Photo courtesy of yelp

Top five brunch places in San Diego

 

One of my favorite things about living in San Diego is the food culture.  Whenever I have company in town or I just want a relaxing way to spend my day off I always look for a great place to brunch. What I look for in a great spot is a cozy ambiance, great food, and friendly service. Here are a few of my favorites.

1. The Cottage

My co worker and friend at Camden Old Creek recommended the Cottage to me when I first moved here.  It is located in the center of La Jolla but is tucked away off the beaten path on a tree line side street away from the hustle bustle. I ordered the Eggs La Jolla which was perfect. After brunch you can walk down to my favorite beach, Windansea or take a scenic stroll to the cove to watch the sea lions and seals.

Photo courtesy of yelp

Photo courtesy of yelp


2. The Patio on Lamont in Pacific Beach

I love the patio because they are pet friendly so you can bring your furry friends with you. They also have happy hour all day on Mondays. You can’t beat that!  I ordered the corn flake french toast which was to die for.

Photo courtesy of yelp

Photo courtesy of yelp


3. Breakfast Republic in North Park

North Park is one of my favorite areas in San Diego and is known for great eateries. They have an amazing Bloody Mary with candied bacon as a garnish. I also loved the lemon coconut french toast.  Get there early especially on Sundays because it can get busy.

Photo courtesy of yelp

Photo courtesy of yelp


4. S & M (Sausage and Meat) in North Park 

If you like meat this is the place for you. They have great homemade sausage, thick bacon, breakfast cal zones and much more! It also has a “swine bar”.

Photo courtesy of yelp

Photo courtesy of yelp


5. Leilani’s in Pacific Beach 

This Hawaiian themed restaurant reminds me of home. I grew up in Hawaii and they have a Hilo Style loco moco that is delicious.  It has fried rice, hamburger, a gooey egg, and gravy.

Photo courtesy of yelp

Photo courtesy of yelp


The next time you are stumped on places to go for brunch check out these great places! For more ideas check out things to do in San Diego.

San Diego Restaurant Week

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Photo credit to sandiegorestaurantweek.com

I love food, which is why I typically blog about food. You can imagine then why I love San Diego Restaurant Week! To explain, San Diego Restaurant Weeks features 8 days from Sept 20-27 (Yes, I know that’s more than one week) of set menus from 180 different restaurants. These set menus offer a menu that typically includes an appetizer, main, and dessert at different prices ranging from $10-$20 lunches and $20-$50 dinners. It is a perfect opportunity to try a restaurant that may typically be out of your price range.

The best preparation is to visit the San Diego Restaurant Week website and search restaurants by name, neighborhood, price, type of food, or distance. From there you can see their set menu and decide what options to choose and see if it’s something that interests you. Personally I like to find deals on restaurants that I would normally not go to and I have never been disappointed. Not only is this a great tool for finding a new place but also a great way for local restaurants to show off and highlight their talents and tasty foods!

Be sure to set aside a night to check out a new restaurant and make sure to do some homework by first checking out the website to pinpoint the perfect spot!

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Don’t Miss Out on the Festival of Flavor

Ok, so I am going to let you in on a little secret….I am not a Texan. Ok, so I said it. As my Texan hubby would say, I am an honorary Texan or a Texan by default. I am a Colorado girl living in a Texan world. We call our kids “Texacos” because they are half Texan, half Coloradoans. I am sure you get my point, now.

Let’s get one thing straight, Texans know their Mexican food. Tex-mex is never better than it is in abundance in Texas. However, I grew up in the green chile belt aka the Southwest aka “not Texas.” Some people refer to the type of Mexican food that I grew-up eating as “mountain-mex.” One of the key components of mountain-mex is green chiles. There are two types of green chiles: Hatch and all others. We use these green chiles in stew, sauce, in cheeseburgers, eggs, and just about anything and everything else. Even McDonalds used to have a green chile cheeseburger.20150815_123028

To give you an abbreviated background on green chiles, there is this magical place in New Mexico, a little village named Hatch. These luscious green chiles grow there and were originally cultivated in the 1800s. According the the Village of Hatch’s website, Hatch is the self-proclaimed “Chile Capital of the World”. They are holding their annual green chile festival on Labor Day weekend. Only green chiles that grow in this region are allowed to be called Hatch green chiles.

