It's Better to Travel than Arrive?

"To travel hopefully is a better thing than to arrive"

Robert Louis Stevenson, Virginibus Puerisque, 1881.

"Robert Louis Stevenson speaks utter tosh and has

obviously never flown long haul economy class"

Kristy, first ever blog post, 2011.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Restaurant Review : Cafe Coyote, San Diego, CA, USA

We wandered into Cafe Coyote midway through our San Diego Trolley Tour for a late lunch.  It's in San Diego Old Town, on San Diego Avenue.  There were loads of tables and a decent amount of people for so late in the day, and we chose a table in a sunny window.

The one thing with San Diego is that there's never any shortage of good Mexican restaurants, and Cafe Coyote didn't disappoint.

We were absolutely gasping for a drink and each downed a large glass of water as soon as it was poured for us, before moving onto a beer for hubby and an icy cocktail for me whilst we perused the menu.

I ordered the Carne Asada Tacos - two soft corn tortillas filled with grilled and chopped marinated steak, served with guacamole (everything should be served with guacamole!) and salsa fresca - $10.95.  It was another generous serve (yay for America!) and I couldn't finish all of it, though it was very fresh and scrumptious.

Hubby ordered the Coyote Caesar Salad - crisp romaine lettuce tossed with parmesan cheese, crunch tortilla strips an a traditional Caesar dressing invented in Tijuana (get it, get it?) with added margarita chicken breast - $7.50 plus $4.95 for the chicken.  He said it was great.

The service was fast and friendly and the food was good, and we were out of there and back to the trolley pick up point in really good time (with maybe just a few stops at shops along the way).  This would be a great place to go for lunch or dinner with a group of friends and get stuck into their HUGE Tequila and Margarita selection.

Cafe Coyote
2461 San Diego Avenue
San Diego  CA  92110  USA
Phone:- 619 291 4695

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Handy Kitchen Gadget - Love It!

I'm not normally one who's mad for a kitchen tool that has only one use.  They tend to take up space for a few years, get used maybe once or twice, and then pitched out when you're sick of seeing them clutter up the place.  This is different.

Hubby and I have hot breakfast cereal pretty much every day (except the weekends, which are given over to lovely fried things) and pretty much every day I squeak and curse as I try and get the hot cereal bowl with lava-esque contents out of the microwave oven without burning my fingertips off - bowls of porridge are the worst.

Of course, you can use a hand towel or oven gloves, and I've used both - but I always end up with the fabric actually getting cereal on it, and that's just grotty.

I saw this fabulous invention it in the Lakeland catalog and ordered it immediately - it's a Microwave Plate, and it's FANTASTIC!  It's probably one of the cheapest things in my kitchen (£3.99), but I've used it every single day since I took it out of the box.

Here's the official blurb:-

Bowls of soup, beans and baked potatoes can be too hot to handle once they've been cooked, and bulky oven gloves just won't fit in the microwave ... after experiencing this problem in our staff room, we instantly saw the benefit of the microwave plate.

Just sit your bowl or ready-meal on it, and you can lift it out safely without doing the
"hot food juggle".

It works.  It's good.  It's cheap.  It's easy to clean.  It doesn't take up much room (ours lives top of the microwave).  Buy one - I'm pretty sure you won't regret it.

Oh, and if you're like me, and love kitchen stuff, get your hands on the Lakeland catalog - it's fantastically stuffed full of brilliant things you'll want.  I have zero affiliation with Lakeland and they don't even know I exist, I just think this is a great product and wanted you to know about it.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Restaurant Review : Katy's Place, Carmel, CA, USA

Firstly, Carmel by the Sea is a gorgeous place.  Gorgeous shops (managed to find both Anthropologie and J Crew having 40% off last marked price sales - squeeeeee!), gorgeous people walking gorgeous dogs, gorgeous weather, gorgeous beach and gorgeous restaurants.  If you're visiting California, do yourself a favour and nip down to Carmel by the Sea for a few hours and enjoy it.

We drove in for a late breakfast and went to Katy's after reading the fab reviews on TripAdvisor - we weren't disappointed.  Katy's is a spot for locals - you can't book, it's cash only, and the line is out the door.  There were no tables available when we arrived, but we were offered seats at the bar which turned out to be the best seats in the house.  You could look right into their insanely busy kitchen and you felt like you were in the middle of everything - I would choose the bar over a normal table any day.

The busy view from our bar stools.
Those guys never stopped and the kitchen was small.

While we were deciding on meals, the friendly waitress poured good filter coffee into our big heavy mugs.  I love Eggs Benedict, and they had more kinds of Eggs Benedict than I've ever seen - they're famous for them.  The menu was huge though, and the eggs, bacon, biscuits and sausage gravy screamed my name, so that's what I went with.  It was a very generous size and scrumptious!  Hubby went for a yummy Eggs Benedict option.

The wait staff are friendly and efficient, the restaurant is packed, and the food is good.  I would definitely go back if I was passing through the area again.  The only odd thing is that it's not owned by Katy, it's owned by Edward.  :-)

Katy's Place
Mission Street, between 5th and 6th Streets
Carmel  CA  93921
Phone:- 831 624 0199

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Restaurant Review : Lokal, Carmel Valley, CA, USA

I'm a bad blogger, and forgot to take any photos,
but this is what a breakfast burrito looks like,
just in case you didn't know.  :-)

We were staying up the road a bit on our October trip to California and on our first jet-lagged morning decided to go for a drive to get some brunch.  We headed into Carmel Valley, thinking we were heading to Carmel by the Sea (must do more research!), only discovering that we'd headed in completely the wrong direction when we arrived at a small local town, not the big bustling beachside town of Carmel by the Sea.

Anyway, I was starving (not unusual), so we drove about a bit until we saw this place tucked in the back of a little grocery store parking lot.  It's small and there were a few people sitting outside enjoying the sun, with lots of cooler seating inside if you chose.

Just as we walked in, a group sitting outside under one of the umbrellas paid and left, so we snagged their spot.  Friendly staff came out to clear the table for us, and from the way they were chatting to the other diners, we figured out that this is a local spot for locals - and they're always the best spots!

The menu was small, healthy, well priced, and good - all locally sourced if possible.  I'd never had one before, so decided on the Breakfast Burrito with added avocado and bacon (they make everything better), plus a cappuccino and a fresh squeezed orange juice.  Hubby ordered a sandwich, coffee and juice.

The juice and coffee arrived first, shortly followed by the burrito which was about the size of a newborn child.  Hubby looked at it, then at me, and said "There's no way you're going to finish that", and I couldn't argue.  Whenever I get presented with huge quantities of food, I get a bit panicky and hardly eat any of it, but not this time!

The burrito was so scrumptious that I just kept chowing down on it.  I got a bit weary towards the end, but it was too good to leave, so I finished the lot.  Hubby said his sandwich was great too, so I heartily recommend this place.

There's loads of fab wineries with cellar doors in this little town, so you can certainly spend a few hours kicking around Carmel Valley without too many problems at all.

Click HERE for the Breakfast and Lunch menu.
Click HERE for the Dinner menu.
Click HERE for the Wine list.

13762 Centre Street
Carmel Valley  CA 93924
Phone:- 831 659 5886

Friday, January 2, 2015

Happy New Year!

Here's wishing you and yours a seriously fantastic 2015.
May it be filled to the brim with laughter, good health, adventures and joy.

The blog will kick back into gear again next week, but I've had so many new readers in the past month or so whilst things have been quiet, and I'd just like to say WELCOME - it's lovely to see you here.