Eating in Southern California

Start with breakfast in Huntington Beach at The Sugar Shack

The Sugar Shack

Sun, scrambled eggs and perfect crispy hash browns. Is there a more perfect breakfast? Take your time. Hang out. Have another cup of coffee and then wander down to the pier and watch the surfers catching waves. This is Southern California breakfast at its finest.

There are a couple choices for lunch starting with Sankai in Costa Mesa

San Kai

Yes it’s in a strip mall. I know. Go anyway because the fish is fresh and you can sit outside. Plus sushi is the prettiest food you’ll ever put in your mouth.

But maybe tacos are more your thing? Then head south to Carlsbad and go to Cessy’s Taco Shop

Cessy's Taco Shop

The thing I love most about the Southwest and Southern Cali is that you can get better Mexican food off a red plastic tray in a glorified taco truck than you get in most sit down restaurants up north. Cessy’s has great tacos. Get lots of salsa and go to town on the fresh hot chips. Lunch. Bam!

How about dinner by the water on Harbor Island?

Island Prime - C Level

That’s macadamia nut encrusted baked brie from Island Prime – C Level. Yum. We had a table overlooking the water where we could see the boats sailing in the bay and at night you can see the San Diego city skyline. Island Prime serves classy food in a relaxed atmosphere. It’s classic California.

Stop at the Hotel del Coronado for drinks before you head home.

Hotel del Coronado

A historic landmark with 125 years of rich California beach history, Hotel del Coronado has beautifully landscaped grounds and a gorgeous bar so it’s worth a visit.

End your evening by watching the sun set over to the ocean. Because that’s why you came to California, right?

Pacific ocean

Kaitlyn GoLightly

When I came to Tucson 2 months ago, I looked on Craigslist for a place to live and found a couple of sublet advertisements. I contacted them both and they emailed me back immediately. I dithered back and forth between them, made a choice and moved in the next week.

Simple. Easy. Nonstressful. The kind of thing that makes you think that Craigslist is a boon to mankind and you can’t figure out how we survived before the internet.

Fast forward to last week when I realize that my sublet lease is up at the end of July and I need a place to live from August-October. By this point, I have a short but rigid list of demands. I need something short term preferably in the university area and I can’t spend a fortune. I don’t want to put utilities in my name but I need internet. And most importantly, I need something already furnished because the very idea of buying/finding/borrowing and then schlepping furniture into an empty Tucson apartment makes me want to buy a ticket for the closest island and never come back. As I told my friend Greg, I’m not landing in Tucson so much as hovering. Lightly. Wings flapping. Ready to move along at any moment.

Unfortunately, college classes starts this month so desperate students have sucked down all the reasonable housing options leaving me with dregs. I found a “duplex” where a guy put a wall down the middle of his house cutting off a bedroom, bathroom and part of the dining room to create a mini living space he rents out. It has “kitchen accessories” (microwave and hot plate) on a shelf in the living room, you wash dishes in the bathroom sink and he wants $725 a month for it.

Then I found this adobe ranch out east renting a studio for $450. I thought it might be charming with beautiful views but instead it’s a small and dark studio behind a tall fence with a lonely straight back chair in front, sitting on a bed of rocks and facing the fence. Sad. Depressing. Terrible.

And those were my two best options because despite constant emailing, people apparently post apartments on Craigslist and then never check their account again. After a week of looking for places online and inquiring about multiple posts on Craigslist with no one responding to me, I prayed a lot cuz I know that God doesn’t want me homeless and asked everyone I knew for suggestions. And while I have lovely friends who offered me the temporary use of their homes, I KNEW that the perfect place was out there. A beautiful little visually inspiring desert hideaway that will justify all this time spent in Tucson.

So, I kept looking, praying and emailing and by the way it’s Wednesday and I have to move out on Sunday. Terribly close. I spent all yesterday looking and then I found a notice on ebay for a studio in a nearby neighborhood advertised as 150 square feet for $395 a month. I figured that even if it was the size of my current bathroom, it had to be better than a sad dark studio with a chair facing a fence. There was a phone number for the landlady so I called her and said I was around for a while but really desperately needed something for next week.

She called me back within the hour and said the studio was rented but then wanted to know how long I was staying. She said she had just decided to rent out her artist’s studio so she could pay some bills. Would I be interested in that? Month to month lease, all utilities included, washer, dryer, pool and in the university area all for cheaper than the “duplex.”

I went over, took one look and said YES. It’s tiny but adorable with a kitchenette and a little screened in porch, beautifully painted and decorated and just the kind of place I need for the next couple of months. As a bonus, she’s an artist and a published author so she’s very interested in what I’ve got going on right now. She says the place is available through December but let’s hope I’m not here that long.

Now I have to move over the weekend, but then I don’t move again until I leave here.


Pictures to follow.

Dinner and a movie

Had dinner with a couple of my favorite guys tonight under a gorgeous sky

I’m not tired of sushi yet

But I’ll change up the pictures

and give you a different view

or two…

After which we saw Priest, which had potential to be way better. It’s unfortunate because it has a couple of good actors and gorgeous bled out to pale post-apocalyptic landscapes with bad ass machinery and men in long dramatic black coats

as if the Matrix had a love child with Mad Max. The plot is reasonable, the beginning animated sequence is lovely and I do love the mash up of westerns with sci fi (I’m looking forward to Cowboys and Aliens. I admit it. Which has nothing to do with Daniel Craig. Nothing at all). But Priest has laughable dialogue and whoever scored it should be told – gently – that Subway is hiring. Hor-ren-dous.

So, don’t see Priest unless you can see it for $1.50 and it’s 100 degrees outside, in which case go see it but I’d recommend a cake pop to improve the experience:

Tucson AZ

I think they’re over there!

Things that are great: Sunsets and Vietnamese Food

The sun setting over the Saguaro Nat’l Monument is a classic Tucson scene:

Afterwards, I took myself to Miss Saigon for coconut curry shrimp:

 And though my sister will argue with me, I vote Vietnamese food the least photogenic of all the Asian foods (and she has pictures with which to argue). But I think the Japanese have the clean simple fish sculptures, Chinese (at their best) have crispy bright veggies and light sauces, the Koreans have all those delightful little condiment dishes and the Vietnamese have murky (though delicious) soups and monochromatic (though delicious) rice and noodle dishes. You have to get into their haute cuisine before it’s photo worthy!

But I love the bubble tea:

What could be better than slurping up big black tapioca through a giant straw?

Nothing. That’s what.