During the month of August, in Houston, not only can you experience Houston Restaurant Weeks, but Hatch green chiles make their magical appearance everywhere. Hatch green chiles are harvested and angels deliver these bundles of green goodness to your local grocery store, farmers markets, restaurants, grandma, etc.

  • Stores such as Kroger, Central Market, HEB, Randalls all have Hatch green chiles both roasted or fresh chiles that are ready to roast available for purchase. Some of the stores even have celebrations here in Houston. Makes my heart happy! As a Colorado girl, it makes me teary eyed when I smell the roasters out in front of my local HEB and reminds me of home.
  • Grocery stores stock Hatch green chile items ranging from bacon, sausage, cheeseburgers, soup, and even macaroni and cheese.
  • Even Pappasitos sells a Hatch green chile margarita and has a special Hatch green chile menu . Chuy’s has an entire green chile menu, aside from their two types of green chile sauces on their regular menu.2015-08-17 09.01.27

Hey Camden residents, if you are lucky enough to live in Houston, go find you some Hatch green chiles. I promise that you won’t be disappointed!  Go and get you some!

Now, if I could only find some friends to try the Hatch green chile margarita with…

Easy and Inexpensive Lunch Hack for a Busy Work Week

Are you trying to be health conscious? Spending too much money on lunch? Have you ever thought of meal prepping? If so, I am here to help guide you in the right direction on how to meal prep to make your life easier, save money and overall, be a healthier you!

We all know how the typical lunch time goes. It comes way too soon, you can’t decide what you want or where from and it never lasts long enough. I have always tried to prepare my meals ahead of time by usually making dinner the night before and having leftovers the following day, but what happens if you don’t want to cook ever other night and eat the same thing over and over? Usually you end up spending money out and eating unhealthy because you’re making such a hasty decision on the spot.

Let’s think about it for a minute-

An average lunch costs about $10, right?

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Now, let’s say you are eating out 4 times a week.

You end up spending an average of $160 a month!

And most likely not eating the healthiest and/or best thing for you. What if I told you that you could meal prep and be healthy for about $15 per week? Do you think I’m crazy? I’m not, I promise.

Here is how I meal prep for about $15 per week:

  1. Make a list

This is crucial to make sure you get the items you need. I typically shop at a few different places to get these items. I make sure my list is categorized by the way my grocery store is laid out to make my trip more efficient. *Tip: If you want to eat clean, stay on the outside isles of the grocery store. (IE. Produce, Dairy, and Meats)

  1. Don’t get too crazy fancy, Stick with what you know

MealPrepMondayFoodBoneless Skinless Chicken Breasts – I buy mine from Sam’s Club at $1.88 a pound (Yes, I know it’s an amazing price!). I end up purchasing about 6 pounds of chicken for roughly $11.30. Mind you, I am one person and typically 6 pounds of chicken would last me about roughly a week and a half.

Broccoli – I also buy at Sam’s Club, broccoli florets all ready to go in a 2 pound bag for $3.98. I steam the broccoli in my microwavable steamer basket in batches until the entire bag is cooked. If you want to switch up your method of preparation, you can also sauté your broccoli in a pan with garlic and olive oil.

Sweet Potatoes – Luckily, my favorite grocery store carries George Foods-Petite Sweet Potatoes 1.5 pounds in a steam bag for about $4.99. And who said meal prep was hard?

Raspberries and Strawberries – Any type of berry is a great low calorie and low sugar snack. Luckily, my local grocery store had a BOGO sale and I was able to get a container of both for $5!

