Sunday, July 6, 2008

Tickling the economy

In effort to squeeze as much fun as possible into my three day weekend I awoke at the early hour of 7:30am, did a bit of yoga and then headed for the coast. As usual I was running early for my 9am breakfast date with my Dad and brother so I stopped in at one of my old favorite sea side lunch spots, The Naked Café in Solana Beach. Since I was last there they have put up some pretty new art on the walls and replaced the rickety old metals chairs and tables with swanky new ones that are much more fitting with their decor. I was going to check the menu to see if there had been any changes or additions there but I got sidetracked in conversation with another woman waiting for her takeout order about our mutual love of vintage dresses. As always the café was super busy but still found a moment to make me my favorite drink, a Yerba Matte Latte. From there I took a walk down to Fletcher Cove to sip my tea and dip my toes in the water and then headed back to the car for a short drive North along the 101 to Swamis Café in Cardiff. I arrived to find my Dad was already there and had grabbed us a table for three on the patio. We sat and chatted for about 30 minutes about our 4th of July festivities and then decided to give Chris a ring to see if he needed a wake up call, which he did and he suggested we order our food since he was still in PB and would not be there for another half hour. Dad ordered a veggie, bacon omelet with toast and I had my usual, the Acai Berry Bowl.

A thick, icy, and sweet acai smoothie poured into a bowl and topped with berries, bananas, shredded coconut, granola, and bee pollen. I am not 100% certain that the granola is gluten free as there are commonly cross contamination issues due to processing of oats but they give you such a small amount of granola and personally I have never felt sick from eating this delicious breakfast treat. If you are exceptionally sensitive you could always ask for the acai bowl sans granola just to be safe (the fruit and smoothie are really the best part anyhow). My smoothie bowl accompanied by a second cup of yerba matte tea and the lovely company of my pop was a most splendid way to start off my Saturday. Eventually Chris joined us and we all sat and chatted for a while sipping warm beverages and enjoying the fresh coastal breeze.
After our leisurely breakfast and a few hugs we said our goodbyes and went our separate ways. Dad to grandpa’s house to check on Cooper, Chris to scope out the surf, and I headed to Mira Mesa to meet up with my dear friend and favorite shopping companion, Natalie. Since it was 4th of July weekend we decided to support America and do our part to stimulate the economy with an afternoon of shopping. We started off at University Town Center in La Jolla and then headed south (way south) to the last U.S exit which leads to our favorite outlet center, Las Americas. As usual we were not disappointed, half off sales galore (even Coach!) and the crowds were not nearly as bad as they are during the morning after thanksgiving midnight sale (crowded yes, but shopping at 2am, drinking peppermint mochas and listening to Christmas music, so much fun!! Its only July and I am already getting excited for it!). After a full day of shopping we had worked up quite a hunger so we headed north to North Park for an early dinner at the Linkery. I had a glass of the Chucker Bordeaux blend that I was still swooning for from my visit to the Link a few weeks ago. They also had one of my favorite links on the menu, chicken apple so of course I had to order one of those. For my main entrée I decided to try something new and ordered the delicious sounding veggie tamal, typically they are gluten free but I inquired about the ingredients just to be sure and was pleased as the peach vinaigrette on the salad the tamal comes served with to report that it is. Sadly, though a few minutes after I ordered the waitress came to tell me that the tamals were not ready just yet so I would have to wait to try it another day. Being the sweeties that they are the lovely Link staff brought Natalie and I salads on the house to compensate for not having the tamals. As often as I have eaten salads at the Link I have never tried their House Salad because their Market Salads always sound too enticing. I am almost glad that they did not have the tamal because otherwise I might not have ever tried the house salad which is delicious!!

Dark leafy greens, shredded carrots, crisp cucumbers and juicy red slices of beet (my favorite!!). Drizzled with a light vinaigrette dressing it was the perfect starter for a summer dinner. For my main I decided on the Picnic Plate which came with red potato salad, green apple slaw and some slices of rich Winchester Gouda (my favorite local cheese).
Truth be told I am normally not a fan of potato salad or coleslaw, the thought of anything swimming in a creamy mayo sauce makes me cringe. But I have yet to try something at the Link that I did not like so the first time I ordered a picnic plate (many moons ago) I decided to give their picnicy sides a shot and of course they were both delish and on this particular visit I happily found they were just as tasty as my picnic plates past. The chicken apple sausage was scrumptious as well, sweet and cinnamony and delicious when accompanied by a bite of the creamy gouda. There was also a little cup of spicy wasabi mustard on the plate that was particularly delicious paired with the potato salad and made my nose tingle with every bite (my favorite thing about wasabi consumption). Another fabulous visit at the Link, I will have to go back soon and try the tamal. I was also thinking about asking Jay if he thought he might have a need for any gluten free goodies on the menu since they are so keen on working with local producers. Possibly a gluten free dessert or bread option, not sure if there is even a demand for it there or not. One of these days I will work up the guts to ask them about it, perhaps after a glass or two of Chucker I will feel more inclined.

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