Friday, June 26, 2015

San Diego Roadtrip 2015

So, I got a new (to me!) Mini last weekend, and it is just in time for a San Diego long weekend roadtrip. I have a piping competition in Vista (in the northeast part of the county), and I built a county-wide tour. Join me for a trifecta of Dr. Seuss, music, and, of course, food!!

On Friday, June 26, the first stop was Balboa Park to meet my Poway friend. (Click here for my Poway Getaway in 2013.) I haven't been inside Balboa Park since the 2007 San Diego Marathon was routed through; it has been many years prior since I strolled the Park! After a slow-motion drive down the 5, I was ready for some food before exploring the grounds. My friend found The Prado.
I think you'll agree it was a tasty discovery!

Fresh peach juice soda with an edible geranium to start.

Followed by red and gold beet salad.

And a Brat burger - brat like bratwurst - with sauerkraut, some magical cheese, mustard and pretzel bun. And the ketchup was the best! Curried and spicy and just delicious!

Powered up, we headed to the San Diego History Center for "Ingenious! The World of Dr. Seuss." Along with Horton, the Lorax, Cat in the Hat, and the rest of the gang, Dr. Seuss had his secret and "serious" art, which we got to experience. (My apologies about the altered angles; those are mine, not his!)

"Waterfall" by Dr. Seuss

"I Dreamed I Was A Doorman at the Hotel Del Coronado" by Dr. Seuss

And these delightful Unorthodox Taxidermy specimens, also created by Dr. Seuss, were a hoot! These date back to the 1930s, when Dr. Seuss was evolving his 3-D artwork.

Close-up of the Flaming Herring. I love those bug eyes!!

Outside in the Park, we saw:

The Museum of Man proudly flying the Rainbow Flag! The Supreme Court passed the Marriage Equality Act just this morning.

Sadly, the Botanical Building was closed (dang it, traffic!), but it still made a beautiful shot.

And I love these fabulous tree roots!

After all that excitement, I headed to Vista to get ready for competition in the morning. 'Til we eat again, my San Diego friend!

Saturday, June 27, started off overcast and humid. Ugh, just what I needed! I did fine, even though it started to rain just as my competition time came up. Oh well, joked the judges, I'll be prepared when I play in Scotland!

I did get this delicious rhubarb tart from the Kiwanis booth; I had other food plans while in Vista.

Thai One On is my kind of place! Fun name, cool interior, and definitely this week's best Thai food! I love the variety of colorful umbrellas hanging from the ceiling and the tall seaweed-ish plants. Dr. Seuss-ish, don't you think?!

Pumpkin crispy rolls, anyone? Too bad, I plowed through every last one of these!

And the drunken noodles. Can you see the steam coming off the plate? Thai On One allows you to set the heat, on a scale of 1 to 10. I went with a 5, and next time I'll go hotter.

Click here for Thai One On's website.

Later that night, after a nappy and some quality cable-watching, I picked up some food for my outdoor theater performance. When Pigs Fly BBQ - another great name! - is in a Chevron right by the park. I'd fly my pigs there for food anytime!

My tri-tip dinner - YUM!!

And the peach cobbler was fantastic!

Click here for When Pigs Fly's website.

I took the food to Moonlight Amphitheater, which happens to be in the same park, Brengle Terrace, where the competition took place.

Moonlight Amphitheater is a cool outdoor space that was filled with families, couples, and singles like me getting ready for the show. Rows of reserved seats alternate with open grassy areas; you can see some of both here. The amphitheater provides the lawn chairs, so everyone is approximately at the same level, and no damage is done to the lawn.

I'm seeing "All Shook Up," a 1950s tale incorporating 25 Elvis songs to keep the twisty-turny story moving. Well done, Moonlight Amphitheater, with the singing, dancing, crowd participation, and clever staging tricks!

Click here for Moonlight Amphitheater's website.

Sunday, June 28, and I'm wrapping up my Vista visit. Next stop is Carlsbad for another hit of music. Specifically, the Museum of Making Music.

