Throwback Thursday: San Diego

For Adam’s 31st birthday he requested a trip “somewhere warm”. If I had my way, we would’ve gone to Fiji. But since he likes “shorter” flights, I chose the furthest one possible… California. I researched the places with the best food, must-do’s and must-see’s and ended up planning a trip to San Diego and L.A. I have an entire itinerary (literally breakfast/lunch/dinner/activities planned) so if you ever need that, just e-mail me! For now, I’ve summed up our favorite places from San Diego below.

We tried to stay on the East Coast time as much as possible so waking up to the sunrise was easy.

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We stayed at the Catamaran Resort and Spa which was right on the “beach”. I wouldn’t exactly call it a beach even though it had sand and water but I noticed a lot of the beaches in the San Diego area were different from what we see on the East Coast. We grabbed an acai bowl from Juice Kaboose (SO GOOD) and headed to our first stop,  hiking at Torrey Pines. This trail for us was very easy but it had really amazing views!

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After hiking we quickly changed into our bathing suits and put our name down on the waiting list at the restaurant, Poseidon in Del Mar. The beaches in Del Mar were all wet sand which made it a bit awkward to lay out so we took a walk along the water before they called us to let us know our table was ready.

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We had one of the best seats in the house! We decided to eat light and ordered a Thai Salad and Fish Tacos to save room for our dinner later on. The food was excellent and the view was even better.

Dinner reservations took us into the gaslamp district which I assume is San Diego’s “downtown”. I had read great things about Searsucker (Brian Malarkey from Top Chef is the chef) and we couldn’t wait to try it all!

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and…we did. From top to bottom — Spicy shrimp and grits, chimichurri steak, cheddar croissants, pretzel crusted salmon, jalapeño chorizo corn off the cob (melt in your mouth) and the s’mores bar.  10003452_933084585889_707331379_n

Phenomenal.

The next morning brought us to The Mission, which we ended up eating at twice during our stay. They had a ton of options and San Diego does not cheap out on portions, that’s for sure.

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I had the green tea latte and that huge platter on the bottom which was papas con chorizo. Adam ordered the gluten-free french toast and you would’ve never guessed it was Gluten Free. We headed to La Jolla to walk around shops and see the stinky seals beach.

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The seals were stinkier than you can imagine but it was still a cool experience. Dinner was at C-Level, another amazing restaurant with ridiculous views. We sat outside and listened to the steel drum singer while the sun set over the skyline.

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As usual, we ordered a ton of food but all of the walking we did every day made up for those extra calories.

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From top to bottom – Seared Ahi Stack (crab, ahi tuna, avocado/mango salsa, caviar, plantain chips), Lobster and Fontina BLT sandwich, Peanut Butter brownie sundae with butterscotch fudge and bruleed bananas, oysters and butternut squash gratin.

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This is getting kind of long… so part 2 of San Diego next week. Happy Thursday!

 

 

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Candle 79

I teeter and totter between trying to be vegan, vegetarian, pescatarian and an everythingatarian so while I was in my “vegan phase” I begged and pleaded for Adam to try out Candle 79.

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Surprisingly, he said yes!

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We started off splitting the Spinach Ravioli as an appetizer

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Saffron ravioli, sautéed garlic spinach, cashew vegetable cheese in a truffled tomato sauce.

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I don’t think I’ve ever seen a ravioli so big! If we didn’t know any better, we would have never guessed that this was vegan. It was cheesy but not heavy like one stuffed with ricotta.

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Adam ordered the carribean jerk grilled seitan sandwich. I thought it would be the most “meaty” thing on the menu and sure to fill him up. Plus, it had a habanero coulis and the man loves everything spicy! He finished the meal and it also filled him up! Maybe I could turn him Vegan?

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I ordered the Grilled Kale Salad and it was HUGE. I don’t think I’d ever see the day where I would say can you box the other half of my salad up. It was delicious and I enjoyed all of the textures from the avocado, lentils and sunflower seeds.

