Long time readers of these boards may remember I used to be a volunteer chaperone for a travel agency that planned trips for intellectually disabled adults. And that I travelled with a client to various spots around the Pacific Northwest. This client, Ray, had been hoping to go to San Diego for almost 5 years. Last month, Trudy, he and I finally made that trip because he had to spend down his money to stay eligible for medical benefits. Our trip was a combination of tourist sites and roadfood.
Day 1 one was a long one. Our flight left Portland at 6:40 a.m and we had to be at the airport very early. It was Ray's first flight and we were a little nervous as Ray is autistic. He has travelled on the train before and it turned out our worries were groundless. He loved the flight attendants who brought him food and gave him wings and we were able to talk him thru take-off and landing.
Our arrival in San Diego brought the first surprise. Ray was captivated by the palm trees at the airport. He kept pointing at them, smiling. He touched one and just kept looking. it's been so long that i've forgotten how exotic my first views of palm trees were and it was good to be reminded how awesome things we take for granted can be when someone sees them for the first time.
Our first stop was La Jolla where we ate the best meal of the trip at the roadfood reviewed The Cottage. There are 10 recommended dishes on the review and the 500 Things book strongly recommends the granola. While waiting for a table, we were able to munch on complimentary coffeecake and Ray and I walked around the neighborhood. Tall palms and bright blooming flowers were a delight though we were a little too far from the ocean to reach it.
We were seated outdoors and ate a wondrous breakfast. I had the granola which was tasty and filling and which had fresh strawberries, raspberries and bananas as accompanyment. Ray and Trudy had huge waffles which featured strawberries, raspberries and bananas maserated in orange juice and brandy. The coffee was first rate, the weather perfect. and the vibe pure California. The folks at the entrance told me that Michael Stern was writing a book on their recipes and i must say I'm not surprised. Lunches and dinners have also been praised on this website and in the Sterns' books and I hope to return to The Cottage some day to sample more of the food.
We next drove thru the main business avenues of La Jolla, Ocean Beach, Pacific Beach and Pt. Loma to Cabrillo National Monument at the tip of Point Loma. This is one of my favorite spots as you can see sailboats in the harbor, a military runway where i have seen jets take off and huge naval ships in drydock. Unfortunately neither of my sons and none of my intellectually disabled clients have liked it and i still have not made it to the top of the lighthouse there. I was surprised that Ray did not like it much but it fit in with the track record.
From Point Loma we went to Newport Ave in Ocean Beach. There are 4 present or former roadfood reviewed places in a one block area. Tall palm trees line the street and it ends at the ocean. The wondrous hamburger place Hodad's is located there and as usual there was a huge line of folks to get in. We got Acai Berry smoothies at the roadfood reviewed OB Juice Bar and Sub shop where i was most impressed by the huge supply of wheatgrass. Also got fish(mahi mahi)tacos at the 500 Things reviewed South Beach Bar and Grill which has a wonderful location just off the beach. The tacos were wonderful and cheap but the music was loud and the bar raucous. Ray was uncomfortable so we got the tacos to go and ate them at a picnic table gazing at the ocean. Ray was fascinated by the many people with wetsuits and surfboards who walked past us. He was also a little puzzled by the odor of incense that wafted on to the street from one of the head shops we walked past.
Our hotel was worthy of roadfood. The Kings Inn is located on hotel circle and is the very vision of a 60's California motel. The grounds are lined with tall palm trees, the swimming pool surrounded by palms and the hotel restauant is a waffle shop that makes quite excellent waffles(our rate included a free breakfast so we ended up eating breakfast there each morning.). Trudy and Ray rested and I went out in search of a little more roadfood.
I made it to the roadfood reviewed Kono's Surf club in Pacific Beach 10 minutes before closing time. There was no line and I got a most excellent cheeseburger. For the second time of the day, i ate at a picnic table overlooking the ocean. The Oregon coast is almost always chilly so this opportunity to eat by the ocean and not freeze my tail off was one I truly enjoyed.
Nearby Crystal Pier had miniature cabins that served as hotel rooms along the pier and i enjoyed the views of the surfers and of the people fishing along the pier.
Trudy, Ray and I ate dinner at the San Diego Chichen Pie Shop, a delightfully retro roadfood reviewed place. The decor is a lot of ceramic chickens, the food unfancy mid 20th century classics such as tuna fish, chicken pot pie and spaghetti. it 's the sort of place your grandmother took you to and i saw a number of young couples out with their grandmothers. it's a great treat and it was a fitting end to our first day.
<message edited by mr chips on Sun, 10/10/10 10:01 PM>