Monday, September 12, 2011

West Coast Road Trip - Day 8: LA to San Diego

Though we did a lot of sightseeing on Friday, the one thing that we had yet to see was the Hollywood sign. The tour books said that you could see the sign from just about anywhere in the city. They pretty much lied. Driving around LA all day on Friday, we had yet to spy the sign from anywhere in the city. So we looked up the best vantage points, and we made our way over to Beachwood Drive above Hollywood Boulevard and there it was.

When we stopped to take pictures, a very nice man on the street told us that we could get a better photo from much closer up. However, when we headed toward the Hills, our view got more an more obstructed. So we gave up, turned around, and headed out of the city on to our next stop: Santa Monica.

We parked and took a walk on the pier. Though it was cloudy and gray, Santa Monica Pier was super pretty and full of vibrant colors and energetic people out for their morning jogs. We checked out Pacific Park, but did not ride any of the rides. We also got to see a scary police helicopter. Sarah had told us that they were rampant in LA. Since it was daylight, we didn't get to see it beam blinding light down on any suspected criminals, but it sure was noisy and intimidating.

After checking out the pier it was time to get back on the car and head to San Diego, our last stop on the trip, but we had a lot of places to see before we got there.

The first was Rancho Palos Verdes and the Wayfarers Chapel.

The Wayfarers Chapel has been on my list of places to see for a long time.

The Swedenborgian Church is on the edge of a cliff and boasts some of the most beautiful Pacific views in southern California.

Conceived as a respite for all wayfarers on the journey of life, the Wayfarers Chapel is noted for its unique modern architecture that incorporates the natural landscape into the design. It's one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen.

Our visit was a quick one since there was a wedding scheduled at The Chapel that day, and we didn't want to get in the way. For those of you out there who were fans of The OC, this is where Julie Cooper Nichol Cooper Roberts got married for the second time in season 1. It was also where Caleb was memorialized in season 2. I loved The O.C.

Speaking of The OC, next we were on to Newport Beach, California.

We visited Corona del Mar State Beach and checked out the pier. Both were beautiful and busy with crowds of late summer vacationers.

We only spent a few minutes on the beach before heading down the boardwalk to get some lunch.

Before we spotted a place to stop and get lunch, we found a snack stand selling Newport Beach's famous Balboa Bars. Though I had no idea what a Balboa Bar was, I knew I wanted one.

Ice cream, dipped in chocolate, dipped in your choice of topping. Nothing could be better. Alex chose crushed oreos, and I chose sprinkles. Though they were pretty mess, they were totally perfect and delicious.

After hitting the beach, we decided to stop on Balboa Island.

Balboa Island is famous for many things. First, it has one of the highest population densities in the United States: 17,621 people per square mile. It also has one of the most expensive real estate markets, second to only Lower Manhattan. A two bedroom home goes for about 2 million dollars in Balboa Island. We won't be moving there anytime soon. Lastly, Balboa Island is home to the world famous chocolate covered frozen banana.

Being a huge Arrested Development fan, Alex had to have one. Turns out, they were kinda gross.

After our visit to Balboa Island, we headed off in the sunset toward San Diego. As it started to get dark, we decided to stop at Moonlight State Beach in Encintas.

Though the west coast is famous for its sunsets, with all the fog, we had yet to see one. Today was no exception though. Fog and clouds got in the way, and the sun faded into the background and out of view. 

Before reaching San Diego, we decided to stop for some dinner at the Barracuda Grill in Encintas.

We shared a bread basket and a red tomato, fresh mozzarella tower with aged balsamic and olive oil. Then I had to try the grilled pork tenderloin, parsnip purée, in brandy mustard sauce. It was phenomenal.

Even better was Alex's goat cheese and sun dried tomato ravioli, in vegetable broth. Both meals were so flavorful and seemingly fairly healthy. We finished the night off with some some not quite as healthy vanilla crème brûlée for dessert and got back and in the car and headed to San Diego.

1 comment:

  1. Wow - beautiful! I love the picture of the cliff up next to the ocean!