October 17, 2012

San Diego part 2

I snapped this photo to remember the impossibly blue sky in Coronado.
On Saturday we went to Coronado. My husband wanted to show me the historic, Victorian Hotel del Coronado. This is a luxurious resort and spa that will set you back a substantial amount to stay there, but it's free to gawk. In fact, busloads of foreign tourists arrived by the minute.

The Web site describes it thus: "Since it was first built more than 120 years ago, the Hotel del Coronado has been a beacon of grandeur and refinement among vacation destinations in Southern California and the world. With its iconic red-shingled roof adding a dash of majestic color to the dazzling azure Pacific coastline, The Del stands as the definitive example of what a luxury resort should be." Who wouldn't want to stay here? And visit the spa?

We wandered the the opulent indoor public areas and, ahem, used the facilities, before heading out to the gardens. The gardens were lush and exotic with beautiful views in every direction. The tree I photographed is a dragon tree, and it was quite striking.

There was an enormous pool in a beautiful setting and lots of people were swimming and frolicking, which now that I'm back in Seattle, seems so unfair.

We followed the garden path down to the beach and were in for a surprise. The huge beach with its warm, soft, almost fluffy, white sand was too inviting to resist. Off went the shoes and we headed down the beach for a long walk.

In the photo above you can see a pile of sand pumpkins that belong to an enterprising artist (under the umbrella). We noticed quite a few street artists, on the beach and back in the city, who build interesting piles of stones or other natural materials, and for $5, they let you take a photo. 

This gorgeous pile of seaweed let me take its picture for free, and I couldn't resist its charms. I may even print and frame a version of my seaweed photo because I like it so much.

On Friday I wanted to live in La Jolla, but on Saturday Coronado was my destination of choice, so I looked on Zillow.com to see what real estate prices were like. Clearly, living here is not in my future, unless I come upon a few million dollars.

All those hours of sun and sand finally got to our stomachs and we headed back to San Diego for lunch at Evolution. Evolution is a funky, all-vegan, fast food place.

As you can see from the menu board, there's lots of "chick'n" and "cheese," but also some raw foods, and juices, smoothies and shakes. Even soft-serve and raw soft-serve.

Lots of choices to meet different preferences, but all served from the counter, just like McDonald's. There were also two cold cases with pre-packaged restaurant food, cookies and such, and cold drinks.

 There was an enclosed outdoor seating patio filled with potted plants and a fountain, making for a very pleasant place to have a quick lunch. When we arrived, the patio was deserted, and we assumed it was because we were having such a late lunch, but pretty soon more people began arriving and there were quite a few occupied tables.

 While perusing the menu, I noticed that hidden among the Gardein burgers was a house-made bean burger for $1 additional, and I went with that. It was huge and I could barely finish it, but I have to say it was kind of bland, even with all the condiments. On the plus side, it didn't fall apart much and was very filling.

My husband chose a bowl of chili, and we both had sweet potato fries. He said he liked the chili, and we both thought the fries were good. The potatoes were fried in slices instead of spears, and lightly salted. I always forget, though, that I make sweet potato fries in the oven and they're not very greasy, but these were the real deal — in all their deep-fried glory.

After lunch we headed to Pacific Beach for some more walking and ocean viewing. And people watching. PB has a completely different vibe from the other two very elegant beach towns we visited — it's gritty, a little crazy with activity, and draws a mostly young crowd. The beach walk is lined with rooming houses and bars where tightly-packed bodies are partying. There are loads of open-air restaurants and (tacky) beach shops and lots of people biking and hanging out. We walked the beachfront path enjoying the sunshine and ocean air. After we'd exhausted our walking urges, we popped into Goodwill to see what the beach had to offer thrifters, but either I was too tired to deal with bargain hunting, or this was the most disorganized Goodwill I've been in. I swear, there were no size categories and I didn't have the patience to look though the jumble. Must be getting too old.

We went back to the hotel to rest, and super tired once again, dragged ourselves out to a late dinner. Tomorrow I'll cover dinner, and our last morning in San Diego.


  1. The dragon tree is stunning! I didn't know such thing existed! Five bucks for a photo of the sand pumpkins? I think I would admire them from afar.

    Definitely print and frame a picture of your seaweed photo! Beautiful shot!

    I like the look of those thin little sweet potato fries. Sometimes you just have to have a little deep fried som'n som'n! :D

    1. The dragon tree was eye-catching for sure. All the tourists wanted their picture taken next to it so I had to wait a long time before I could photograph it. As for the sand pumpkins, you'll notice I was some distance away.

      A well-fried chip is a thing of beauty. :)

  2. I love that first photo, what great colors and composition! Such a pretty sky.

    I got to eat dinner at the Hotel de Coronado several years ago, a treat from a fellow coaching classmate (we'd just graduated from Life Coaching school in San Diego that day). I'd never heard of the place before that, but - as you might imagine - I was totally smitten! Our server's boyfriend was vegan so she knew what it meant (few did back then) and came up with something delicious for me. During a beautiful stroll on the beach afterwards I got one of the prettiest sunset photos of my life (to that point). :-)

    The Dragon Tree is wonderful! It makes me think of a squatty version of The Little Prince's Baobob trees.

    That menu and your food photos are making me hungry!

    1. The sky looked fake, it was so blue. I don't remember ever seeing quite that intense color in the sky.

      Ken had lunch once at the Hotel, and was quite impressed. And the beach is so beautiful! We really enjoyed the whole visit to Coronado.

      I knew the tree reminded me of something, and as soon as I read your comment I knew what it was! The baobab.

  3. The architecture reminds me a bit of sea towns at the Baltic Sea. So pretty!

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  5. Yeah, we don't get to frolick anywhere near enough in Seattle! I would really like to move to Cali too.

    I love the seaweed shot...definitely belongs in a frame.

    When is Evolution coming to Seattle????

    1. There's definitely something to be said for the California weather — especially compared to ours.

      Do you know someplace in Seattle that would you recommend for photo prints?

      Well, we do have two Veggie Grills — have you tried them yet? We may go tomorrow.

    2. Sorry, I don't know anything about getting photo prints. As for the veggie grill; I was looking at the menu and am thinking about giving it a try soon. If you go, let us know what you think.

  6. I used to live in Northern California, but enjoyed going down south to San Diego. Those pics made me miss it. And the vegan stuff. Mmmm... that sounds nice right now...


    1. I miss San Diego, too, and I've only been there once!

  7. I love the sand pumpkins! It gives a whole new different perspective to the typical fall decorations I see :-)


    1. Would you pay $5 to photograph them? :)

  8. I spent a long holiday weekend with friends in San Diego a few years ago, and our trips look very similar. Coronado is so pretty and clean, and yes, we also checked out the pricing on houses. Way out of my budget! I don't think Evolution was around the last time I was there. (Darn, creationists!) ;) I always bake my fries too, and so it's a surprise when they arrive in all of their fried goodness. Also, I very, very rarely get them out, and so it's a fun treat when I do.

    I have this to say, Andrea - these posts are doing nothing to cure my homesickness for California! :)

    1. You mean you don't have a spare few million to purchase property in Coronado? Too bad, because it's so pretty. :)

      Now that the creationists have been outed from San Diego, you'll have to go back and try Evolution.

      Don't you think San Diego would be a fun place for Vida Vegan Con?

    2. Absolutely! Or Los Angeles - loads of vegan restaurants there!


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