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Find delicious food at the award winning French Gourmet

December 9, 2019
If you have been in Pacific Beach you will have likely driven by The French Gourmet restaurant on Turquoise Street. Having been in business since 1979 they are successful and experienced in catering corporate events, holiday parties, fundraisers, and special occasions. Gourmet is the perfect word to describe the elegant wedding cakes, fresh pastries, pomegranate salad, Lollipop lamb chop, New York steak, Smoked Salmon, Chicken Pot Pie, and other delicious food.

Their fine dining restaurant is quaint and cozy. Locals and tourists come to enjoy the cocktails and wine as well as the amazing entres. You will be welcomed with sliced warm baguette bread and soft butter. The three-course fixed-price dinner is worth it at $29.95. One of the options is house salad, confit duck, and Millenium chocolate cake. The servers are polite, attentive, helpful, and friendly.

I visited the bakery while waiting for the oil on my car to be changed. The hand-crafted espresso drink was very good as well as the breakfast burrito. All of the pastries and treats in the case looked delicious, especially the chocolate croissant. For directions, catering, and the menu please visit their website at www.thefrenchgourmet.com.

View homes for sale in Pacific Beach.


Entrance of The French Gourmet restaurant


Bakery case in entryway


Fine dining restaurant at The French Gourmet


Advertising on the side of the building
 

Surf, Relax, Breathe in the Ocean Air at Swami's Beach in Encinitas

November 15, 2019
One of the best beaches in Encinitas is Swami's Beach, named after Swami Paramahansa Yogananda (1893-1952). The Self-Realization Fellowship use to own the land comprising of Swami's State Beach park. There are numerous shops, restaurants, cafe's, and the beautiful Meditation Gardens within walking distance. The long wooden staircase leading to the beach is rewarding for both the exercise and the incredible beauty on the way down and once your feet hit the sand.

This beach appeals to many visitors for the tide pools, waves, soft sand, dramatic beach cliffs, and even an outdoor shower facility to rinse off in freshwater. Make sure to visit Swami's beach on days where the tide is particularly low to see the tidepools. Surfers and guests can park in the small paved parking lot or find street parking on the Pacific Coast Highway. There is a large grassy area with benches for those simply wanting to enjoy the sun to study or have lunch with the family.

Swami's is one of the best family beaches because it is far from the road and the area south of the steps is gently sloping and shallow. If the stairs are too much of a challenge the views overlooking the beach below are wonderful. There are many talented surfers in the water to watch and admire. It's not uncommon to see generations of families surfing together at Swami's, adding to its charm. New surfers should keep in mind the paddle out to the point break is fairly long, it can be crowded making surf etiquette a must, and due to it being a reef there are sharp rocks on the bottom.


Nearby Restaurants, Cafe's, and Bars

Swami's Cafe Encinitas Blvd
1298 S Coast Hwy 101, Encinitas, CA 92024
Enjoy a self-serve coffee bar with a variety of options to choose from and delicious food including breakfast, acai bowls, and sandwiches. Guests can sit outside under umbrellas, while still taking in the beautiful weather.

Union Kitchen & Tap
1108 S Coast Hwy 101, Encinitas, CA
Gather with friends to drink great beer with TV's to watch sports. Families and dog owners enjoy the outdoor area. Live music and a fun atmosphere make for a good day or night out. Patrons love the Mr. Fox cocktail, the scallops in the jambalaya, and bison burger just to name a few.

Encinitas Ale House
1044 S Coast Hwy 101, Encinitas, CA
Popular pub to enjoy amazing beer and food. The menu consists of pretzels with beer cheese, parmesan garlic fries, fried chicken sandwiches, tacos, burgers, pizza, and more. The Kobe burger gets raving reviews by diners.

Encinitas Fish Shop
1010 S Coast Hwy 101, Encinitas, CA
Casual sit-down restaurant with outdoor dining. The menu has many choices like Red Snapper, Fish and Chips, Fish Tacos, Clam Chowder, Oysters, Macaroni Salad, Blackened Swordfish, a Mahi Mahi plate, and delicious Pokie Bowls.

Philz Coffee
1060 S Coast Hwy 101, Encinitas, CA
This coffee shop has delicious pour-over coffee and excellent tea. Customers enjoy the iced coffee Rose', Mint Mojito iced coffee, and other amazing options on the menu. Parking can be a little difficult, but worth your time.

