Jail House Rocks!

Elvis knew what he was signing about in Jail House Rock! Fun times to be had! Wait, what???

Near an area known as Seaport Village in Downtown San Diego, a major structure has been standing empty waiting to be put to good for decades.  In 1939, a 100,000 square foot Police Headquarters was constructed.  Amongst the five buildings, it housed a crime lab, 274 jail beds, courtrooms, a three-story gym and more.  Eventually a larger space was needed, so the new police headquarters was relocated at Broadway and 14th in 1987.  The original building was going to be demolished, but some wise people fought against that and had it added to the National Register of Historic Places and the California Register of Historical Resources and preserved the architectural styles which consists of Spanish Colonial, Pueblo Decor, Mediterranean, and Classical Revival.

Jail Cells

Today, when you go to The Headquarters (http://www.theheadquarters.com/) you will be much happier than the previous “visitors”.  It’s a retail bonanza!  Now you can shop and dine to your heart’s content.   There are 23 businesses and there are a few more to open in the near future.  What I was looking forward to the most was  Pizzeria Mozza, owned by Nancy Silverton, Mario Batali, and Joseph Bastianich.  I had the Burrata and Oven Roasted Tomato appetizer at their location in L.A. some time ago.  I still dream about those amazing flavors.  I’m so happy to have the opportunity to dine there with only a 15 minute drive!

A group of us Food Bloggers were invited to check out the new facility this past Tuesday.  The renovations are truly amazing.  Original skylights, clay roof tiles, courtyard pavers, carved-wood doors, ceramic tiles, ironwork on the windows, light fixtures, all have been saved.  Each restaurant and shop very wisely incorporated what was original to the space.  You can take a quick tour of the original jail cells, browse past some Historic Police memorabilia, and look at photos of criminals who spent time behind the bars.  And it lists the crime committed by the people, which is very entertaining.  Again, for you, not them!  My favorite crime listed was “Weed Head”.

I will mention just a few of my favorite spots because there is so much to discover here.

1) Aaron Chang Ocean Art Gallery (http://aaronchang.com/gallery):  Mr. Chang’s photographs are crisp, inviting, and intriguing.  What I love is that he wants you to know the story behind the images.  My background is in Art History, so I’m accustomed  to trying to decipher meaning behind a painting.  I found it very cool that he wants to share the story of his work.  Next to many of the images is a QR code that you can scan with your phone to get more information on the photograph.

Aaron Chang 2

2) Dallman Fine Chocolate Boutique (http://www.dallmannconfections.com/): We weren’t able to try the chocolate, so I can’t tell you how it is. I can share that I love the cute little interior of this shop.  This is a family business that started in Austria in 1954.  In 2006, they opened a shop in San Diego. What I loved about this store is their pairing suggestions.  Since I just had a beer, cheese and chocolate pairing at my house, the Chocolate and Beer Pairing Box caught my eye.  This is a great option for someone who is afraid to make the first step in pairing two of the best things in the world.

Dallman Chocolate 4

I loved that the original spiral staircase is Dallman’s. Prisoners would go through this area for processing.

Dallman Chocolate

3) Kitson (http://www.shopkitson.com/): If you know someone who loves to be an “L.A. Hipster” (I’m thinking my niece would love this place), you will find some great gift ideas here!

Kitson

4) Lolo (https://www.facebook.com/LOLOBOUTIQUES): If you are over the age of 25, this is a great locally owned shop for you. Everything is really well priced and super cute.  This was one shop I had to return to after our tour was over and buy a sweet necklace for $15.  We were told that the owner likes to take ideas from the major runways and make it affordable.  Stop in this place, and you will leave with something.

I loved the wallpaper!

I loved the wallpaper!

5) Pizzeria Mozza (http://www.pizzeriamozza.com/): Originally an L.A. restaurant, it has a full menu, but it is known for its pizza.  As I mentioned before, the Burrata appetizer I had in L.A. was phenomenal.  At this location, we sampled two pizzas: a Mushroom, Fontina, and Taleggio Pie and a Finnochiona Salame, Mozzarella, Tomato and Fresno Chiles Pie.  My favorite was the meat pizza.  The tomato sauce was so bright and fresh with a nice flavor of olive oil and an extra kick of heat from the chiles.  I’d recommend this one!

Mozza 3

6) Puesto (http://www.eatpuesto.com/): I love this place. Quickest review ever: Super friendly staff, amazing Mexican street food, restaurant designed by the well-known Thomas Schoos, mural artwork by Chor Boogie (http://www.chorboogie.com/), and a trifecta when it comes to mixologists – you will not get some crappy Margarita here, my friend.  And that term “mixologist” can be used loosely or just plain incorrectly.  Not here. Check out this bio: http://queenconnerward.com/about.html  Jen Queen told us about some interesting tequila events that are upcoming, and explained that they do table side Margarita mixings.  Who doesn’t love a drink cart that pulls up tableside? Do not miss this place.

PuestoPuesto 2

7) Seaside Home |Paper:  The store combines the best of their La Jolla location (http://www.seaside-home.com/) and their Coronado location (http://seasidepapery.com/) in one spot.  Is a friend about to get married?  Stop in here for wonderful stationary, wrapping paper, or custom monogrammed paper coasters.  There are so many fun things to see here. Don’t pass it by.

