This weekend Bob’s mom, Bridin, took us to Carlsbad for a 4-day beach vacation. Best known as the home of Legoland, Carlsbad is about 20 minutes north of San Diego and also features 7 miles of beach, a cute little village with some great eateries and great surfing.
We arrived at the Hilton Garden Hotel around 4pm. It’s kind of a cross between a hotel, a residence inn and a motel. The room is large and clean and the hotel is quiet. It’s directly across the highway from the beach. It is raining, wouldn’t you know it. Boo. After settling in, Bob, my mother-in-law Bridin and I went to look for Vigilucci’s Italian. We came across Vigilucci’s Steakhouse first and everyone was ready to eat. I tried to stop it, because she’s a vegetarian, it looked pricey, and because I was wearing the only warm thing I had – a Harley Davidson sweatshirt. But it is ruder to argue than to be treated to a fancy dinner, so in we marched to the white tablecloth restaurant.
We started with a fantastic caprese salad – 3 towers on heirloom tomatoes, basil and big balls of fresh mozzarella. Bridin found a lovely butternut squash and walnut tortellini and Bob ordered vodka penne with shrimp. Although the tortellini were first rate, the vodka sauce was slightly bland. My papardelle was a mixed bag. The cream sauce was delicious with just a hint of brandy. The serving of papardelle was too generous, so the delicate pasta clumped together, and the scallops were bland. Still, the sauce made for a semi-successful plate. I know am being much tougher on them than usual because the food was so expensive.
Sometime in the night it stopped raining and the next day we were ready to do some exploring.
Everything is happening at the corner of Carlsbad Blvd. and Carlsbad Village Drive. There is Pig Liquor, which is where locals gather to catch up on the news. All they need is a checkerbord on a barrel. They have a huge selection of rare and microwbrew beers. Next door is Cessy’s, a small Mexican joint that always has a crowd.
They are known for their carne asada, so I ordered burrito which comes with only guacamole and pico de gallo salsa. There was a tiny bit of gristle, but that is common for carne asada. Where they really excelled was with their traditional fish tacos – deep fried fresh fish with cabbage and a mayonnaise sauce. One of the best fish tacos I have ever had.
Onthe other side of Pig Liquor stands a rare bookshop called Farenheit 451 – a nice place to while away a few hours. They had around 12 of the Oz books. I could have spent a fortune. As it was, I got a linguistics book, an Edward T Hall book about how different cultures understand the concept of time, and an autobiography by Gary Gilmore’s brother, who we strangely just discovered is one of Bob’s FaceBook friends.
After a rest at the hotel, we headed back to the corner of Carlsbad and Carlsbad Village to Jay’s Seafood and Pizza. We ordered a pesto pizza with ricotta and spinach, and added artichoke hearts. We took it back to the hotel and had a pizza party while watching Silver Linings Playbook. The pizza was so rich, it almost seemed like the base was butter instead of pesto. The crust was thin, but like most California pizzas slightly sweet.
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