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Staircase down to Swami's Beach


Beautiful ocean view on the way down to Swami's


Staircase, lifeguard tower, and sandy beach


Peaceful beach, cliffs, and waves


Beach and ocean view between the palm trees


View of Swami's looking towards the staircase and lifeguard tower


Beautiful Swami's beach in Encinitas


Stone, wave art at Swami's


City of Encinitas, Welcome to Swami's Beach, Simple Rules sign


Swami's Ped Xing


City of Encinitas Welcome sign


Dining patio at Swami's Cafe


Swami's Cafe


Philz Coffee in Encinitas


Union Kitchen & Tap


Mural of a sunset and surfers in Encinitas
 

Relax and Reflect at the Meditation Gardens in Encinitas

October 17, 2019
We all need to take time to stay present, enjoy our surroundings, and connect with nature. One of the most beautiful and calm settings in Encinitas is the Meditation Gardens at The Self-Realization Fellowship. As I walked into the garden, greeted by a friendly security guard, the breeze coupled with the sun made me feel at peace.

Each path leads to a different tranquil backdrop. Thankfully, the day I toured the grounds there were very few visitors. Guests spent their time engrossed in books, focused on journaling, quietly meditating, or gazing at the crashing waves.

Meditation is widely known as an effective method to get centered. With the large to-do lists, responsibilities, and inevitable life changes we all need to find time to breathe and be mindful. According to Mindworks.org the definition of meditation is taking charge of the mind and being able to concentrate on one thing. Many of life's circumstances are out of our control; through meditation, we all can gain greater control over our actions when situations arise.

The Meditation Gardens provide a safe, quiet, and serene place to take a moment to relax and find comfort in just being. To get more information about activities and directions visit encinitastemple.org.

10 Highlights of the Meditation Gardens in Encinitas, San Diego:
  • Colorful flowers
  • Clean and serene koi ponds
  • Many green plants
  • Sounds and view of the Pacific Ocean
  • Private spots with benches
  • Quiet setting for reflecting
  • Clean restrooms
  • Near the Encinitas Temple
  • Walkability to Swami's beach and the town of Encinitas
  • Close to restaurants, cafes, and stores
The Encinitas Temple is beautiful and close to the gardens. Enjoy inspirational lecture services, Sunday School and Teen classes, and other helpful activities to deepen spiritual practices. There are services and events offered seven days a week, including energization exercises, study groups, and inspirational services.

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White bench to sit and enjoy the view


Beautiful view of the Pacific Ocean


Path to walk and enjoy the ocean air


Read about The Golden Lotus Temple


Beautiful ocean view seen from within the gardens


Stairway to the gardens


Peaceful spot to meditate


Koi pond in the gardens


Gate to blocked off area


House blocked by a fence


Part of the Self-Realization Temple grounds


Self-Realization Fellowship Sign


Welcome sign to the Self-Realization Fellowship Meditation Gardens
 

College Student? Plenty of Study Space, Rooftop Courtyard, Nine Floors of Books

September 16, 2019
Many college students find their way to San Diego, considering it is home to many universities. Some of the well-known schools are University of California, University of San Diego, and San Diego State University. The San Diego Public Central Library downtown is one of the best places to study on your own or for a group discussion. It is worth mentioning the study rooms are for San Diego residents only. Parking is free with two-hour validation in the attached parking garage.

Below is a list of amenities offered:

1. Free two-hour parking
2. Store for used books
3. Gift shop
4. Children's area with nursing rooms
5. Teen section with a snack bar and full game room
6. Large chess game on first floor
7. Several large tables, near windows, with electrical outlets
8. Nine floors lined with books
9. Computers on the ninth floor
10. Rooftop courtyard
11. Kassianna The Living Room coffee bar out front

View homes for sale in Downtown San Diego.

San Diego Public Central Library























 

Top 6 Reasons to Plan a San Diego Winery Staycation

August 15, 2019
On a warm Saturday in August, after getting a babysitter for the weekend, we headed to Cheval Winery in Escondido. It’s a quick 40 minute drive from our house in Bay Park. The moment we entered the property lined with grapevines we felt at home. Easy parking on the gravel and a short walk to the vineyard casita and tasting room. The rustic, cozy bungalow had everything we needed including a coffee maker, dishes, refrigerator, and even a frother.

