Archive of ‘reviews’ category

Solana Beach Farmers Market

solana beach famers market

Farmers Markets are great, right? You got fresh food, you’re helping out local farmers, there’s tons of great things to see, taste, bring home for dinner. Flowers galore.

solana beach famers market

The flowers just might be my favorite part. So, out of all of the Farmers Markets in San Diego, I decide the best one must be Solana Beach. Because Solana Beach is fancy! It might be more expensive too, but I was going for fancy, I guess. I had a list of stuff I needed, which consisted of veggies and eggs. I had no idea anyone sold eggs at farmers markets, but I was willing to give it a go. Then hit the grocery store on my way home if they didn’t.

One of the first booths I see has a cardboard sign that reads “eggs!” (exclamation theirs). I was quite excited. She said she had one more carton left. Sold! Wow, I really lucked out, she’s almost sold out. She shows me the eggs, closes the carton while I’m getting out some cash and she says “$8.50 please”. I quickly put my cash back in my wallet. “Wait..what?? $8 for eggs?” I hate being that person, but come ON $8 eggs! She gives me this big long speech about what they feed their chickens, what they don’t feed them, what their coop looks like, blah blah. Basically, if I say no then I’m the biggest chicken-hater-abuser in the world, so I’d better buy these eggs and not get them at Albertson’s. FINE. I give her my money, then she tells me to not rinse them until I’m going to use them. They have this protective coating on them that’s natural, it’s there when the eggs are laid, it keeps them fresher longer. Then…THEN she tells me these eggs were just laid on Friday. I could even put them in an incubator to hatch them if I want. What?! These eggs have chickens in them?? Maybe I’m not up on my chicken trivia, but I thought there were fertile eggs and unfertilized eggs. (Did that make since? I’m getting confused with fertilizer and human babies.) They don’t go from being non-chick to chick after they’re laid. Do they?? Please chime in if you know. Because every single time I go to crack one of those eggs open I am scared to death there will be a baby chick in it! One that I killed! This is all too much pressure. There’s also still dirt and hay on these eggs (before I wash them) and it just reminds me that this egg just went through a chickens insides, and now I’m touching it. I am touching the birthing canal of a chicken. Right now. This is all too much. I’m never buying eggs at a farmers market again.

solana beach famers market eggs
solana beach famers market eggs

But they sure are pretty. One even has speckles!

They didn’t have all the veggies I was looking for, but had some pretty great things. I got fresh pomegranate juice to put in my morning parfaits, some lettuce and tomatoes. The tomatoes were excellent, as fresh tomatoes always are (never put them in the fridge). The lettuce went bad almost instantly. Then the egg saga. I love going to farmers markets, but I think the point is to buy what you’re going to eat that night. Or maybe the next night. I was shopping for the week, and that’s just not totally practical.

solana beach famers marketsolana beach famers market
solana beach famers market

These were at a store in the market. Love them! But hefty price tag. Solana Beach and all.

What was really great, though, was that I got hit on by a proper Italian.

solana beach famers market
solana beach famers market
solana beach famers market
solana beach famers market
solana beach famers market

I was standing in the middle of the food court trying to decide what I wanted for lunch, when these guys from Red Oven insisted they were the best vendor there and 7th in the nation(!) and I’d be sorely disappointed if I didn’t eat their pizza. I was jonesing for a gyros, but I can’t pass up a great wood fired pizza. Can you? I got the Parma and it was delish! There was a couple there that told me they drove all the way from Orange County just for their pizza. Crazy! I think I’m the last one to jump on the Red Oven bandwagon, but I’m totally on it now. You can hire them for private events, too. So do that. Look how good that crust looks. Dang, this is making me hungry.

red oven pizza

So…that was my trip to the Farmers Market. To sum up: I need veggies to have the chemicals on them so they’ll last a week. And don’t even get me started about the eggs.

Airborne Toxic Event at The Greek

DTLA

So, I’m I’m LA right now. It’s noon-thirteen. On a Friday. I got back in bed after a lovely breakfast at The Standard, where I demanded they put avocado AND eggs atop my dry toast, so I could pretend it was a Saturday and I was at home doing my usual home things. I’ve been sitting in bed (again) for approximately an hour and nineteen minutes, and I am just loving it. Reading, listening to playlists, gazing out the window at the TCW building (what goes on in there anyway?) listening to the fire trucks blaze by, smelling the sushi place eleven floors below me, and watching the sky grow a bit darker every seven minutes or so. (If you take anything away from this post, it’s that I loathe even numbers.)

