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One of My Favorite Quotes...

“The Master in the art of living makes little distinction between his work and his play, his labor and his leisure, his mind and his body, his education and his recreation, his love and his religion. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence in whatever he does, leaving others to decide whether he is working or playing. To him he is always doing both.”

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

NOTICE: Site Maintenance on 06.01.11

This is just a notice about the site maintenance that will be happening on Wednesday, June 1st, between 23:00 and 04:00 Pacific Daylight Time (Thursday, June 2nd, between 06:00 and 11:00 UTC). When this happens, you'll notice some photo/images will be down on this Blog, Communicating Ideas by Visualnewbie. This is where I host a majority of my photos for the site, Lapada Gallery. But don't worry, Communicating Ideas will be back up and running in no time. Besides, the content will remain, just not the photos during the maintenance...

As you may already know, I have been using Zenfolio hosting service for organizing, hosting and presenting my photos online. You can view my home page at http://www.lapadagallery.com/

Some of the features Zenfolio offers are:
- Unlimited storage
- Elegant pages with a choice of layouts and theme designs
- Highest quality presentation of photos online
- Easy to use intuitive interface
- Full screen Slideshow
- Links from auctions, blogs, and forums to seven different image sizes

You can use my referral code 7KP-95Q-85X during sign up to save $5.00 off your own subscription. Zenfolio offers a Free Trial account for two weeks so you can see if you like it.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Trying out Starbuck's Cake Pops

I gave the Starbuck's Cake Pops a try for the time just recently and wanted to share a few photos of it. We ended up getting a pair of Birthday Cake Pops, Rocky Road Cake Pops and the Tiramisu Cake Pops. The first sets of photos are of the packaging and the cake pops as it sits when you open it. Since, I'm a graphic designer by trade; I'm a sucker for packaging designs and such. Well, I wasn't blown away by the design and thought it was just ok. But what about the cake pops? How where they?

Starbuck's Cake Pops

Starbuck's Cake Pops

As you can see, they're not big at all. They're much smaller than I thought they would be. It's maybe a quarter of the size of a standard cupcake. Or maybe even the size of a mini cupcake, give or take. The taste and flavors were ok and kind of dense. It's almost doughy and as another person would put it, too moist. It really didn't stand out flavor-wise, but visually, it's really cute. And I'm not about cute, I wanted something more. And it's kind of sad to say, it failed to deliver. I don't know, maybe my expectations were too high.

Starbuck's Cake Pops

Starbuck's Cake Pops

I enjoyed the rocky road cake pop the most. I really don't think these are made for adults or for grown men like me. It was way too easy to put the whole thing into my mouth without even trying. I'm also not sure I'm happy with the price. The value is not there for me and I would rather find some other way to satisfy my sweet tooth, which shouldn't be hard anyways. But it's a decent try for a first timer.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Boxes of Hawaiian Chocolates! YUM!

Some time ago, the fam received a few boxes of delicious chocolates from Hawaii from my uncle. Yeah, I know. It's just now that I'm posting these. Better late than never I guess. Anyhow, I just love these chocolate treats. It seems that whenever a relative of ours visits Hawaii, we get these. So good! Now, let's focus on the pics that I took real quick before they're gone and here they are...

Boxes of Hawaiian Host Chocolates! YUM!

This is the first box we opened. The Hawaiian Host's Kona Caramacs - Kona coffee caramel and macadamias covered in milk chocolate. How about that? Doesn't that sound delish?!? We got two of these. You can even see it opened. As you can see, there aren't that many pieces of chocolate. This is too bad as I can eat a box by myself. But I exercise restraint and let me tell you, it was pretty difficult to do. They're like M&M's, where you can't just eat one. And I didn't.

Boxes of Hawaiian Host Chocolates! YUM!

Boxes of Hawaiian Host Chocolates! YUM!

Here are the other boxes of chocolate. I really can't tell you which one I prefer. I love them all! Chocolates and all things sweet are an addiction of mine. And what you see in these photos are my stash. And I'm happy to report, that they are all gone as of this post. HAHAHA! Boy do I need help...