Seaside Home|Paper is beautiful inside!

Seaside Home|Paper is beautiful inside!

Seaside's window display was so pretty!

Seaside’s window display was so pretty!

Maybe you can find out what the fox says at Seaside?

Maybe you can find out what the fox says at Seaside?

8) Seasons 52 (http://www.seasons52.com/): Talk about friendly!  I loved this place. We tasted some lovely flat breads that weren’t too heavy while sipping on a delightful Raspberry and Mint Lemonade.  We capped off our tasting with beautiful and very tasty individual desserts.  The Pecan Pie was to die for!  “52” refers to the 52 weeks in a year, hence many menu items are constantly changing to incorporate Seasonal items.  Having a special party?  Go here and request the patio or their Chef’s Table. The little tastes we got just makes me want to go back and investigate this place further! FYI, if you don’t live in San Diego, they have a bunch of locations throughout the U.S.

Seasons 52

Lobster Flatbread

Lobster Flatbread

The Pecan Pie was amazing!  it tasted like Pecan Pie Crème Brulee!

The Pecan Pie at Seasons 52 was amazing! it tasted like Pecan Pie Crème Brulee!

9) Simply Local (http://simplylocalsandiego.com/): LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this place.  Looking for an extremely cool gift to give to someone that is made in San Diego?  Look no further.  Have a friend who loves local honey?  It’s here.  Love Pub Cakes? Buy their mix here. Don’t even know what Pub Cakes is (http://pubcakes.com/#craft-beer-cupcakes)?  See what your San Diego small business owners  have been up to in one spot!  Need a hip beer t-shirt?  Simply Local has you covered.  Not only are the products for sale so interesting, the shelving has a unique story as well.  Owner Brian D. Beevers made them out of his family barn.  Yep, it’s that kind of store.  I hate shopping, but I can actually spend a day in here.

Simply Local is simply awesome.

Simply Local is simply awesome.

10) Venissimo Cheese (http://www.venissimo.com/): Best cheese store in San Diego.  Boom!  Need I say more?

Apparently Venissimo means Cheese Heaven in Italian.

Apparently Venissimo means Cheese Heaven in Italian.

Possibly the best single bite of the day.  Thank you, Venissimo.

Possibly the best single bite of the day. Thank you, Venissimo.

This Cinnamon Almond Butter paired with Delice de Bourgogne and topped with an Amarena Cherry.  Want to amaze people at a dinner party? Start with this treat.

This Cinnamon Almond Butter paired with Delice de Bourgogne and topped with an Amarena Cherry. Want to amaze people at a dinner party? Start with this treat.

Do yourself a huge favor and check this place out.  The only drawback is parking. There is valet parking for $10 Monday – Thursday from 11am-3pm, and is

Cute gifts to be had at Venissimo, too! And crackers!  And meat! And, ok, I'll stop.

Cute gifts to be had at Venissimo, too! And crackers! And meat! And, ok, I’ll stop.

$15 from 3pm-11pm all day Friday through Sunday.  There is self parking at the nearby Seaport Village.  With a minimum $10 purchase, you pay $3 for the first 2 hours and $2 every 30 minutes after.  Without validation, it’s $8 an hour.  I’m always bummed when I have to pay to park at a place where I am coming to spend money.  Oh well.  Such is life.

I promise to have a couple of tasty recipes coming up soon!  Thanks for taking the time to read my blog!

Take Care, Happy Eating and Happy Holidays!

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I Want To Wake Up In . . .

. . . that city

That doesn’t sleep

And find I’m king of the hill

Top of the heap . . .

Sing it, Ol’ Blue Eyes!  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xMfz1jlyQrw

What a great song about a great city.  After living in The Big Apple for a New York Minute, as they say, Franz and I agreed that we had to return for a visit every year.  Last year a pesky hurricane cancelled our trip, so we were super excited to return this year.  It doesn’t matter if you’ve never stepped foot in NYC, or if you have been so many times you feel very comfortable telling a cabbie about to hit you as you cross the street to stick a knish where the sun doesn’t shine,  it’s overwhelming because there are so many options!

This year we opted to stay in the downtown area, right across the street from One World Trade Center.  Hotels can be a little less expensive, its away from the major foot traffic, and it is easy to get from here to anywhere on the island and beyond with the subway.  Interested in seeing One World Trade Center?  Wait a year or two.  It’s a pain in the butt, especially if it’s snowing or raining, entering the space.  There are so many people visiting and I felt like I was going through airport security.  Not a peaceful entrance to say the least.  You can walk around the two impressive waterfalls, but the museum is not scheduled to open until Spring.  Again, wait a year and then go.  It’s best to make a reservation well ahead of time.  One year we went and didn’t have a reservation and it was booked for the entire weekend.  This time one could get a spot without a reservation, but it requires waiting in an additional line which was very long.  After getting through all of the check points, waiting in line after line, and removing coats and belts, I felt very moved and beyond sad seeing the actual site and all of those names listed around the fountains.  It’s a tough way to start a trip, but necessary, I believe.