It rained last night. And I’m hoping it rains today! I thankfully brought my new puffy black jacket, and am just tickled I get to wear it today. You know, when I get out of bed.

Last night I was at the iconic Greek Theater listening to an iconic band, The Airborne Toxic Event. Do you know the song Sometime Around Midnight? You know, the one that’s beautiful and heart wrenching? Yeah, that’s them. TATE and I have a history. You know when an album suddenly becomes the soundtrack for a particular era of your life before you even know it’s about to happen? I was suddenly living in this dinky place that used to be someone’s garage, my bed was in my kitchen was in my living room, and I routinely had to shove pieces of paper towels in the crack of the window so the spiders wouldn’t crawl through and lay eggs in my ear. But I loved that dingy, light filled place, because that’s where I was. It was right after Airborne Toxic Event released their album Such Hot Blood. Sure, I knew a few of their songs from the last few albums that were on the radio, loved them, but nothing hit me so deeply as Such Hot Blood. The music, the lyrics, his bleeding heart. They were reaching into my soul, pulling out my heart and watching it bleed. And I wanted them to do it. There is a different song for each part of my heartbreak. Different words for each memory, each pain, each dream, each hope. I have lived through far too many Fifth Days, yet I can’t get enough. All your songs are sad songs, but they’ve been hurting and healing me, and I am so grateful for that.

TATE

So, back to last night…fall was just about to hit Southern California mere hours after the concert ended. But we had perfect weather for the outdoor venue. The air was just crisp enough, the wind gently meandered through the trees and made Anna’s dress billow in time to her violin on stage. They sounded amazing, performed amazing. They had such a good mix of songs, from all their albums. They might have left out a couple of my favorite ones on their set list, but they played enough of them to touch my soul and break my heart all over again. To finally see them live was…well, it was epic, guys. I’m a bit sad it’s all over and I’ll have to wait for their next tour. But I’m so glad I made the effort to trek all the way up to LA and take a day off of work to see them. And I’m so glad this little band from Silver Lake made it big and got to play The Greek. They totally deserve it. You guys are amazing. Please keep writing music and keep breaking our hearts.

And now I wanted to leave you with some amazing photographs of the show that I did not take, but this awesome photographer Ryan Tuttle did, but alas, I can’t use them without his permission. BUT! Here’s a link…go check them out, he is quite talented. And has a pretty rad job, am I right?

Puesto

Remember the time I lived in Downtown San Diego for a few days? Well, the first night I was there, I needed a place to eat dinner, as one does when they’re living at the Hyatt. I had a long important work day ahead, so I decided to just walk next door to Headquarters to find hopefully a new place to eat. Headquarters is the new shopping…place? center? experience? What would we call that? Whatever, it’s right next to Seaport Village. They converted the old Police Station to the shopping-whatever. They have a few great stores (some boring ones) and a few good restaurants. As soon as I walked in and saw this I was like…um yes. I’m eating HERE.

Puesto

I walked up to the hostess and said “I need a drink, a taco, and I’d like to sit right there” and pointed to these two little awesome areas in the bar. She laughed at me (I’m used to it by now) and said not a problem!

Puesto
Puesto

I even had a view of my hotel! You know, to make sure no one broke into my room and stole my sweaty running clothes I just shed a half hour prior.

The waitress got me a gorgeously large glass of wine, a bucket of delicious chips with amazing salsa (I almost drank it, it was so good), and gave me the run down of the menu.

Puesto

That middle section is tacos. That’s what they’re famous for. My boss ate here awhile ago and told me he didn’t like it. But lets face it, he’s much fancier than I am, and he did not order their tacos. I think he was expecting more Old Town type of food. Whatever, I would love to eat here every single day for the rest of my life.

I’m not kidding.

I asked the waitress what her favorites were, I told her what I was leaning towards, and between the two of us we got my order down. Three street tacos for $12. Not bad, right? I did upgrade one of them, but totally worth it. I ended up with the Chicken Verde, Carnitas (fan favorite), and the Filet Mignon (she swore by this one).

