Earlier last week I wrote about the clothes and accessories I packed for my dad’s and my trip to California (see all of the pieces here) for my first ever work conference and just like from my time in Washington last year, I have loads of pictures and experiences to share from our trip starting with days one and two of our San Diego travels! Technically, our first day in Southern California was spent traveling to the state and landing at 8 pm, so the only activity I documented was dinner at Mona Lisa Italian Foods in Little Italy near our hotel. We initially thought we’d walk to Shake Shack a few blocks away (who doesn’t love Shake Shack?), but stumbled upon Mona Lisa right before getting to the eatery. Neither of us would ever turn down pizza or pasta, so the restaurant seemed like a good choice upon first view! We shared a bowl of minestrone soup topped with a heaping scoop of parmesan cheese to start, and followed with a supreme calzone and spaghetti with meatballs and marinara. The calzone was absolutely monstrous—a good 13+ inches long with far more pieces than we could consume ourselves. It was packed with pepperoni, onions, mushrooms, and cheese, and we dipped each piece in sweet and tangy marinara for the most perfect bites! The spaghetti was just as yummy and topped with the juiciest and meatiest meat balls that thankfully didn’t fall apart upon first cut. For dessert I had to order their spumoni cake, especially since I adore spumoni and thought that it was only a Hawaiʻi Spaghetti Factory dessert option (please don’t ask me why I thought this—just like how I thought all local Hawaiʻi songs were originals) and the cake was creamy, sweet, and extremely satisfying despite the cooler weather!
On day two of our San Diego trip, we woke up bright and early (at least I did for once in my life!) to eat a small breakfast in the hotel lobby before wandering around Little Italy. Most of the restaurants and stores in the area weren’t open yet, but dad and I enjoyed walking around and looking at the places near our hotel. We went back to Mona Lisa to visit the small market attached to the restaurant and we bought two of their simple $1.75 mini sandwiches—salami, mortadella, and provolone on a regular-sized roll to try and keep as snacks in our hotel! After walking around the area for enough time, we went back to the hotel to watch the Djokovic and Ruud match in the French Open finals until it was time to leave. We drove to Trader Joe’s to buy some snacks for ourselves and our family back home and stopped at Goodwill and another small thrift store nearby (neither of us went crazy at either store somehow), which were two of our shopping highlights. After purchasing enough treats to feed every person in our family, dad bought a few pastries at a standalone shop and we headed toward La Jolla to meet our cousin Stephanie and her partner Danny for a late lunch! Stephanie and Danny made reservations for us to eat our first lunch on day two of our San Diego trip at George’s at the Cove—a beautiful restaurant overlooking the ocean and the sweetest sea lions! We shared delicious appetizers in the form of crispy shrimp (my favorite dish we ate), chips with guacamole and salsa, and parmesan herb fries. I chose the local rock fish tacos with cabbage, pico de Gallo, and Baja sauce for my lunch entree and the fish was blackened and tender with spicy and tangy flavors throughout. We ended our huge meal with the warm chocolate cake topped with chocolate sauce, coconut sorbet, and cocoa-coconut chips—a warm, gooey, and crunchy delight that I especially loved for the chocolate and coconut combination (one of my favorite dessert pairings!)! We went to see the sea lions after lunch and walked around the shopping areas nearby, purchasing candies and taffy at one of the small candy stores. We had such a wonderful time with Stephanie and Danny and were so lucky they were kind enough to drive and see us! Because we had the most massive lunch and didn’t end our time together until around 4:30 pm, dad and I ate our leftover pasta and calzone along with Trader Joe’s tabouli salad, cherries, and sliced mango for a late dinner while watching episodes of Somebody Feed Phil. We had fun and food-filled days one and two of our San Diego trip!