Yes, it's Christmastime but I was also heading down to San Diego to celebrate my birthday. I decided to get outta dodge and head south to see some dear friends and enjoy my old stomping grounds. (I lived down there at the end of the 80s and early 90s.)
A little Jazzy Christmas, if you're interested!
We decided to head to Little Italy for my birthday dinner. I know, sounds shocking with my Italy obsession ...
But, we actually went for Mexican Food and Margaritas! I saw online how festive the interior looked, and that they had my favorite tequila, so that sealed the deal. I had dinner with 3 of my oldest friends, Kristen, Amy and Erin. It was delightful!
Love the decor and the Christmas decorations! So happy and colorful!
The enchiladas, guacamole and cucumber margaritas were all fantastic. Little tip though, we ordered the margaritas with the sweet agave nectar on the side, and it was a good decision because they were perfect without it!
The big flowers on the ceiling reminded me of Alice in Wonderland!
The quote, in case you can't read it says, "You can't buy happiness but you can buy tequila." So true.
Loved all the twinkle lights in Little Italy. The Italians know how to do lights. In Italy, every place I went in December, each street had their own decorating theme! I can't believe it's been 4 years since my last trip to Europe. Of course, it took me a year to blog about it, so I'm sure it doesn't seem like it was that long ago! (By the way, I'm planning a trip! More on that later!)
One of the things I was hoping to do on this visit, was to head to Balboa Park. It's a huge area that's filled with museums (17 of them, including the San Diego Museum of Art!) green spaces, gardens, recreational activities, and performing arts including a big equity theatre. Oh! And the San Diego Zoo!
The land was set aside in the 1860s by civic leaders, and in 1892 park beautification plans started and then when it was set to host the 1915 Panama-California Exposition, things really kicked into gear. Then there was the Second Wold's Fair: The 1935-36 California Pacific International Exposition ... I will link the history below. Today the total land parcel is 1,200 acres.
I headed over with Erin, and we found the perfect parking spot so it was definitely meant to be!
The Botanical Gardens building ...
The park was beautifully decorated for the holidays!
It was cooling off a bit (I know, we are wimps here in Souther California but when it's been in the 80s and 90s most of the year ... ) so we went into The Prado for a cocktail and a snack! Then back out into the park to enjoy more of the festive lights!
That's the moon!!!
A very beautiful and very red sculpture called "Odyssey III" in front of the San Diego Museum of Art. That's my hat shadow at the bottom of the photo!
And a Mirò sculpture, in silhouette, with strings of lights across the big square!
The Old Globe Theatre
I loved all the projected lights!
These two, below, were playing classical music as we were headed out of the park. A beautiful way to end our evening! So happy Erin and I made it over there. We had done some "re-sale" shopping that morning and found some crazy bargains (a midnight blue sequin dress for 9 dollars!!!) so everything after that was just crazy gravy!
Another adventure on my "to do" list, was to head up to Julian. When I lived down in San Diego, I loved driving up to the mountains to Julian for Cider and apple pie, and just for a change of scenery. A little over an hour, I think depending on where you're starting.
It's a cute little town. One of those places you want to go hug trees and buy jam. O.K. maybe that's just me.
After realizing there was a chunk out of my tire, my dear friend Lisa was kind enough to drive us up. Fortunately, we are similar in our "likes" and we kept pulling over to check out various views and take pictures.
I mentioned pie, right? I bought two apple boysenberry pies for my host families. And ... yum. Mom's pies are delicious but I recommend going to the one just outside of town so you don't have wait in line. So, good. Especially warmed, with vanilla iced cream!
And, we found a little brewery. The "Nickel Beer Co" just off the highway about 1/3 mile east of the downtown.
They have 16 taps of house brewed beer but if you're like us and you can't decide, they take muffin tins and fill small glasses so you can try the various beers, and make a little graph to keep track of what you're trying out. Cute idea, huh? Lisa's favorite was the Pearfect Apple Pie Ale, which was like a cider, and mine was the Irish Red Ale. Very smooth.
Then Lisa took me out to dinner at the Julian Grille, for my birthday. It was a cute little place and I ordered chicken that was served with a sauce with warm peaches! Mmmm ... SO good.
Oh, I have to throw in this shot of me in downtown Julian, outside the Julian Cafe, with Santa. By the time we were getting ready to head out, they were one of the few places still open to get a cider to go. They also have a fabulous selection of preserves, apple butter and yummy syrups! Great place to buy gifts! Shhhh!
I want to thank my dear friends and their beautiful families for their love, friendship and their hospitality! I'm so blessed and so grateful for all of you!
I want to get a post up of the beautiful "Enchanted Forest of Light" before the holidays are over! We'll see. It's obviously been a very sporadic blogging year for me. I hope to catch up with everyone over the holidays! Speaking of which, I hope you are all enjoying the holidays with those you love.
Sending out the very warmest of wishes!
blessings and light!
OH ... and a few vintage winter songs! ;)
(Love the old version of Button Up Your Overcoat!)