Puesto
Puesto

You guys. YOU GUYS. These were so good. I devoured them way too fast, almost ordered another three. But I refrained. I think four would’ve been perfect, three wasn’t quite enough. But did you see on the menu they have Taco Tuesdays?? $2 tacos! Think of how many you could get! I need to make my way down here one Tuesday after work for taco tuesday. And eat one of every taco on the menu.

I’m not kidding.

Okay so, after I inhaled three tacos, I sat in my swivel chair checking out people walking by, and…wait…who is that??

Puesto

My sister! I had invited her to come join me for dinner, but she insisted on running instead. FINE. I was spending a couple days with her that week anyway, so it wasn’t a big deal. But she was out running and decided to come find me. And find me she did! It was so fun. She sat down, drank all of my water and some of my wine (I get possessive. Let this be a lesson to you.) and we stayed there for a bit longer just talking. I informed her of the amazing tacos, and Taco Tuesday,  and she just texted me from there this past Tuesday! Listen to me, people, I know things.

Then we went to the bathroom. I’m only telling you this because I liked the light and door and hallway.

Puesto
Puesto
puesto 11

and…

Puesto
Puesto

So, what do you think? You gonna try Puesto?

Searsucker

I was driving aimlessly in downtown San Diego not too long ago, on work errands. It was a Tuesday, and Gaslamp at 11:30am on a Tuesday isn’t quite bustling yet. I sped past Searsucker (one can only speed in Gaslamp on a Tuesday at 11:30. No pedestrians!), remembered I’ve wanted to try it for awhile, and after my last work errand, I stopped there for lunch.

searsucker

It was completely empty. I guess that’s what happens when you’re eating an early lunch downtown. For lunch, you order at the counter, they give you a number, and you sit wherever you want. I chose a cute little bar height table in a window alcove so I could watch people walking by (two people walked by. Boring.)

Searsucker San Diego
Searsucker San Diego

There’s the view from my table. Not a soul in sight! Okay so, I had ordered the Lobster Roll, because I had seen all over Instagram all summer “but that lobster roll, though!” (can we talk for a minute about people saying “that couch, though!” “those shoes, though!” on Instagram constantly lately? Okay okay, we get it, you’re acting like you’re in mid-convo but you’re not and guess what? EVERYONE says that, they have for about a year now so you’re not cool anymore, k?? Gosh I’m mean. Perhaps I should stay off social media for awhile?)

Anyway, here’s my lobster roll:

Searsucker San Diego

Does it look the way a lobster roll is supposed to look? Feel free to weigh in, if you’re a lobster roll expert (calling all Maine people). I discussed this in great detail with my sister’s boyfriend, and he informed me this in fact is NOT a true lobster roll, one you would get from Maine. This was cold. It was like a tuna salad sandwich, except with lobster. Mayonnaisey, if you will. Have I mentioned cold? I really thought it was going to be warm. I wasn’t digging it. It wasn’t bad, just didn’t float my boat, ya know? You’re in luck, though! He has informed me where we all CAN get a true, very close to Maine lobster roll in San Diego. Ready for it? Ironside! It’s in Little Italy. I have yet to try it, but now I’m on a mission to find a lobster roll that tastes like it’s supposed to (check out that picture on their website. Love it.)

Okay, back to Searsucker! I loved how they decorated the joint. Check it out.

Searsucker San Diego
Searsucker San Diego
Searsucker San Diego

Also, check out their drink menu. How bad do you want to order a When Doves Cry just because of the name?

Searsucker San Diego

I’ve been told that place is ridiculously busy at night, and has a good vibe to it. I’d like to give it another shot for sure, just to drink out of those blue glasses and stare at the awesome hanging lights, which reminds me, I need to order a bulb kit from Color Cord Company stat.

>> This has been a public service message about lobster rolls. You’re welcome.

