Posts Tagged ‘Things to do in San Diego’

Day Trip to Sunset Cliffs!

August 19, 2010

If you live in San Diego, chances are you’ve heard of Sunset Cliffs.  The national park takes up an amazing stretch of beach that extends 1.5 miles from the pier at Ocean Beach, and is well-known for producing the most picturesque sunsets San Diego has to offer.  With it’s steep cliffs, strange-crater looking rocks, and breathtaking ocean views, it really is something worth marveling over.  This past weekend, my friend Jazz and I decided to check out Sunset Cliffs for the first time, and left with some magazine-worthy photographs!  Sadly, you won’t see any sunsets captured in these photos because the day we chose was a particularly cloudy one; however the pictures turned out beautiful none-the-less!

A name carved inside a heart lies directly next to a smooth piece of the rock that also happens to resemble a heart.

The craters make me feel as if I am standing at the edge of the moon!

Jazz captures a moment just before the wave crashes and sends me reeling away from the rock's edge!

A close-up of the rock reveals a collection of nearly microscopic seashells hidden within the confines of the deep crater-like holes.

A long pathway of stairs leads us down into the abyss, where interesting surprises await.

Jasmine pauses in front of a rather stunning view of the cliffs.

Jasmine tells me to jump, but what she doesn't warn me about is the slippery moss! Thankfully I land on my feet instead of my behind.

An astounding view from the bottom of the cliffs looking up.

Surprise! We cross paths with a true-to-life Californian surfer -- a first for both of us!

A collection of flowers and seashells are gracefully strung together to create a heart-shaped alter -- all in preparation for the evening wedding that is about to take place overlooking the magnificent ocean.

The San Diego Wine, Cheese & Chocolate Festival!

June 29, 2010

Well, it’s been nearly a month ago, but I’m finally getting around to posting pictures from the San Diego Wine, Cheese & Chocolate Festival that took place on June 4th.  Boy does time fly!  This month has been busy for me, what with the end of one internship and the beginning of a new one with ONEHOPE Wine, but that’ll be the topic for another blog entry entirely!

Now, I’m going to give you the details of the event through the planner’s point-of-view!

The WCCF, as I shall now refer to it, is a fundraiser for the Women’s History Museum of San Diego.  The past couple of years the WCCF’s been held in Balboa Park, but this was the first year the event was held in Balboa Park’s Spanish Village.  It was a beautiful venue and perfect for accommodating the size of this year’s event.

I came on board the WCCF in February through my internship with Lindsay Pomeroy of Wine Smarties, whose been involved in this event since it’s inception.

Besides helping out in pretty much every area of the event, Lindsay’s main focus was securing all the wine donations for the event.  She did a great job because there was definitely more than enough wine flowing at the event!  We had some great sponsors including…

Jake-Ryan Cellars

Hill Family Estate

Skylark Wine Company

ONEHOPE Wine & PRP Wine

Orfila Vineyards & Winery

Fallbrook Winery

I was assigned with the task of finding cheese and chocolate sponsors for the event, which sounds a lot easier than it actually is!  You try calling local businesses during a recession and then ask them to donate their time and product for 600 guests, and let me know how that goes ;).

Luckily there were a lot of great businesses in San Diego that generously agreed to be a part of this year’s event.  This event would not have been possible without the donations from our sponsors!

Here’s a few pictures of our lovely cheese & chocolate sponsors…

Big Kitchen

I want to send out a special thank you to Judy and Mark from Big Kitchen!  We couldn’t have pulled off the festival without their help.  They loaned us kitchen supplies, baskets, and had staff from their restaurant help out in our kitchen.  HUGE thanks to them!

Cupcake Love

Let me just tell you a thing or two about Cupcake Love.  They have the best cupcakes ever!  Their chocolate cupcake with whipped peanut butter frosting is to DIE for!

I really can’t say enough about them other than you have to go check them out :P.  Their store front location is in Solana Beach.

Ghirardelli Chocolates

Godiva Chocolates

Eclipse Chocolat

I wish I could pay homage to each and every sponsor, but my blog can only handle so much!

Even Jasmine, my friend and fellow blogger showed up to check out the event and do a write-up about it on her blog.

At the end of the day, I think the festival turned out to be a huge success.  I’m so glad I got to be part of such a great event.  With that said, I’ll leave you with some festival highlights below…  Enjoy!