After settling in, we walked over to the Tipsy Barrel Tasting Room where we sampled 6 different wines. Our favorites, Johnny Walker Bay and Red Hot Diva, suited us. We relaxed on the comfortable sofas in the shade drinking wine and listening to live music. It was a calm afternoon, before the evening crowd, with plenty of seating.

Later we explored the grounds to revel in the fruitful grapevines, exquisite show horses, a riding arena, and llamas. The incredible orange blazing sunset added to the charm of the evening. Daytime visitors go home by 7 pm, allowing overnight guests to enjoy the serene property. The three-bedroom villa, available on Airbnb, has a terrace with tables, an outdoor television, and a stone fireplace.

We ate dinner at Vintana’s, a fine dining restaurant, the food was delicious. It’s an interesting experience as the restaurant is in the same building as a high end car dealership. The main entrance is confusing, but once you get there valet is waiting to take your car. We dined on the spacious lanai enjoying the vibrant ambiance with a live band and wonderful views of city lights. Our attentive waiter explained the menu and answered our questions. We went with the Grilled Duroc Pork Chops and Crusted Ahi Tuna.

The morning was a dream, just us and the horses, drinking our coffee surrounded by nature. It was nice getting away from responsibilities and kids. Book a trip or get more information by visiting their website at ChevalWinery.com. Weekday and weekend events include yoga in the vines, Two-Step workshops, and more. Be ready to spoil yourselves because the wine is pricey.

Top 6 reasons to plan a San Diego winery staycation at Cheval Winery::
  1. Amazing variety of distinctive wines
  2. Casita and villa available for rent, no need to drive home
  3. Quiet getaway in San Diego County away from crowds
  4. Country Two-Step Bootcamp, yoga in the vines, and wine workshops
  5. Champion show horses to see
  6. Live music
View homes for sale in Escondido.


View of outside from tasting room


Outside sitting area


Tipsy Barrel Tasting Room


Tasting Room and Luxury Villa


Sofas and tables outside tasting room


Vineyard Casita


Interior of Casita


Rows of Grapevines


Bunch of Grapes


Champion Show horses


Riding arena for horses


Llama Holding Pen


Outside sitting area


Crusted Ahi Tuna at Vintana’s
 

How to Make the Most of Your Visit to The New Children's Museum

July 9, 2019
We were excited to visit The New Children's Museum for Mass Creativity Day on June 22nd. I was looking forward to the kids having fun but dreaded looking for parking. The drive was easy, then began the constant circling of downtown streets. After 15 minutes, waiting for an older man to leave his spot, we finally secured parking. I was thrilled to see we were right around the corner from the museum. The check-in process was a breeze, and there were a ton of activities outside like coloring, painting, and attractions. The upbeat music, dancing, and tasty tacos contributed to the adventure.

Free admission was a plus, so we were ready to explore. At the entrance, there was a grand four-story house. It was overwhelming to see the rooms and interactive structures everywhere. I would say The Wonder Sound was the kids absolute favorite. Several creative rooms, little nooks, and ropes made for tons of laughter — the uplifting quotes on the walls added to the light-hearted atmosphere. My son went inside the big Whammock; it was unnerving because of all the kids. He had a difficult time getting out through one of the holes.

We spent the majority of the time at the clay studio. A staff member kept the supply of clay and tools coming. My kids made several pieces to bring home, such as a little cup and saucer. It was entertaining to see how creative the kids and parents were getting. Also, the flower truck was a massive hit because the children could let loose with the paint.

Here are some tips on how to take full advantage of the museum:
  • Get there early to find parking on the street or in the garage
  • Pre-plan the attractions you want to see because there is several to choose from and there may not be enough time to see them all
  • Have the kids wear bright colored shirts because they can get lost in the crowd
  • Bring old clothes and wet wipes because they will get dirty
  • Bring snacks and water because the food is expensive at the cafe
  • If you're a local it's more cost effective to buy the membership
  • Specific restrooms are busier than others so if the line is too long there should be another one nearby
If you are looking to get more than a day of fun at the museum, look into the camps, community programs, and toddler classes. They offer a membership that includes unlimited admission, discounts, and other extra benefits. Learn more by visiting their website at thinkplaycreate.org.