Casper Mattress

The Story

I am on the hunt for a new mattress! I’ve been scared about buying a new mattress, well, forever actually. So thought I’d write about my mattress purchasing adventure here on the blog in a journal-like form. So you guys get the real story behind it, see which one I choose and why, and if I keep it or don’t. Fun? We’ll see, won’t we.

casper

The Background

My mattress was purchased 14 years ago. I knew nothing about mattress buying then, know nothing about it now. It scared me then, it scares me now. How do you know if you picked out a good one?? My started getting very uncomfortable about six years ago, so a two-inch memory foam mattress topper was purchased to increase its life span. It worked! Until the incident (see Update #4). I had to throw the topper away, and I’ve been sleeping in pain ever since. Serious pain, not just uncomfortable. It is SO time for a new mattress.

The Hunt

I started looking online, at all the usual chains: Sleep Train, Mattress Discounters, trying not to get their jingles stuck in my head. I quickly realized…I have NO idea what type of mattress I even like, how am I supposed to look at them online?? Memory foam, coil, a hybrid, firm, soft, extra soft, pillow top, extra firm. I was already feeling lost & frustrated.

My dad sent me an article in the New York Times about a new online mattress company. Read it here. I was intrigued by the article. I clicked over to the website. I read every inch of that website, most of the reviews, started with the bad reviews (there were very few) then did my own google search for other (read: unbiased) reviews. All seemed pretty amazing. Here are some of the features that I really liked:

  • The price! $850 for a queen
  • Free Shipping
  • There are no options. They make & sell one mattress. Eliminates choices, sort of like In-n-Out, and we all love In-n-Out.
  • It comes in a little BOX! If you live in New York, they deliver it by bike messenger. I wish I still lived in NY.
  • It looks sleek
  • I’m a sucker for good marketing design
  • I loved my memory foam topper, so I’ll probably love this
  • One of the designers worked for NASA. You can launch this thing in space (no you can’t)
  • 100 Day return policy
  • If you do return it, they don’t take it back. They research a local (to you) company who they want to donate it to, and the donation company picks it up. Free of charge.
  • The reviews said things like “I’ve never slept so great in my life”, “I’m having the best dreams!”, “I spent $5,000 on my last mattress and this one is so much better”. Even the bad reviews seem to be people that just don’t like memory foam. Hey, it’s not for everyone.

casper

So first thing’s first…I’d better go to a mattress store and see if there’s anything there I like, and see if I even like a whole memory foam mattress. There is no bounce to those, and that drives me nuts. I think I just like a bouncy bed. Kid at heart? (The Casper has latex in it though, so that gives it bounce that all-memory-foam mattresses don’t have).

The Mattress Store

I went straight to Sleep Train (toot! toot!) on my way home from work. I walk in, and a younger guy with the start of a handlebar mustache immediately comes up to help me. Superb! He asks how I sleep: back, side or stomach. I tell him side and stomach. He gets me the proper pillow for my sleeping position, puts a disposable cover over it, and we start laying on mattresses. (I mean me…I start laying on mattresses. Not we. That would be weird.)

I tell him I’m curious about memory foam, so we start there. I lay on the first bed, he asks if I just came from work, and I realize that was not a good idea. I’m wearing a pencil skirt. Laying on mattresses. With some guy sitting on the bed beside me watching me the entire time. It’s quite awkward.

“Go ahead and lay on your stomach. How does that feel?”

Real awkward.

About ten mattresses later I discover I hate the coil ones, they immediately made my already-hurting shoulders from my loser mattress hurt even more. When I laid on the memory foam ones I involuntarily sighed and wanted to stay there for an hour. But Handlebar was still looking at me. So I didn’t stay.

We go to the store manager to discuss pricing on the two I seemed to like (again…how in the world do I know I’m making a good decision?? I laid on the bed for five seconds!), and while he was looking it up Handlebar said to be, “I totally forgot to get your name! I’m sorry, my name is Handlebar,” (He didn’t really say Handlebar. But you get it.) I quip back, “Wow, yeah, kinda weird that you know how I sleep every night, but you didn’t even ask me my name. Don’t you think you would’ve gotten that first?” His manager exploded in laughter, and Handlebar got beet red (in his defense…he was a redhead). I realized that sounded a lot flirtier than I had anticipated and kept talking to cover it up. Like usual. Ugh, why do I always get myself into this predicaments?? (I learned the hard way never to talk to anyone in elevators in Vegas [sorta related: here & here], even if you think it may be funny)

The memory foam mattresses started at twice as much as the Casper, at $1,700. Twice! Ugh. That sold me right there. I discovered I really like memory foam, but Casper has some bounce in it. CHECK! So I ordered the sucker.

casper

The Delivery

I was so excited about my mattress (plus hurting. ouch.) that I was tracking it every day. It finally came. They had warned me it might take a couple days extra because they are getting quite popular. It came on the fifth day though, just as promised.

