In a Touristy State O’ Mind

A favorite and very important philosophical belief of mine (discovered from my “early-twenties-life-crisis”) is that Life is all about one’s perspective; it is how you decide or choose to look at things that makes all the difference.  Indeed, one of the main applications of this belief is towards one’s happiness: Happiness is what you choose to define for yourself–you alone have that power.  It is not what others, society etc. define for you, that is, unless you allow them to do so (and by doing so, cursing yourself to a very unhappy, unsatisfied and stifling life).

But! Before I start blabbering too much on inner peace philosophies, onto a more whimisical and fun application of such belief–That is, to regard one’s day-to-day (i.e. easily taken for granted) surroundings with new eyeballs (i.e. a fresh perspective)!

So the other weekend, Fwet and I decided to explore a part of downtown San Diego as if we were tourists. We don’t really frequent downtown too often (usually it is to go clubbing or something and since that occurs at night, we realized that we never have explored the area during the day time.) The area we chose was Little Italy!

When Fwet and I travel, we love just walking around the town or city and to soak up the day-to-day life of the people who live there, absorbing the culture if you will. And so we parked at the north-most end of Little Italy and browsed through some really cool modern furniture stores, gaining nice bits of inspiration for our own cubbiecave.

We randomly found a unique Beer Tasting spot called Bottle Craft (as a side note, India street is the main street of Little Italy—with many restaurants and cafes). It is located just down the street from Mona Lisa Italian Deli—A place we unfortunately did not check out this time, but I have heard many a great thing about their delicious Italian cured meats and cheeses. For future reference, it would be great to pick up a sandwich and some antipasti from Mona Lisa deli, then bring it to Bottle Craft to have some beer with it (no food at Bottle Craft, but the staff suggested this to us for next time—so basically having a lovely indoor picnic :). To be honest I am not much of a beer fan, but hey, I figure just like wine and coffee, it is always fun to explore new flavors with one’s taste buds and beer has a complexity and rich history of its own right. (Indeed, SD apparently is quite known for its beer scene—from a recent NY times article, it would be Napa is to wine as SD is to beer!).

Anyways so I had a yummie Japanese Hefeweizen and Fwet had a “California Lager.” (So you can either select to do a featured beer tasting –there were two choices available—or pick a bottle from the broad international selection in their fridge case and have it in the store.) So while sitting there we decided to learn ourselves some beer characteristics (thank you wiki!): Hefs are wheat based beers that are fermented cold…hence they have a heavy wheatie flavor. Lagers on the other hand are warm fermented..and this particular one was initially kind of bitter—but after awhile, this faded away to a much smoother taste (I wonder if beer is like wine in how oxygen exposure/aeration alters the flavors? Ah I am so ignorant of beer).

Then per the suggestion of the friendly staff, we decided to check out for a late lunch, (I wish we had multiple stomachs cuz there were so many other places we wanted to eat) a ramen place called UnderBelly. I had read about this foodie-esque place in some magazine and so we were curious to give it a try. (Fwet is a major Japanese food snob and plus we had the best ramen ever in this hole in the wall place in Shibuya so I wasn’t expecting this place to beat it—BUT! Since we cannot travel to Japan for ramen, we were willing to give it a shot.) We wanted to also eat at Mona Lisa—but sigh next time.

So! UnderBelly is located on Kettner, in a lovely corner location—with super high ceilings and windows—very urban modern meets ramen stand type of place. It was sitting here looking out onto the lovely buildings and harbor/ocean beyond that we could see ourselves living in a downtown such as this—being able to walk everywhere—shops, restaurants, cafes…

The ramen was very delicious–although not “conventional,” the smoky bacon provided a nice rich complexity to the broth.  We sat at the counter–(mainly the restaurant is composed of counter seating) with a lovely lil street view.

Then for dinner we ventured out of Little Italy to North Park area, to Jayne’s Gastropub.  Usually, indeed good food and England seem to be oxymoronous, BUT there are some things they do well heh and fried and deathly pub food is one of em. We started off with delicious tender moist Carlsbad mussels in a rich broth that made me want to drink it (mussel shells may double as spoons 🙂 Then, I had the Sea bass Fish N Chips (beautifully juicy chunks of one of my favorite fishies, with a light crisp fried batter, the sauteed sweet peas were a wonderful combo (a nice break from the fried stuff) but then back to the yummie fries.) Fwet had the delicious deathly Shepard’s pie with chunks of moist lamb and topped with a buttery mashed potato-esque topping mmmm. Talk about comfort food! And for desert we had a perfect Affogato (really can’t go wrong with dark strong espresso poured over vanilla gelato 🙂

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