Monday, June 19, 2017

Spooky Travels: San Diego Mini Get-Away

San Diego's Museum of Man at Balboa Park

Apologies that I have not been updating as much as I would like here, but things have been so busy lately (in a good way) that I haven't had much spare time to do things I enjoy, like write here! I did want to share with you a mini get-away I was able to take last month. I recently got promoted at work, so I decided to treat myself to a quick weekend get-away in San Diego. San Diego isn't very far from me (about an hour and a half to two hours), but I hardly ever get down there. I had been wanting to try some new vegan restaurants down there, so I booked an AirBnB for Mister Spooky and I and we took a Friday off to visit SD.

Mission San Juan Capistrano

On the way, we stopped at Mission San Juan Capistrano to take a tour. I hadn't been inside the mission since I was a kid and it was so neat to see the ruins of the old church and revisit the ghost stories told about that place (psssst, I'm doing a guest post about haunted Orange County places on Spooky Little Halloween soon, keep you eyes peeled!). We got there early, so it thankfully wasn't too crowded. The grounds had a haunted air about them, and the ruins of what was a old church were stunning to behold.

Mission San Juan Capistrano

The chapel inside Mission San Juan Capistrano

Plant Power Fast Food spread!

After the mission, we continued on to San Diego and when we got there our first stop was Plant Power Fast Food. This is an all-vegan fast food place I've been wanting to try forever!! They serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner. We arrived at lunch (I was a bit bummed I missed their breakfast), and ordered a variety of noms. I was really stoked to try their Big Zac burger (a vegan take on McDonald's Big Mac), and they had so many other tempting treats! We ended up getting the Big Zac, a strawberry milkshake, mini corn dogs, Voodoo fries, and a chili cheese dog. Everything was sooooo good and the Big Zac was everything I hoped it was gonna be and more! I swooned hard over the strawberry milkshake, too. I need to go back and try their breakfast offerings.

Heritage County Park's stately Victorians

Next we checked out the Victorian houses at Heritage County Park near Old Town. I love Victorian houses, and it was a treat to see these lovely historical houses. I was surprised and happy that San Diego had so many gorgeous Victorians! We walked a little around Old Town, but I had forgotten how touristy it was so we didn't stay long - but we did stop by to admire the Whaley House (considered one of the most haunted houses in the U.S.). We had toured it a few years back so we didn't indulge in a tour this time (but the self-guided tour is neat and I recommend it)!

 Whaley House Historical Landmark

Historical (and some say haunted) Whaley House in Old Town San Diego

Several people recommended the Museum of Man in San Diego's Balboa Park, so we headed there next. It's geared more towards kids, but we decided to check it out anyway. The museum is housed inside a gorgeous building whose architecture was inspired by Spanish churches. There are a lot of other beautiful buildings and things to see in Balboa Park, but since it was warming up when we got there we didn't walk around much. The museum itself had some neat exhibits and many were interactive - I really loved the Monsters exhibit and the mummies!

The Monsters exhibit at the Museum of Man was so cute!

 Skulls from different species that you could sort at the Museum of Man

 Part of an Egyptian sarcophagus from the Egyptian exhibit at the Museum
of Man. I love all the hieroglyphics! The museum also had a display on
Egyptian funerary items that was pretty cool to see.

 The Lemon Grove Girl, mummy who was found in Chihuahua, Mexico 
and smuggled to the U.S. by two teenage boys in 1966. She remained 
hidden in a garage until she was discovered years later (read the full 
story on Atlas Obscura) and the Museum of Man eventually 
gained permission from Mexico to retain this mummy, 
who now resides in their permanent collection. 

This Peruvian infant mummy was my favorite on display at the Museum
of Man. It was so startling and yet intriguing to see. The museum had
three other infant mummies on display.

For dinner we went to the newly opened Donna Jean, an all-vegan restaurant specializing in down-home comfort food. Chef Roy made my favorite vegan mac 'n' cheese when he worked at SunCafe in Studio City, so I was dying to try his new restaurant in San Diego! It is right by Balboa Park (and actually right next to Evolution Fast Food, another rad vegan place), has a pretty patio with twinkle lights and a veggie and herb garden where they pick plants fresh to use in their dishes. The inside seating area is pretty spacious and has a clean look. Check out what we ordered below:

 I started off with "The Elder" cocktail, made with elderflower infused sake,
fresh mint, and lime juice. It was so refreshing after a long day of walking!

 Baked Ricotta - Hoja Santa wrapped ricotta, herbs, chili flake, lemon
oil, sourdough

 One of my faves of the night - Nashville Hot Shrooms! Breaded
mushrooms, served with sourdough, pickles, and hot sauce

 Entrees - Cast Iron Mac 'n' Cheese and Ravioli (ricotta, tempeh, arrabbiata, 
fava beans, Bloomsdale spinach). Both were great, but that mac 'n' cheese,
OMG! So creamy and decadent!

Finished the night with some Dark Horse coffee and blackberry cobbler.
Everything was so good and I can't wait to go back for their brunch!

After giving our bellies a good night's rest, the next morning we headed out to our last San Diego stop, Kindred! Kindred is a vegan metal-themed bar/restaurant that I have been wanting to try forever! I was so very happy to finally try it for brunch. Their decor was incredible, they played metal, and even most menu items had metal-inspired names. They had so many delicious dishes for brunch, but I can't wait to go back and try their dinner menu, Take a peek at our visit there on a sunny Saturday morning: 

 We got a spot by the great horned wolf that presides over the restaurant

 Love their menu design - and their "Heavy Weather" coffee was superb

 Tofu Benedict and Banana Bread French Toast - both were damn tasty! The
tofu in the Benedict was so crispy and the banana bread was out of this world!

 This was the Hashes for the Mashes, which was a kaleidoscope of different
flavors and textures and one of my fave dishes we tried!

 I took their ooey, gooey cinnamon roll home with us - it was one of the best vegan
cinnamon rolls I have ever had!

Of course I had to stop in the bathroom to pay my respects to Danzig and
all the kitty art adorning it!

Our trip to San Diego was quick, but it was just what I needed before things got really crazy with work and taking another trip up to my parent's house (I may do a photo post from that trip, too). I got to eat so many yummy vegan noms and check out a neat museum. San Diego is such a beautiful, friendly place to visit with so many fantastic vegan options - I'll need to go again soon! 

What are your fave places to visit in San Diego?

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