You guys…it really comes in that white and blue box! Mine wasn’t as clean as that, and I don’t live in a cute Brooklyn brownstone in the springtime. But here’s a picture of my box in my cute little apartment.

casper mattress

I slide it into the bedroom (they give you strict instructions on how and where to unpack it) and pop open the box to find this on top:

casper mattress
casper mattress
casper mattress

Instructions on how to open it, a letter opener to rip the plastic (bonus! love those things) and that sweet handwritten note. Aww thank you Scott! I hope I do sleep like a puppy! Could they have put any more thought into the packaging? Seriously, they rocked it.

The instructions now say to slide it out, cut open the plastic, stand back and watch your mattress take its first breath of life. And that is exactly what happens! It goes by so fast, so there is no fun video to show you. There are also no pictures of it bare on my bed because by this time it was dark and the lighting in my room is horrible.

casper mattress
casper mattress
casper mattress

Clearly the girls loved the plastic.

The First Night

I couldn’t wait to go to bed that night. You guys, I did sleep like a puppy! This thing is SO comfortable! I fell asleep almost immediately, and woke up in a pool of my own drool. I hadn’t gotten proper sleep in two weeks. I slept in one position all night, on my stomach which is horrible for my back and neck. But it didn’t hurt this time! And, you know, the drool. Sorry to bring that up again. But we all know it’s a good nights sleep when we drool, right? Right. It took a few nights for my shoulder and neck pain to go away from the last mattress, but no chiropractor appointment necessary. I was totally sold on this mattress.

bed
bedroom
bedroom

If you notice, the mattress looks…kind of flat, I guess I would describe it as. I only have a sheet and comforter on my bed right now (San Diego heat wave!) but if there was a blanket or down comforter or something, it wouldn’t look so flat. Also, I decided I hate extra pillows on the bed. I apologize to everyone out there (aka one person) who had to put up with my needing pillows on the bed! I take it back. You were right. Extra pillows on the bed just lead to a complicated life.

The First Month

So here it is, a month later, almost to the day. And what’s the final verdict? I love this mattress. It has just enough bounce, I don’t feel like I’m living in a soundproof room (that’s how I imagine it being with all-memory-foam-mattresses). The mattress is actually thinner than my old mattress by two inches (four if you count the foam topper), and that works out better for me (did you see how short my bedside tables are??). I decided to keep my old box spring and put it on that. I’m not really into platform beds. I eventually bought a poppy-colored fitted sheet to go over my box spring so you can see the pretty wood lines of my bed frame.

An added bonus to this mattress is that I can put my coffee cup straight on the mattress next to me, and if I move, or if the cats jump up, it doesn’t move at all. Doesn’t spill. Just like those mattress commercials where people are jumping on the bed next to a wine glass. It’s seriously great! It would be great if you sleep next to someone that tosses and turns all night and wakes you up. I imagine you won’t be able to feel a thing.

I also really like the fact that I had no mattress choice. That might seem weird to some people. But I couldn’t be indecisive because there were no choices. They made the best overall mattress that would be great for the vast majority. When you create perfection, why create another line that’s less than perfect? It really made mattress shopping so much easier for me. And did you see the branding?? It’s possible I buy things for the branding and overall awesomeness of the people behind it. It totally paid off this time (and most times).

These Casper people know what they’re doing.

The Peril of Pig Ears

I have a story for you. One steeped in peril and anguish.

The last stop on the Los Angeles trip was Tripel.

tripel los angeles

I had just finished binge watching Top Chef, and my favorite chef, Brooke, owns this joint. I just had to try it! On a map it didn’t seem too far away, but it really was the complete opposite direction of home from Downtown LA. Tripel is located on the coast in Playa del Rey. It’s not even really a restaurant, but a bar that has two shared tables. I hate shared tables. They make my OCD freak out. Unless someone seats me, that makes it easier. It’s possible the only reason I don’t go to Pizza Port in Carlsbad Village is because of the looong community tables. Freaks me out!