The Museum of Making Music features 100+ years of music innovation. It is my new favorite museum! The coolest thing is that you get to learn about evolution of an instrument, then you get to play it! Like this modern mandolin propped next to the Play Me sign, and surrounded by earlier variations safely presented behind the glass. There were also drums, a lap steel guitar, electric guitars, keyboards, banjos, ukeleles, and a theremin (!!), with Play Me signs. All had headsets attached, so you could jam away. Too cool!! I also learned that victrolas, radios, CDs and iPods all changed how we listened to music, and they changed how music was produced. I definitely recommend this Museum to everyone!

The Museum of Making Music is part of National Association of Music Merchants, or NAMM. This was a private members-only collection until 2000. I'm so glad they decided to share it!

Click here for their website.

Heading back north on the 5, and stuck in traffic again, I decided to get off in Orange for a place I've been wanting to try for awhile. And this stop puts the perfect cherry on top of the weekend.

This, my friends, is Bruxie's Green Eggs and Ham waffle sandwich, with grilled ham, Tillamook cheddar, mayo, egg and arugula pesto. YUM, and thank you, Dr. Seuss, for the inspiration! They have a full list of other savories - the buttermilk fried chicken with chili honey and cole slaw sounds tasty - plus sweets like s'mores and PBandJ waffles. There are a few Bruxie's in Orange County; I don't think they've made it to LA yet. Do keep an eye out!!

Click here for Bruxie's website.

Yes, that was quite a roadtrip. Who wants shotgun next time?!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Two Boots Pizza

It's that time of year: classic movies in downtown's historic theaters. This season for Last Remaining Seats, I'm seeing "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory" - Gene Wilder's hysterical version - at the Orpheum Theater. What fun!!

It's also an opportunity to try one of downtown's new restaurants. Two Boots Pizza is on the same block as the Orpheum, so it will serve as tonight's dinner. I fondly remember Two Boots from my NYC days, and this slice did not disappoint. The Bird was hot buffalo chicken, blue cheese dressing, scallions and jalapeƱos on a white pizza. YUM, and the thin cornmeal crust was delicious on it's own. Wash it down with an Orange Crush, and I'm good to go.

Two Boots also has a location on Sunset in Echo Park, so you don't have to go downtown or to NYC to enjoy!

Click here for Two Boots' website.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Louisville, KY Adventures

I'm back to the homeland for this year's Relay for Life with my family. I planned in an extra day on this trip, so let's cross the Ohio River and visit Louisville!

The first stop is the Brown Hotel for their famous Hot Brown, a Louisville tradition since 1926. This is it! An open-face turkey sandwich with Mornay sauce, more cheese, grilled tomatoes, and bacon. Delish, and the crock was virtually licked clean!! Susan Versus Food had a clear winner. I'm not sure how I've gotten this far in life without having one!!

Click here for the Brown Hotel's website.

A few blocks away, there is Museum Row on Main Street. Due to limited time, I have to go with what is right in front of me.

How could you pass by the giant baseball bat from the Louisville Slugger Baseball Museum and Factory? When we were kids, we visited the baseball bat factory in like fourth grade. It was then located on our side of the river, in Clarksville, IN.

I don't remember much of the visit, except we each got a mini bat, kind of like this one, at about 18" long. You can't take pictures during the tour, so just trust me that real baseball bats are made there.

There was also a Topps trading card exhibition, Topps Pop Culture: Home Runs to Hollywood, which featured costumes and autographed materials with the cards from TV shows like "Lost in Space" and "Star Trek," Ringo Starr's drumsticks, and this awesome Elvis Presley-signed scarf. Bonus!

Click here for the Louisville Slugger Museum's website.

Final stop is the Louisville Glassworks. Unfortunately, most of it was closed for a private event, so I couldn't do any of the projects. But what a spectacular display of glass artworks in the gift shops! I love these colorful vases suspended on strings.

And these Dr. Seuss-ish glass pieces!

And these are the completed projects from an onsite class. Hello, Kitty made a special appearance! Next time I'm in town, I want to take one of these classes.

Click here for Glasswork's website.

Time to head to my side of the river. What a fun outing!!