Time is fleeting. Summer 2016 is flying by in the Chi per usual as kids are going back to school, and parents are happy the little monsters are out of their hair. The last of the street festivals are attempting to be crammed into the few days of nice weather we have left before winter comes to our metropolis a la Game of Thrones (hopefully sans the army of the dead). Luckily, I have another wonderful travelogue to bring a bit of sunshine to your day through the magic of our trip this summer to San Diego, California.
Janice had originally informed me of one of her child hood friends, Sabrina, was going to get married about a year ago, and when I finally found out where the wedding was going to be, I couldn’t be more excited. It turned out it was going to be in San Diego, specifically Coronado Island. The reason for my excitement was that I hadn’t been back to California in ages, and I was aching for some of that humidity-free fresh air and West coast sunshine, a definite change from this Chicago summer known more for humidity, heat, and destructive lighting storms. No wonder we Midwesterners are so tough. Janice and I had an ungodly early flight, so by the time we reached our layover in San Francisco, another fun place to visit in California, we needed something to eat for breakfast beside the miniscule treats they handed out to placate us in the coach section. As we strolled to our gate, we found a restaurant that seemed to be quite popular with our fellow travelers: Yankee Pier. They are a chain that has a stand alone location and another one in the San Francisco aiport, so they had a menu and service to compliment the need for people on the run. However, this focus on culinary efficiency didn’t sacrifice the quality of the food. I got some sort of Mexican omelet that was liberally garnished with cilantro and filled with peppers, chiles, potatoes, tomatoes, and avocado which was a major game changer. With a couple splashes of Tabasco hot sauce, I turned this fiesta in my mouth from mas o menos to un bombazo! There was plenty of flavor to savor in this omelet, and I’d recommend it if you like Mexican flavors in general. It was so good I even caught Janice in the act of sneaking a bite or three from my plate. Also, I really enjoyed their sourdough toast because it wasn’t very crispy and more on the chewy end. Sourdough is actually part of San Francisco’s identity since it was brought to the state by French bakers in the 1840s during the famous gold rush, and Yankee Pier’s version of the iconic bread did not disappoint. Overall, if you’re looking for a delicious meal that is also mindful of your travel time restrictions, I’d highly recommend Yankee Pier. Once we downed our food, we were on a plane further south to San Diego.
Upon landing we were picked up by Janice’s friend Amber and another little companion I was not expecting. I got in the back seat and was face to face with Ellie the Schnauzer. She was such a good lil’ poochy, but she was ready to show us around the town with her owner. Eventually, we found a place to park and walk around. Eventually, we had worked up a bit of an appetite, so Amber took us to one of her favorite local eateries: Lemonade. Apparently, it has locations all over the Golden State due to its popularity as a purveyor of healthy salads, sandwiches, and (not so healthy) sweets. Oh yeah, and they do have their own homemade lemonades, of course! (Sorry, Beyonce fans). We didn’t know what to get because there was so much to choose from, but we went with two of the cold salads: the blt panzanella ($2.75) and the edamame salad ($2.50). It was cafeteria style, so they scooped a generous helping of each on our plate as we slid down the line. We also wanted to try one of the sandwiches and purchased the tomato and mozzarella ($6.95). They also have a plethora of sinfully decadent looking desserts, but we did not give into them. It was time to pay for our goods, and we had fun with the employees having samples of their lemonades behind the counter. It’s not just your mother’s lemon and sugar based summer drink. We tried the carrot ginger, hibiscus limeade, and blood orange lemonades. The best part was that you could mix and match as many flavors as your thirsty heart desired at no extra charge. In the end, we made a mix of the blood orange and the hibiscus tea. It resulted in a deep burgundy hued drink with a slightly tangy and almost cherry-esque tinged flavor profile that would cool us off after running around with Ellie the tour guide and Amber. We took a seat on the patio in the front, and while the ladies were catching up, poochy was enjoying her time on my lap/losing her cool over my drink.
Eventually, we got to eating our salad and our freshly made sandwich. The salads were fresh and light since we didn’t want to fill up before the rehearsal dinner for Sabrina’s wedding. The edamame salad was seasoned with a vinaigrette and pepped up with pickled radishes, sesame seeds, and carrots. I particularly enjoyed each firm bean imparting an earthy note to each forkful. The panzanella was my choice (on the left), and is an antiquated recipe. This Italian salad has been referenced in literature as early as the 16th century as a “salad of onions served with toast”. While it has shifted in focus from onions as a base to tomatoes, it doesn’t take anything away from this hearty side dish. This savory salad consisted of basically a BLT sandwich with arugula vinaigrette soaked pieces of bread, turkey bacon, avocado, and tomatoes. It’s definitely a salad for those who don’t love traditional salads, i.e. healthy ones. As for the sandwich, it wasn’t anything of note. Yes, it was fresh and handmade, but I’ve had a caprese sandwich before. I’d like to try one of their other more noteworthy creations the next time we’re in town. Once we downed our amazing meal, we bade Amber and Ellie farewell (but not forever) and made our way to our airBnB. We donned our finest duds and Uber-ed over to the picturesque Coronado golf club for the bride and groom’s rehearsal dinner. While we were wasting time before everyone showed up, we played some Pokemon Go, and I got caught in the act. Eventually, both families and their friends arrived, and we had to stop being antisocial. It was a great night meeting Janice’s friends from long ago, the bride’s giant family, and eventually bonding with a good number of the younger folks of the wedding party going around catching Pokemon. Also, the food and drink was phenomenal. We went to the restaurant that catered the event on our last day, so I’ll save my review for that post. It was such a great time overall, in fact, we stayed until the staff kicked us out of the clubhouse. If this first day was any indication of how the rest of our visit in San Diego was going to transpire, I couldn’t wait for the big day tomorrow! Stay tuned for part 2…