Just Another Sunny Winter Day in San Diego

I should not be rubbing in the beautiful weather of Southern California right now but it is really hard not too.  Especially when I see daily blog posts, twitter updates and Facebook posts on the snow ‘everywhere’ in the country.  None the less, I hope this little blog entry brings a little warm sunshine into your snowy day.

Today was a beautiful day in San Diego.  The snow was sand and my jacket was a short sleeve dress top.  For Christmas, I bought my mother and I tickets to the Nutcracker Ballet which has become a yearly, Christmas tradition for the both of us.

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We arrived a little early in San Diego, and we decided to visit the Seaport Village for a bit to eat.  The village is a beautiful collection of little shops, yummy bakeries and restaurants sitting next to the harbor of San Diego.

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We decided to try a new restaurant for lunch.  We poked our heads into the Edge Water Grill.  If not for the food, I would visit this place for the view.

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For lunch, we shared a turkey sandwhich with a fabulous strawberry vinaigrette spread.  This was my favorite part of the meal! It was very yummy and delicious.  As a side, we enjoyed a couple octopuses – Calamari.  In my opinion, what makes a Calamari dish yummy is the sauce, and this sauce was pretty amazing.

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My mother insisted on taking a photo of me with the little octopus.

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That sandwich sure looks great from this angle.

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After our lunch, we hopped over to the California Ballet to see our annual production of the Nutcracker.  Everything was decked out for Christmas, and it made me even more excited for the big day fast approaching.

ImageIf you have not seen a production of the Nutcracker, I would suggest you get to it!  It’s a beautiful ballet, and the music is amazing.  My favorite part is the cute, adorable kids running around on stage all dressed up.  They pretty much just sit on stage and look adorable.  The audience’s reaction is ‘aw….’ You cannot get much better than that!

Merry Christmas and until next time!

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Anna Maria Oyster Bar – Bradenton, FL

Traditions.  It is funny how a place can easily become a tradition.  My family and I have vacationed in Bradenton, Florida for the last 21 years (every year I have been born.)  My grandfather has a favorite restaurant that he has taken us to every year we have visited and in my opinion, this is the best seafood that you can find in the area.

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My grandfather is the type of person to know the bartender, the waiters and even the restaurant manager by name.  Every time we have visited this restaurant, my grandfather takes the time to introduce me to all of his friends.  During this time, there is usually a bragging conversation on his part involving me.  This is when I typically smile and shake my head.

Now when I say this place has the best seafood, it really does.  My grandfather has taken me to countless seafood restaurants in the area, but we always seem to come back to this one.

The environment in this place is very welcoming.  It is your typical family owned restaurant where the food always has a personal touch and the people are always friendly.  Over the years, I have had countless different dishes, but one of my favorites was last night.

The First Mate Seafood dish is just a smaller version of the famous Captain’s Meal, but it is just as delicious.  The plate consists of a yummy white fish – mahi mahi, fried rice, shrimp and scallops melted in warm, delicious butter and complimented with red skin potatoes.  To also compliment this meal, I took it back home to California and ordered myself a Clos du Bois Merlot from Northern California.  It was a sweet red wine but on the lighter side as far as flavors go.  It was a nice addition to this meal.

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Anna Maria Oyster Bar is by far one of my favorite seafood restaurants in Western Florida.  It is a tradition every year my family visits.  And every year, we sit down in this family-friendly restaurant and hear my grandfather’s stories while having amazing seafood.  If you ever find yourself in this part of the world, this place should be first on you dinner list.

El Coyote Mexican Cafe

I’ll have an extra side of salsa with that!

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Los Angeles offers more than a handful of great mexican joints to check out.  Even Yelp was not that helpful this last Saturday when I was trying to find the best one.  There are just to many to choose from.  It was a little hard to narrow down the search.  However, I decided to humor my Los Angeles Mexican craving with El Coyote Mexican Cafe.  I will have to say one of the most humorist things about this place was that it had valet parking.  I don’t believe I have ever seen valet parking for a Mexican restaurant before.

If you did not already know this about me,  I love history…and good food.  When you happen to put the two together, I become very excited.  And I was very excited about El Coyote not just for its food but the place’s long interesting history.  Serving Los Angeles since 1931, this place had a little history behind it.

The atmosphere was pleasant and very home-feeling.  When first walking into the restaurant, you are greeted with countless photographs of famous people that have enjoyed this mexican food as much as I did.  The place was decorated for halloween or “The Day of the Dead,” and there were more lights than I could possibly count.

Now what did I actually eat?  It was my first time of course and usually at these times I like to try the ‘famous’ dishes of the house.  This being said, my drink was a dead give-a-way.  That night, I had the famous El Coyote House Margarita.  It was pretty good too, but it was a little on the strong side.  I quickly found this out half way through!  Despite, I would say the House Margarita is a must have at this place.  It was very yummy, and it’s a great compliment to any mexican dish.

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For the main course, I went with the #1 which is the most famous dish at El Coyote.  It was an assortment of cheese/beef enchiladas sided with a hard taco.  The ingredients where fresh and have I ever mentioned how much I LOVE white cheese?

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I have not even mentioned the chips and salsa in this post yet.  I would say this was even better than the meal, because the chips were warmly just made and the salsa was fresh.  There were way to many chips eaten at this meal.  This meal was very tasty and when I find myself back in Los Angeles craving mexican food again….this will be a must.