TANGENT! Sorry.

I had sort of been eating all day (isn’t that what LA is for?) so I wasn’t hungry yet. I decided a walk to the beach would be in order, it was only a few blocks away.

playa del rey

It was overcast, a little humid, the sun was getting ready to set. It so felt like the beach town I grew up in in San Diego, Ocean Beach. I walked everywhere there, and it always had that same sticky sea air that made your hair frizz up, and the same beat up cars, trucks and other vessels parked in neighborhoods, that had been worn down by the salt air. I will always have a love for those kind of towns. You know the ones…they’re not ritzy at all, but kind of dirty, full of local color and dirty bare feet from walking in the sand back to your apartment. People tell you you shouldn’t walk around alone at night, but this is your town. You know it like the back of your hand, and aren’t afraid of what happens there at night.

playa del rey

(Remember the time Bear Grylls commented on one of my Instagram pictures? Yep, this be the one. Hi Bear!)

Okay so, back to Tripel…I’m sitting with a few other people at the big table, but in the window! That didn’t make it so bad, I could look at the crazy people walking by. Seriously, this girl was wearing the weirdest pink, short, skin tight dress with leopard cowboy boots and I swear she was wearing a wig. Sad part is…she would’ve been cute if she wore a normal outfit.

One of the dishes Brooke made on the finale was the Crispy Pig Ear Salad. I know what you’re thinking…and you are correct. But you guys, the judges just raved about how good it was! RAVED! I ask the waitress about it, she assured me that it was delicious, I must get it. When I tell her of my fear of pig ears (doesn’t everyone have a fear of pig ears?) she claimed that it’s just like bacon, it’s sliced thinly into a crispy delicacy. Fine. Bring it on.

I’m never being adventurous again. Ever.

tripel pig ears

What’s that you see there? Cartilage, that’s what! I looked at it and grimaced. In fact, I’m grimacing right now, just telling you about it. Be adventurous! Take a bite! They raved about it! So I take a bite.

Crunch.

Ugh, you guys. That’s cartilage! What else do you see? THAT’S PIG HAIR. FROM A PIG. Let’s take a closer look…

tripel pig ears

I only lasted a few bites. I tried to surround it with the poached egg, but lets face it, poached eggs on salad is kind of gross too, right? Turns out there’s no way to slice cartilage in a way to make it like bacon. It is NOTHING like bacon, because it’s cartilage! It’s the hard thing you pierced when you were 13 by shoving a dull earring through whilst blasting Guns n’ Roses!

Okay, we need to change the subject from hairy, cartilage pig ears to something nicer. How about beer?

tripel

Ahhh that’s better, right? You can create your own flight, that was pretty fun. I actually liked a couple. I’m not too much of a beer fan, sorry folks. Here’s some shots from the rest of the joint…

tripel los angeles
tripel los angeles
tripel los angeles
tripel los angeles

That Turkey Pastrami Melt turned out to be amazing, so that was good I could wash down the you-know-what.

We shall never talk of you-know-what again.

Book Release & Giveaway! – Wasteland

Wasteland by C. Elizabeth Vescio

You may or may not remember the reviews I did for the books Elegantly Wasted and Uncontrollably Wasted. Well guess what?? The author and great friend of mine, C Elizabeth Vescio, decided to feed her hungry fans by releasing a book between Book 2 and Book 3! So I guess it’s Book 2.5, if you’re keeping up with the math. It’s called WASTELAND, and it’s a collection of short stories that take place in the world of her Wasted Series. I love background stories. I can’t wait to get my grubby paws on this book! Keep reading for an excerpt from the book, and a giveaway(!!) at the end.

Wasteland by C. Elizabeth Vescio

Inside the halls of Osiris, the men and women who make the contract killing agency tick polish their weapons and hone their skills. But how did they start working for Nero and Lex in the first place, and when did they find out they were destined to kill people for a living? Before Frankie Fairholm let you into her crazy, dysfunctional world of murder for hire, the lives of these men and women were already in danger. Their training was put to the test alongside their morals. A troubled Catholic school girl with a penchant for murder, a naive con-woman in over her head, a driven socialite with a bad day that keeps getting worse, an assassin second-guessing his sworn oath… being a contract killer doesn’t mean you aren’t human, it just means your humanity is hard to find, and probably a bit tarnished. 

