June 7 – 10
With a full day ahead of us and a four hour plus drive to Solana Beach, we took off mid-morning (along with Sharon and Doug) to miss most of the Las Vegas rush hour traffic. It was an easy drive, stopping for our first visit of the trip at the In-N-Out in Barstow, before encountering a bit of traffic on the I-15 south of the I-10.
We pulled into the underground garage of the condo (Kim and Marty’s on loan), unloaded our gear and settled in for our four-night stay. Later in the afternoon Evan drove down from San Clemente and around dinner time we walked a few blocks up Pacific Coast Highway to Pizza Port for dinner.
Even for a Thursday night, it was crowded, and with the available seats inside located in a noisy section, we grabbed five stools outside on the patio facing the street, backed into its corner, and waited, and waited, for our food to arrive.
With a great beer selection, the waiting was tolerable and we easily filled the time doing what we do, making conversation that begins to delve below the superficial level we all tend to converse at (How are the relatives, health, etc.?) and get to the heart of why, after more than forty years we remain the best of friends.
We met up with Sheila and J.B. the next morning for breakfast at Claire’s on Cedros, again a pleasant walk from the condo (one of the joys of its location is the ability to walk everywhere) along with one of Doug’s nieces, Kim, who lives in North San Diego County and had recommended this restaurant.
Seated outside under beautiful skies, we ordered around, for Joanna the Divorciados (two eggs your way, on corn or flour tortilla with black beans, queso fresco, grilled green onion, guacamole, salsa fresca, topped with tomatillo & ranchero sauces) and I the Green Scramble (three eggs scrambled with spinach, zucchini, green onion, pesto, cheddar cheese and sliced avocado). These unique takes on standard breakfast fare made for a very nice meal, one that tasted good from the first bite to the last.
We spent the rest of the day hanging around the condo, immersed in conversation, much of it borne of our shared experiences and then around dinner time again walked a couple of blocks north to a place we’d been to during a prior visit, the Pillbox Tavern. Joanna and I split an order of our pub food go-to, fish and chips and were not disappointed in the outcome, three large pieces of firm fish, lightly battered and great French fries, almost double cooked.
The next morning Evan and I took off in the morning for a bike ride, my first since the knee injury nearly eight weeks prior. It felt great to be out riding and there are few prettier places to do so, up and down the coast of Southern California, particularly this stretch of beach towns that lie between Oceanside and San Diego.
Back at the condo we began preparations for a small gathering we’d be hosting later in the day that would include the gang (J.B., Sheila, Doug, Sharon, Evan, and Jan) and other friends in the area, Rick (who’d met us before at the Condo), Mark and Roberta, and my cousin Lindy and her husband Greg. We’d grill salmon with that great lime marinade, chicken skewers (both from Costco) and accompany them with baked beans (courtesy of Sheila) and a macaroni salad we’ve had success with, particularly during the summer months when vegetables are at their freshest. Here’s the recipe:
1 15 oz. package small macaroni 2 cups mayonnaise 1 large cucumber, chopped (4 cups) 1 cup bottled Italian dressing 2 medium tomatoes, diced (3 cups) 2 tsp. salt 1 cup chopped celery (2 stalks) ¼ tsp. black pepper ¼ cup green onions 2 tsp. dill weed ½ cup chopped green pepper ¼ purple onion Optional: 12 oz. of tuna or shrimp
Combine macaroni, cucumbers, tomatoes, celery, green pepper, and onions in a bowl. Stir together mayonnaise and Italian dressing, dill weed, salt and pepper
Add to macaroni mixture, toss gently and chill covered
As the evening came to an end, we bade farewell to J.B., Sheila, Evan, Jan, Rick, Mark, and Roberta as we’d not see them again.
Doug and Sharon took off fairly early the next morning for Doug’s sister’s house in Indio, with a planned stop at J.B. and Sheila’s new house in Wildomar (near Temecula), giving Joanna and I a chance to get out for a bike ride before returning to the condo to get cleaned up to meet Lindy and Greg just down the road at the San Diego County Fair, being held at the fairgrounds in Del Mar.
Getting there was convenient as we walked a couple of blocks to the Amtrak/Coaster station to hop on a special Fair shuttle that dropped us off right at the entry gates. And the rest of the afternoon passed as we did the things you do at a fair, outside of going on any of the crazy rides that spin, toss, and generally make a vertigo challenged individual’s life a living nightmare.
Some beer was consumed along with a Pink’s (that famous, to Angelenos, hot dog stand on La Brea near Hollywood) Chili Dog, sheep and goats were admired, prize winning gardens were ogled, and by the end of our visit, we’d done all we felt we could do.
To close out the day, the four of us drove up to Encinitas for a bite to eat at Roberto’s Taco Shop. Joanna went for a carnitas burrito while I scarfed down a taco and chili Relleno combination, my first of the trip, but certainly not the last.
Lindy and Greg dropped us off at the condo and we enjoyed, for the first time in over a week, a quiet break before we would head north for multiple days with family and friends. As we’ve experienced in past visits to Solana Beach and Encinitas, this area reminds us of our Southern California roots and what we miss by living in North Carolina. Who knows what that might mean for the future.
Pizza Port: https://pizzaport.com/
Claire’s on Cedros: https://clairesoncedros.com/
Pillbox Tavern: http://www.pillboxtavern.com/
San Diego County Fair: https://sdfair.com/