M & K in San Diego

the west coast adventures of two east coast kids

Posts tagged beer

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September 2011: Blackout, Beerfest, & Ball Games

Early September involved lots of good times hanging around San Diego with friends. On September 8th, a freak accident in Yuma knocked out power in all of San Diego County and beyond, not to mention parts of Arizona and even Mexico. K was lucky and managed to get home before the traffic became unmanageable - M was not so fortunate. Even so, our friends Christy and Danny ended up coming over to take advantage of our outdoor pool until it got dark and then hang out in our candlelit apartment playing card games, and we actually had a pretty good blackout.

Thankfully, the power did come back on (although our backup plan had been Disneyland for the day if work was cancelled, so we were a teensy bit bummed when the power hummed on at 10:30pm). The next day was the 17th Annual Festival of Beer in downtown San Diego, the same BeerFest we enjoyed last fall, except this year we were volunteering for the first half of the festival, tasting for the last half. Oh yeah, and this year a big group of our friends were there too! We volunteered for a brewery called Indian Wells Brewing Company, based up near Death Valley, and we were pleasantly surprised to find that, after *somewhat illegally* sampling the beers they were offering, we could proudly beckon the tasters over to our booth! They had brought kegs of their Mojave Red and their Death Valley Pale Ale, and we really liked both of them.

After a few hours of pouring, it was finally time for us to do our own tasting!

That weekend was also the first (official) Ravens game of the season, and we went to our favorite local bar with some of our favorite people decked out in our favorite color and had a blast cheering on our team.

Speaking of sports, the next week we chanced into some tickets to a Padres game through M’s company, and so we enjoyed what turned out to be our last baseball game of the season. It was a win, which is always a fun time!

Filed under blackout beer beerfest friends fun baseball football la playa fall indian wells breweing company

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St Patrick’s Day celebrations

We didn’t have any major plans for St Patrick’s Day this year, but we still managed to have a terrific time getting our Irish on! K had a potluck lunch at work, for which she decided to make Irish Soda Bread. M’s mom had made a version of the bread and given it to us last year, and we really enjoyed it, so K asked for the recipe. Now, Irish Soda Bread is traditionally made with raisins, but K wasn’t sure how she felt about that (the bread from last year was sans raisins). So she planned to make just the plain version. But then, a coworker saw her name on the sign-up sheet and came over to rave about a version of soda bread she’d had once with chocolate chips instead of raisins — and K instantly decided that was a most excellent idea! She ended up making two loaves, one plain and one with chocolate chips. They were both completely devoured, a huge hit!

I added green sprinkles to the finished product to make it look more festive!

Mmmmm… delicious.

After work, M & K tried to round up some friends to go out and get a few drinks, but with no solid plans in mind, it was difficult to convince people to go out to crowded bars on a work night. We struck out ourselves, going to a few Irish pubs which literally had lines going out the door and were only letting one person in at a time! It only took about ten minutes in line to realize that while we do enjoy celebrating the luck of the Irish, this was not going to be a fun way to do it. However, on our way home, feeling rather silly for thinking we could wing it on St Paddy’s Day, we made another game-time decision and swung over to Bennigan’s. Yes, a chain. Yes, chock full of scantily clad girls pretending to be Irish. Yes, playing rap music that did nothing to enhance the faux-Irish atmosphere of the bar. But! The Guinness was just as good there as it would have been elsewhere, and we had the added bonus of meeting a most interesting Italian-American man who bought us drinks and regaled us with stories of his childhood in the Little Italy neighborhood downtown. All in all, a very non-Irish but still fun St Patrick’s Day!

Filed under St Patrick's Day Bennigan's irish soda bread yummmmm beer green

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Christmas in San Diego Part 5: The Zoo!

Sorry for the lack of posts recently. (Seems like we’re apologizing for that a lot — we’re so busy enjoying life we forget to write about it sometimes!) Last week K was living it up in her last week of “vacation”, and Monday marked the start of her new job, so there have been a few distractions.

