Tag Archives: La Jolla

The Taco Stand

IMG_8971After a long day of new experiences Katie and I were hungry for some mexican food. And what better place to get some mexican food than in San Diego. Only minutes from the border into Mexico, San Diego has some of the best mexican food restaurants around. This time we were in La Jolla.

Katie’s aunt Sheri walked us to the main street. We were going to try Don Carlos Taco Shop which Sheri and Jim raved about, but when we arrive they were already closed. Guess they close early on Sunday evenings, around 7:00pm. Not to be discouraged or deterred from our mexican food, we headed toward the beach and found another spot.

The Taco Stand is super tiny local spot that was jam packed with people. You could barely move inside as you squeezed past other customers. The line to order was literally out the door and onto the sidewalk. We jumped into line without knowing if it was a new restaurant or if the others in line had been here before. We only hoped that the food would be as delicious as it seemed.

We ordered one pollo asada fries, a carne asada burrito, and two mexican ice cream bars. The wait was average for the size of the crowd they had and soon we had our food and were headed down to the beach eating our ice cream bars as we went. We got a little lost along the way, but eventually figured it out. We took a seat on the wall, ready to devour our food.

The pollo asada fries were heavenly! I couldn’t have asked for them to be done any better. Crispy fries topped with warm chicken, sour cream, avocados and gooey cheese. My mouth is watering just thinking about them now. And the burrito was so flavorful. Just the right amount of greasy goodness wrapped inside a tortilla. We demolished everything leaving not even one crumb behind.

The Taco Stand in La Jolla as absolutely great. I give it 2-thumbs up. It was so good that I’m sorry I wasn’t able to get pictures of our food to show here on the dark beach. Guess you’ll have to just go try some for yourself. I guarantee you’ll love it.

Del Mar Race Track

IMG_8973While in San Diego, Katie and I headed over to the Del Mar Race Track to meet up with her family that we were staying with in La Jolla. The Del Mar Thoroughbred Club which opened in 1937 is where the famous Seabiscuit-Ligaroti match race was held on August 12, 1938. After a crazy race, Seabiscuit under George (The Iceman) Woolf beat Ligaroti and Noel (Spec) Richardson by a nose.

The Del Mar Thoroughbred Club runs races all summer and fall. This summer they ran from July 16th to September 7th. Each weekend there are 10 races on Sunday starting at about 2:00pm with the last one running at about 6:40pm. Depending on the race there can be anywhere between 7 to 14 horses racing.

We found parking for $10 and made our way toward the entrance which was a little tricky to figure out. We paid our $6 each and arrived inside the event right next to a beautiful fountain. We made our way to the race picture painted tunnel which brings you under the track and to the center where her family was watching the races already in progress.

We found Jim and Sheri and their friends at one of the first picnic tables right by the race track. We watched a race and they they explained the simple way to  bet, $2 on race number, horse number to place, show, or win. We each put $2 on a horse the for the next race. There was about 30 minutes between each race which allowed you to decide if you wanted to place a bet or as the people at the race would say, “slap a bet down,” before each race.

All of my horses kept coming in 4th, just out of the running for me to win anything back and I lost about $8 before I decided I wasn’t going to play anymore. However, one of Katie’s horses won 2nd which got her $4 back making her loss only $2 total.

We took a walk around the inside of the race track and stopped at an ice cream booth. It was the best ice cream I had in a long time. Maybe it was just that the day was so hot I needed ice cream to cool down, I’m not really sure, but it was perfectly sweet and absolutely amazing. We continued to explore and found a bunch of children playing on blow-up slides and even having a race track instructed water balloon toss.  I was surprised to see how many people bring their children to the race track. I had always thought of it as an upper class adult only experience, but at the Del Mar Race Track it wasn’t like that at all. Then again, I didn’t get to experience the bleachers. It could be completely different over there.

We made our way back to the race track to watch the rest of the races. This time we were a lot closer. The race began and it was a little different than all the rest. As the horses came around the first bend one of them bumped into another and next thing everyone knew one of the jockeys was on the ground. He was ok and was able to scramble off the track before they came around a second time, but the crowd was filled with ohs and eeks when he hit the ground.  His horse continued to run around the track all by itself, like it didn’t even realize that its jockey had fallen off. The helpers eventually caught up with it and stopped it without having a hard time. It kind of makes me wonder, what are these horses taught in order to allow them to run the race even though they have left their jockey lying on the ground behind them. Maybe it’s just a herd instinct.

We stayed until all the races were over. They each had a different starting point and they would move the gate in between each race to the new starting position. As the sun got lower there were a few races that started right in front of us. We were able to watch them load the racers into the gate, start out of the gate, and come racing by pretty close, their feet roaring over the ground as they passed us.

With one last race to run we packed up our stuff and headed out to our cars. As gunshot started the final race we realized that none of us came away a winner that day. We weren’t upset, it was still a fun and exciting day and I was just happy to have experienced something new and different.

Harry’s Coffee Shop

IMG_8973Just a few minutes away from Katie’s family’s house in La Jolla, CA near San Diego is Harry’s Coffee Shop,  one of Katie’s favorite morning breakfast spots. We took the short morning walk down to the main street and built up quite a big appetite that we only hoped Harry’s could satisfy. We put our name in and waited outside for our table to be ready, about 20 minutes.