*To make the above even cheaper, you can always switch sweet potatoes for a bulk of brown rice or Quinoa. Personally, I just love sweet potatoes!*

RubbermaidTakeAlongsTupperware/Plastic Containers – They don’t call me the container queen for nothing! Luckily, I have enough containers to last a lifetime but if you are just getting into prepping and are in need of containers, I recommend Rubbermaid TakeAlongs. They are microwave safe, dishwasher safe and reusable. I was lucky enough to find a value pack of 62 pieces at Sam’s Club for $19.98!

 

 

 

McCormick'sGrillMatesMarinadePackets

 

3.  Prepare and shake things up with some spices!

Now that you have what you need, let’s spice things up! Don’t be afraid to try new and different spices from the grocery store. Some of my favorites for chicken are McCormick’s- Grill Mates Marinade packets in Mojito Lime, Baja Citrus, Backyard Brew, Garlic, Herb & Wine and Zesty Herb, just to name a few. I typically will divide my chicken up and marinade each bunch with a different flavor. You can also play around with different vinegar and oils along with salad dressings.

Make sure to cook all your food in one session. Place an equal amount of each item into the containers. I typically cut my chicken up into pieces before marinating. Once cooked, I add the following to each container:

1-cup of cooked chicken

½ cup of sweet potato

1-1 ½ cups of broccoli

You can also even it all out and eyeball it. It is a little time consuming but totally worth it. It usually takes me a total of two hours but in the end, the results are astonishing! *Don’t hesitate to freeze meals for the following week!

As you can see below, I was able to make 10 lunches in two hours!

MealPrepMonday

I can grab my lunch in the morning on my way to work at Camden Westchase Park, save money and eat healthy throughout the week!

For further reading about food prep,check out this Simply Camden blog post!

Houston Restaurant Weeks 2015

Other than it being 104 degrees here in Houston… it’s that time of year again for Houston Restaurant Weeks. From August 1st through September 7th some of the best restaurants in the city create special menus exclusively for this annual fundraiser. A portion of the proceeds collected will benefit the Houston Food Bank. Last year this amazing benefit raised $1.6 million to help locals in our neighborhood in need.

Bank of America will also present the HRW Foodie Photo Contest! Take a photo of your dish, post it on Twitter and tag #HRWFoodiePhotoContest. Winners are picked weekly for the best photo and will be awarded a $100 restaurant gift certificate. Click the link above for more information.

You can view the list of restaurant menus online that range from brunch, lunch and dinner. Enjoy!

It’s OC Fair Time!

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Who doesn’t love the OC Fair? Rides, shows, games, and the crazy food concoctions, which the fair is known for! But did you know the history of the OC Fair?

“Shortly after Orange County was created in 1889, the Orange County Community Fair Corporation was formed. This group put on a small fair in 1890 that included a horse race and a few exhibits in Santa Ana. In 1894, another group, the Orange County Fair Association, Inc., took over the organization of the Fair. The First Orange County Fairs were primarily livestock exhibitions and horse races. At the turn of the century, a “carnival of products” was added and the Fair become an annual event. The Fair was held in Santa Ana but after World War II it was moved to Huntington Beach for two years and then back to temporary ground on East Fruit Street in Santa Ana.  In 1916, the Fair was taken over by the newly organized Orange County Farm Bureau and relocated to Anaheim, across the street from the Orange County Hospital. In 1925, a rodeo and carnival were added. After 20 plus years the Fair was moved to a new site, Costa Mesa, and it soon was designated as the permanent Fairgrounds.” The OC Fair has offered a unique variety of entertainment over the years including record-breaking Ferris wheel rides, cattle drives down city streets and beaches, top musical groups and stunt shows.

