Monthly Archives: February 2010

Magic Meat Perfected

Not being a huge fan of meat, I will make the exception every time for one  – gyro meat.  I’ve heard many explanations for what exactly it is, but in my book it is good – which is all I need. It is the proverbial magic meat.

Last week I won a gift certificate to Spinners in Rancho San Diego.  I couldn’t be happier about this lucky win as Spinners is a fresh Mediterranean grill serving gyro meat amongst other regional favorites.  I was told they make fresh tabouleh each day and that it was a must-try. 

I ordered a gyro wrap which was the most gigantic I’ve ever seen.  It had a huge pile of meat with tomatoes, grilled onions and sauce.  Pure deliciousness.  I’ve officially never had better.  Look out Daphne’s.  Perfection.

Additionally I ordered sides of hummus and tabouleh, which came home with me for a real pro to test.  My mother, who grew up eating food from the Mediterranean and can identify good versus bad in a heartbeat, is visiting from out of town.  Believe you me – it passed her test. The hummus was perfectly creamy and the tabouleh was the freshest I’ve ever had. 

I’m not often in East County, but if you are definitely stop by Spinners.

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Catalina in 24 Hours

We got back yesterday from Catalina where we went to run the Buffalo Run 5K.  We were on the island for just shy of 24 hours, but managed to accomplish quite a bit.

Colleen finishing her 1st 5K. Congrats!

If you’re looking for a quick get away, sign up for the 2011 Buffalo Run.  You have the option of a pretty easy 5K – half uphill, half downhill – or a notoriously challenging half marathon.  The 5K is a small run which enabled three in our group to earn first place finishes in our respective categories.  I’m a really slow runner; there is no way I’d even place in a bigger race on the mainland.  If you don’t believe me, check the results here

Matt, Scott and me (R to L) - 1st place

If running is not your thing, here are a few highlights that’s I’d recommend:

  • EL GALLEON RESTAURANT & KARAOKE LOUNGE – This place is decorated in a cross between mardi gras and a seafood shack.  The menu is diverse boasting lobster to Asian potstickers.  At any minute high school students could break out in a choppy rendition of Baby Got Back on the front-of-house karaoke lounge … there are no set karaoke hours; it goes all day.  The prices are mid-grade and the food is good.  It is a charming and eclectic place that you could only find on an island or small beach town.
  • STEVE’S STEAKHOUSE –  If you’re looking for something a little more upscale that won’t break the bank, Steve’s Steakhouse gives you the feeling of fine dining in a casual island setting. The restaurant is on the main drag on the second floor and affords diners a beautiful view of the bay.  The prices are what you’d expect for a steakhouse.  I walked in wearing jeans and Ugg boots and no one batted an eye.
  • ERIC’S ON THE PIER – If you want good greasy food, Eric’s on the Pier is the place to go.  It is a walk-up grill that features buffalo burgers, Mexican food and funnel cakes … and everything else in between.  The cook was extremely friendly and made us feel that he’d make anything – on or off the menu – to please his customers.  You can sit outside on the barstools and watch the tide lap up on the beach while sipping a cold one.

    Scott and me in the cave getting our wicky whacked.

  • LUAU LARRY’S  – If you like to get your wicky wacked, head into Luau Larry’s for the signature Wicky Wacker drink.  It comes with a bumper sticker and a cool island hat … and typically a good buzz.  Per recommendation of my aunt and uncle, we sat in the cave for our wacking.  It really is a booth covered and painted like a giant cave.  No further explanation needed.
  • LLOYD’S OF AVALON – We were drawn into this charming candy factory in search of ice cream.  On the way in, we passed giant candy apples, decadent chocolates and a wall of sweets.  The ice cream was some of the best I’ve had.  I got one scoop of butter pecan and can still taste its deliciousness in my mouth a day later.
  • CATALINA CANTINAAnother recommendation of my aunt and uncle.  They said we must hit the cantina for a blue shark or rum punch.  Little did we know, these drinks come in bowls … larger than the bowls in which they serve soup.  We only stayed for one but could see how it could be trouble. 

    Rum Punch at Catalina Cantina

From the recap, it is pretty clear we should have run the half marathon rather than the 5K to combat our calorie consumption.  It rained all weekend, so we just ate, ran and drank, which was fine by us.  Next time we will hope for sun and more activity.  Catalina is a great little weekend getaway.  Hop on that Catalina Express and give it a shot.

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Filed under Activities, Drinks, Eats, Fitness, Restaurants, Sights, Sports, Travel

Pick a Lit’l Pepper

Those of you who were loyal Jeff n’ Jer listeners back in the day when local radio morning shows flourished, probably remember the duo going back and forth over breakfast orders with Hani.  

