This weekend was all about local eats and treats, ending with a bang on Sunday night. Friday, we snacked on Phil’s BBQ at the Padres Game. Saturday, we ate our way through the Junior League of San Diego’s Food & Wine Festival in La Jolla. Wrapping up our feast of a weekend, on Sunday we joined Cellar Door’s supper club for their Cinco De Mayo dinner series.
Cellar Door is a supper club in Normal Heights, San Diego that hosts exclusive dinner parties about once a month. The duo behind the club, Logan and Gary, create a unique theme for each event that inspires the menu and drink pairings. Themes, times and location are announced via their email lists, and you must sign up in advance. Typically the meal is 4-6 courses and is posted via Facebook a few hours before meal service. Competitive to say the least, this dinner club sells out lightening fast, and I was beyond pumped to snag spots for me and my husband.
This experience did not disappoint! Located in a funky hip dining room, with treats for the eyes everywhere you look (polar bear head, funny book titles, picture frames and more), we were two of ten guests at the last of four dinners occurring over the weekend. From this Cinco de Mayo themed dinner, our favorite courses were the pozole verde, a tangy spicy soup with chicken and hominy and the juiciest prawn taco I’ve ever had for the third course. We also loved their refreshing paloma and the dessert cocktail, Oporto Real, a blend of Mezcal, Tawny Port and Amaro Montenegro topped with a Luxardo Cherry.
We’ll definitely be back and are looking forward to more dinners this summer! Join Cellar Door’s email list here to be in the know — just promise not to take our spots! 🙂
Here are some insider tips for the best experience:
CELLAR DOOR SUPPER CLUB: KNOW BEFORE YOU GO
Cellar Door is hip, tasty and in demand; so spots at the table go fast! Be sure to respond ASAP after receiving their newsletter in order to secure your spot.
Bring your appetite and take a ride sharing service if you plan on drinking — our menu was 5 courses, each with a drink pairing.
This is a donation based dinner club, and $$ cash is king $$.
Chat with your fellow dinner guests! Meeting new people and chatting about food, travel and unique experiences is part of the fun.
Come with an open mind. Cellar Door often uses unique ingredients. Goat meat was featured this weekend and a friend mentioned she tried an exotic meat pâté in the past.
At this time, gluten free and vegetarian options don’t exist. But, if you have allergies notify them ASAP!
Couldn’t make the dinner? Check their Facebook page to drool over all the deliciousness from afar.
WANT MORE BUT DON’T LIVE IN SAN DIEGO?
Supper clubs range in menu focus, format and price. Google and Yelp will be your best resource in finding a supper club near you, otherwise you can try joining a Foodie group on Facebook or Meetup and ask around, because everyone knows foodies loooooove giving recommendations. 😉
Hope your weekend was just as delectable! Be sure to comment below if you love Cellar Door or have any other dinner club recommendations, as this is only our second in San Diego (we’ve been to Cow by Bear a few times for steak and shenanigans).
*Note: I was too busy enjoying myself to be on my phone taking pictures during the meal! Given that, some of the pictures in this post are from Cellar Door’s Facebook Page and have been marked accordingly in the captions.
LA: a sprawling city with endless hip foodie spots, chic shops, beaches, hollywood moments and art museums. Since I live just a few hours from LA, I always make time to see something new in between visiting all my favorite spots. This trip was just a couple of days but it was filled to the brim with quintessential LA goodness.
One of my favorite parts was exploring LACMA for the first time with my family. We loved wandering through the large art instillations, seeing La Gerbe (a big colorful Matisse), and taking our time to soak in the Picasso & Riviera exhibit. This was a special treat after just coming back from Mexico City and having visited places that were referenced and influential for the artist.
I always recommend a break between seeing the sights, that way you don’t get visitor burnout. Joan’s on Third was the perfect place where everyone could get the salad, wrap or cheese plate of their dreams plus a little something sweet on the side. Beware: churro kettle corn is addictive. You’ve been warned.