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New Local Lunch Choices for ME! – La Costa Town Square Opening

I work at Camden Old Creek apartments in San Marcos, more specifically San Elijo Hills. Not to knock the few fine eating establishments nearby, but there really has been a small selection of lunch places for me…until now! Right down the street from us La Costa Town Square has opened up and I cannot wait to try each and every eating establishment. Since I have only just returned to work from maternity leave, I have not had a chance to try any of these places yet. Let me tell you what I’ve got my eye on.

Photo credit to www.bakedbear.com

Yum!! Photo credit http://www.bakedbear.com

#1 and tippy top of my list is The Baked Bear ice cream parlor…..they make custom ice cream sandwiches. I mean really! You can pick your cookie or brownie, pick your flavor of ice cream, throw on a topping and done! I sadly have already gone on their website to choose my future combinations. Let me say that it involves chocolate chips, strawberry cheesecake, and Oreo crumbs…not that I’m obsessing over it or anything.

Another yum!! Photo from www.habitburger.com

Another yum!!
Photo from http://www.habitburger.com

Habit Burger will be my next Continue reading

Otay Ranch Chow List

Otay Ranch Chow List – Top 5 Picks

How exciting is it to move to a new town and go exploring? The first things we encourage ourselves to do is hunt for something familiar or go bold and discover something new – especially when it comes to food. Instead of checking Yelp reviews, why not rely on experience from a local like me? Having grown up here when this area was just rolling hills and vacant lots, I’ve scoped out a few foodie hotspots in the Southbay, where San Diego keeps a suburban dream in its back pocket. This hidden gem is my home, Otay Ranch.

It’s tough to have a definitive list like this without explaining why, so each restaurant listed here has been categorized accordingly. Whether you are a young couple enjoying your first apartment together or a family that prefers something kid-friendly, there’s a restaurant here for you. Here are my top 5 picks for dinner tonight:

 

Best Date Night Experience at Savoie Eatery

Best Date Night at Savoie Eatery

Their website proclaims themselves as the “best food in town – where the French and Italian Rivieras meet.” If you don’t believe me, read their reviews. It is conveniently located in the Otay Ranch Towne Center across from the AMC Theaters. Dinner and a movie? Winner, winner chicken dinner! The decor is quite whimsical and you start feeling a bit like Alice lost in Wonderland or maybe like Sleeping Beauty in Disneyland. Beware, if you don’t have a reservation, then be prepared to wait a half hour or more. They are plugged right into Open Table, so make plans ahead of time or give them a call at 619-591-5757.
2015 Birch Road, Ste. 720 , Chula Vista CA 91915 (Image found on Savoie website)

Best Family Friendly Experience at Pho Hiep Grill

Pho Hiep Grill owners

Let’s get this straight – I’m referring to the Eastlake location. It is conveniently located in the Eastlake Villagewalk shopping center where you will also find Trader Joe’s and Sprouts. Just beyond, there is a spectacular coy and turtle pond where your little ones can pay a quarter for fish pellets. Some forewarning – the pellets look like Cheerios so supervision is recommended. Besides the location, their customer service goes a long way towards making you feel welcome. Where else can you find an owner walking from table to table greeting his guests? After chatting with him a bit, he will tell you that the decor is all handcrafted in Vietnam. He takes great pride in his heritage and the quality of his food. This particular location can cater to large families with your choice of dining inside or on the outdoor patio. Pricing for appetizers and meals are in the low range and what you’d likely pay for fast-food not a sit-down place. Score one for family-friendly and two for budget friendly as well!
872 Eastlake Parkway Suite 310 , Chula Vista CA 91914 (Image found at Pho Hiep Grill website)

Best Happy Hour at Romesco’s

Best Happy Hour

It was voted Reader’s Choice Best Restaurant of 2014 by Modern Luxury Riviera San Diego magazine and if this mouthwatering ad for Happy Hour doesn’t get to you, then convince yourself to enjoy one of the most unique happy hour experiences in San Diego. Not only is there live music – and when I mention live music it could be a classically trained violinist, a live band, or a DJ – but there is also a secret bar for those wanting to feel like they’re in a speakeasy.
4346 Bonita Road , Bonita CA 919102 (Image found on Romesco website)

