Two weekends ago, specifically Saturday, February 22nd, Stephen and I took a little road trip down to San Diego to celebrate our 6-month anniversary—also known as a relationship milestone that only high schoolers recognize. Thanks to my dear friend Jackie for reminding me of that!
We packed our suitcases into Stephen’s old red pick-up truck (I don’t think I’ve shared the fact that he drives an old red pick-up truck with you all…I say “old” affectionately because he’s had the truck since he was 15 and it was one of the many adorable details I loved learning about him when we first met) and drove straight to Balboa Park to start off our Saturday morning.
The skies were hazy but the weather was warm enough, and the park looked beautiful. We wandered the grounds for a bit and checked out the California Bell Tower and the botanical gardens. There was even a South African carnivorous plant on display! Above, Stephen demonstrates what not to do around a carnivorous plant. Apparently, these plants live in jungles with very little light, so they evolved to trap flies on their own (see: Stephen trying to put his finger into the fly trap) and eat them. Carnivorous plants! I had no idea that’s how they came to exist.
Then there were birds. Quite a few birds. I’m not really a bird person…Stephen, on the other hand, is not afraid of birds. That little birdie climbed right onto his arm and seemed to really like him! And don’t be deceived by that smiling photo of me and that feathered fella. I was so creeped out by the warm, scaly feel of his birdie toes! But it was kind of fun to have him on my arm for those five seconds. And five seconds was plenty.
Then this happened on Saturday night. We were walking to a trendy restaurant for dinner in the Gaslamp District when I suggested that we stop by Ralph’s to pick up some coconut water because we were both insanely thirsty. We walked into Ralph’s—and this was a really fancy Ralph’s, I must add—picked up the coconut water, turned around, and were suddenly confronted by an incredible display of sushi and deli food. I know it doesn’t look like much in the photo, but it was glorious in person. There was roast chicken, seafood, tons of sides, fresh cut fruit…I’ve been to Ralph’s a million times but this was by far the nicest Ralph’s either of us had ever seen. And suddenly I really wanted to eat that deli sushi. We both looked at each other. “Wanna just eat here?” “Yep!” (I think we both jinxed each other saying this.)
So we picked up a few items including a pear, hummus, and mashed sweet potatoes, and had ourselves a picnic dinner on the outdoor patio. This Ralph’s had patio seating! While we were eating, I said to Stephen, “Jess is going to kill us when she hears we ate at Ralph’s.” (Jess is my high school friend who lives in San Diego, and we also visited her during the trip. She’s also a bona fide foodie queen. And yes, she basically did want to kill us when she heard where we went for dinner.)
But it’s OK, Jess! We were saving the best for last: the grand finale of the evening was to get dessert at the one and only Extraordinary Desserts. No matter how many times I’ve been to San Diego, this place is always an absolute must on my list. And the fact that Stephen admittedly has a sweet tooth as well? Let’s just say we both patiently waited almost an hour to be seated and neither of us complained a peep.
We ordered: bread pudding with mascarpone ice-cream for me, peanut butter and jelly beignets with brown butter ice-cream for him, and a raspberry linzer torte cake to “share.” (I ate most of it.) Between the flickering candle and flower petals on everything, this turned into quite the romantic anniversary meal, huh?
Then on Sunday, we spent the day at the zoo!
But first, there was a minor incident with Stephen’s leg when we tried to picnic before going in…
It involved a medic, a zoo guard, and a lot of bandages…
And an unseen rusty nail on this picnic table. Stephen was just sitting down when he cut his leg on it. Notice the picnic we were about to have? We might have gone back to Ralph’s to pick up lunch the next day (heh heh). Luckily, Stephen got fixed up real quick and also had his tetanus shots recently, too.
Then we spent the day at the zoo!
I hadn’t been to the San Diego zoo in ages! It was pretty fitting that Stephen and I put the zoo on our itinerary because our mutual friends actually secretly set us up at the LA zoo and that’s how we met. :) Anyway, it was so fun and nostalgic getting to walk around and see all the animals. Well, we walked about 20% of the zoo…we took a two-decker bus tour first and pretty much saw about 80% of the grounds. ;) We got sightings of all the essentials: giraffes, koala bears, elephants, and then waited in line for that baby panda! Such a popular guy.
And then, after a long day, there was only one place good enough for dinner (not Ralph’s):
We ate our hearts out. That hour-long wait was worth every bite. It’s also worth a 2-hour drive down to San Diego, which I’m contemplating right about now. We drove home afterwards, stuffed and so, so happy. We actually said to each other after the meal, “I am so happy right now.” Phil’s will bring that out of people.
Phew, that was a much longer post than I was anticipating! If you read all the way here, thanks for indulging me. And thanks to my friend Jessica and to San Diego for having us for the weekend. Stephen and I kept joking we could easily move to San Diego because every day there would feel like a vacation. Maybe it won’t be a joke for long…