Sunday, July 22, 2012

Loving San Diego

We're home from San Diego and I have to say, I am still in love with it and can see why my Grandfather loved San Diego and it's calling us back.
We had perfect weather, okay, some may not say 60's and 70's with a high humidity isn't good, but after the summer Colorado has had, hot and dry, we found the weather to be perfect.  We flew out on Frontier Airlines and arrived on time. I have to say, coming in for the landing flying past the buildings was pretty cool. While we were in San Diego, we found out that the airport is the only US International Airport that has one runway. 

We rented a car from Budget Rental. It was easy to catch the bus to the lot from the airport and check in went quickly. It wasn't far from the airport and to the hotel. The car was nice a clean. We were a little worried with it being a compact but it turned out well.

We stayed at the Best Western Island Palms on Shelter Island and I have to say, we'll be staying there again. The lobby was beautiful with a nice water fountain and greenery. The staff was very nice and it was easy to check in. Our room was next to the pool and had a view of the marina. It was a king size bed and was very clean. They are a very family friendly hotel. The Sunday that we were there, they had a movie night in the pool area, showing "Horton Hears a Who." It was fun floating in the pool watching the movie. 

We had breakfast and two dinners at the hotel's restaurant, the Blue Wave Bar & Grill. The food was delicious and the staff was very friendly. They have patio seating that over looks the pool area and a wonderful view of the marina. We even got to see the fireworks from Sea World as we had late night drinks and desert. The price range is typical of what you would expect from a hotel restaurant.

The first night that we were in San Diego we ended up walking down to the Bay Club Bar & Grill. It's part of another hotel so the again, the prices is what one expect for a hotel restaurant. The food was really good and the service wonderful. 
For an appetizer we had the Five-Spice Seared Ahi with seaweed salad. The Ahi, was cooked perfectly. Simon enjoyed the seaweed salad and I did try it. (Remember, it's green and green isn't my thing.) 
 For dinner I had a New York Strip with two Crab cakes. I have to say, the stake was good but the Crab cakes were the best that I've ever had. Made mostly of crab meat and it toasted in butter, just melted in my mouth. I tried crab cakes else where while I was in San Diego and they have these were the best ones! 
Simon had the Filet of Oscar. It's Filet Mignon topped with Snow Crab, asparagus and Bearnaise sauce. It was very tasty and the Filet was cooked perfectly to his liking and the crab meat was delicious. 

After dinner we had a wonderful walk along the beach and watched the sun set. The beach has fire pits to allow anyone to cook and anyone can set up camp with their camper in the parking lot.

While we were in San Diego, we also ate at Dick's Last Resort, The Spaghetti Factory, The Greek Islands Cafe and Pizza Nova

The main reason we went to San Diego was for Comic Con. Unfortunately, we were unable to get tickets as they sold out within 45 minutes and I ended up 8000+ in line when it sold out. We only wanted tickets for Sunday to get in the vender area. I had heard of horror stories of how long the lines are for panels and I wasn't interested in spending most of my time waiting in line.
 Anyway, while we ate breakfast on Saturday, our waiter had asked if we were ready to go. We explained what happened and that we were just planning on hanging out outside of the convention. About 5 minutes later a very nice man who will remain nameless gave us his Con Bag and the Con Program. He stated that he didn't want our weekend to be a total waste. We were floored at the kindness of this man. We later ran into him on the free shuttle bus that the Con had set up at the various hotels.
We met up with Simon's family and we went to various locations that were free off site from the convention.
The following morning we ran into our new friend again and this time, he gave us his con badge. Simon was able to get into the convention and get some goodies for us. While he was inside, I was outside spending time with the in-laws and people watching.

Monday, Simon and I spent the afternoon at Seaport Village. We did some shopping and then hoped on  the San Diego SEAL Tour. I have to admit, Monday was my favorite day in San Diego. While on the tour we got to see a family of Dolphins playing in the wake of a large ship and by us. There was something that was just peaceful and relaxing about the trip. It was something that I was needing. I recommend everyone to take the tour at least once while you're in San Diego. 

Since we've been home, we've had the feeling that San Diego is calling us back. We seen a number of shows that were in San Diego, like Triple D and House Hunters. Believe me, the heat is still here and I wish that I was back at The Island Palms, lounging by the pool, enjoying the cooler weather. San Diego, we'll be back again.