Boxes of Hawaiian Host Chocolates! YUM!

Boxes of Hawaiian Host Chocolates! YUM!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Sandwiches @ B Spot in Kearny Mesa

I love the burgers from The B Spot in Kearny Mesa. With their burgers, you can't go wrong. But what about their sandwiches? I figure that my next visit would be a bit more adventurous and try them out this time around. At the same time, I wasn't feeling too hungry. Little did I know that B Spot's sandwiches are just as big as their burgers. But first, we started with the Onion Rings. They're pretty good and that's about it...

Onion Rings at The B Spot in Kearny Mesa

Since I wanted something other than a burger, I went with the Italian Sandwich. I wanted something small and that didn't turn out well. But I should have known better since this isn't the first time I've ate here. Who am I kidding?!? I down that meal that there's no tomorrow! I had a bulging belly by the time we left. The sandwich has your typical meats with fries and slaw on sourdough. It was pretty good, but I did wish there was more meat though, even if I wasn't that hungry...

Italian Sandwich at The B Spot in Kearny Mesa

If you're the kind of person that cuts their sandwiches/burgers in half, ask for them to cut in the kitchen. Don't make that same mistake like I did and cut it yourself. The little plastic knives they have are not enough to tackle the meal this size. It's like bringing a pocketknife to a Gladiator fight! You might win, but it's gonna be sloppy and messy. Not only did it take awhile to get through, but it was impossible to cut cleanly right down the middle. The next photo shows the aftermath of cutting it in half.

Italian Sandwich at The B Spot in Kearny Mesa

After trying the Beast, my buddy, who's a big eater or should I say has a healthy appetite wanted to try the Beauty Sandwich. The Beauty is just as large as the Beast. Maybe giving a slight edge to the Beast if that. The Beauty is chicken, ham, turkey with fries and slaw on a sourdough. From the looks of it, there's a good amount of meat. He had no complaints.

Beauty Sandwich at The B Spot in Kearny Mesa

Well, I had a great meal and need to come back for more. There are other things that I want to try out and post another time. So, you're gonna need to come back to this blog to see more of it. As much as I like B Spot's sandwiches, I think I'll stick with their burgers. They're just too damn good. And that's not to take anything away from the sandwiches. I just need to try some new ones. So, I'll be back! By the way, THE PARKING SUCKS!!! I had to get that off my chest.

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The B Spot
4646 Convoy St
San Diego, CA 92111

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Brunch @ Broken Yolk Cafe in Eastlake

Had brunch with the fam sometime ago at the Broken Yolk Cafe in Eastlake. It's a pretty decent location with a great outdoor patio, especially for a beautiful day like that day. But for this visit, we sat indoors and it seemed like we missed the rush. We didn't have to wait at all, which is always nice. And the best part is we had a Groupon to use. Here's a photo of the place...

Brunch at Broken Yolk Cafe in Eastlake

I'm a breakfast guy. Not necessarily a morning guy, but I can eat breakfast meals like eggs at all hours of the day. I love eggs! So, the only thing that will satisfy me would be ordering an omelet. Last time I came to The Broken Yolk Cafe, I had the John Wayne Omelet and loved it. I wanted to try something different and went with the Stroganoff Omelet. It's a four egg omelet with fresh ground beef and jack cheese, topped with real sour cream and mushroom sauce. It also comes with sides. I choose the hash browns and blueberry muffin (not shown). Those happen to be alright. Some may think I'm crazy, but I actually prefer Denny's hash browns over theirs.

Stroganoff Omelet - Brunch at Broken Yolk Cafe in Eastlake

My brother ended getting the Chicken Fried Steak and Eggs. It's a 6 oz steak smothered with country gravy with eggs. It also comes with sides and the hash browns and toast (not shown) were chosen. Not much was said about it, but what was said was that there was a lot of food at a decent price. And I agreed as I looked at mine as well.