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Vegan Desserts are just as good as regular desserts so we went ahead and placed an order to split the Chocolate Chip Brownie. I personally would have chosen the Peanut Butter Mousse Pie but I gave Adam the reigns of choosing since he was a trooper for agreeing to Vegan food.

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Anything drowned in chocolate sauce is A-OK in my book! It blows my mind how they can make a dessert taste just as decadent without any milk, cream & eggs.

We were both really surprised at how tasty and flavorful all of the dishes were considering they were largely vegetable/grain based. I felt that they really focused on using fresh seasonal ingredients and a variety of spices and unique flavors to make Vegan meals more appealing to a carnivore. The best part was that when I left Candle 79, after eating an appetizer an entree and a dessert, I didn’t need to unbutton my jeans. I was satisfied, but not stuffed. The best kind of full.

The Mooring Seafood Kitchen

Since we were only in Newport 3 nights and had the rehearsal dinner night one and the wedding night two, we made sure to find THE best restaurant for dinner on night 3. We didn’t have a reservation for The Mooring, but we called 3 times to see if there were any cancellations. There happened to be one right at 8:15 — The exact time we were looking for.

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We were seated right away and while our table was inside, we were able to check out the view from outside. Simply gorgeous.

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We had decided before we sat down that this was going to be a fatty meal and we definitely lived up to that expectation.

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I usually don’t order fried items because it gives me crucial stomach pain, but the Bag of Doughnuts we’re calling screaming my name. Lobster crab and shrimp in fried dough? Yes, please.

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There was no skimping on the portions either — I believe we got 3.5 of these each? Once again, not a fan of mayonnaise based items — But the chipotle-maple aioli, great addition.

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mmm. (p.s. — apologizing for all of my iPhone pictures now, so lazy with my big camera!)

We also ordered some lobster claws (for me) and oysters (for Adam).

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We ate so much lobster in Newport. But you know what they say… When in Rome, New England.

I was pretty much full after this, but went ahead with ordering an entrée. (Did I mention I had an egg and cheese bagel, chips and an ice cream cone before this? – Woo, I need a gym)

My main meal was the Yellowfin Tuna with bamboo rice, feta cheese, sun-dried tomatoes and balsamic butter.

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Seared perfectly and basically melting in my mouth.

Adam went with the lobster, obv.

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Our eyes are bigger than our stomachs so we ordered a side as well. Roasted Asparagus with Balsamic Butter.

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Inhaled. Veggies are always good to me… But with balsamic butter, they are even better.

Our waitress asked us if we’d like to order dessert and I vigorously shook my head yes. Don’t think I’m going to stuff myself silly and not finish with a sweet ending!

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Round One: Molten Bread Pudding with a chocolate ganache center, raspberry sauce and vanilla ice cream.

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Round 2: Warmed butterscotch banana cake with maple walnut ice cream, butterscotch and toffee crunch.

I’ll give you 1 guess if we polished these off. If you’re going to be rolled out of a restaurant, this is the restaurant to go to in Newport.

Breakfast in Newport, RI

Have you ever been to Newport, RI? Let me tell you about the food… We didn’t have ONE bad meal while we were there. Granted I did a ton of research on the places we went ahead of time, I was extremely impressed!

The first breakfast place we went was Corner Cafe.

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We arrived at 7am on a Friday morning and this place was packed. We waited 5 minutes and got a seat near the window.

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After browsing the menu for  a few minutes, we finally made a choice. I went with the vegetable egg white omelet topped with avocado and a whole wheat pancake that I topped with fresh fruit.

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Everything was SO fresh and mmmmm worthy. Nothing was greasy and I would think about driving to Newport just to have this breakfast again. Too much, no?

Adam went big and ordered  The BEAST which was 2 eggs, toast, home fries, bacon, sausage and pancakes.