Each beach town in LA has such a different feel, and this trip we explored Venice Beach and Malibu. The Venice Beach boardwalk is 2.5 miles of non-stop people watching with food stalls, performers, the original Muscle Beach, roller bladers and tons of seagulls.
In Malibu, we walked Point Dume State Beach at golden hour and even stumbled onto a movie set — look for us in the background of plane crash scenes. 😉
When happy hour hit, we headed to a nearby spot to toast to a great trip. See you again soon, LA!
Have a favorite LA spot? Comment below and I’ll add it into one of my trips this year!
In mid-march, my husband and our friends from San Diego headed out for a long weekend to Mexico City. Because nothing says, “Happy St Patty’s Day!” like a trip to Mexico, right? 😉 It was a first time visit for all four of us and we had all been prepped that we were going to love this sprawling city. But I honestly, I didn’t expect to fall so head over heels!
We arrived via a direct flight from Tijuana (thank you, border city!) and stayed at the W in Polanco. Over the next few days, we packed in a ton of sights and activities — Anthropology Museum, Pyramids, Lucha Libre — and ate our way through the town — everything from Pujol to street tacos. All in all, I was so thoroughly in love with the city, and can’t wait to come back in the summer or fall!
Check out my recommendations and insider tips below and be sure to add your favorite spots in the comments section. Viva la Mexico!
ADVENTUREAPPEAL’S FIRST TIMER’s GETAWAY GUIDE TO MEXICO CITY:
♦ Know Before you go
♦ Get Active
♦ View From Above
♦ Get Cultural
♦ How to Get There
KNOW BEFORE YOU GO
Be street smart. Mexico City upped their security measures drastically in the last couple of years, and you can tell this by the police presence and usage of cameras for surveillance. However, be smart about keeping an eye on your possessions and don’t wear anything too flashy.
Higher altitude and cloudless skies during dry season demand extra sunscreen and a hat. Bring yours or purchase at a pharmacy in the city.
Polanco, Condessa and Roma are hip neighborhoods and shorts and flip flops are not recommended.
Most museums are closed on Mondays, so that’s a great day to shop or head to the Teotihuacán Pyramids.
Cash is king. Restaurants, hotels and most stores take credit cards, but having small bills and coins on hand is essential for smooth transactions.
Reservations never hurt. Make yours online in advance for dinners out, or ask your hotel’s concierge to make them for you. The W was extremely helpful here for us!
Climb a Pyramid
For your first trip to Mexico City, do not miss a half day trip to the Teotihuacán Pyramids. Located about 90 minutes from Mexico City, the Pyramids are a pre-Aztec UNESCO World Heritage site and offer both a killer glutes workout and a big dose of history. The largest of the pyramids is the Pyramid of the Sun, and often times the line to the top wraps around the middle base.
Walk the Park
Mexico City has a plethora of parks and green spaces. The largest and most versatile is Chapultepec Park. There are endless paths, areas to go rent paddle boats and a series of museums (see Get Cultured section). Vendors are stashed along the routes with provisions — fried tasty items, waters, ice cream and agua frescas.
Pujol — What can I say? This changed mole for me forever and was my favorite meal of the trip! Pujol was credited for putting Mexico City on the map for fine dining, is ranked on the San Pellegrino Top 50 Restaurants in the World and was showcased in Netflix’s Chef’s Table series. Pujol features modern Mexican cuisine via a tasting menu and has cool, hip space with a view of their garden. Reservations in advance are a must. https://www.pujol.com.mx/en/
Rosetta — Mexican-Italian fusion for the perfect late lunch (this means 2:30p or after). Sip on some wine as you soak in the feeling of being in a European courtyard. We recommend ordering lots of the small plates to try everything. http://www.rosetta.com.mx/restaurante-en/rosetta.html
Lalo! — Hip breakfast / brunch / lunch spot in Condessa. They don’t take reservations, but you can put your name down and walk the cute streets nearby while you wait or order coffees and juice at their bar to pass the time. Our favorite was the green juice (cactus, celery and kiwi) and the huevos con chorizo. http://eat-lalo.com/
Maison Belen — Charming Mexican-French fusion for breakfast / brunch. Sit outside and enjoy the people watching while snacking on their divine pastries. https://www.instagram.com/maisonbelen/
Street Tacos — a must! There are dozens of recommendations food blogs have here, but our favorite was just on a corner in Condessa. They were so friendly and even comped us our first taco.