Best Takeout Experience at In-N-Out

Best takeout experience

How familiar are you with their secret menu? Next time you wait in line at the drive-thru, order the 4 by 4 protein style with fries-well topped animal style. Since it’s early beginnings, this fast food chain took no shortcuts and stuck to using fresh ingredients – inevitably staying ahead of competition by catering to millennials who expect “Quality you can taste.” We are lucky to have one of the only In-N-Outs in the Southbay and yes, lines are usually out the door at lunch and dinner!
1725 Eastlake Parkway, Chula Vista CA 91915 (Image found at In-N-Out wallpaper downloads)

Best Place for Late Night Munchies at Lolitas Taco Shop

Best Late Night Munchies

Who else is stoked that they are opening another location? Show of hands please. When it comes to satiating the late night munchie monster, most restaurants open late tend to be of the Mexican flavor. However, when it comes to great Mexican food, Lolitas Taco Shop wins by a landslide. This restaurant is home to tsunami burritos (shrimp and carne asada) and freebies like fresh green onions, spicy carrots and salsa verde. In order to avoid the rush, it is best to call in your order ahead of time.
601-1A East Palomar Street , Chula Vista 91911 (Image found at Lolitas Taco Shop website)

A blog about food does a hungry writer make! If you fly in for a visit or decide to take a job and relocate to San Diego, be sure to stop by Otay Ranch and discover what else can be found in this hidden gem.

Camden Southline: Community First

When building anything from the ground up, one must always expect the unexpected. The most important part to remember is to make the most out of the situation. With the community opening delayed by a few days, the Camden Southline team decided to use their time wisely by donating it. The team headed to the Men’s Shelter of Charlotte to help prepare and serve lunch to those in need.

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The Men’s Shelter of Charlotte (MSC) is one of many homeless services agencies serving people in the Charlotte community who are experiencing homelessness and are considered chronically homeless (meaning they’ve been homeless often or for an extended period of time and they have an disabling condition, often mental illness). In fact, MSC provides safe shelter and supportive services to about 200 chronically homeless men each year.”

Camden Southline Assistant Manager, Anna lending a helping hand in the kitchen!

Camden Southline Assistant Manager, Anna lending a helping hand in the kitchen!

The day the Camden Southline team headed over to lend a hand, 195 men were served. The group helped prepare lunch in the kitchens and serve said food to the men that were in attendance that day.

Camden Southline Leasing Consultants Colby and Laura prep the salad for serving!

Camden Southline Leasing Consultants Colby and Laura prep the salad for serving!

With life drastically changing for many people everyday, homelessness is something that is on the rise in many of our cities in the United States . Working for a company that provides homes for many, it means a great deal to Camden to be able send our employees to assist those without homes. It is our hope, that with a little care and love, each person can better their path in life. Sometimes all it takes is a little personal attention and good people doing good things on their own accord.

All you need is love!

All you need is love!

With Camden Southline now open, and the employees now very busy assisting residents and potential residents, we are very appreciative of the time they have given and we thank them for representing Camden so well in their free time.

To anyone else looking to make a difference, either with a financial donation or a donation of time, please visit: http://www.mensshelterofcharlotte.org/ways-to-help/volunteer/ for more information!

Welcoming Your Guests

“We’re about fifteen minutes away.” Music to my ears, when I am awaiting the arrival of a houseguest. It could be family, friends, or even a babysitting gig it doesn’t matter, I get pumped. I enjoy doing special things to make my houseguest feel welcomed and here are just a few tricks that make the experience memorable.

Beautiful nosh cheese plate, with fruit and pastrami.

Beautiful nosh cheese plate, with fruit and pastrami.

After a long day on the road or at the airport, your guest can work up quite the appetite. Providing some easy to manage small bites, is a great idea to knock the edge off before your dinner plans.

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