Chicken Fried Steak and Eggs - Brunch at Broken Yolk Cafe in Eastlake

My sister got the Soup, Salad and Sandwich Combo. And that includes a half sandwich, cup of soup and salad. So she chooses the grilled cheese, Caesar salad and homemade chili. That's plenty of food for a small girl like my sister.

Soup, Salad and Sandwich Combo - Brunch at Broken Yolk Cafe in Eastlake

My mom is also a small lady and also ended up getting the Soup, Salad and Sandwich Combo. But she went a different route in her choosing. Mom got the turkey sandwich, Caesar salad and the fresh tomato basil soup. She liked hers as well, but she still likes the French dip meal more that they offer.

Soup, Salad and Sandwich Combo - Brunch at Broken Yolk Cafe in Eastlake

All in all, it as a successful brunch with the fam with good meals all around at The Broken Yolk Cafe in Eastlake. Too bad dad was at work because he would have enjoyed it too. But no worries that just gives me a good enough reason to come back with the whole family for some bonding time.

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The Broken Yolk Cafe - Eastlake
884 Eastlake Pkwy.
Chula Vista, CA 91914

Monday, May 16, 2011

Carne Asada Bake from Costco

This is the first time I've tried the Carne Asada Bake from the Costco food court. I'm not sure why it took this long to give it a shot, but what the heck. It's better late than never, right? The taste is just like what you would find from the burrito, minus the tortilla and less carne asada. It also has that baked dough around it surrounding/concealing the meat and other ingredients, which can get soggy if you wait a bit to eat it. Not a fan of that part. The carne asada bake is good for what it is, but I'll stick with the burrito version you can get from the taco shops around the city. The pics don't look all that appealing, but for a quick fix, it's not bad at all.

Carne Asada Bake from Costco Food Court

Carne Asada Bake from Costco Food Court

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Taco Fiesta's California Burrito - YUM!

One of my favorite burritos is called the California Burrito. It's a burrito that's very similar to a carne asada burrito, but with French Fries and other extra goodness thrown it for good measure. It's an awesome meal to have to complete a drunken night of partying. Just like the fish taco, a California Burrito is a San Diego staple in all taco shops. Here's a photo of the California Burrito from my neighborhood taco shop named Taco Fiesta in Paradise Hills/South Bay Terraces. They may not be the best, but its comfort food to me. So that makes it pretty damn good. I've been coming here for years and they're the benchmark that I compare to all the others.

Taco Fiesta's California Burrito in Paradise Hills

Taco Fiesta's California Burrito in Paradise Hills

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Taco Fiesta
2939 Alta View Dr
San Diego, CA 92139

Saturday, May 14, 2011

New Hodad's in East Village | San Diego

I visited the new location of Hodad's in the East Village of downtown San Diego nearly a month ago. Maybe a week after they just opened. I also wanted to avoid the long lines at the Ocean Beach location too. I know it's a late post, but I wanted to share the pics I took of their delicious burgers and they're huge. My only issue with this location would be parking. It was kind of hard to find one open and ended up parking a couple blocks away. But maybe that's not a bad thing since I would need to find a way to work it off with the amount of food they give you.

Hodad's in East Village, Downtown San Diego

So, here are some interior shots of the burger joint. Ignore my big head in the way in pic two. HAHAHA!

Hodad's in East Village, Downtown San Diego

We ordered the Frings. And this happens to be an order of half fries and onion rings. Pretty creative with the name I must say. They have a smaller batch of Frings, but we got the regular size. I was in a group of four people and it was more than enough to feed us. So, the half size would have been a better fit for us. The onion rings were really good. Better than most places and the fries were ok. I wanted to eat more of it, but I knew a large burger is on its way to meet me. Plus I ordered the milk shake.

Frings - Hodad's in East Village, Downtown San Diego

I normally don't order milk shakes, but after parking good four or five blocks away on a warm day, I needed something to cool me down and satisfy my sweet tooth. So, a Strawberry Shake is a must. Plus, burgers and shakes go together like - you get the point. I'm not a shake connoisseur, but it definitely hit the spot that's for sure.

