Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Carlsbad is in California?

I learned a geography lesson this week at work. New Mexico isn't the only home to a city named Carlsbad. Luckily, the clarification was made before we landed at the wrong airport, in the wrong direction!

The wheels came up a little after 4:00 PM on Monday. I had been waiting by the phone all day, praying for my ears to get well enough that they wouldn't explode on the flight. It's the little things in life that matter most...and hearing drums are things I prefer to have whole. Luckily, since the flight was only to southern California (in between San Diego and Los Angeles), we only went as high as 28,000. That helped keep the pressure differential down for the flight, and the cabin only got as high as a 2,000-foot ceiling. I still couldn't pop my ears in time to have them clear on landing, which resulted in being my typical old-lady self and not being able to hear well for a few hours after arrival.

It's pretty rare to land with daylight still left when Big Boss is on the airplane. We took full advantage of this and went to the beach! We ate at Norte Mexican Restaurant before walking half a block to the water. Coming from 110-degree weather made me appreciate the 68-degree temperature in Carlsbad. I couldn't resist taking off my shoes and feeling the sand between my toes. I love that feeling. Not enough to move close to the beach, mind you, but I enjoy it while I'm am close to the ocean. The beach was full of joggers, while a few surfers braved the chilly water to catch some decent waves. The water felt great up to my ankles after the initial shock of its cold temperature!

We didn't stay long. Since I was still pretty sick, I was ever-encouraging of heading to the hotel. It was formerly a Holiday Inn but had just changed to the Carlsbad by the Sea. I can't believe people pay $199 for a room at this place, but it was full. We paid about half of that since the FBO arranged our rooms. Most FBOs have a local rate with several hotels, and we pick the cheapest (while trying to avoid something that would have bed bugs, mind you) so that Big Boss will be happy with the bill. Though I usually arrange the passengers' hotel rooms as well, they were attending a conference at another hotel and simply stayed there instead.

Since he said we would be leaving around 10:00 AM, and since we promised the FBO that we would return their car by 8:30, I was up at 6:45 to get ready for the day. Since I'm still feeling puny, I would have loved to enjoy a few more hours of sleep to get me whole. Not today! Though we arrived at the airport nice and early, we didn't have passengers show up until 2:30 that afternoon. Since lunch time came and our stomachs were growling, we walked to the terminal restaurant around noon to grab a quick lunch. When we never know when Big Boss is going to show up, it's a treat to have a restaurant just a block away to visit. The food here was amazing. I had half a California Chicken Sandwich with a side salad. Terry ate an appetizer of nachos and then had a Cuban sandwich with fries. The best part about lunch was being right on the ramp for the airliners! Only SkyWest services Carlsbad-Palomar Airport, but we watched them land, unload, load, and takeoff all while enjoying our sandwiches outside. It was one of the most pleasant lunches I've ever had.

When the passengers finally arrived, we headed back to Phoenix to drop some people off. As he was leaving the airplane, Big Boss said he may want to leave again that very night. I drove home to see Hubby but kept my phone close. At 8:00 PM, I received a call that we weren't heading out again for another trip. It will probably still happen this week, but at least it wasn't the same day! And it's always nice to see Hubby in the middle of the week!

What a fun trip. I had never been to Carlsbad before, and I'm surprised at the San Fransisco-ish weather despite its location in southern California. With my ears staying mostly in tact for the two flights, I would consider this trip a success.

Monday, August 15, 2011

A Chance for Real Food

This past Saturday, we gathered with family to celebrate a few birthdays. A babysitter was found for the two babies (neither of which is mine, by the way), which meant an evening of just adults! This hasn't happened in over nineteen months since the babies joined the family, so I was tickled to have a baby-free evening with my bro and sis and their spouses. 

When deciding on a location for dinner, Hubby and I were all for visiting a new restaurant. Trying new places is one of my favorite things to do in my ever-exciting life, after all.

True Food Kitchen is known for healthy meals using the best ingredients in season now. I've been wanting to try it for months, but the location in Phoenix made it hard to justify for just a normal Date Night. Since we had to be in that area to convene with family, the dream to eat at True Food became a reality.

Although everything on the menu sounded delicious, I couldn't make up my mind between the Steak Tacos and the Corn Ravioli. Since everything was made-from-scratch in the restaurant, I had a feeling I couldn't go wrong either way. Our server saved the day by telling me I didn't have to choose since she could bring me a half-order of each. I started with the Steak Tacos, which were simply heaven. I finished with the ravioli, which was also good but didn't have as much flavor as the tacos I had just inhaled. I think had I switched the order of eating, I would have been completely happy with both!

My ears weren't playing tricks on me when I heard Hubby order the Turkey Burger. Two other people at our table ordered the same thing and raved about it from a previous visit. It came with a Sweet Potato Hash, which I casually sampled from my sister-in-law's plate. Hey, she offered!

Joe and T'liese each got an appetizer: a Kale Salad for T'liese and the Sashimi Fish Sampler for Joe. Her entree was the grilled halibut, while Joe ate some fish tacos. They must have been in a fishy mood. I smiled politely at all of the things that arrived on their plates, but I was being fake since I hate fish.

Did I mention everything was scrumptious?

We didn't save room for dessert on purpose since we had a bowling appointment to make. After two hours of throwing heavy balls down a long alley at some pins, and lots of Strike and Spare Dances, Winner-Of-The-Night Hubby got to select which ice cream establishment we visited. When you bowl a 193, you can do anything you want. We were all very impressed at our sister-in-law's consistency and killer score of 167. I broke 100 both games...small goals for me. 

Coldstone was delicious, but (like I've experienced every time I've visited), they tried to give me a tiny portion for the larger size I had ordered. We caught it on three of the six dishes. Luckily, they added a little more ice cream after we called them on it. But if we're paying $5.00 for a bowl of ice cream, why can't they make it a decent portion size? That's why I only go to Coldstone about every three years. Which, considering it's me, is pretty commendable.

Despite the crappy service, I must admit that my Cake Batter Ice Cream with Reese's Peanut Butter Cups mixed in was quite a treat indeed. Almost everyone else got chocolate with brownies mixed in. There was also a mint dish with Oreos. Yummy!

It was a fun evening with family, full of fish, bowling, and sweets. Sounds like a perfect evening to me! Minus the fish, of course.

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