Tuesday, June 28, 2016

The Beach Cottages at the North Island Naval Base!

Located in San Diego, California's "Jewel City",Coronado, sits twenty modern and furnished two-bedroom condominiums that face the majestic Pacific Ocean!  These cottages are perfect for a beach getaway for the entire family! The only caveat is that they are on a naval base, so only military personnel and their families can reserve them. With San Diego's beautiful weather, it is pretty much summer all year round so there is never a bad time to book a stay.  Breaker's Beach is the name of the beach on the base, and it is the same beach attached to Coronado Beach that was named the #1 beach in the United States in 2012. This is also the same beach where heroic Navy SEALS train year-round!  And you get a view of the famous Hotel Del Coronado in all it's glory from the beach. Talk about a "cool" factor, this location has it all.  The experience of breathing in the fresh salty air while taking walks on the shoreline, and watching the sunrise and sunset while listening to the calming sounds of waves easily makes this the best beach military lodging in the world.
Surf's Up!

Hotel Del Coronado can be seen from the beach!
Since there are only twenty of them, demand is high.  Active military can make a reservation up to a year in advance, and retired military up to 6 months in advance. There is only one reservation per ID. For $130 a night, this is truly a steal for a beach front property!  We enjoyed a stay a couple of years ago so prices may have increased since then. Each building is made up of two cottages side by side and each cottage has its own parking spaces to fit up to two vehicles. 

Inside, there is a living room with a pullout sofa-bed and two bedrooms. The master bedroom contains a queen bed and the second bedroom has two twins. Linens are included, but towels are not. There are TVs and WIFI available, but trust me, you'll be spending a lot of time outdoors!
Living room with sofa-bed
Master bedroom
Second bedroom with two twin beds

The kitchen is equipped with everything you need, even basic cooking equipment. There is also an outdoor grill per unit. Conveniently, the commissary is just down the way to pick up food supplies!  Don't feel like cooking? No problem.  On the base you will find McDonald's, Rubio's (a San Diego chain famous for fish tacos), Five Guys, a pizza place and more!

The back patios have a perfect view of the ocean to encourage family playtime and dining. There is even an outdoor shower to rinse off sand before coming back inside. I almost forgot to mention there is a washer and dryer unit in the condo as well!  It really is like a vacation home!

For larger group activities there are some shaded tables even closer to the water's edge.

Along with building sand castles, tanning and surfing, and playing beach volleyball, the base has so many other recreational activities including a fishing pier, a bowling alley, a golf course, and a movie theater! Guests at the cottage also have access to the Navy Lodge pool that is just yards away.  This pool has a splash park that is perfect for the little ones.

An added bonus of the location is the island of Coronado itself. Coronado has so many festive happenings on the island, if you are able to swing a reservation around a national holiday, this would be an ideal place to spend a July 4th, Christmas or Easter vacation. We really enjoyed the Beach Cottages at North Island Base and hope to stay again real soon!

Friday, June 17, 2016

Fig Tree Cafe at Liberty Market!

Mostly known for their scrumptious breakfast and lunch items, my family and I recently tried their dinner offerings at the newest branch of Fig Tree Cafe located in Liberty Station. This is the only location that serves dinner, for now at least.  Their menu proudly proclaims, "It goes without saying that Fig Tree Cafe only uses fresh local produce, fresh fish from Chesapeake Fish Co., and fresh local meats from Liberty Meats."

The cafe is very inviting! Plenty of parking too at this location as Liberty Market used to be a military training facility converted into a shopping/restaurant plaza. There are two outdoor areas to sit in, one out in the open and one that is shaded, perfect for al fresco dining in our Southern California weather!

Take a look inside! I love the lighting fixtures and the quirky sense of humor as displayed in their chalkboard quotes!

Now let's get to the eats!

Peach Bellini-Fruity, slightly sweet and a nice way to start off a meal! I liked it!

