Category Archives: places

Jimmy’s Brick Pit BBQ – Poway

Travis is always looking for a good bbq dinner.  Pulled pork is usually his yardstick measure; mine is brisket since I’ve given up on finding tri-tip like I’m used to from years in San Luis Obispo.  A place gets bonus points if we don’t have to travel too far from home to get some tasty smoked meats.

We’ve been to Kaminski’s enough times to not really want to go back.  We also went to Smokin’ Joe before it changed names and became Jimmy’s Brick Pit BBQ.  I thought Jimmy’s was the same, just with a different sign, so one night we decided to stop in and see for ourselves.  It’s the same, just with a little more bad-partner drama, and sometimes red velvet cake for dessert. Continue reading

Afternoon tea is cool, just ask Travis

I don’t want my sad, whiny post to be the first thing you see while I’m trying to find time to put up new posts.  Between new projects at work and losing a couple people in our group, my work days have gotten longer and busier and crazier.  I’m barely finding time to keep up with things like laundry and dishes and sleeping (but I still manage to find time to eat!) let alone process photos and write posts.

It could be months before I get around to writing about our trip to New Zealand, but here’s one of my favorites.  The first day we were in Auckland, I got Travis to go with me to a fancy afternoon tea at The Langham.  I didn’t think he’d go, since tea seems to be a chick thing, but he’s usually more willing to do these things with me when we’re on vacation than if we were at home.  He was able to get coffee instead of tea, too, which made him happy.

Between the scones and the sandwiches, we were so full we took most of the desserts back to the hotel with us, where I nibbled at them over the next day.  I’ve been to quite a few teas in San Diego (including Hotel Del and the Four Seasons) and I have to say this was the best showing of food I’ve ever had.  Everything was fantastic and delicious and well worth the money, which wasn’t even that much more than what I’ve spent here.  Even the ginger tea I had was amazing.

I’m not saying you should fly to New Zealand just to have afternoon tea at The Langham.  But, you should go to New Zealand for a bunch of other reasons and while you’re there you should definitely make time to go to tea at The Langham.

Engagement Pictures!!

First, I have not given up on that other blog I started, but it is going to be a while before I get caught up there.

Second, I think this will make up for the fact that I haven’t posted a picture here for, like, a billion posts.

Third, I consider these more pre-wedding pictures than engagement pictures because, let’s face it, we’re already halfway through our “engagement period”.  The teaser pics came out pretty nicely, I think, and I can’t wait to see the rest of them.

Mandi Contreras is our photographer, and she’s an associate photographer with Melissa McClure Photgraphy.  We got tons of amazing recommendations on photographers, but we couldn’t afford a lot of them.  Plus, the moment we sat down with Mandi, I loved her.  She came out to our house after Christmas and we took pictures in our neighborhood and then jaunted over the Old Poway Park.  She even got some photos of our pups (nicely groomed just before that last storm hit.. great timing!)

That last one is my favorite… it’s our family!  Minus the cats.  Look how cute the pups are!

Thanks, Mandi!  We had a blast posing and temple-nuzzling, and smiling big smiles all afternoon!

New Zealand is just as amazing as they say it is

We are back from our short-but-awesome New Zealand vacation! We were fully aware that 8 days is an extremely short time to be in New Zealand, but 8 days is better than 0 days, don’t you think? We managed to pack in a lot of sightseeing and tourist activities in those 8 days and I can’t wait until the next time we can go. There are tons of pictures to clean up and post somewhere (excluding the super-secret, can’t-post-online Hobbit-holes) and many stories to tell.

In the meantime, here are some notes from our “holiday” abroad:

  • There is no “coffee” in New Zealand (actually, if you find “filter coffee”, run away because it is bad). Everything is espresso-based, which I kind of love.
  • There are cafes and pubs everywhere in Auckland. We actually saw a block with three cafes next to each other, all with plenty of people inside.
  • Pubs pour half pints! As an Asian lightweight, I truly appreciate this.
  • I can eat lamb every day and not get tired of it.
  • Two days of eating huge hunks of (delicious) cheese is a bit much. I’m actually cheesed out.
  • There are more sheep in New Zealand than in Scotland. Or it feels that way.
  • Sheep do outnumber people 10 to 1.
  • When you sit down to eat, you get a bottle or carafe of tap water. No more waiting for someone to fill up your water glass!
  • Bread is not free. In fact, it can cost quite a bit, something I don’t really understand.
  • Lots of cafes give you a piece of candy or fudge with your espresso drink. Why don’t they do that here?
  • If you see lambs fry on the menu and it sounds good and comforting with a pile of mashed potatoes, gravy, and sautéed onions, don’t order it! You’ll take a bite, discover you’re eating liver, and be very sad. Very, very sad.
  • Hokey pokey ice cream is absolutely wonderful. If we went into an ice cream shop and they didn’t have a hokey pokey flavor (flavour?), we didn’t get ice cream.

