June 10 – TBD
And so, for the next month or two we continued to straighten out the house, furnish missing items (drapes, carpets, etc.), ride our bikes and explore the changes in our neighborhood. The first week of July found us preparing to celebrate the birthdays of Joanna, Bev, and Marty, dates signifying a milestone birth-anniversary for each.
Jessica and Kris came down from Oakland the weekend of June 30th, Joanna’s actual birthday, to get us kickstarted and after a daylong visit to Universal Studios, we celebrated with a brunch at Yours Truly, a chef driven restaurant with good ratings. It’s a lovely location in an older storefront, its many skylights flooding the dining floor with natural light.
We started with a round of drinks and the house cinnamon rolls, then going around the table ordered the YT Breakfast, Omelet, Smoked Salmon, and Nashville Hot Shrimp.
The best items were the shrimp and smoked salmon, the other items somewhat pedestrian, particularly in light of their price points, $19 for YT Breakfast, essentially a plate of bacon, potatoes, and eggs.
On Monday Jessica and Kris took off for Solana Beach where we would join them mid-week when the rest of the attendees (Bev, Dillon, McKenzie, Kim, and Marty) would arrive. That morning I took off on my bike and followed my old commute route to UCLA, my place of employment for 25-years and full of memories.
I stopped in to say hello to Irma, one of the employees in Student Government Accounting who reported up to me, a joy to see her smile and feel her infectious enthusiasm. I grabbed a cup of coffee at the Kerckhoff Hall Coffee House and enjoyed it in the warm sunshine on the patio, then took off for home while checking out the changes that had occurred in Westwood Village since my last visit.
On Tuesday we rode with our friend Heather to summit at Bundy Drive, then up Amalfi to its summit in Santa Monica.
Later in the day repaired to one of the new fixtures in the neighborhood, the Grandview Market. It’s a large open space with seating intended for watching live sporting events, a long counter/bar and a modest selection of market items to take with you when you go.
We settled in at the bar and in contrast to our brunch two days earlier, proceeded to have a meal that was so good and so reasonably priced it was hard to figure out why someone would pay so much more for good food.
We started off with an order of the $5 Ceviche, as good as this dish can be and then moved on to the Tuesday special, the 4-taco platter which for $11 included a pint of beer.
I’d finish with a bottle of one of my favorite beers, Dogfish 90-minute IPA for the ridiculous price of $5 and we left happy and full for a grand total of $36 (not including a tip).
On Wednesday we drove down to Solana Beach to enjoy five nights of fun with some of our favorite folks. We’d visit a number of our favorite haunts and an equal number of new places.
New discoveries started with Bottlecraft, a tap room and bottle shop near the condo where we kicked off the festivities with a number of enjoyable brews and the first of many, many conversations. Our next beer foray would occur the following day when we ventured north to Encinitas and a stop at Modern Times Beer, an employee owned brewery that focusses on “aroma-driven, complex, flavorful, sessionish beers….often brewing hybrid styles, combining the features we like from established categories to create new, Island-Of-Doctor-Moreau-style mash-ups.”
Crowded when we arrived, we managed to grab a table for our large group as Jen and James had also joined us and we watched the afternoon pass by gracefully as we sipped on some inspired brews that included a number of different IPA’s, a style embraced by many in our group.
On Friday while some folks took off for the San Diego Wild Animal Park, I headed south on the bike for a 34 mile ride that would cover ground I’d ridden many times.
Past Del Mar, up Torrey Pines Grade, into La Jolla, skirting North San Diego I returned on the bike path that parallels the I-5 before climbing back up Gilman Drive into UCSD and the return to Solana Beach for a total of 2,100 feet of climbing.
Fatigued from the effort and wondering how quickly it would take me to recover, I was fortunately rousted by Marty and company and off we went to The Confessional for a couple of beers and a great slice of thin crust pizza from East Coast Pizza (next door), then down to Las Olas for a pitcher of margaritas.
This is what we in the cycling community refer to as power hydrating.
The highlight of the week was a party held on Saturday at the condo, with friends and family from around the southland attending, to share the three aforementioned celebrants marking their milestone birthdays. A bountiful amount of carnitas from crowd favorite Juanita’s provided the foundation for an impressive consumption of adult intoxicants and when the dust settled, most of the food had disappeared along with what remained of our good intentions.
Returning home on Monday we resumed our routine of bike riding, house straightening and restaurant testing. We’ll explore the last bit of these activities in the next post.
Yours Truly: https://www.ytvenice.com/
Grandview Market: https://grandviewmarket.com/
Modern Times Beer: http://www.moderntimesbeer.com/about
The Confessional: http://lostabbey.com/locations/the-confessional/
East Coast Pizza: https://www.facebook.com/ECPcardiff/
Las Olas: http://www.lasolasmex.com/cardiff.html