To get back to where we left off:

On the final full day we had with M’s family in December, we did the one thing that everyone who visits San Diego hopes to do: we visited the world famous San Diego Zoo. We’ve blogged about this before, and we will again — as members, we get to go for free all year, and we already have more trips planned — but every time is different! For example, with M’s family, we took the SkyFari ride and got to look down over the Zoo from above. (This is not as entertaining as it sounds, but it was still fun to do it once.)

It was also a unique experience to be at the Zoo over the holidays and see all of their decorations. They put up lights all over the park, have special holiday-themed entertainment, and they even label their buses as all of Santa’s reindeer! We made a game out of guessing which bus was which. (“That one’s… VIXEN! Oh, nope, it’s Donner.”)

And while many things are similar from visit to visit, such as which animals are more likely to be active and interesting (giraffes) versus asleep or hidden (tigers), there are always little surprises along the way. This time around, we happened to pass by the condor enclosure just after feeding time. That meant we got to see up-close-and-personal dead rabbit guts. It was morbidly fascinating. There are pictures but I won’t share them here! A nicer example is the awesome orangutan we encountered. Somehow when we were here in the fall, we missed most of the monkey exhibits altogether. This time we happened upon the orangutan enclosure just in time to witness the crazy acrobatic antics of one of the animals as he swung himself frantically around the jungle gym. It was even funnier to watch him get from place to place once on the ground — he literally somersaulted everywhere. It was like he didn’t even know there was another way to get around!

Well, we walked and walked and walked until we were just too tired to enjoy the zoo anymore. We called it a (good) day and headed back towards home, and towards Oggi’s, where we all thoroughly enjoyed our last meal all together!

Here’s to family.

Filed under family Holidays san diego zoo Oggi's beer

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K’s Birthday!

K turned 24 on the Friday before Halloween. This post will document how some people made her birthday awesome, if not as epic as last year’s (drunken) celebrations.

- She made her famous chocolate chip cookies for all of us (herself included) to enjoy.

- M got her a seriously beautiful fall bouquet…

…and some ridiculously delicious Halloween chocolate-covered strawberries!

(M also took her to Arrivederci’s Pizzeria in Hillcrest, one of our first “date night” spots in San Diego, and then for a bottle of wine and dessert at Babycakes, a bakery which specializes in amazingly decadent cupcakes. Yeah… he did good.)

- K’s mom got her a new keyboard, which is coming in quite handy as she and M practice for SDMC’s winter performances! 

- She got lots of phone calls, text messages, and facebook shout-outs.

- She went to the local home brew mart with her friend Ali to get supplies to brew her first beer (!) and the two of them got free beer tastings because it was her birthday!

- Two words: birthday money. (You know who you are — thank you!)

- Her bff Karen sent her a package including a beautiful watercolor painting of a golden retriever, a gorgeous hand-painted ceramic clock from Jerusalem, and — this is the super cool part — 3000-year-old shards of pottery that Karen unearthed on her dig in Israel this summer!!!! All items are now prominently displayed in our home.

See? Gorgeous. 

Thanks, everyone, for making K’s birthday so special, even though we’re so far away from friends and family. 

Filed under birthday weekend life gifts babycakes arrivedercis bff beer friends family

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The best part about the otherwise anti-climactic Oktoberfest: the blond, blue-eyed half of K & M looking authentically Austrian in his awesome hat! (Which was purchased in Austria on our honeymoon, in case you were curious.)

The best part about the otherwise anti-climactic Oktoberfest: the blond, blue-eyed half of K & M looking authentically Austrian in his awesome hat! (Which was purchased in Austria on our honeymoon, in case you were curious.)

Filed under oktoberfest weekend life beer

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Ballast Point Brewing Company

Almost two weeks ago now, our friends Ross and Brazen were here in town. (We need to get better about updating this in a timely manner — apologies!) After enjoying ourselves at the Fleet Week festival, we decided to take a tour of a local brewery. Inspired by Brazen’s beer choice at a wine bar the night before, we looked up Ballast Point Brewing Company. Not only is it located a mere ten minute drive from our apartment, but they also host tours of the brewery three times a day! We decided to check it out.