Bay Club Bar & Grill-Bay Club Hotel & Marina on Urbanspoon Blue Wave Bar & Grill on Urbanspoon

Monday, June 25, 2012

Running from the Heat

I’ve been living in a heat wave and I can’t get away fast enough. We’ve just had our 4th day of 100+ degree temps and I‘m melting. I love weather in the 60-70 degree temps.  In 16 days, we fly out of this horrible heat to San Diego, CA. My husband and I have been following the temperatures in San Diego and we’re hoping they last through our trip on July 13th.

So, what is taking us to San Diego, besides loving it the first time I was there? We tried getting tickets to the San Diego Comic Con. Unfortunately, the way tickets were sold, I was 8000+ in line when the Sunday tickets sold out. 
We had already purchased the airline tickets from Frontier and reserved our room at Best Western Plus Island Palms Hotel & Marina. Even without getting the tickets to Comic Con, we are still planning a nice trip. 

We want to go back to Seaport Village and I want to explore Downtown San Diego and see the Gaslamp Quarter. We’ll hang around outside of the convention center and people watch and maybe see some Stars that are attending. 

I’m looking forward to staying at the Best Western Island Palms Hotel. No matter what room we get, we’ll have a view of either the bay or the marina. (Personally, I’m hoping for a view of bay!) To just have a cool breeze will feel better than the dry hot wind that seems to be blowing through Colorado lately.

We were excited to find that Frontier Airlines flies direct from Denver to San Diego now. We always try to fly Frontier as they were a Colorado company, even if they aren’t anymore, Colorado is still in their hearts!

San Diego, watch out, we’re on our way!!

Our first trip to San Diego in 2009.
 Any suggestions on good places to eat?

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Point No Point- Vancouver Island

A month doesn't go by that I find myself daydreaming of our trip to Vancouver Island, BC. It was my second trip there and Simon's first. We had flown into Seattle, WA and then drove a car rental to the island via Black Ball Ferry Line. It goes between Port Angeles, WA and Victoria on Vancouver Island, BC.

One of the days that we were there, we decided to just get in the car and drive. The direction we picked was north along the west side of the island from Victoria. It was a chilly wet day but the gray made everything more green and romantic. It was interesting as every where we went, the locals kept apologizing for the weather as it was colder than normal for early June. We had to keep telling them not to apologize as we were really enjoying the weather.
We wanted to walk down by the ocean so we finally saw a pull off to a park at French Beach Provincial Park. We were the only ones there. I think if anyone saw us, they would think we were crazy for being out in the cold drizzle, but coming from Colorado, 56 degrees wasn't freezing. It was a beautiful walk down to the pebble beach. The park is a camping/picnic area. We saw wild berries and sweet little yellow flowers. 
 After spending some time down on the beach and getting a nice layer of mist on us, we realized that we were getting hungry. We made our way back to the car and continued north. A little way up the road we came upon a little resort, Point no Point. It's a beautiful little resort that has a little Tea House restaurant and cabins.

It was here that we stopped for lunch and have no regrets for it.  As we were getting out the car, we were greeted by a sweet old Labrador Dog. It just sniffed us and with approval it just turned and headed back into the building. When we entered the house, it felt like a home, nice and warm with a cozy fire going in the waiting area. We didn't have to wait as it wasn't busy. 

The view from our table!
Our table had a fantastic view of the ocean. We were told on good days, you could see seals playing down by the rocks, whales and bald eagles soaring above.  Every table had binoculars for you to use for viewing the wildlife. We can only imagine what the view would have been on a bright sunny day. 

Something that we learned while we were in Victoria was that the majority of restaurants participated in a program called Ocean Wise. It's a program that is dedicated to promoting sustainable seafood harvesting practices. The Vancouver Island restaurants and chefs, partner with fishers to guarantee quality, freshness and sustainability. Most chefs also get most of their food from local farmers, either it being seasonal berries or lamb meat. The quality of the food that we had was evident of this relationship between the chefs at Point no Point and the local farmers/fishers.

Simon had ordered a bowl of Seafood Chowder and the Grilled Salmon with Yam Noodles and cucumber. On top of it, there was a delicate yogurt sauce. The Grilled Salmon was nice and flaky and it didn't have that fishy taste to it. It was a marriage of flavorings that we haven't ever had.
I had ordered their hamburger that was topped with their home made Jalapeno relish/jelly, special mustard and cheese. The bun was nice and soft. At first I wasn't sure if I was going to like it as I thought it would be too spicy. Our waitress ensured me that it wasn't spicy and it went perfectly with the meat. I'm glad to say that she was right and happy that I listened to her. The burger was perfectly cooked and juicy. The Jalapeno jelly and mustard added the perfect flavoring.
For desert Simon had the Chocolate Moose and I had the red velvet cake with a scoop of berry sherbert. Simon's Chocolate Moose was light and fluffy and not overly sweet. The red velvet cake was nice a moist with the berry sherbert adding just the right amount of tartness to the sweetness of the cake. It was most delicious!