Pulque — Trying this spirit is a bit of an adventure. White and a little thick, this drink is made from fermented sap of the maguey agave plant, and spoils quickly (no shelf life, sorry!).
VIEW FROM ABOVE
There are two vantage points you cannot miss in Mexico City: the view from the top of the Pyramid of the Moon at Teotihuacán (see Get Active section) and the cityscape seen from Castillo de Chapultepec.
The modern, hip W was the perfect hotel for our trip, and I couldn’t recommend it more. The whole staff, and especially the concierge, were so friendly and the modern vibe had us always in a good mood. We also loved the view from our rooms — a glimpse into the nearby Polanco. Location is everything and the W is a stones throw from dozens of cafes, galleries and places to grab a drink in Polanco. It also is within walking distance of Chapultepec Park, where you can visit museums, take a paddle boat out or tour the Castle. Couldn’t recommend it more! http://www.wmexicocity.com/
Museum of Anthropology: This museum is gorgeous inside and out. It covers an incredible amount of Mexican history, with floors dedicated to the indigenous peoples, their culture and customs, and most notably the many pre-Hispanic and even pre-Mayan and Aztec artifacts. http://www.mna.inah.gob.mx/
Casa Azul / The Museum of Frida Kahlo: Lovers, artists and revolutionaries, Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera certainly made their mark on history. Frida Kahlo’s house, Casa Azul and monument are must-see stops for your first time in Mexico City. Insider tip: buy your tickets (boletos in Spanish) online in advance (times begin every half hour) to avoid wasting time standing on line. http://www.museofridakahlo.org.mx/
The Sanborns de los Azulejos, is a chain department store owned by Carlos Slim built in a historic building with beautiful architecture and old Mexican tile. Nice place to check out and grab a coffee on the way to Palacio de Bellas Artes.
Placio de Bellas Artes: – Beautiful architecture with another Diego Rivera mural and other exhibits. Insider tip: on the 8th floor of the art-deco Sears (across the street from the Palacio de Bellas Artes) you’ll find a small café with a balcony overlooking the Palacio and its lovely manicured gardens. http://www.palacio.bellasartes.gob.mx/
Lucha Libre: Masks, giant beers, crazy pumped crowds… what more could you ask for?! A night watching lucha libre at Arena Mexico is a must for any first timer to Mexico City. Root for the Técnicos (“good guys”) or the entertaining rudos (“bad guys”) and be prepared to be shocked, awed and in fits of laughter.
Mariachis: Plaza Garibaldi is near the historic center and has Mariachis out every night that can serenade you, for a fee. And who doesn’t love to be serenaded?!
HOW TO GET THERE (& BACK!)
Mexico City and it’s airports are massive. From San Diego, we crossed the border via CBX and took the tunnel directly to the Tijuana Airport. From there, we passed through security and headed to our gates. Then, it was a quick 3 hour flight and we touched down in Mexico City. Check out my full guide for crossing here.
We have so much left to explore in Mexico City — restaurants, neighborhoods and museums — and can’t wait to get back soon! Be sure to comment below with your favorite not to miss adventures in Mexico City!
Flagship has a fleet of ships for whale watching and offers weekday and weekend tours. A naturalist and handful of volunteers from the Birch Aquarium are on board to answer any questions and provide lots of fun facts on the San Diego Bay itself, wildlife that exists there and even had samples of baleen from the whales to pass around.
On our tour, we pulled out of the dock, we toured the San Diego Bay and then headed out to open waters for prime dolphin and whale watching. It was a pretty neat view of the city, with views of the downtown skyline, Coronado and Cabrillo National Monument on Point Loma.
Once we left the Bay, there were tons of playful dolphins escorting us to deeper waters to find the whales. This is called bow riding and essentially the dolphins are catching a ride as the waves from the boat push them forward.