Strawberry Shake - Hodad's in East Village, Downtown San Diego

Please forgive me with the photos. My white balance was off from the flash bouncing yellow back cause of the yellow paper. Anyways, not knowing what I'm getting myself into, I ended up getting the Double Bacon Cheeseburger. It comes with your basic fixings of lettuce, tomato, pickle, onion, mustard and ketchup. And this burger is no joke! It was awesome and was worth every penny. It was so large; I wasn't able to finish it. I don't remember the last time I couldn't finish a burger. It just doesn't happen, but this time it did. The burger was packed with flavor in every single bite. It was also juicy and it had a good amount of bacon in the burger. Where, many places lack it.

Double Bacon Cheeseburger - Hodad's in East Village, Downtown San Diego

Here's a photo of the Single Cheeseburger. Not quite as big as the double burgers, but plenty big for others. Everyone else ordered these and enjoyed as well.

Single Cheeseburger - Hodad's in East Village, Downtown San Diego

The East Village location for Hodad's is perfect except for the parking situation. Short to no lines like the Ocean Beach one and it's closer for me too. I love that burger so much; I'm not willing to try anything else when I go there. It's that good! It's one of the best burgers in San Diego and I dare you to name another place that's better. It's SO GOOD! Can't wait for my next visit! Soon enough...

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Hodad's - East Village
945 Broadway Avenue
San Diego, CA 92101

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Happy Hour @ Playa Grill, Mission Valley

I don't do happy hour much, but about two weeks ago I had the chance to check out Playa Grill and Margarita Bar in Mission Valley with a good friend of mine and my brother. Since it was such a nice day, we decided to sit in the outdoor patio. It was my first time going to Playa Grill despite being in the area numerous times. And I must say, it's a pretty nice place to sit back relax and converse with good company. With it being happy hour, we went with all appetizers to munch on. And it was with Chips and Salsa being the first to arrive at the table. Man I love bottomless baskets of chip!

Chips - Happy Hour at Playa Grill and Margarita Bar in Mission Valley

One of the first dishes that we ordered was the Nachos La Playa with Carne Asada. Its Frijoles negros (black beans), Monterey jack cheese, sour cream, La Paz Salsa, jalapenos and carne asada. Let me tell you, these nachos were DELICIOUS! I couldn't stop talking about them and I believe the carne asada was what made this dish outstanding. The meat was so flavorful and tender. I've eaten many nachos and I have these ranked at the top. SO GOOD! That alone will have me coming back for more.

Nachos La Playa with Carne Asada - Happy Hour at Playa Grill and Margarita Bar in Mission Valley

Then we also got the Ceviche and Calamari Frito. I also really enjoyed the Ceviche that has white tiger shrimp in "Leche de Tigre" marinade with tomatoes, sweet onions and cilantro. I'd come back for this as well. The cilantro alone made the dish awesome. HAHAHA! I love that stuff! The marinade that they used was great and had so much great flavors. The Calamari Frito was ok. Not much to say other than I've had better.

Ceviche - Happy Hour at Playa Grill and Margarita Bar in Mission Valley

Calamari Frito - Happy Hour at Playa Grill and Margarita Bar in Mission Valley

After those appetizers, we figure we should do a round two. When we read the menu, The Merry Piglets sounded good. Its slow-roasted pork sliders with BBQ sauce, jicama slaw and caramelized pineapple. It tasted good and I really think it's because of the bread they used. It was soft and sweet like Hawaiian sweet rolls. It even had a buttery taste to it that stood out most. I kind of wished that they added more pork to the slider since it was lacking and didn't stand out like the bread or caramelized pineapple. I only ate half a slider, so I need to try it again. But so far, so good...

