Hot puppy kibble salad

Hot puppy kibble salad

Our pup has a seriously great life. At least, I think it’s great: morning romps through a nearby field to dig out gopher holes and chasing butterflies . . . afternoon romps on the beach to noshing on sand crabs and play tag with pelican diving in the waves . . . and anytime cuddles with his boy.   I’ve had a huge learning curve, though, in learning how to care for a pup. This is our first dog, and I wasn’t anticipating how much a 4-pound, 9-week old rescue puppy could tug at my heartstrings. He cried the first time he smelled bacon cooking in the kitchen. He cried the first time I made burgers. And he cried the first time he smelled real charcoal barbecue, this tiny thing just learning to walk on a leash, refusing to budge, loving the aroma of beach party dinner. What’s a mom to do? I fed him.   I started to sprinkle a little granola in with his kibble to make it more appetizing, or parmesan cheese, or cooked rice. I’d give him bits of cheese or hot dog as “training rewards” during the day and then get irritated when he wasn’t excited to see his bowl of kibble at 5pm. This was NOT working for either one of us. I didn’t make any – or many – mistakes feeding my kids, but it didn’t take me long to realize that I was following a pathway to terrible doggy eating habits. I realized my problem was that I didn’t think it fair for pup to smell me cooking all this great food for...
Inspiring street tacos at the Tequila Grille

Inspiring street tacos at the Tequila Grille

If you ever discover termites are devouring part of your house, and to fix that problem you must remove all the food, the medicines, the 125-gallon fish tank, the 30-gallon fish tank, the 10-gallon fish tank, and the houseplants – as well as the plants living quite heavily on the outside wooden deck – 11 potted palms, 5 potted citrus, 3 bananas, and a bird of paradise – and for a minimum of 3 days your house will look like this:   I highly recommend this as a place to wait out your banishment:   There’s absolutely nothing wrong with San Diego’s Marriott Marquis. It’s walking distance to Seaport Village, the ferry to Coronado, Gaslamp District, a cool funky shopping mall, the Midway Museum, and the trolley to Old Town and beyond. There’s a Starbucks right there in the hotel to start your day with a venti black tea and a cup of fresh fruit. There’s a big hot tub, in case it’s too cool to swim in the June Gloom. And there’s a nicely groomed lawn right there next to the pool where your kids can practice their diabolo chops.   And best of all, the Tequila Bar & Grille, their house cantina, is completely awesome. The food is interesting and tasty, served piping hot by friendly staff, and with normal restaurant prices – probably because of all the nearby competition. And it totally rocked for an awesome late lunch/early supper after our big Silver Strand bike ride. Kid Two and I ordered too much food, of course – every taco on the menu was a bit much! – but...
One composed bite

One composed bite

Poolside at San Diego’s Marriott Marquis, post Silver Strand bike ride. I pulled together this fetching, perfectly composed bite from our Tequila Grill appetizer selections: a single crunchy tortilla chip, spread with creamy guacamole, layered with a spicy bit of chipotle chicken, and topped with tangy pickled red onion. So pretty and tasty I felt like a Food Network...
Retro gourmet at Craft & Commerce

Retro gourmet at Craft & Commerce

Imagine the nerdy-cool kid from high school: the quiet and deliberately unfashionable one, the one who chose to wear horn-rimmed glasses and ride his bike to school every single day, the one who actually understood all the cultural references, and who surprised everyone by nonchalantly unveiling an enormous Calvin & Hobbes tattoo on his back one day toward the end of senior year. Imagine he went on to graduate studies in Twentieth-Century American Literature and spent the requisite semester at Oxford where he fell in love with pub life, rough-hewn wood, and full-bodied beer. Then he spent a summer on his uncle’s farm, where he fell in love with state fairs and home-cooked meals and classic rock, spending pleasantly stoned evenings absorbing The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys and Welcome to the Machine and Court of the Crimson King through oversized headphones. Then, with newly acquired grown-up tastebuds and the deepened courage of his convictions, he made a life-changing leap to culinary school. And he was good. And so he opened a Restaurant. Imagine he approached the task philosophically, defining the vision of simplicity, value, and quality he’d experienced in his life thus far, and he used that vision to define his design, decor, and menu – inadvertently inventing a nouveau nostalgia along the way. And the rest of the world gets it because they’ve jumped on that early wave of hipster-dom he rode in his youth. Thus he created a Destination. That’s my vision, anyway, of how Craft & Commerce came to be. Call it fan fiction, foodie-style. My fantasy is based in delicious truth, though – here’s the evidence: He...

How many calories in a Domino’s bacon cheeseburger pizza?

Grist reported today that Domino’s, along with other fast-food pizza chains, are protesting proposed regulations required them to disclose calories per slice. Here’s a news article from today covering the same topic. That’s fine. There are independent labs all over the country who share their results. Here are a few I found online: Start with CalorieLab’s breakdown. They estimate a serving size is 1/8 of a Domino’s bacon cheeseburger pie, or 77 grams, and it contains: serving size: 77 grams (my note: compare to the 78 gram serving of a Doritos Locos Taco) calories: 220 calories from fat: 130.5 saturated fat: 5.5 grams total fat: 14.5 grams trans fat: 0 grams cholesterol: 30 mg sodium: 405 mg carbohydrates: 15 grams dietary fiber: 2 grams sugars: 2 gram protein: 11 grams For more information, visit CalorieLab’s website. Livestrong also has data, only their serving size is 2/8 a pizza instead of 1/8 – double the serving size. Even so, their numbers are more than double CalorieLab’s: serving size: no grams listed. (I could do the math, but this is their data, not mine) calories: 550 calories from fat: 234 saturated fat: 12 grams total fat: 26 grams trans fat: 0 grams cholesterol: 61 mg sodium: 1274 mg carbohydrates: 55 grams dietary fiber: 3 grams sugars: 3 gram protein: 26 grams For more information, visit Livestrong’s website. Finally, Domino’s Cal-O-Meter weighs in on the nutrition information of a medium, thin crust bacon cheeseburger feast pie: serving size: 154 g calories: 450 calories from fat: 250 saturated fat: 12 grams total fat: 28 grams trans fat: 0.5 grams cholesterol: 65 mg sodium:...
Biking the Silver Strand

