick left turn off of Magnolia Avenue when I saw this missile from the road. The Annex at Gillespie Field is part of the San Diego Air and Space Museum located in Balboa Park. The annex has an educational center, restoration shop, and is storage for extra aircraft owned by the museum.

Friday, September 11, 2009


Seau's is a restaurant in Mission Valley that is owned by the professional football player Junior Seau. Seau was born in San Diego and used to play for our football team, the Chargers. The restaurant looks like a mini stadium from the outside and has an incredible number of TV monitors as well as a projection screen for your sports viewing pleasure. They serve American food and also have a large sushi menu.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Old Trees

Mission Hills is one of the older communities of San Diego. As a result, you can find some fantastically old, knotted, gnarly, and beautiful trees there. It's also interesting to think about the different trees that were popular at different times in the evolution of this city. At end of the 19th century and the turn of the next, it seems that pepper trees were the most popular. But I'm just guessing from what I've seen around the town.

These trees look like they might be located along a forest path, perhaps, but they are actually tucked into the back side of Grant Park.

It really is a lovely place to experience, you should go soon!

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Trader Mort's

This is an old photo I pulled from the archives to keep with the Tiki theme. Trader Morts Liquor & Deli has more than just fixin's for mai tais. Click here to see photos of the inside and outside of the store from a tiki fan or here, here, or here to see a few of my older posts on tiki.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Tiki 2

A few years ago I posted about all the tiki inspired architecture and places with the tiki theme that we have here. I stopped by Bamboo 2 U and Tiki's Too (the photo is of the front of the store) on my Coast Highway 101 trip and they are totally loaded with tropical paradise merch...and tiki's too.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Sidewalk mosaics

There are a bunch of mosaics on the sidewalks in Encinitas that I didn't know about until I decided to post the above. This one was actually in Solana Beach. In the late 1990s, a lot of money was put into revitalizing downtown Encinitas and the mosaics were part of the project as well as upgrading the sidewalks, putting in lighting, and installing trash cans with artistic tiles on the side (I didn't know about the trash cans either). Click here or here to see some of the mosaics and here for the tiled trash cans.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Big pink cloud

I saw this big pink cloud last night from Mission Valley. Humidity seems to help make for beautiful sunsets - click here to see another photo from about 2 years ago. Ugh, when will it end!?

Saturday, September 05, 2009

The boobs

Anyone who has driven between San Diego and Los Angeles on Interstate 5 North has probably seen the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, which our family affectionately calls "the boobs". The plant generates about 20% of power to Southern California.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Beware of Landsharks

For me "pizza delivery" is a phrase that is almost synonymous with "candygram" - I'm on the lookout for Landsharks. Can you imagine a Landshark riding this cute scooter for Bronx Pizza? Click here for a pic of their pizzas.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Shy Koala

The koala exhibit opened when I was a child and it's still a favorite. The viewing platforms are up high, at koala-eye level. I sat there, waiting for this guy to turn around for...oh...5 minutes or so. Didn't happen. Oh well, maybe next time.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Night (space) rider

Yep, that is a small space ship on the front of a motorcycle with sparkling lights. And there were flags. And a costumed man with a long beard. And a website on the side of the bike that I couldn't read. Have you seen this biker dude around town?

Tuesday, September 01, 2009


I liked this colorful display of paper flowers, ceramics, and tiny sombreros in one of the Old Town shops. Seeing those little sombreros made me think of big sombreros and how much fun it is drinking margaritas while wearing a big sombrero. Or wearing a big sombrero and getting your photo taken on a donkey in TJ. Ridiculous, but fun. Poppers anyone? You know what I'm talking about?