Cheers,

Jess

Rhythm and Vine Music & Wine Festival

April 19, 2010

Music @ Rhythm & Vine

I went to last night’s Rhythm and Vine, a music and wine festival in Escondido, California that benefits the Girls and Boys Club.  Rhythm and Vine is put on by Fast Forward Events, the event company that I interned for last semester when I helped out with the San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival.  It’s such a small world!  Anyway, I was there last night helping out my mentor, Lindsay Pomeroy of Wine Smarties, who was brought on to host a segment for Taste of Wine TV.

We basically got to go around and handpick restaurants, wineries, breweries, and spirit purveyors we thought would have the most compelling stories and bring them back to our booth for Lindsay to interview on camera.  Among the various exhibitors, we spoke with Fallbrook Winery, Orfila Vineyards & Winery, Cupcake Love, St. Petersburg Russian Vodka, La Jolla Pub & Brew House, and PaQui Tequila.

It was interesting to be on the other side of the fence as an exhibitor.  I got to spread my wings a little and experience the event as an attendee would.  I had so much fun that I didn’t get any pictures despite bringing my camera :(… but I still have my memories!

This event was much smaller than the San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival, but I think as a spectator some people may prefer it if they are looking to avoid big crowds and long lines.  Despite the size, I feel like this event still had a lot to offer in terms of wine.  Many of the wineries participating at this event were also a part of the SDBWFF so in terms of quality, you were getting a lot of the same great wines but on a much smaller and local scale.

I was really impressed with Fallbrook Winery‘s 2007 33 Degree North BDX.  This is their first wine made entirely from grapes grown on their Estate.  67% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, 8% Cabernet France and 100% delicious, it mimics the qualities of a red Bordeaux—smooth and enticing, it definitely leaves you wanting more.

Another favorite wine came from Ryan-Jake Cellars, a vineyard that grows and produces their wines up in Napa Valley.  I really enjoyed their 2007 3.SUM.  Strange name, but great taste!  Also a blend, this time of 45% Cabernet Sauvignon, 45% Syrah and Zin.  They describe this wine as full-bodied and “packed with flavors of cherry, rhubarb, caramel and blackberry preserves, with undertones of cocoa and spice.”  Their 2007 Viogner was also quite delicious, but it was definitely not a match when compared to Orfila‘s Estate Viognier.

The emphasis at this event was definitely not on food.  SDBWFF is jam packed with amazing chefs from all over the San Diego fine dining restaurant scene, whereas the food at this event consisted of many more casual dining restaurants with a few big names like Harney Sushi and the Winesellar & Brasserie.  I enjoyed the lasagna of Lady Lasagna (San Diego), they had both a tomato and pesto lasagna that were delish.

Also the ladies of Hotcha Salsa (Carlsbad) were so cool—they gave me TWO free containers of salsa.  Their hot salsa is made with cucumbers, which I normally hate, but it was actually quite tasty.

Mmm... Hotcha!

And I can’t forget The Chocolate Traveler (Pasedena) for hooking me up with a free sample of their milk chocolate wedges… yum!

Milk chocolatey goodness!

In addition to wine, I got to try a variety of delicious beers.  Firestone Walker Brewing Company came down from Paso Robles to show off their beers which have won numerous accolades in world competitions.  I was blown away by their Double Barrel Ale, which is actually aged in oak barrels like a wine, leaving hints of vanilla and toasted oak on your palette.  I definitely recommend picking up a case of the DBA at your local Vons.  Another favorite came from North Coast Brewing Company (Fort Bragg, CA).  With 9% ABV, their Old Rasputin Imperial Stout punches you in the face with flavors of espresso and chocolate.  It was quite possibly one of the BEST stouts I have ever tried.  I’m going to have to keep my eye out for that one and see if it’s offered locally!

All and all this was a great event that I’d highly recommend to anyone with the money to attend.  With tickets at $75 (advance) – $100 (at the door) it can be a little pricey, but if you have the funds it’s a wonderful way to spend an evening while giving back to the community.

Cheers,

Jess

Malbec. If you haven’t tried it, you’re missing out.

March 29, 2010

Last night I uncorked a Malbec Rosé from Argentina.  Half a year ago, if you asked me what Malbec was, I wouldn’t have had any clue what you were talking about!