In the late 1950’s Harry and his wife Catherine decided to move from New York to Los Angeles. After three years of searching for an ideal location they finally came across La Jolla and set up Harry’s Coffee Shop in 1960. He based his diner off of those that inspired him from Brooklyn and he was up every morning at 5am ready to spend the morning with his guests, which he knew all of them by name. Harry’s still has that local diner feeling today and while we didn’t get to meet Harry himself, we still received the quality food and experience he once strived for.

That morning Katie and I were finally seated inside in one of the far back booths. Katie ordered the french toast and I ordered the bacon pancakes. Once our food arrived and I looked at Katie’s I knew I had made a mistake. Her french toast came complete with strawberries, blueberries, nuts and powder sugar on top while mine had bacon strips on top and through out.

Both of our meals were delicious., though I have to say Katie’s was way better. Her’s was sweet and gooey and just super yummy. Mine was ok, but pancakes always seem a little dry to me unless you completely cover them with syrup which I didn’t feel like doing that day.

We finished our meals and headed out and back to Katie’s family’s house. Harry’s is definitely on our list to go to again next time we are down in San Diego. You should make it a stop on your list too.

La Jolla Brewing Company

IMG_8973While on a short trip to San Diego, Katie and I stayed in La Jolla, CA. After settling into Katie’s family’s house we headed out for a place to eat. A short walk led us to the main street with many options. We eventually stumbled upon La Jolla Brewing Company and decided to give it a try.

La Jolla Brewing Company features their own hand-crafted beer and a 24 tap rotating selection of local San Diego County craft beers. Their in-house beer selection features five signature styles, Pale Ale, IPA, Pub Ale, Dry Stout, and Brown Ale. They also create specialty and seasonal beers to keep their selection fresh and exciting.

We walked past their outdoor seating section and asked to see a menu. We decided to stay and picked a spot overlooking the outdoor seating section since it was too warm to sit inside that evening. We didn’t order any beer, but we did order some food. We got the LJBC Classic Cheeseburger and the BBQ Chicken Pizza.

After a little wait they arrived. The pizza was delicious. It was on flat bread with pieces of chicken, cheese, onions, and fresh cilantro. Once I tried it I couldn’t stop eating it until I was too full to eat another the piece. The burger on the other hand was not up to our standards, it was nothing special.

So stop by La Jolla Brewing Company to get a taste of the local La Jolla beer choices, experience a piece of history, and have a fun and relaxing night. Just get the pizza and skip the burger you should be all good. Oh, and if you want you can bring your dog when you’re enjoying your time on the patio.

Hidden Sunny Jim Cave at La Jolla

10940409_10100779336026607_4462539331399142303_nHidden in a store in La Jolla, CA is a door that leads to a tunnel with stairs that you can journey down 144 steps to an ocean cave. They call this cave The Sunny Jim Cave. The cave was formed by marine erosion from the outside and subaerial erosion from within and the tunnel was dug out in 1903. This cave is the largest of The Seven Caves on the California coastline and is the only one known to have land access which was used to smuggle alcohol up from the sea during the prohibition. What an amazing place to explore, and my first stop of the second day in San Diego.

I arrived in La Jolla early morning, ready for an adventure at The Sunny Jim Cave in The Cave Store.  I stopped in at a local cafe,  Goldfish Point Cafe, to grab a bite to eat and the cashier told me they opened their doors at 10am so I took my time eating my muffin and headed over a little after.

10407133_10100780431466337_1262307726586102049_nThe owner to The Cave Store opened the doors right as I arrived and I checked to make sure I was in the right place. He told me I was and I asked to check out their cave. I paid my $5, a small price to pay, and headed to the door entrance. I read the sign and asked him, “145 steps?” He replied, “Actually, it’s 144.” Apparently their sign is wrong and so is the internet. He mentioned to make sure I held onto the railing as the stairs are probably slick due to the haze and rain. I thanked him and thought to myself, ‘Well, here goes nothing.’ I took the first step and started my ascend down into the darkness.

1509314_10100779336316027_5799527596848293765_nSmall lanterns lit the tight and narrow passageway and about 10 steps down I paused giving my eyes a moment to adjust. I could smell the salt in the ocean air, hear the roar of the waves crashing against the rocks below and feel the vibrations rumble through the stairs. ‘This is kind of intense,’ I thought to myself. I held onto the railing and continued down.

The ceiling was low and even though I’m not the tallest person I was concerned for my head. The stairs were very uneven, some short and small, some big and long. As I journeyed down they got slick. I almost stumbled, but caught myself. ‘He wasn’t kidding about holding on!’ I thought as I got to the final step. I walked across the short bridge to the overlook. I stood there for a moment taking it in.

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You could just see across the bay through all the haze. On any other day the view would have been amazing, but on that day it was rainy. However, the real two elements that caught my eye were the boulder and the lines in the walls. The big boulder that had fallen from the ceiling about 20 years ago and I just couldn’t believe that something that big would just fall from the ceiling. Talk about subaerial erosion! And the lines in the cave walls were beautiful. To see all the different soil compositions so clearly distinguished from each other was just captivating.

Other guests arrived and I took that as my cue to head back up the stairs to the store top. An awesome adventure to start my San Diego trip.

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