Tag: Featured

Thinking About Visiting San Diego…Here’s a Tip From a Local…September in Del Mar

Firstly, don’t visit in May or June…sounds great, but believe it or not, our cloudiest time of year and not cheap. So, suggestion…September and October are amazing (basically , start booking now!)…school is back in, so tourists are gone, beaches are open, weather is stellar, and everything is cheaper.

Also, I don’t care who you are, if you’ve never tried to surf, give it a go. There are a ton of people who will give you a quick lesson…you will be standing in 1 hour tops and have the time of your life. Just make sure waves aren’t much bigger than 2-3ft the day you choose to go out.

Where to stay. Well, here’s a vote for the Del Mar area and a few things to do really close:

Del Mar Motel: Yes, it is a MMMMMotel, but there aren’t many places in San Diego where you can stay right on the beach…LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION! You also have some amazing restaurants right around it. If you want to drop $500-800 on Hotel Del or $400 on L’Auberge down the street that isn’t even on the beach, go for it, but for the money this place is legit. As I said above, if you can manage to come after Labor Day weekend, rates are fantastic and so is the weather.

Jake’s Del Mar: Right next door to the Del Mar Motel, this place can’t be beat and anybody that says it is a tourist trap is out of their mind. Forget getting a table and just sit up at the bar for appetizers, an orange blossom margarita, and an unbelievable sunset (as it’s right on the beach).

Zumbar: Want an insane cup of espresso…try this place. My review is for the one in Sorrento Valley, but there is a new one in Del Mar as well if you are staying at the above.

Pacifica Breeze: Love the outdoor setup, love the food, and love the location. There are probably 10 other great breakfast/brunch/lunch places in the area, so do as you please, but the location for this one sells it for me.

Belly Up: There are hardly any live music venues in San Diego, but if you are up for one and there is something going on, give this place a go.

If you are a real foody on a budget, consider coming the last week in September for Restaurant Week. Most restaurants participate and you can usually get a stellar 3 course meal at a deep discount. They usually also extend it a week so probably good to go the first week of October as well.

That’s it…come see us!

“Stay classy, San Diego” -Ron Burgundy.

Memphis Style Spare Ribs on My New Barrel House Smoker

Just got a new toy…my new Barrel House Vertical Smoker on a recommendation from TooManyHobbiesGuy, who is a good buddy and also slays some Q. This video is hypnotic and may make me a pyro, but so be it…

Anyway, it arrived on my doorstep and I had it smoking 4 racks of ribs within 30 minutes (crazy easy setup). Anyway, here’s what I did with them…

Rubbed down the ribs ahead of time with BBQ Bible Memphis Style Rib Rub (Thank You Steven Raichlen!) and had the mop sauce already made.

Rub Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup paprika
  • 4 1/2 tspns ground black pepper
  • 4 1/2 tsps dark brown sugar
  • 1 tbspns sea salt
  • 1 tspns celery salt
  • 1 1/2 tspns cayenne pepper
  • 1 1/2 tspns garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 tspns dry mustard
  • 1 1/2 tspns ground cumin

Mop Ingredients:

  • 2 cups cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cups yellow (ballpark) mustard
  • 2 teaspoons salt

If you need a how to from there, hit up the link above….tons more amazing stuff there as I posted previously (love, love, love this BBQ book) .

Built up the smoker while I got the coals hot, loaded it up, inserted ribs vertically, and then basically followed the Raichlen recipe. Boom…all done from time the smoker landed on my doorstep to pulling out some lovely ribs in about 3 1/2 hours…is that a record?! Maybe. After that, ate some dry and applied some Stubb’s sauce on some of the others…all were groovy.

Anyway, they came out nice and smoky and very tender. Gonna have to play with it a bit as it’s very different than my little weber smoker, but if you have any good recipes you’ve used or pointers, let me know.

Update: used baby backs instead of spare ribs and got better results…falling off the bone. Also, when I went to apply the mop sauce, I wrapped foil on end closest to the flames to keep them from drying out per a few people’s recommendations and good results…also considering flipping them about halfway next time…will update as I hone.

Blinkist Book Reviews: My First 10 Books

Think I mentioned this Blinkist app in a previous post and am loving it as I have a massive list of Non-Fiction books that I would like to read and not enough time. Blinkist is like Cliff Notes on steroids, so I’ve jumped in and have now knocked out almost 50 books in 2 months. Here are the first 10 in order of what I found the most riveting and/or highlighted up the most along with a quick Blinkist highlight…definitely going to try and pick up at least the first one for some long plane rides. Think this is my new filter as there are just too many books out there.