This proved to be an excellent decision.

As you can see, there were plenty of beers to choose from. To take the tour, all you needed was a beer in hand! We enjoyed tasting a few of their current brews, and then took the tour. The brewery has been around for nearly 15 years, and has recently expanded. They’re even beginning to add gin, whiskey and other spirits to their production, although we didn’t get to taste any of that (sadly). The brewery doesn’t have a liquor license, so although we were able to see the distillery, we couldn’t cross the threshold. It actually has a completely different address, and different entry and exit points. 

See, there it is!

The drinks were cheap and the people were friendly — the tour guide actually seemed so relaxed, we wondered what other controlled substances he had access to…! We had a great time, and now when we’re out, we make a point to look for Ballast Point brews. 

(Later that night we visited one of our other favorite microbreweries, Oggi’s. It was a big success with Ross and Brazen, as we expected. We loved seeing Ross and meeting Brazen, and we were so glad to experience some new San Diego treats, as well as an oldie but goodie!)

Filed under weekend life visitors Oggi's ballast point beer good times

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San Diego Festival of Beer

Last Friday we ventured downtown for a big block party: the San Diego BeerFest. It was the 16th annual celebration of brewskies in our lovely city, and more than 60 breweries participated, giving out tastes and sometimes even merchandise to the hundreds of people that came out for the party. There were multiple live bands, food stands, and, naturally, more beer than you could shake a stick at. Best of all, the proceeds from the ticket sales all went to cancer research, prompting lots of signs like this one:

Our entry ticket got us ten tastes each, so the first thing we did was explore a little bit and get our bearings. There were a lot of local breweries, so we agreed that we would get different beers and then each taste the other’s, so that we actually got to taste 20 beers instead of just ten! I know, brilliant. (Plus, M’s company was one of the sponsors of the BeerFest, so every once in a while someone he knew would be volunteering as a pourer and he would get a free taste!)

We saw a couple of people walking around with very unique jewelry: pretzel necklaces seemed the perfect idea for a portable palate-cleanser! When K saw a girl with a hanger full of pretzel strands, she was intrigued. When she found out that the girl was raising money for October’s Breast Cancer Walk, she happily donated $5 to get a trendy necklace!

It served her well all night long.

Almost all of the beer we tried was yummy, and we had a great time! Definitely going back next year.

Filed under San Diego weekend life beer fun yummmmm local

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One of the nice things about our new apartment complex is that there is a shopping center within walking distance. Now, most of the shopping isn’t exactly stuff we would be able to walk home with – a Costco and an Ikea are the main attractions! But there are also quite a few places to eat (and drink), including staples like Subway and Starbucks, but also with some local flavor. This area is where we found our new margarita bar, and now we’ve also found a terrific local microbrewery that also has amazing pizza, and we’re willing to bet, amazing other food as well.

Oggi’s is apparently the official pizza of the two major sports teams here, and it is DELICIOUS. I’m sure the menus at the ballpark and stadium aren’t quite as extensive, but in the sports bar itself there are at least fifteen different specialty pizzas to choose from, plus of course a design-your-own pizza option. Not to mention the pasta dishes, burgers, sandwiches, salads, and wraps they have – plus two pages’ worth of appetizers! We both already have lists of different things we want to try when we go back, which we certainly will… at least once we’ve finished off all the leftover pizza we brought home! (M loves his pepperoni/bacon combo while K DEVOURS her goat cheese/spinach/tomato goodness.)

Naturally, we also sampled the beer offerings. K’s favorite was the Sunset Amber, but all of the brews were quite tasty.

We must seem like we’re going out all the time, for poor newcomers to a pricey place to live… the first two nights, that was the case, but yesterday we hit up Trader Joe’s for some simple meals and snacks so that we won’t have to go out every night! It’s already getting a little bit old, not having any cookware (or glassware or silverware or dishes, or anything else for that matter), but we have our leftover pizza to keep us happy, at least!

Filed under San Diego food beer microbrewery oggi's yummmmm