Goodreads | Wasted Series Website | BOOK ONE (Elegantly Wasted) |BOOK TWO (Uncontrollably Wasted)

wasteland_collage

 Excerpt from WASTELAND
(Taken from The Fallen Leaf)

“All young people need guidance,” I said. “I find it strange that you are so young and sure of your life path. You do not seem to be a typical killer.” “Guess I’m not,” Spark said. “I live moment to moment. I don’t see the harm in it. I like to have fun.” “You lack discipline,” I remarked. He grinned over at me and scratched his head. “I guess so…but discipline ain’t everything.” “It is if you want to survive in your profession,” I said. The more serious I tried to be, the wider his grin got. “Doesn’t it get tiring being so serious all the time? Isn’t it stressful? Don’t you want to experience life?”
I frowned at the question. “What do you mean?” I thought he would want to learn from a seasoned assassin. Instead, he questioned me. “Well, I’m guessing that your customs don’t allow you to fight for anything that saves you… like love. Too many emotions cloud judgment, blah blah blah,” he said. “You guys just have to be warriors through and through. Fight for honor even though honor is never gonna save you. You don’t get to stop and appreciate the world and people around you.” “And you think I should be doing this?” I asked. “Everyone should.” “Interesting philosophy,” I nodded. “You take lives, but you want to embrace life. You think love is a strength that will save you.” “Oh, I know it will,” he said. “Eventually. Maybe not anytime soon.” “Have you ever been in love?” “Nope,” he looked over at me. “But you have, haven’t you, Yeh?” I felt my body get cold. The feeling was a surprise that I hadn’t felt in quite some time—it was fear. This young man had me figured out, and we had only known each other for an hour at most. A kid—it made little sense to me. I had not even admitted this feeling to myself yet, let alone some boy with a cocky smile. But he knew.

 

I bet you’re already hooked and you’re dying to know where you can buy it, right? Here you go!
Print Version on Amazon | Kindle Version on Amazon

 

C. Elizabeth VescioAbout C. Elizabeth Vescio

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Author C. Elizabeth Vescio likes to play in the dark world of cynicism and death. Her Wasted series touches on the demented and humorous side of a delightfully dysfunctional family. Vescio is an award-winning photographer and avid font snob. She lives in Las Vegas with her husband and three dogs.

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Blue Ocean Robata and Sushi Bar

You guys, I have a place for you to try this weekend! I forget where I originally heard about this place, but I had it on my list of restaurants I wanted try. I did a bit of sleuthing, and come to find out it’s the big sister to Love Boat, my favorite sushi place. And it’s close…in Carlsbad. What is this place, you ask? Blue Ocean Robata and Sushi Bar.

blue ocean robata and sushi bar
blue ocean robata and sushi bar
blue ocean robata and sushi bar

Swim against the tide…that’s just generally a good philosophy to have in life, right? Parking in Carlsbad Village is never pleasant. But this joint has a parking lot! It’s also not deep in the Village, but up a bit towards I-5 more, making street parking easier. We went there mid-week and got there pretty early. About 5:30 or so. And they still didn’t have a table for us! Not even room at the sushi bar. So I would suggest making reservations, even in the middle of the week. Or be adventurous and sit at the bar. That’s where we ended up, and I think I’ll do that next time, too.

blue ocean robata and sushi bar
blue ocean robata and sushi bar
blue ocean robata and sushi bar
blue ocean robata and sushi bar

Check out that bubble installation on the ceiling. And that wooden wall back there. That metal partition behind the bar was pretty rad, too. The bar was fun. Loved the bartender, she was tons of fun, looked just like Maya Rudolph (bonus!) and topped off our wine when we weren’t looking. Dang, looking at that wine is making me thirsty. Is it happy hour yet?