If any of you have read any of the below, and have recommendations, holler…

1. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F***: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life by Mark Manson

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*** (2016) concentrates on living a better life by caring about fewer things. In this book, based on his influential blog, Mark Manson explains the few simple rules that will help anyone lead a happier, less stressful existence. Do what you want, not all you can.

My own highlight on this one: We try to do too much in life and this leads to stress and unhappiness. Forget FOMO and learn to say no. We have to stop striving for immortality. We need to stop “giving a f***” about fame and power, and instead concentrate on the here and now. Look for meaning in the present and seek to spread happiness and joy where you are. If you want to focus only on the things that really matter to you, it is vitally important to say “no!” to everything else. It’s more important to miss out on the right things.  So pick what’s important to you, and ignore the rest.

2.The Art of Seduction by Robert Greene

The Art of Seduction (2001) examines the amoral game of seduction, explaining how seduction always starts in the mind and that the most successful seducers know this very well indeed. It explains strategies for inciting interest, disorientating the target of seduction, stirring desire and kindling emotions. These tactics will lead to the eventual seduction of the target.

3.TED Talks: The Official TED Guide to Public Speaking by Chris Anderson

TED Talks (2016) is the definitive guide to delivering a killer public speech. These blinks cover everything from stage fright to choosing the perfect outfit and will prepare to give a talk that’ll inspire any audience.

4. Leonardo Da Vinci: The Biography by Walter Isaacson

Leonardo da Vinci (2017) is an illuminating and thoughtful account of one of history’s most renowned individuals. Isaacson has studied previous biographies and accounts of Leonardo’s life – including the very first one, from the sixteenth century – as well as Leonardo’s wealth of notes. Isaacson paints a very human portrait of the legendary Renaissance artist and engineer. Though one of the few people in history who may truly be called a genius, Leonardo was only human and there is much that can be learned from his curiosity and approach to life.

5. Stumbling on Happiness by Daniel Gilbert

Stumbling on Happiness (2007) explains how our brains make us think about the future. It employs accessible language and everyday examples to help us understand complex theories from psychology, neuroscience and philosophy. Stumbling on Happiness helps answer the question: why do we make decisions that leave us unhappy? By showing how our brains work, it aims to help us imagine our futures in new ways, ways that could leave us happier.

6.Perennial Seller: The Art of Making and Marketing Work that Lasts by Ryan Holiday

Perennial Seller (2017) explains how to ensure that great creative work also succeeds in the market. These blinks not only demonstrate how to generate success for a particular project, but also how to secure continued long-term success for yourself as a creative individual.

7. The Effective Executive: The Definitive Guide to Getting the Right Things Done by Peter F. Drucker

In The Effective Executive, author Peter Drucker offers a step-by-step guide to becoming a more productive and effective executive. By mastering a few procedures and principles, you can develop your own capacities as a leader and also support your employees’ strengths, with the goal of improving results across your organization.

8. Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable by Seth Godin

These blinks explain why traditional marketing no longer works, and why to be successful you need to build Purple Cows, remarkable products and services that stand out of the crowd. They also explain how you can reach your target market once you’ve found your own Purple Cow.

9. A Curious Mind: The Secret to a Bigger Life by Brian Grazer

A Curious Mind (2015) investigates a vital attribute that many of us simply don’t value highly enough: curiosity. These blinks explain the vital importance of curiosity, and outline the ways it can improve your relationships with your employees, customers or loved ones – and even help you conquer your fears

10. MONEY: Master the Game: 7 Simple Steps to Financial Freedom by Tony Robbins

Do you want to master money, and make it work for you? In this book you’ll discover the steps you need to take to achieve real financial freedom. Whether you’re just starting your career or moving toward retirement, MONEY offers sound advice from seasoned professionals on saving and investing so you can live the life you want.

Smoky Cold Mezina Cocktail

I couldn’t resist on the name. I was playing with some ingredients (Mezcal + cucumber juice) and came up with this:

A little smoky from the Mezcal, a little cold from the cucumber…blam, Smoky Cold Medina!

Fish #TacoTuesday

Knocked out these Fish Tacos last night for the kids and they crushed! 2 big thumbs up…will do again and again. It may look like a lot of work, but they were truly worth it and it was actually a lot faster than I thought. I included ingredients below for ease of shopping, check the links for how-to’s:

