September 30, 2015

Queenstown Public House | San Diego, California

^^ Do I have your attention yet??  haha!

Little Italy is one of my favorite areas of San Diego and although this isn't a review of an Italian restaurant, I promise you this is a wonderful stop that meshes with Little Italy's laid back, but gourmet vibe.

Queenstown Public House is a New Zealand themed pub with great food, a large beer selection, and some excellent crafted cocktails.  I'd been there once before (and had an amazing fish sandwich), so I suggested it for brunch during Charles' birthday weekend.

The restaurant is essentially a house, with a quirky and fun vibe.  There is indoor and outdoor seating, as well a bar seating.


That champagne cocktail was one of the best I've had.  It was champagne over fresh ginger and
vanilla.  Perfectly delicate and balanced flavors.

Obviously the main attraction didn't disappoint.  Below is the 'Elvis' which includes house made waffles with peanut butter banana mousse, grilled bananas, bacon, and candied pecans.

The Cowboy Breakfast was texas toast, steak, grilled onions, Béchamel sauce, sunny side egg, and blue cheese crumbles.  Béchamel sauce embodies everything good in this world, I'm pretty sure.  The layer of toast on the bottom was pure genius.

They even brought Charles out a delicious lemon curd for his birthday (it was extra tart and fresh!) with animal crackers and ginger snaps.

There was also a farmer's market going on, so we were able to walk around a little after (although we were too stuffed to try anything)...

This restaurant is a great place to have a meal, then explore Little Italy or walk to the water front.  But just a warning... it is addicting! ;)

Queenstown Public House
1557 Columbia Street
San Diego, California

September 27, 2015

W Hollywood | Hotel Review

I am a big fan of the W hotel line, and the W Hollywood was no exception.  It felt very swanky and *very Hollywood* while not being too stuffy or taking itself too seriously.
Also, a fun tidbit I learned on our dearly departed tour, is that the ground where the W stands used to be a morgue that handled the original Dracula, Bela Lugosi's, body.

I just love those kinds of tidbits.

Anyway, in case you ever find yourself looking for hotels in Hollywood, here are some photos and information about this one, starting with the lobby, which is kind of an interior decorator's dream...

At least it is my dream.  I love the gold, clear glass, and pops of fuchsia.  Not to mention you can see the Capitol Records building from the lobby.

The rooms were the right touch of comfort and modern.

And of course there was an adorably (expensive) mini bar.  I did appreciate all the glassware the room provided so we could mix up drinks with what we brought!

I think the real highlight of the W (other than location, which I'll get to in a moment), is the rooftop bar and pool.  It is small, so it fills up quickly, but it really is a gorgeous place to hang out with great views of the city.

Not too shabby, right?  But, like I said, you just can't beat the location of the W.  It is right across the street from the Pantages theater, and a few steps from the Hollywood Walk of Fame and all the famous sights of Hollywood Blvd.  It is also an easy walk in the other direction to Sunset.

As you can see the metro also pops up right at the entrance.  Location, location, location!

I hope you enjoyed this little tour of the W Hollywood.  Oh and in case you are wondering, their room service cookies and french fries are out of this world. ;)

September 23, 2015

Stone Brewing Tap Room | San Diego, California

During Charles' epic birthday weekend in San Diego we had to visit one of his favorite breweries, Stone.  They started out of Escondido, California but have expanded into many different bistros and tap rooms around San Diego.  This tap room happens to be downtown, just a few steps from Petco Park, home of the Padres.

There is a very industrial feel inside that also manages to be warm and inviting.  The bartenders are happy to let you taste a few beers before you commit to a glass and they also have small pours available.


Stone's beer is not for the faint of heart, but it is a great representation of Southern California beer culture and a tribute to the ever wonderful hop.  I can't recommend it enough if you are visiting the area.  This particular location is perfect if you're in Downtown San Diego.

(Not pictured:  Their amazing small plate selection, including warm homemade soft pretzels with cheddar-jalapeño sauce and Stone Cali-Belgique IPA Mustard.)

Stone Brewing Tap Room
795 J Street San Diego, CA 92101
(619) 727-4452


September 19, 2015

Top 10 Things To Do | San Francisco, California

Today is my birthday and I wanted to do a special 'Top 10' for one of my very favorite cities, San Francisco!

I have been lucky enough to visit many big cities, but my heart always seems to go back to this city.  I feel like San Francisco replenishes my soul in a weirdly awesome way.  It definitely brings out my creativity and sets my mind ablaze with energy, ideas, and optimism.

There are hundreds of little gems in San Francisco, but if it is your first visit, or you simply want to hit the classics, this guide is a great place to start.

  1.  Visit the Mission District

The Mission is one of my favorite areas in the city.  The Mexican food is epic (try a taqueria!) and the street art is vibrant.  It is also home to Mission Dolores, the oldest building in the city.

2.  Take a Ferry to Alcatraz

Alcatraz island features a fascinating tour, and the ferry ride over gives you beautiful views of the city and the Golden Gate Bridge.  There is a great audio tour of the island and you can stay as long as you'd like with regular ferries leaving all day.

Tip:  Get tickets in advance, they sell out quickly!

3.  Shop at Union Square

Union Square is tourist central, but that's not a bad thing.  There are lots of great hotels and shopping here, so it is the perfect place to call home base.

4.  Chow Down in Chinatown

Chinatown has a plethora of amazing restaurants and colorful shops.  I recommend going for lunch and exploring the stores filled with everything under the sun, including rows of dried spices and unique ingredients.

5.  Take the Trolley from Fisherman's Wharf and Pier 39 to the Ferry Building

Fisherman's Wharf and Pier 39 aren't my favorite areas in the city, but they are definitely worth a visit.  In the early morning you can see the sea lions from the end of the pier, and it is much less crowded.  This is a great time to check out the area.  After that, I highly recommend taking a trolley down the pier to the Ferry Building which is a great food destination with tons of shops in one place.  On the weekends, it is also home to a large farmer's market.

Tip:  Try the 'Secret Breakfast' ice cream at Humphry Slocombe.  It is bourbon ice cream with corn flakes, and it is amazing.

6.  Explore North Beach and Coit Tower 

North Beach is an Italian neighborhood that is home to Washington Square Park, Telegraph Hill, and Coit Tower.  Come for the Italian food, cute cafes, and Victorian homes.  From Coit Tower you can see sweeping views of the city, including Lombard Street.

7.  Explore Golden Gate Park

Golden Gate park features over 1,000 acres of land that include the de Young Museum, the California Academy of the Sciences, and the San Francisco Botanical Garden.

8.  Stop By Haight/Ashbury

The famed intersection of Haight and Ashbury is where the hippie culture started in the 1960's.  Today you can check out quirky shops including boutiques, vintage clothing stores, and cafes.  Nearby Cole Valley is a quieter area of the city, with great restaurants filled with mostly locals.

9.  Have a Picnic at Alamo Square Park 

Do you want Full House views?  This park faces the Painted Ladies (row of famous Victorian homes) and locals love to hang out with their dogs, a six pack, and food.  This is one of my favorite spots in the city because of the laid back vibe and incredible views.

10.  See the Golden Gate Bridge

From high up in Twin Peaks or Coit Tower, or closer at the Presidio or Baker Beach, it is a marvel to take in views of the Golden Gate Bridge.  It is such a beautiful symbol of the city and an iconic DO.

I hope you enjoy San Francisco as much as I do!  Feel free to check out all of my San Francisco posts for greater details.