Biking the Silver Strand

  I’d heard there was biking on Coronado. I took this as a personal challenge; there’s nothing more I love than than wandering down a new street or trail. There’s a thrill of discovery in experiencing a new piece of the world first-hand, the sounds and smells and weather, the secrets, all those things you’ll never find from a photo on Google Earth. So, while most vacationing families left the Marriott this particular June morning to check out Legoland or Sea World, I took the proverbial road less traveled, hustling Kid Two into a ferry across the bay to rent fat blue cruisers and take off into our unknown.   The path took us under Highway 75’s swath of blue steel toward our reward, Glorietta Boulevard, a wide, tranquil avenue smelling of eucalyptus and lined on one side with large, lovely homes gazing out over a golf course, a tennis club, the iconic Hotel Del Coronado, and Mad Men-esque towers of the Coronado Shores Condominiums. My plan was to go as far as the trail took us, so instead of a quick loop around the island we turned south at the marina, red-turreted rooftops of the Hotel Del at our backs, to Strand Way. Here it’s a proper bike path smelling of plumeria and rosemary, lilies and lantana – all tidy mounds of shrubs lining a nicely groomed trail.   I’ve led the boys down a few sketchy paths in the past, though, so Kid Two was justifiably suspicious of my plan as the trail took us from plumeria paradise past a enormous, traffic- and construction-laden compound, as we...
Bienvenidos a Old Town

Bienvenidos a Old Town

If you’re visiting San Diego for a day or four and need a good old-fashioned tourist experience, visit Old Town, the bougainvillea-studded, Mexican-restaurant filled, historic center of San Diego.   You will want to eat, and it’s honestly impossible to choose which of the Mexican restaurants to dine in. I started with this list on the neighborhood website then start cross-referencing with Yelp and Chowhound, soon falling into a spiral of uncertainty that was neither helpful nor tasty. In the end we chose Cafe Coyote. It was highly recommended by cab driver and concierge types. Yelpers swooned over their delicious tortillas.   I didn’t understand until we arrived, thought, that those beautiful flour tortillas are actually handmade in full view of the street; lovely Mexican women in embroidered puebla blouses pulling off small handfuls from the mother dough, briskly rolling them into perfect, thin, pliable circles, then cooking quickly on a hot, hot grill. These aren’t delicious tortillas; they’re fabulous tortillas. You really have to try them. Even if you’re just wandering down the street on your way to or from the Sheriff’s Museum or looking for a quiet corner to sip a cold drink, you can pause and buy 2 for $1.00 directly from the cooks. Try them in cinnamon; they’ll work a spoonful of the spice right into the dough – then slather with a slab of butter and munch as you walk.   Wandering past the trompe l’oeil walls toward the restroom, I had a sudden memory blast of eating in the same restaurant almost 30 years ago – the summer I spent in San Diego as a mother’s helper for...
Soft pretzel by the sea

Soft pretzel by the sea

Seaport Village, to be exact, where Kid Two and I are hiding out while our house is being termite-proofed. Banishment at the Marriott Marquis is not a so bad … here is our view:   We slept in, finally venturing out about noon for breakfast and found these enormous buttery soft pretzels at Wetzel’s: Missing Kid One and the pup, otherwise a perfect way to start a summer...
Smoked salmon pizza and grilled prawns – a perfect appetizer combination

Smoked salmon pizza and grilled prawns – a perfect appetizer combination

Saturday was slow-food pizza night, with friends new and old celebrating the close of another school year. But our pizza is slow and cocktails strong, so we started out fast and delicious, seafood-style, with three dozen grilled prawns tossed in Louisiana hot sauce. They are as rich and luscious as they are quick and easy, mostly because you make the sauce by mixing together 1 part butter to 1 part Louisiana-style hot sauce. Everything’s better with butter – or bacon! – right? A quarter-cup of each is plenty for a dozen prawns, and Crystal, Original Louisiana, and Frank’s Red Hot brands are all traditional and tasty choices. Just toss your sustainably-raised, cleaned and deveined prawns in olive oil and throw them on a hot grill. Turn them over as soon as they start turning pink; it takes only a minute or two on each side for them to cook through. Pop ’em straight into that buttered up hot sauce and dive in – you’ll definitely need extra napkins. Yum. Okay – now for the second appetizer: smoked salmon pizza. We’ve been refining this recipe ever since LL’s first taste of Wolfgang Puck’s smoked salmon pizza at Spagos in Las Vegas way back in the old Comdex days. Chef Puck uses thinly sliced smoked salmon – lox – with caviar. We use dry smoked salmon, thick flaky slabs of alder-infused deliciousness. I love Dave’s brand – it’s local but easy to buy online. Start by making your dough – click here for a fool-proof recipe. Now make a spread of 1 cup whipped cream cheese, zest of 1/2 lemon, 1/4 cup finely minced red onion,...