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Can we talk about these home fries?? No joke, the most amazing potato I’ve ever had in my life. They must be cooked in bacon grease! We decided to go back on our last day of the trip because I NEEDED these potatoes again. This time I ordered their special of the day: Whole Wheat French Toast w/ Cinnamon Yogurt and Fresh Fruit.

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Casual, yet gourmet. Another winner in my book!

Adam ordered the Dodgy Bob omelette (chorizo, onions, mushrooms, peppers, pepperjack & and hollandaise w/ toast & potatoes).

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It’s clear why this place is “famous for breakfast”. Most of the restaurants in Newport were pricey, but Corner Cafe was very affordable. Everything is fresh with a homemade taste and we were never disappointed. If there is a wait, it’s well worth it… This is by far one of the best restaurants I’ve been to in Newport, and ironically…the cheapest.

If you’re hungover and in the mood for a greasy quick breakfast, Peaceable Market is for you… We had a little way too much fun at the wedding the night before and could barely walk ourselves around to find a Gatorade. Luckily, we stumbled upon a place where we saw a lot of college kids going in and out of…that definitely means good hangover food.

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Can you guess which one is mine??

Stanton Social

Friday night Adam took me into the city to celebrate my new job & our 6 month wedding anniversary! I chose Stanton Social because it’s been on my foodie bucket list for a while now!

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We made the reservation 3 weeks in advance and were a bit annoyed when they sat us in the very front of the restaurant, next to the door and squished at a table with 2 other couples. The dining lounge was clearly the place to be, but luckily the food made up for it!

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Say hello to my cute little date!

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We ordered a TON of different items but since the food is served tapas style it ended up being just enough.

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Crab Cake “Corn Dogs” — Since I’m a Maryland girl, you know I love my crab cakes! These weren’t lump crab but they were still very tasty. I loved the corn breading and the remoulade it was served in. It had the perfect kick.

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The Ahi Tuna tataki was our favorite dish (out of the 8!) of the night. The tuna was seared to perfection, the wonton stayed crispy despite the dollop of sauce and fresno chili topped it off with just enough spiciness.

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Shrimp & Grits was our next choice and can you believe I’ve never tried grits!? These grits were so cheesy and they were topped with two pieces of jumbo shrimp. The creole sauce that was poured on top of the duo was slurp-worthy.

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OK – The reason I even knew about this place was because the food network stars RAVE about the french onion soup dumplings on the show “the best thing I’ve ever ate”. They weren’t kidding when they said these are amazing! They come out super hot so you need to let them cool for a good 10 minutes but it’s well worth the wait. You get all of the taste in one cheesy bite!

4I ordered the Sriracha Pea Crusted Salmon for my “main course”. These were still technically tapas but i could only finish half since we had the 4 appetizers prior. The salmon came with an asian pesto & soba noodle-beet salad. I was expecting the soba salad to be warm but it was cold. I’m not really a cold noodle fan but it paired with the spicy salmon quite well.

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Adam ordered the cuban spiced glazed ribs for his main course and they were fall off the bone. The ribs had a mango and chipotle glaze and Adam said they were one of the best ribs he’s ever had.

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As you know, we aren’t ones to pass up dessert so when the waitress asked if we saved room we grabbed the menus from her hand. Technically these desserts are to share, but we couldn’t help but order our own. Everything else leading up to this had been so great, we knew we’d want to try more than one!

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I chose the s’mores creme brulee. I wasn’t expecting it to come out in 3 mini dishes but I wasn’t complaining — I think this is the most perfect creme brulee I’ve EVER had.

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Adam went the healthier route and chose the blueberry olive oil cake with blueberry compote and greek yogurt ice cream. The cake tasted a lot like a muffin and the ice cream was a bit melted but he still cleared the plate!

I absolutely recommend Stanton Social to anyone who loves food (but ask that they don’t seat you up front!) and can’t wait to try it’s sister restaurant, Beauty & Essex soon!