Do you know what Robata is? I had no idea. It just made me sing the 80’s song Mr Roboto quite poorly. But we decided to order some because apparently they specialize in it since it’s in the title of the restaurant. We got the bacon wrapped asparagus (recommended by an off-duty chef) and the black cod (recommended by Maya Rudolph). Another awesome reason to sit at the bar…you get recommendations from people that know the menu very well.

blue ocean robata and sushi bar

They were both good, but the black cod! I’ve only had it twice ever, and both times were delicious. This one was my fav! Robata is a type of grilling with hardwood charcoal that started in Japan where fishermen needed a way to cook on their boats. Thank you Japanese fishermen! It was so good. In fact, we had to order another black cod to satisfy the immediate craving.

After our (not so) little appetizers, we decided to Omakase it. The chef chose to bring us huge bowls filled with different sashimi. I had mixed emotions about this.

blue ocean robata and sushi bar
blue ocean robata and sushi bar

Let’s take a closer look at that fish head, shall we?

blue ocean robata and sushi bar

Um…am I supposed to eat him?? Did you realize you stabbed his eye?! Okay fine, it looks cool and adventurous.

See that yellow thing in front? Do you know what that is?

blue ocean robata and sushi bar

Sea Urchin, that’s what. Looks disgusting, right? Well, let me tell you…IT IS. I wanted to take a video of my squishing it with my chopsticks, but I was too grossed out to do it. I had to try it, because it could’ve been amazing. But it was not. Nope, no thank you, please go back to the sea and stay there. It melted in my mouth in a bad way. Oozed in my mouth, is more like it.

I gotta say, I had tons of fun trying all the crazy sashimi, not knowing what the next one would taste like. I’m not loving octopus either, but everything else was really good. The rolls are the same as what they have at Love Boat, so if I’m feeling swanky, perhaps I’ll come here instead of Love Boat. They don’t know my drink order (yet), but it’ll do. It’ll do nicely.

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True Food Kitchen

true food

The other day I drove down to Fashion Valley after work and met my sister for lunch. I mean dinner. I mean lunch. Lunner? Dinch? She was on her lunch break, but it was technically my dinner because I’m lazy and had no intentions of cooking after eating at 4pm. She’s kind of a big deal where she works, does fancy things at a fancy store in Fashion Valley. She’s also a writer. And a D.J. Anyway, enough about my cute sister (hi sisser!). We ate! At this place. True Food Kitchen. It was quite good.

They have these little bathtubs at the entrance with herbs spilling out of them, they’re just adorable. And is a testament to how fresh their food is, since those are the herbs they use in the food they cook.

true food
true food

I suddenly want a bathtub full of herbs on my patio.

I had the chicken chopped salad which had cranberry, date, jicama, manchego, farro, sprouted almond and champagne vinaigrette. I really have no idea what farro is, and I’m afraid of dates, but it was still so good. Plenty of food, I didn’t leave hungry, and the $6 wine was delish.

true food

The bathroom had a co-ed hand washing station. That was interesting. So much for gussying up in the bathroom for your date, because your date is right there next to you washing his hands! I was down with it, though. I totally dug the decor of the whole place, White chairs and yellow chairs, bright cushions on the benches, both inside and the patio were really great. We ate on the patio, and even though it was hot outside, it was a good temperature out there.

true food
true food
true food
true food

My sister said they have amazing smoothies, too. If you’re willing to brave the constant Fashion Valley parking lot traffic, skip the food court and make your way to True Food!

You Look Like a Monkey & You Smell Like One Too

Guess who went to the Zoo? I did! The world famous San Diego Zoo, that is. (Is it really world famous? Or is it like the “world famous coffee” signs you see in crappy coffee shops in NYC?) I’ve been to the zoo before, but it had been awhile. One of my friends got the kind of membership where you can bring a different guest each time, if you wish. I didn’t know they had that! It’s such a good deal to get a membership, only about $100 for one person and you can get into the Zoo and Wild Animal Park (Safari Park) for a whole year. Kind of a no-brainer when you live here, if you like the parks.

It was the first day for Night Zoo. We had a great time. Wandered around, saw some animals, a couple acrobat acts, ate at Albert’s. It was a really fun night.

san diego zoo
san diego zoo
san diego zoo
san diego zoo
san diego zoo
san diego zoo
san diego zoo
san diego zoo
san diego zoo
balboa park

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