View homes for sale in Downtown, San Diego.


In front of The New Children's Museum


View of the four-story house from the stairs


The Flower Truck


Near the cafe and restrooms


The Wonder Sound


The cool view above The Wonder Sound


The view from the entrance we came in


The Wammock


View from the top floor


The Tot Studio


The Clay Studio
 

Do you Want to Impress Your Guests? Nothing Beats Siesel's Old Fashioned Meats

June 10, 2019
Have you ever really wanted to impress your special guests, but ended up driving around to 5 different stores settling for second best? I know I have more than once.

When I walked into the entrance of Siesel's in Bay Park, with two kids in tow, the first thing I saw was Jullian apple pies. I knew I was right where I needed to be. The fish section was right in front, which worked for me because I was preparing to make beer battered fish tacos for our guests that night. The last time I attempted to make fish tacos, with fish purchased from a different store, the fish fell apart. Thankfully dinner was a huge success.

There are so many options to make the perfect meal. They offer the best meats, many types of fish, side dishes, desserts, and appetizers. If you need ideas, Siesel's has a large selection of food like corned beef, sausages, chicken wings, steaks, port chops, carne asada, kabobs, and bacon.

In addition, they have an excellent deli menu for sandwiches including BBQ Pork, veggie, club, ruby, Reuben, and roast beef. Just grab and go. Also, take-home soups, sides, chips, and drinks. Make sure to check out the cheeses, dips, Julian pies, and specialty ice creams. Siesel's can satisfy the pickiest eaters. Visit their website www.bestmeatssandiego.com for more information.

You love Seisel's so much it needs to be close, like within 10 minutes from your home. Driving from across town, sitting in traffic, your guests make it to your house before you do. Time to make this your new hood. View homes for sale in Bay Park.

Siesel's
Entrance to Siesel's Old Fashioned Meats


Entrance to Siesel's


Meat and bread


Kabob's and marinated meats


Prepared meat to BBQ for tacos


Fish and side dishes


Variety of cheeses


Side dishes like pasta salad


Jullian Apple Pies


Selection of wine
 

Looking to rent first to learn the area? Check out the Alexan Alx in Downtown San Diego.

May 10, 2019
We had the opportunity to check out the Alexan Alx in the East Village of Downtown San Diego. At times clients choose to rent downtown to get an idea of the area and lifestyle before purchasing a condominium or home. The amenities include a "secret" Speakeasy, pool and spa overlooking downtown, indoor and outdoor common areas with giant TVs, a gaming room, a coffee bar, a pizza oven, barbeques and fire pits, a dog run, and a gym. The leasing office has different options, however the standard is a 15 month lease. To apply for a lease or get a tour visit alxliving.com.

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San Diego has many amazing cafe's, coffee shops, and restaurants

April 9, 2019
The beautiful City of San Diego has many options to choose from for dining, coffee shops, and cafe's. Whether you have company in town, have a meeting, or simply running errands there is a place for everyone to enjoy. We took friends visiting from Switzerland to Cafe 21 for breakfast and the food, drinks, and atomosphere were great. In addition, the S3 Coffee Bar is unique and fun offering rainbow lattes on the weekend, brunch, cookies, and so much more.





Cafe 21 Gaslamp
Cafe 21, Gaslamp Downtown San Diego








the Grounds bean bar in Pacific Beach, San Diego








S3 Coffee Bar, Mission Square Center
 

Solana Beach and Encinitas are two of the best areas in San Diego

March 18, 2019
It was another beautiful Sunday in San Diego County right after a storm came through. We decided to take a short drive to Solana Beach to take a walk along the water. Fletcher Cove Park was beautiful and has a ramp leading straight to the sand, but we ended up venturing over to the long stairway at Del Mar Shores instead. The beach was very clean and quiet. Following our amazing time at the beach we made our way to Pannikin Coffee & Tea in Encinitas. I have never been to a coffee shop with so many different treats and sweets to choose from. The coffee tasted great and the atmosphere was perfect. In addition, there is a little tea shop with crafts and items for sale.

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