And last, but certainly not least: Even though you didn’t cry during the actual proposal, when you are telling people the story and you realize that it perfectly embodies the sweet man you are going to marry and then you start to tear up, you know he did a really good job and you couldn’t imagine it any other way.

Yes, people, we are getting married. Please bear with me; we’re starting to realize how little we know about wedding planning, wedding costs, and the fact that what we thought we wanted sounds boring and we want something a little bit more. We’re just not sure what that is yet.

Suffice to say, this was easily our best vacation ever.

We’re leaving on a jet plane

So, off we go on our vacation to New Zealand. The kitties are living it up in Vegas, the stupid chicken just started laying eggs again (she went mini-broody for a while), and the dogs will be well attended to by two sets of friends. I have packed, unpacked (thought I had too many clothes), repacked  (got scared it wasn’t enough), and finally just zipped up the suitcase and walked away.  I keep reminding myself that it’s not like we’re going to an impoverished country.  I’m pretty sure I can find a store if I’ve forgotten anything.  Plus, I want enough room (and weight allowance) to bring things home!  I find it amusing that the high temperature in Auckland is 60F and the low is anticipated to be 54F. I think we get larger temperature swings here in San Diego!

We stuck with that whole mini-Paleo diet for about a week. We both lost weight, but I suspect we just aren’t carb/gluten/grain-sensitive since 1) no one experienced any bouts of extreme energy or happiness, 2) there was no noticeable loss of bloat (or gain, once we shoved tortilla chips in our mouths), and 3) no adverse effects either abstaining from or re-encountering tasty carbohydrates. The little amount of weight I did lose came back after a couple of days and then went away again once I started running on the treadmill (working through Season 2 of True Blood!) and letting Jillian Michaels kick my butt via DVD and OnDemand. In all honesty, it wasn’t the diet itself that made me crack; it was the constant cooking at home. I’m sure people “better” than me at “clean eating” can easily maneuver their way around restaurant menus, but I had a hard time thinking of how to do it. In the end, I was tired of cooking dinner and I just wanted to go out and eat something someone else had made. Ironically, we ended up at Starlite where I had the crispy-skin chicken and Travis had a non-battered whole fish, both of which I’m pretty sure are diet-legal. Of course, he had a beer and I had a mule and then we went to Coronado and made ourselves sick finishing a peanut butter-hot fudge sundae.

And now we’re off to our vacation where diets are definitely not allowed. I look forward to as much lamb, seafood, cheese, wine, and chocolate as I can get my hands on. I suspect we’ll do a lot of walking, hiking, roaming, and other such activity, but I’ve also never really worried about it. I mean, no matter where we go, my clothes always still fit on the trip home. How much does one have to eat in a week before you seriously don’t fit your own clothes??

I have been working like crazy this last week trying to feel prepared to leave the office. At least I know that once we set foot on the plane, there’s nothing more I can do.

One tasty thing I did take away from this “diet” was a biscuit recipe that managed to keep me full from breakfast to lunch. Travis wasn’t too fond of them because of the nuttiness from the almond flour, but I liked them. They went well with almond butter or a fried egg in the morning.  And bacon.  They go really well with a crisp slice of bacon.

Almond Flour Biscuits

2 c. almond flour

¼ c. coconut flour (coconut flour makes the biscuit “breadier”)

3 eggs

½ tsp. baking soda

1 c. sour cream

Mix everything together and then scoop onto a lined baking sheet. I used a disher and ended up with 10 nice-sized biscuits. You don’t have to pat them down because the sour cream keeps the batter moist enough that they’ll spread and flatten a little during baking. Bake at 350F for 15-20 minutes.