Next we went searching for gray whales! Gray whales migrate annually from the Baja Peninsula to Arctic waters. There are 3 lagoons they hang out in Baja to breed and mate, and scientists estimate that there are 22-23,000 individuals comprising the eastern Pacific gray whale population.
Although gray whales are 45 ft in length fully grown, they can be hard to spot! We were very lucky to see two gray whales, lots of blow hole spotting, a few fins and one playful whale sticking it’s head out of the water. Our naturalist explained that usually this occurs when whales want to get a better view of their surroundings. I see you, gray whale! 😉
Here are some insider tips for the best experience:
WHALE WATCHING TOURS IN SAN DIEGO: KNOW BEFORE YOU GO
Each whale watching trip is different. Try to schedule yours during peak season for the most opportunities to view the whales.
Keep your eyes on the horizon — you can see blowholes from 1 mile or more away!
Grab a seat on the sides of the boat or in the front for the best views.
Whales are hard to photograph from afar. So don’t get down, just focus on the experience!
There is a snack bar on board or you can bring on coffee, drinks and lunch (at the dock, the Green Rose Cart has coffee, smoothies and breakfast breads).
It’s breezy and can be quite sunny so wear layers, sunscreen, a hat.
To help with seasickness, keep ginger chews and menthol throat lozenges on hand and take Dramamine® 1 hr before leaving the dock (disclaimer: always check with a doctor first).
Don’t stress, there’s easy parking next to the dock at the USS Midway, $10 for 12 hours.
Flagship takes your picture at the beginning and you can purchase the glossy photos later for $10 – $20.
Have you been whale watching in San Diego before? I’d love to hear about your experience and any suggestions you have below!
Long weekend trips with friends are some of my favorite! This past weekend my husband and I joined our friends in Banff for a little ski, snowshoe and relaxation.
Each day had a rhythm: get caffeinated, get active, aprés ski and end with a big group dinner. This format worked so well for a big group, where there were different interest areas and schedules. Our group loved skiing at Sunshine and Lake Louise (don’t miss Boomerang!), snowshoeing (my favorite!) and seeing all the frozen waterfalls at Johnston Canyon. Below you’ll also find our favorite bites and sips of the trip.
All in all I was so thoroughly in love with the trip, and can’t wait to come back in the summer or fall! Check out my recommendations and insider tips below, and add your favorite spots in the comments section below.
ADVENTUREAPPEAL’S BANFF WINTER GETWAY GUIDE:
♦ Know Before you go
♦ Get Active
♦ View From Above
♦ Other Hot Spots
♦ How to Get There
KNOW BEFORE YOU GO
Explore 3 day ski packages to save money and time buying lift tickets.
Activities where there aren’t a lot of operators (like dog sledding) fill up quickly, so be sure to book in advance.
Temperatures in Banff are no joke. Bring lots of layers and glove liners so that you can operate your phone and camera without exposing your digits to negative digit temps.
If you have a big group, consider booking reservations 3-6 weeks in advance. The restaurants tend to be smaller and if you hate waiting in line this advice will be key.
Standing room in bars doesn’t really exist, as establishments are required to have a seat for every person.
Don’t forget your swim suit! Most hotels have indoor and outdoor swimming facilities and there are a few fancy spas you may want to check out too.
In the winter, renting a car isn’t necessary or smart if you aren’t used to icy conditions. Opt for using the Airporter, Banff bus routes, shuttles to the ski lifts and private taxis / cars. If your hotel is in town, there are plenty of walkable options for shopping, dinner and drinks.
Weekends (especially Saturdays) are busiest, so try to tack on a couple of weekdays to your stay if you can.
There are tons of options to stay active while on your winter vacation to Banff, the most obvious choices being skiing and snowboarding. Other favorites from our group were snowshoeing, taking hikes and signing up for group workout classes at the Fairmont (drop in fees are available for classes if you’re staying elsewhere in town).
Through this Ice Walk Hike we got up close an personal with multiple frozen waterfalls, noshed on hot cocoa and cookies and watched the adventurous ice climbers (an activity for next time!).