Firecracker Chicken Wings-My ten year old son loves wings with some heat to them so once we saw these on the menu, it was a given we would try them.  These weren't really firecracker hot, but like the description, these wings were tangy with just the right combo of sweet and tart!  They were also very tender.  If you didn't want to get your fingers messy to eat one, you certainly could use your fork and knife! Dining with some chicken wing lovers? Make sure to order two of these!
Mussels - The mussels were great with the white wine/lemon/garlic broth. But the standout in this dish was the soy chorizo.  I wasn't sure if you eat all three together or put some of the chorizo on the mussels, but the chorizo alone on top of the bread could be it's own starter dish as evidenced by the son who pretty much ate the entire thing for his dinner! It was that good and he is a picky eater! The bread had a nice texture to it. I think it was grilled but still had a chewy bite.  Our server, Andrea, was kind enough to bring us more bread as soon as she saw my son devouring this! 

More bread!

Meat and Cheese Board - We had a junior size platter just to sample. It featured fresh and dried fruit. nuts, olives, an in-house made strawberry and blackberry jam... and more artisan bread!  The three cheeses were manchego, provolone, and brie cheese paired with slivers of  wild boar and duck sausage. The wild boar was pretty good. This was a safe selection of everything you would expect on a charcuterie platter. Could you imagine the full size platter? This is perfect for pre-dinner noshing.

Shrimp-First, this flatbread is visually stunning! And it was loaded with bacon, mozzarella, anaheim chilies, scallions, truffle cream, and sprinkled with cilantro.  I like my flatbreads kind of crisp so this was difficult to eat by hand, it kind of flopped over. But I quickly forgot about that as soon as I took a bite! The flatbread was generously topped with big bits of bacon and good-sized shrimp! This was one of our favorites of the night!

Man Candy - What a funny name for bacon! Apparently this is a popular item at Fig Tree Cafe! The bacon comes from Kruz and Sons, located in Monrovia, California and is baked with brown sugar.  Oh my, this is definitely some kind of candy! You can order this as a side and the bacon slices are huge! Don't come here without eating this!

Short Ribs: The short ribs must have been braised for hours as they were so easy to break with a fork. This entree comes with roasted garlic mashed potatoes.  The cabernet sauce was not too "winey", just right for my palate!

Cali Chili Linguini: I had a feeling my daughter may order this as soon as I saw the menu description and sure enough, she did.  This is fresh linguini, topped with a cilantro cream sauce with shrimp, scallions, and roasted cherry tomatoes.  I'm surprised between the four of us that there was any of this left as we shared everything!  If you like pasta, you will definitely like this!

Fig Bread Pudding: The size of this dessert could easily feed 2-3 people! The bread pudding had just a hint of the fig, and vanilla ice cream just makes everything taste good!  This is their signature and most popular dessert and now I see why! I appreciate the fruit flower made by the chef too. This was an elegant and lovely dessert.

The other dessert we sampled was the Lava Molten Cake.  A chocolate cake with a melted chocolate center, again topped with that divine vanilla ice cream.  This dessert also was sized for sharing!
Recently added menu items include the grilled fish tacos served on your choice of flour or corn tortillas and topped with pico de gallo, cabbage, mozzarella and a chipotle remoulade.  This is served with white rice and black beans.

Another new menu item is a 100% angus beef burger.  Yes, what's a cafe without a burger on the menu, right? I couldn't believe they didn't offer one before! This is served with white truffle cheese and portobello mushrooms, argula, heirloom tomatoes, man candy (more of that bacon!) and a sunny sideup egg! Wow!  Of course it comes with french fries, with the option of upgrading to garlic or truffle fries.

The third new menu item is a margherita flatbread made with fresh mozarella, heriloom tomatoes, basil and extra virgin olive oil.

For a place with the word "cafe" in the name, I was impressed with their menu. They simply knocked it out of the park. The ambiance and offerings capture the essence of the Southern California eclectic lifestyle and the food transports you elsewhere.  Their menu selections were varied for casual diners and those who may want to partake of more sophisticated food.. There is definitely something everyone in your party will enjoy!

Disclosure: My family and I were treated to a complimentary meal in exchange for this post.  All opinions are my own.

Connect with Fig Tree Cafe Liberty Station on social media!
Facebook: www.facebook.com/FigTreeCafeLibertyStation
Twitter; www.twitter.com/FigTreeLS
Instagram: www.instagram.com/FigreeCafesd
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