One World Trade 6

Between checking into our hotel and making our appointment time at One World, we grabbed the subway and headed over to Brooklyn for a pie at Grimaldi’s (http://grimaldisnyc.com/about/).  Again, this is where one can get very overwhelmed.  You can read websites, blogs, newspapers, Facebook post, whatever – you will get so many great recommendations for pizza.  I like Grimaldi’s in Brooklyn because I love their pizza and I love seeing the Brooklyn Bridge.  The crust is a nice thin, but not too thin, crust.  They put just enough fresh sauce on it to make me smile, and not so much cheese that I want to take a nap.  I like my pie simple: pepperoni with fresh ricotta.  They put fresh basil on it, but I asked for extra on the side.  I like lots of fresh basil.  And pepper flakes.  That’s it. Fold that baby in half (lengthwise) and now we are talking!

Grimaldis Entrance

The location I’ve been to in the past was a couple of doors down from the new spot. I loved the new location. It’s more comfortable, and I like sitting upstairs. Again, I love people watching!!

Grimaldis 1

No Frills Menu

No Frills Menu

We had to include our pup, Monsieur.

We had to include our pup, Monsieur.

Day 2 of our trip was Thanksgiving.  We slept in (which we never do!), polished off some coffee and amazing bagels in the Hell’s Kitchen area called Pick A Bagel. We found it through Yelp, and it was way better than some of the reviews!  Just like the pizza, you can become inundated with recommendations for a good bagel place – and there are bad ones.  Sometimes you have to wing it and you might be pleasantly surprised! Our plan was to walk throughout Central Park after the Macy’s Day Parade was over (we had zero interest getting into that mess), call the family in Ohio, check out our old neighborhood around 71st and 1st, and then meander up to Harlem for our Thanksgiving Buffet reservation at Ginny’s Supper Club.

Pretty sure this is what Heaven smells like.

Pretty sure this is what Heaven smells like.

Now this is the way to start Thanksgiving morning!

Now this is the way to start Thanksgiving morning! We shared an Egg Salad on Rye.

Pick A Bagel even had cupcakes that looked like Hostess Cakes! I really wanted one.

Pick A Bagel even had cupcakes that looked like Hostess Cakes! I really wanted one.

Making plans for Thanksgiving was a huge deal.  I love making a turkey dinner, and I’ve never gone to a restaurant for the special day.  Thanksgiving and Halloween are my favorite days of the year by far!  I didn’t want to screw it up!  I’ve been wanting to go to Chef Marcus Samuelsson‘s Red Rooster restaurant (http://redroosterharlem.com/) for years. While trying to find the perfect dinner spot, I discovered Red Rooster has a restaurant on the basement level, Ginny’s Supper Club (http://www.ginnyssupperclub.com/).  My checklist for the perfect restaurant Thanksgiving dinner:

  1. Buffet style.  We didn’t want one plate of food or a silly 3 course option.  Boo!
  2. Not crazy expensive.
  3. Turkey, mashed potatoes and stuffing had to be on the buffet.
  4. Cozy atmosphere with a Holiday vibe.

Ginny’s hit everything on my wish list.  And there were fabulous entertainers throughout the meal, too.  I felt like I went back in time.  I ordered a Moscow Mule and let the eating games begin!  I would highly recommend this place.  My only complaint was that we officially had the worst server in the world.  Everyone else around us had great servers. Ours, to put bluntly, sucked.

Here are just a few photos of what was consumed . . .

Ginnys Buffet

The spread . . .

Ginny's Meats

Meat . . .

Ginny's Turkey

. . . and more meat.

The Mac and Cheese was one of our favorites!

The Mac and Cheese was one of our favorites!

I could eat roasted veggies ever single day.

I could eat roasted veggies ever single day.

Never had Catfish on Thanksgiving before!

Never had Catfish on Thanksgiving before!

Delicious Butternut Squash Soup!

Delicious Butternut Squash Soup!

Thanksgiving isn’t complete without these sides!

 . . .but these were just meh.  I think they were mislabeled.  They tasted like a  simple Pumpkin Bar.  Kind of a buzz kill.

. . .but these were just meh. I think they were mislabeled. They tasted like a simple Pumpkin Bar. Kind of a buzz kill.

The Pumpkin Whoopie  Pies were good . . .

The Pumpkin Whoopie Pies were good . . .

Ginnys sign

Two very full customers!

ginnys table

Our table had such a great view of the band – and awesome spot for people watching!

I will give you a few more recommendation in the next post.  One of my goals on this trip was to spend more time in Brooklyn which we accomplished.  It is an amazing area with so many things to do.  I’ll fill you in on some spots not to miss and a couple of places that you can pass by.

Whenever I go to NYC, I always go with an itinerary in hand.  However, the best tip to give on traveling around the city is to be flexible (and learn to use the subway! So easy and so much faster than a taxi!).  If you see an interesting bar or shop, stop in.  If you can’t make it to that amazing cupcake shop you read about in some random blog like this one, who cares?  I love looking back at my itinerary to see which places I never visited.  Hey, it’s a list for another time!!

Take Care and Happy Eating!