The Merry Piglets - Happy Hour at Playa Grill and Margarita Bar in Mission Valley

Last but not least, or may be it is least, is the Tacos De La Calle. It's basically two street tacos of Filet Mignon with cilantro, chopped onions and lime. I was not impressed at all, even with the cilantro. How can you mess up tacos? Is that even possible? Apparently you can. It was the least favored dish in the group by far. The chips were better than it. The meat was dry and it lacked flavor. If they used the same meat from the awesome nachos, these would have been perfect. Heck, put whatever it was in the nachos and make it into a taco and I'd eat that all day.

Tacos De La Calle - Happy Hour at Playa Grill and Margarita Bar in Mission Valley

Playa Grill and Margarita Bar in Mission Valley had some real winners. I didn't get the chance to try their main courses, but that's for another day. I'll definitely be back since it's a great place to hangout with a group of friends and catch up. Just don't get the tacos. And if you do, don't say that I didn't warn you.

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Playa Grill and Margarita Bar
2401 Fenton Parkway, D104
San Diego, CA 92108

Monday, May 9, 2011

More Tacos from TJ Oyster Bar in Bonita

Feeling for some seafood, I wanted fish tacos. So, why not hit up our usual joint in Bonita called TJ Oyster Bar? Well, that's exactly what we did. We got the usual delicious 99 cent fish tacos, but I also wanted to try the other seafood tacos that they offered. The first tacos are the Octopus Taco which I thought were fantastic. It's the first time I had those. They give you a good amount and it tasted very fresh. I really couldn't ask for more. And the next one is the Shrimp with Cheese Taco. You really can't go wrong with the shrimp. Just like the octopus, with also give you a good amount of shrimp not like some other places.

Octopus Taco at TJ Oyster Bar in Bonita

Shrimp with Cheese Taco at TJ Oyster Bar in Bonita

The next two tacos from TJ Oyster Bar is the Seafood Taco. The seafood taco is what I feel is the best bang for your buck taco that they have besides the regular fish taco. It has so much flavor and they pile a bunch of seafood into the taco. You can even see the cilantro. I love cilantro! So good! And we can't forget the Fish Taco that's being shown last. The best fish tacos that I've tried in San Diego and they're right there in Bonita. I'm still trying to find a place to take it out. No luck so far.

Seafood Taco at TJ Oyster Bar in Bonita

Fish Taco at TJ Oyster Bar in Bonita

Their tacos are basically street tacos. So, they're pretty small. But like I said earlier and in previous posts, they pack that tortilla full of seafood goodness. To me, it's totally worth it and it beats going to places like Rubio's. Delicious I tell ya. So delicious I just had to share it with everyone in this post. And it probably won't be my last. Give it a shot and let me know what you think.

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TJ Oyster Bar
4246 Bonita Rd
Bonita, CA

Luisa & Son's Bake Shop Fudge Brownies

I'm not familiar with Luisa & Son Bake Shop, but I did get the chance to try out their Fudge Brownies. I was told that they're a Filipino Bakery similar to Red Ribbon and Goldilocks. I got to visit that place some time. Anyways, I was given one of these brownies since I'm kind of known to love snacks. HAHAHA! It's no secret I tell ya. To be perfectly clear, I'm not much of a fudge guy. But man, I don't mind eating these at all. At the same time, I can't see myself eating them that often. I find fudge brownies in general to be a bit too rich for my taste and these are no different. It definitely satisfied me though...

Fudge Brownies from Luisa & Son Bake Shop in Norwalk

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Yummy Goldilocks' Madeleine Cookies

Here's something I like to snack on every once and awhile. It's Madeleine Cookies from Goldilocks in National City. They have other locations, but that's the one closet to me. Goldilocks is basically your Filipino bakeshop that also sells Filipino food. Even though it's not your traditional Filipino snack, it's a decent treat that sure to satisfy my sweet tooth that I seem to get more often these days. Anyways, I thought I'd share it with the rest of you...