  • This Blackened Cod recipe although I added lemon juice to it before applying ingredients, let it all sit about an hour and then drained the lemon juice before blackening. I’m not married to this fish, but it came out pretty good, but think the rest of the stuff below really made it…any other suggestions let me know as I’d be game. Ingredients are here, for the how-to check the link above:
    • 1 1/2 lb cod fish (cut into 3 inch long fillets)
    • 1 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
    • 1 tsp garlic powder
    • 1 tsp oregano
    • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1 tsp black pepper
    • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
    • 2 tbsp canola oil
    • I added lemon juice from 1 lemon
  • And this fish taco sauce, and I changed the sour cream to yogurt (although Honey Greek Gods yogurt which was all I had and it was yummy…will do again). Ingredients are here, for the how-to check the link:
    • 3 tablespoons sour cream (I subbed in Greek Yogurt here)
    • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
    • 1 tablespoon lime juice
    • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon sriracha hot sauce
  • Costco Uncooked Flour Tortillas:Heat up a pan and cook and as good as hand made…I love these tortillas and they make a huge difference
  • Killer, Creamy Black Beans: these take some time…I usually make them in big batches and freeze them down as they are just as good when you pull them out:
    • 1lb bag dry black beans
    • Chicken Stock
    • 1 small onion, chopped
    • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
    • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
    • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
    • 2 bay leaves
    • 2 teaspoons seasoned salt
    • Olive oil
  • This groovy Mexican slaw. Ingredients are here, for the how to check the link:
    •  14-ounce package prepared coleslaw mix
    • ¼ small red onion, thinly sliced
    • ¼ cup chopped cilantro leaves
    • ⅓ cup canola oil
    • 2 limes, juiced (about ¼ cup)
    • 3 cloves garlic, pressed (I used garlic powder)
    • 2 tablespoons honey
    • 1½ teaspoons ground cumin
    • 1 teaspoon oregano
    • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
    • 6 dashes hot sauce
    • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Avocado, slice
  • Your favorite hot sauce if you like. My favorite for this is Tapatio
  • I also added these groovy pickled red onions that I made well ahead of time…they are amazing

Also, consider washing it down with this Gold Margarita…put a little Tajin and salt on the rim for this one to change it up…Tajin rocks!

‘Slap Yo Mama’ Cornbread

I worked on this recipe with the Mrs. over and over until we got it exactly how we wanted it and I think we crushed it, but I’ll let you be the judge. The kids made the muffins in the pic above over the 4th and they were a smash hit.

If anything ever made you get so excited you might slap yo mama, this is it, but resist as that kind of stuff cannot be condoned. Anyhow, here goes:

Ingredients:

  • 1 Cup of Flour
  • 1 Cup of Cornmeal
  • ¼ Cup Sugar
  • 1 Tbspn Baking Powder
  • 2 Eggs
  • ½ Tspn Salt
  • ¼ Cup Honey
  • 1 Cup Plain Yogurt (I use Non Fat Greek…guess it makes me feel better!)
  • 4 oz. Apple Sauce
  • ¼ Cup Butter
  • 1 Ear Fresh Corn
  • Optional: Want to change it up a bit, try mixing in some minced jalapeno or shredded coconut (I dust the top with coconut as well, like the snap at the top, before putting it in the oven)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400F. Remove kernels from ear of corn and set aside. Cold whip the butter. Grease a pan w/ a little butter (for this I like to use either tiny muffin cups or a square cast iron pan but do what you like) and sprinkle a small amount of cornmeal in each cup or on the bottom. Pour batter in cups and bake approximately 22-25 minutes. Stick a toothpick in it and it should come out clean so you know it’s done.

Let it cool down just a bit and get after it…goes amazing with this Shrimp Creole by the way. Enjoy!

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Texas Style Smoked Brisket

Nothing reminds me of my early years growing up in Texas than a beautifully smoked brisket. This one is lovely…

Ingredients:

  • 10 lb brisket

Rub:

  • 2 parts brown sugar
  • 2 parts sea salt
  • 1 part ground black pepper
  • 1 part chili powder
  • 1 part paprika

Directions:

  • I have a small Weber smoker (and I love it for its portability), so I have to cut my brisket in ½ beforehand (love me or hate me for it, it doesn’t fit otherwise)
  • Rinse brisket and blot dry
  • Score it in a cross hatch on the fatty side
  • Generously apply rub all over
  • Wrap in plastic wrap overnight
  • Fire up the smoker to 225F and put brisket on fatty side up and let it go for about 3 hours (I used hickory for this one, but love some mesquite and Texans swear by it)
  • Remove brisket and double wrap it in tin foil and put it back on for 3 hours…baste in it’s own juices about halfway
  • Check temperature…done should be about 190F
  • Remove it and let it rest for an hour. Cut it across the grain and see how you did…it should be beautifully moist and tender with a nice smoke ring

At this point, you can slice it or chop it, and apply your favorite BBQ sauce as desired…my favorite is a slider with a little coleslaw on a Hawaiian roll…heaven!

And, if you want something nice to wash it down with, this Grand Marnier Gold Margarita works fabulously!