You see, when I first moved to California, I was very eager to get out and meet people with similar interests.  I immediately joined a women’s wine group and we met one night at the Wine Cabana, a wine bar in San Diego’s Old Town.  One of the girls recommended trying the Malbec, which I had never even heard of at the time.  I tried it for the first time and fell in love!  I began primarily as a red wine drinker and love dry, tannic red wines like a Shiraz or Norton.  Malbec is both dry and tannic, so it definitely fit the bill.

Argentina is where this varietal has gained it’s fame, but it is a little-known fact that Malbec is originally from France and was brought over to Argentina in 1868.  In France, Malbec is primarily known for being one of six grapes blended together to create red Bordeaux wines, whereas in Argentina the grape takes center-stage as a stand-alone varietal.

A purple grape variety, it’s black fruit character translates into jammy flavors such as blackberry and plum, with a hint of spice on the finish.  Malbec is full-bodied with either medium or high tannins.  The different climates in each region account for the differences in taste and wine-making techniques.  For instance, the Malbec of France is a high tannic wine, whereas an Argentinean Malbec is softer with less tannins and is more suitable for aging in oak barrels.

Because of it’s tannins, Malbec and red meat centered dishes make wonderful companions!  It also pairs well with spicy ethnic foods such as Mexican, Cajun, Indian, or Italian.  I paired mine with spaghetti and meat sauce.  See?  Food and wine pairing is easy, and you don’t even have to make anything fancy!

The interesting thing about this particular bottle of Malbec was that it was a Malbec Rosé.  So for those who enjoy a sweeter, more fruit forward wine such as a White Zinfindel or any kind of blush wine, you definitely would enjoy the Malbec Rosé.

Next time you’re in the market for a bottle wine, why not pick up a bottle of Argentinean Malbec?  Your taste buds will thank you.

Bottle Stats:

  • Company: Melipal
  • Vintage: 2009
  • Varietal: Malbec Rosé
  • Region: Mendoza, Argentina
  • Price: $10.99 at BevMo!

Cheers,

Jess

Wine Bars, Wineries, and Wine-ventions!

March 5, 2010

The other day I had an interview for an internship with a well-known wine bar in San Diego.  It turns out they have never actually had an intern, but they’ve been swamped lately and need somebody to step in and handle some of the catering duties such as renting out the back room for private parties and dealing with the overwhelming volume of emails that come their way about private event bookings.

I was so nervous during the interview that when I left, my entire body was literally aching!  I was that tense!  I am crossing my fingers that they give me the green light, because this job could lead to my ultimate goal of becoming an Event Planner for a Winery and Wine Tasting Room Manager!

After my interview I decided to meet up with my friend and fellow blogger of Eat Move Write, Ms. Jasmine herself.  Ok, she’s technically a Mrs. but Mrs. Jasmine just didn’t sound right!

I just recently moved to a cute little suburb east of San Diego called La Mesa.  It happens to be where I work and also where my friend lives, which is super exciting to me!  Even more exciting is the discovery I made last week when my dad was visiting.  After dinner, I happened to notice a brand spankin’ new tasting room in downtown La Mesa.  So of course I had to drag my friend along to check it out with me even though she doesn’t drink wine.

I had mistakenly thought this was a winery from Temecula that happened to open a tasting room down South.  In fact, San Pasqual Winery is a local winery that grows its grapes in Pacific Beach and is owned by a couple that lives in La Mesa.  They just opened their doors for business in late December of last year.

Wine Tasting at San Pasquel Winery

Wine Tasting at San Pasqual

The very nice gentleman behind the counter let me try their PB Passionfruit Wine made from locally grown passionfruit.  It was very light and fruity, but not super sugary or sweet.  He also let me try a batch of their Ranchero Cabernet Sauvignon/Nebbiolo Blend that had just finished being pressed and was getting ready to go into oak barrels.  This wine generally undergoes a year to year and a half aging process, so this was literally like tasting grapes right off the vine!  The wine had a very sour and bitter taste—clearly not ready for drinking!  But it was so fun and interesting to be able to taste a wine before it’s been aged… which reinforces to me just how important the aging process is to certain wine varietals.

For $8.50, you get 6 tastes of wine, $5 off your purchase of a bottle of wine, and you get to keep the wine tasting glass!  What a deal.  I will definitely be back to San Pasqual for a proper wine tasting!

Also, while you are there ask Darrell to show you his invention.  The Wine Bearer is an inflatable container used to protect your wine while traveling.  My mom and I definitely could have used that on our road trip.  Then again, I’m not complaining that she had to leave the wine in San Diego with me ;).