It made for a very humorous bit that I regularly looked forward to. The segments weren’t something they fabricated for entertainment –  it was 100 percent real.  Hani really does own Lit’l Pepper Deli “behind the bank, across the street from traffic court.”

I go there from time-to-time when I need to grab a bite to eat.  And I must admit, that even though I am a self-proclaimed non-star-struck person, I get a little nervous seeing Hani.  That’s stupid, right?  He’s a regular guy who fell into local celeb status.  Hani has a huge personality and talks to everyone that comes in the door. Since I listened to him on the radio for years, I feel like I know him a little even though he doesn’t know me. 

It is not just the atmosphere that is good; the food is good too.  I generally get their wraps or salads, but they have a huge and very diverse menu.  The tuna artichoke wrap and the Thai chicken wrap are my favorites.  They have awesome gyro salads as well. 

Today when I walked in to pick up my Thai chicken wrap, Hani said to me “Hello baby.  I made your wrap 2 lbs. today.”  I laughed at him, but he wasn’t kidding.  It was a lot of food. 

Lit’l Pepper is definitely worth a try – if for nothing else but to meet Hani.  I guarantee you’ll like the food too.

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Its Almost Friday. BOGO.

A big thanks to Kim for sharing another one of her great tips and deals. This time – a BOGO coupon to TGI Friday’s – just in time for the weekend.

Click on the image to the right, increase the size and print out the coupon.

It expires on 2/28/10, so use it now or lose it forever.

Happy dining.

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The Coolest Thing To Do in San Diego: Leash Your Fitness

Two of my favorite things to do are teaching aerobics and hanging out with my dogs, Gary and Patrick.  There is a company in San Diego that allows me to do both at once – Leash Your Fitness.  

Scott Getting Kisses from Patrick

Dogs Help with Push-Ups Too

I’m not just saying it because I work for them, I really do think that the concept of getting a legitimate work-out with your best furry friend by your side is just about the coolest thing to do here in town.  

The classes are boot-camp-style and combine endurance, agility, dog training, strength training, flexibility and stretching.  Students get a great work out, and so do the dogs.  Studies have shown that the best way to tire your dog out is to stimulate him mentally and physically, which is why all Leash Your Fitness classes incorporate dog commands into the exercises. 

Sit-ups: Debbie and her 1-year-old Great Dane Murphy

I have taught all types of dogs from Chihuahuas to great danes.  My wild wiener dogs have improved on their obedience since we’ve starting going/teaching, as well.  Before they had zero manners … now they have a few. 

If you have a dog and need to exercise, come join me Tuesday nights at Mission Bay Park at 6.  If that location isn’t convenient, there are also locations in Coronado, Carmel Valley and El Cajon.  The classes will be expanding to North County – both coastal and along the 15 corridor – in the next few months.

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The Window Factory

Windows aren’t something you buy everyday.  In fact this was our first time buying them.  But I’m pleased to report we had a very pleasant experience. 

We had three guys over to give us estimates.  The first was from a big, orange powerhouse who didn’t really feel he had to work for our business or compete on pricing because of his company’s size.  The second was your typical “I’m not one of those sales guys who hard sells” sales guys; and of course he hard sold … but never followed up.  The third, Kevin from The Window Factory, was kind over the phone and in person, called before to confirm, called after to follow up and made us feel very comfortable.  Plus his prices blew the competition out of the water. 

Naturally, The Window Factory won our business.  Our windows were installed today.  We are so pleased.  Not only do they look great, but also the guys who installed them were polite, respectful, took the time to explain the job and worked fast.

From start-to-finish, The Window Factory made us very happy customers.  I doubt we’ll need new windows any time soon, but if you do, you should definitely keep them in mind.

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Addicted to Golden Share

If you are a carry-over reader from The Trail Mix Trials or a friend of mine, you’ve likely seen/heard me talk about Golden Share Foods before.  If not, Golden Share is the largest food sharing co-op in Southern California. 

Each month, they put out a menu of grocery packages to order, and then at the end of the month you go to your pick-up location and get it.  The savings is knock-your-socks-off good.  We’re talking about enough meat to last an entire month or enough food to stock your pantry for less than $30, respectively.   The prices are so good, we can’t stop going back for more.

And yes, it’s legit stuff. They even offer organic produce.  We still haven’t finished our order from last month and this Friday it is already time to pick up the February order.  

If you’re looking to save a buck, Golden Share is the way to go.  It is open to any one that makes a difference in their community.

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