Yummy Goldilocks' Madeleine Cookies in National City

Yummy Goldilocks' Madeleine Cookies in National City

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Goldilocks - National City
1420 E. Plaza Blvd D-7
National City, CA 91950

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Nice day to have coffee at Coffee Bean

It's been really nice out here in San Diego the last few days. Actually, it's been nice that last few weeks. We San Diegans are spoiled with great weather and I honestly can't remember the last time we had bad weather. Anyways, it would be sad to waste these beautiful days indoors. So, I spent one afternoon sipping on a large Hazelnut Latte in the front patio of The Coffee Bean enjoying on what I as well as others take for granted. A nice sunny warm day with a slight cool breeze. That's what I call the benefits of being self-employed. And here are some pics of that day...

Nice day to have coffee at Coffeebean...

Nice day to have coffee at Coffeebean...

Nice day to have coffee at Coffeebean...

California Burritos at Fresh MXN Food

Fresh MXN Food is the new Santana's Mexican Grill. That's what their branding says. I've been to Santana's a couple of times before the name change and to be honest, I'm not really a fan. Living in South San Diego, I'm surrounded with great taco shops so you can't blame me. But, with a coupon in hand for some California Burritos, there's no reason not to go. I love California Burritos! And then we are off to Fresh MXN Food in Point Loma off of Midway near the Sports Arena.

Fresh MXN Food in Point Loma, San Diego

I got to say, the blue they use for their branding is kind of in your face. It's pretty damn bright. And it's not just the blue, but with green and orange as well. With the use of the coupon, I had the choice of a Fresh MXN Food sticker or bag. I'm not a sticker guy, so I picked the bag since every damn grocery store is leaning towards going green. Well you know what, PLASTIC PLEASE! I got to admit, it's a quality bag with lots of room for your groceries. Not like the small ones you see the stores selling for a buck. But man does that logo stand out. I'd be a walking billboard with that bag.

Tote Bag from Fresh MXN Food in Point Loma, San Diego

Some may be asking what the heck a California Burrito is. Not to be confused with the Carne Asada Burrito like so many have. Much like the fish taco, it's a San Diego creation of goodness. I notice that other northern cities just started creating their version of it, but make no mistake; it's just not the same. San Diego does it the best. Different taco shops have their own tricks up their sleeve, but it usually consists of carne asada, cheese, salsa, guacamole and french fries. Yup, you heard that right, FRENCH FRIES! The great thing about having taco shops doing their own thing is there's always a place that caters to your taste buds. My go to spot used to be Zapata's in Paradise Hills, but they closed and to this day, I still haven't found a replacement for those delicious California Burritos. But for now, Lolita's is up there as my fave.

Carnitas California Burrito from Fresh MXN Food in Point Loma, San Diego

 Carnitas California Burrito from Fresh MXN Food in Point Loma, San Diego

It's kind of weird. I grew up with only one kind of California Burrito. So when they asked me what kind of California Burrito I wanted, I was surprised that I had a choice. No other taco shop does this and I'm not sure I like that. Well, they have carne asada, carnitas, adobada, achiote or grilled chicken. Feeling a bit adventurous, I went and got the Carnitas California Burrito (photos above). First off, this has to be the smallest California Burrito that I have ever had. At first, I thought it may have just been mine, but Hoheezee's burrito is the same size. What a rip. I also wanted to add that I'll stick with carne asada as the meat of choice here on out. I guess that it serves me right for going against the norm. Hoheezee got the traditional California Burrito w/ Carne Asada (photo below). Not much was said about it.

Carne Asada California Burrito from Fresh MXN Food in Point Loma, San Diego

Carne Asada California Burrito from Fresh MXN Food in Point Loma, San Diego

It was an ok meal and nothing to write home to. I don't even know if I would call it good. As far as California Burritos are concerned, these rank close to the bottom from what I experienced. The good part was, I got a free bag. HAHA! I've heard people rave about this place and the food; I had to give it a shot again with the help of the coupon. But in the end, I just don't get it. Since others like their food, give them a shot and see for yourself. My taste buds didn't care for it much.

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Fresh MXN Food
3742 Midway Dr
San Diego, Ca 92110

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