I’m going to leave you with a barrage of more random pictures from our day!

Cheers,

Jess

An Extraordinary Valentine’s Day

February 14, 2010

Little Italy in San Diego

This year for Valentine’s Day, I wanted to get together with a couple of girlfriends (and one LUCKY guy friend).  We were going to go watch the movie Valentine’s Day but somebody was too good to watch a chick flick ;).  Instead we decided to go to “Carnivale” in Little Italy—a street celebration where people dress up in traditional Venetian Carnevale regalia.  It was basically like a very tame preview of the Mardi Gras celebration that is taking place this coming Tuesday, February 16th in the Gaslamp Quarter.

People in traditional Regalia costume walking on stilts!

A couple dancing in the streets.

It was a cute little festival.  There were several people on stilts dressed in character walking up and down the streets.  There was also live music outside a few of the restaurants.  People were dancing and having a great time!  It was definitely an event that people from all ages could enjoy.

There was a massive line out the door at Filippe’s.  I’ve never been but I heard it’s some of the best pizza in San Diego.  I think the 30 minute wait could definitely attest to that.  I’d like to go back to Little Italy soon to find out if Filippe’s lives up to it’s reputation!

But for this evening, I had other plans in mind.  I had been dying to check out Extraordinary Desserts for some time now.  It’s one of the most talked about dessert places here in San Diego.  So my friends and I hit up the location in Little Italy.  There are two locations—the second is in Balboa Park.

They are known for carrying the biggest and most eye-catching selection of desserts in San Diego!  I was speechless at the sheer beauty of the desserts which are a work of art in themselves.

Gerardo ordered some kind of chocolaty cheese danish.  It wasn’t as elaborate looking as all the other desserts but it definitely put Starbuck’s chocolate crossiant to shame.

I got the White Chocolate Linzer Torte which was actually kind of amazing.  If you like white chocolate and raspberry then this is your dessert!  The cake was supposed to taste like almond but I didn’t notice.

I tried a couple bites of the other girls’ desserts which were two different types of chocolate cake, and I have to say I was actually not too impressed.  I think the chocolate danish was probably the best of all, but even so I would have been happier with a slice of white chocolate raspberry cheesecake from the Cheesecake Factory >:).

Extraordinary Desserts official report card:

  • Atmosphere: B
  • Dessert Selection: A+
  • Beverage Selection: A+
  • Creativity: A+
  • Taste: B

Cheers,

Jess

Stone Brewery

February 4, 2010

I recently planned an outing with my friends to Stone Brewery, located in Carlsbad, California.  Stone Brewery is known best for their Arrogant Bastard Ale, a beer I first tried back when I turned 21 and was just developing my palette for craft beers.  Little did I know that 5 years later I’d be living half an hour away from Stone Brewery, where this delicious brew was born.

I’ve only lived here in San Diego for nearly 6 months now, and I’ve only been planning a trip to Stone Brewery since before I set foot outside of Indiana.  The point of the outing was to introduce all of the new friends I have made in San Diego to one another and to check out a fun, new spot that most had not been to before.  The event was a success and everyone ended up having a great time!  I’m so lucky to have met some really amazing people here.

Christina, me, and Jasmine

Being a huge fan of beer myself, I thought that Stone would be the perfect place to unwind on a Sunday afternoon just before the work week was set to begin.  While not all of my friends are beer drinkers, I knew they would at least appreciate the atmosphere and the great food that microbreweries are so well known for.

Also, for anyone who isn’t a fan of beer, I recommend getting the cider!  They’ve got a couple different bottled ciders to choose from.

Cider

Me?  I love a good dark beer so I tried their Stone Smoked Porter and was not disappointed.

We waited about 2 hours for a table (yikes!) but it was well worth the wait.  The table was located in a secluded spot outdoors.

Outdoor seating at Stone

The food was absolutely delicious.  I ordered the beer mac ‘n cheese with broccoli.  Sooooooo good.   When it comes to food though, I think the pictures speak for themselves!

Hummus and crusty bread

Beer mac 'n cheese with broccoli

Dessert

Dessert! Brownie a la mode

Stone’s report card:

  • A for atmosphere.
  • A for food.
  • B- for dessert (it was ok but I’ve definitely had better).
  • A for beer and selection of drinks on tap and bottled.
  • C for wait time.  Should you visit anytime soon, I definitely advise calling ahead for seating if possible.

Cheers,

Jess

*Photos courtesy of Jasmine.