Our little day trip ended up being one of our favorite days while we were in Canada. If we had know of this little jewel hidden on the coast of Vancouver Island, we would have spent our entire vacation here. The cabins don't have TVs or phones, so this is the ultimate romantic get-away. This would be the perfect time to catch up on that book that you started but haven't been able to finish. I highly recommend that you visit their website to see what all they have to offer. We're looking forward to when we can return to Point No Point and experience that happy bliss that we had experienced on that single day.

Point No Point 
10829 West Coast Road, Shirley, BC, Canada  V9Z 1G9
To reserve, call:
Found on Facebook.

Blackball Ferry
Port Angeles, Washington, USA
101 E. Railroad Avenue
Port Angeles, WA, 98362
Tel: (360) 457-4491
Fax: (360) 457-4493
Hearing Impaired
TTY: 711 or 1-(800) 833-6388

Monday, October 17, 2011

Pompano Beach- Ft Lauderdale, FL

A year ago my husband and I found ourselves on a weekend trip to Fort Lauderdale, FL. My wonderful sister and brother in-law gave us their miles as a thank you for watching their store earlier in the year. We couldn’t decide on where to go and didn’t know where their miles worked flight wise. So we told them to pick for us and not tell us until the day before. We told them that we wanted to go over a weekend, taking a Friday and Monday off.

My sister arranged the flight and hotel for us. She would make a great travel agent as she got us a deal at the hotel. They were in the middle of remodeling so they offered discounted prices for rooms. We didn’t have any problems since it was weekend and they weren’t working. We stayed at Beachcomber Resort. Our room was small ( It was the European Economy Room) and updated but it worked for us as we didn’t spend the whole weekend indoors. We had a semi view of the ocean from our room and we were happy with that. 
The best part of the hotel was that it was right on the beach. Their beautiful patio area and swimming pool opens onto the beach. They offer cabanas and lounge chairs on the beach at an additional price. You can rent by the hour or pay one price for the full day. It was two glorious lazy days on the beach. Beachcombers does have a onsite restaurant but the food was overpriced and the quality/quantity not very good. We only had dinner there the first night.
When we arrived in Florida, there was a link to Limo service off of Beachcombers website for Let's Go Limo. Since I really didn’t want to drive and we called them up. Simon got Sal on the line and he came to pick us up. You see.. Sal was a transplant from New York. His wife ran the office and he drove the car. He was very friendly and offered up local places close to the hotel to eat at. He was fun to listen to.

One place that he strongly recommend was Stingers. Stingers is right across the street from the hotel. Great food for great prices! We ate there for the rest of our trip. Our favorite appetizer was the Philly Cheese Stake Eggrolls. OMG… I’m salivating just thinking of them. I could not get enough of them! Perfectly fried to a crispy golden brown. The dipping sauce, adding just enough sweetness and spiciness. The perfect amount of meat and cheese. I would buy a plane ticket today, just to have another one of these rolls. Mmmmmm……. 
Their pizza was also delicious. There is no need to ask for extra cheese here. They layer on the toppings! Now, we didn’t just eat pizza and eggrolls, they served breakfast until noon. Their pancakes were light and fluffy and came with blue berries or chocolate chips. The Chocolate Chip pancake was like eating a soft, fluffy chocolate chip cookie. Simon couldn’t get enough of their egg dishes. If I was ever on The Best Thing I Ever Ate on the Food Channel, Stingers will be one of the places I would bring up. It's a hole in the wall dive that the locals eat at and we will again when we go back.

If you're looking for quick weekend get-away we recommend staying at Beachcombers and eat at Stingers!

 Let's Go Limo
Telephone: 954-596-2344

Beachcomber Resort & Villas
1200 S Ocean Boulevard
Pompano Beach, FL 33062
Telephone: (877) 690-4802
Toll Free: (800) 231-2423
Fax: (954) 942-7680

1201 S Ocean Blvd
Pompano Beach, FL 33062 
Telephone: 954-782-2344