Our group had the best tour guide, Saul, and we clocked in 3.6 miles along a railed pathway leading to the Upper and Lower Falls. These massive structures look like moments frozen in time. Pun intended!
Snowshoeing at the Continental Divide
About 45 minutes from Banff, we spent the morning snowshoeing through the trees at Kootenay Park.
Snowshoeing is the BEST way to stay warm! It was -10 C, and we all shed layers as we shuffled through the powder along the Continental Divide. A couple of tips for new snowshoers: take small steps and try to stay on top of the snow; don’t worry if you fall, it’s fun making snow angels; and lastly stretch afterwards as you’ll be using stability muscles you might not normally workout.
The Bison Restaurant and Terrace // Upscale feel without being pretentious. Our group rated this the best Bison burger in town and we paired it with Caymus’ sister wine the Conundrum Red. My husband loved the escargot bone marrow appetizer too.
Rundle Lounge at the Fairmont Banff Springs // Seats are first come first serve, so be sure to snag a spot by the windows. Luckily, there are a few rooms and you can either stay for drinks (coffee, tea, cocktails, etc) or a meal.
Park Distillery // This establishment is just 2 years old, and makes all of their spirits using glacier water. Try a custom cocktail (they also have mocktails), a spirit sampler tray or just go for the food and distillery tour.
Whitebark Cafe // My favorite spot for morning almond milk lattes, cheddar chive bacon scones and homemade granola bars.
Wild Flour Bakery // Indulge on super sized breakfast sandwiches with homemade focaccia bread and add peanut butter to the yogurt parfait for a little extra protein and the most PBJ-tastic experience.
VIEW FROM ABOVE
Everywhere you turn in Banff is another gorgeous mountain view. Besides at the top of the slopes, some of the best places to take in the views are via the Banff Gondola and the view from the Fairmont Banff Springs, specifically outside the Rundle Lounge.
We loved taking over the suites at the new Moose Hotel! Everything at the hotel was new and clean, and the heated pools, hot tubs and fire pit all had great views of the mountains. Insider Tip: the pictures on the Moose Hotel’s website don’t do this property justice!
Looking for a family friendly hotel? Opt for the Fairmont Banff Springs, where there are lots of options for kids and adults alike, several restaurants on property, and a collegiate / historic feel. Plus, the views are pretty phenomenal!
Our group landed in shifts so we all met at the Yakima Social Kitchen + Bar (Marriott’s downstairs lounge restaurant) for bites and craft cocktails while we waited for the shuttle van. It sounds odd, but this airport terminal gem is not to be missed.
OTHER HOT SPOTS
Banff really has endless activities: dog sledding, sleigh rides, hot springs, ice skating on Lake Louise, cross country skiing and more!
I hope you enjoy every second of your trip and be sure to comment below with your favorite not to miss wintertime adventures in Banff!
I’ll let you in on a secret…. I love celebrating and I love traveling. So when one of my best friends decided to have her birthday celebration be a weekend in Palm Springs, I was all for it.
The timing was a little crazy, but honestly jumping right into a girls weekend after Bali was amazing because I missed them when I was away, and it made the post vacation blues nonexistent.
We took over one of the gals’ vacation home and clocked countless hours by the pool and outdoor fireplace catching up. Scheduling this downtime sounds a little odd, but it was perfection.
During the day, our group hiked Garstin Loop Trail and Palm Canyon Trail at Indian Canyon Reserve. These two trails were a great combination since the first provided a steep ascent to grab that view from above and the second had us frolicking through giant palms, reminding us we were in a beautiful dessert oasis.
Shopping was also a must for our group. I love mid-century modern decor and design so all the boutiques were a feast for my eyes. In between all the furniture, pillows, books and fancy knick knacks, we caffeinated at two charming places, Earnest Coffee and Koffi.
At night, we started at the Parker for fab cocktails and all the Instagramable moments we could take, followed by tasty meals at Trio and Dish Creative Cuisine. Both restaurants were delicious and accommodated large groups with ease. Be sure to get the Russian Standard cocktail at Dish — that cocktail is part art and part science experiment!
It was such a great weekend and I can’t wait to get back… and convince my husband we need to buy a house there! Where are your favorite Palm Springs spots? Comment below with all your suggestions and recommendations. Thank you!
My mat is my happy place. Or in this case… my hoppy place? This morning my girlfriends and I joined a class of Hoppy Yoga at Green Flash Brewing and had so much fun practicing and tasting the day away.
Hoppy Yoga curates weekend yoga classes at local brewery favorites like Green Flash, OB Brewery, Stone and more. Typically the classes start between 10-11am (before the breweries open) and end in a beer tasting or celebratory pint, all included in the price of the class. You can view the schedule online to check out all the locations and instructors and pre-book your spot.
Today’s class was all levels, and there was a great mix of age, sex and ability amongst the attendees. The instructor, Erika, provided easy to understand cues and chatted with us all after class, making it a warm environment. As for the beer and Green Flash Brewing, everything was top notch! My favorites were Green Flash’s Cosmic Ristretto Black Lager and the Passion Fruit Kicker.
We had such a great time at Hoppy Yoga, and I know my husband and a couple of our friends will join me there again soon. Here are a few know before you go tips:
HOPPY YOGA: KNOW BEFORE YOU GO
Hoppy Yoga classes are BYOM (bring your own MAT), so don’t forget yours.
The floors at breweries are often concrete, so be kind to your body and fold your mat in half for any postures that you need extra cushioning. This could be anytime you’re on your knees or are playing around with inversions and arm balances.
As with all yoga classes, put your phone and watches on mute or airplane mode.
Breweries can be chilly places — be sure to bring a long sleeve in case you want to layer up.
Classes are all levels, so bring friends and family members who might not take class regularly (beer is a good way to get them there!).
Try new beers you can only get at the brewery (drink responsibly, of course) and tip your bartenders!
Have you ever done Hoppy Yoga in San Diego or something similar in other cities? Share your experience and leave all your suggestions below!
The past few weeks have been a whirlwind of travel. Right after the new year I snap booked a trip to Bali for a yoga retreat with Escape Haven Retreats. Based in Australia and Bali, Escape Haven specializes in surf, yoga and luxury spa experiences. The trip was incredible and blew away all my expectations. My full Bali trip report will be posted soon and believe me, you’ll want to soak up every detail of the fun.
Following Bali, I quickly napped, showered and hit the road with my girlfriends for a friend’s birthday weekend in Palm Springs. We packed a ton into a few days and filled the weekend with catching up by the pool, shopping, hikes and tasty bites about town.
Now, I’m catching up on life back in San Diego (there are even more palm trees there too — are you sensing a theme or what?) and am planning out all my spring trips. Stay tuned, because I can’t wait to share everything with you!
Hope you’ve been taking risks, planning trips and laughing a ton in the new year.
2017 has been ushered in by snap booking two incredible trips… FOR JANUARY! Which is already two weeks in. I know, crazy, right? My personality is one quarter spontaneous and three quarters serious planner so now that I’ve gotten the fun part out of the way, the planning begins!
These two upcoming trips also have me reminiscing about my very first yoga retreat which I participated in in 2016, in the beautiful and wild Galapagos Islands. I’ll be flooding my Instagram with pictures over the next few days to fill y’all in, and will link to a blog post later with the full scoop.
Hope you enjoy hearing all about it and of course please send any recommendations for Bali and Palm Springs my way!
Looking back, in 2016 I moved into a new house, added a new puppy to the mix, finished the #52HikeChallenge2016, went on my first yoga retreat, visited 4 new countries and had countless fun adventures with friends and family. I also started AdventureAppeal with the aim of documenting and sharing adventures big and small — trips, hikes, yoga challenges, new neighborhoods explored — along the way to live life to the fullest.
I’m so excited about where 2017 is headed. Here are some of my goals for the year ahead:
Visit two new countries (I’ve had this goal now for years and I love completing it!)
Go on my 2nd yoga retreat and work towards a hand stand