Thursday, September 28, 2017

Trade Winds Tavern - Fresh. Eclectic. Delicious!

(Update:  Unfortunately this restaurant is no longer in business.)
With two restaurants under her belt, owner Sylvia Le is a veteran restaurateur!  It was a pleasure to meet her and learn about the development story of Tradewind Taverns, a new neighborhood eatery on the Balboa Block of the Convoy area. Sylvia owns SipZ, two vegetarian restaurant locations, so opening a tavern serving Asian fusion tapas was a new venture for her.  Members of the San Diego Filipino Blogger Network recently attended a tasting and interview with Sylvia.
Owner Sylvia Le is third from left.
Our conversation ebbed and flowed as we talked about her experience in the industry and her wanting to fuel others' passion, especially her brother's as he is the Executive Chef  of Trade Winds Tavern and a Culinary Institute of America graduate! The creation of the menu has been a joint collaboration over the past few months with the chefs experimenting with new flavors.  She said you'll find the veterans mentoring the newbies until a dish is just right. With that, it was apparent to me that Sylvia wants to have the type of place where customers AND staff are happy and content.  I was impressed that for only being opened since March 2017, she already greeted some of her customers by name.

One of the new options is Trade Winds' brunch menu featuring $12 bottomless mimosas available on both Saturday and Sunday. This mascarpone stuffed french toast dribbled with a caramel / vanilla sauce and topped with berries is on the brunch menu. It was like a savory dessert and had enough crispiness to make each bite pop through the sweet sauces. So good!

This cocktail flight is also available and includes a Bloody Mary shot, a Strawberry Lemon Drop shot, a Mega Mule shot and a Creamy Soju shot! Soju! I love Soju!
Another one of their brunch specials is chicken skin chicharrones, Filipino style! Oh my! I could have eaten these like a bag of salty chips! They were light and melted in the heat of your mouth!
Staying in the category of Philippine cuisine, Chef Marvin Elauria took us to the province with his take on Bicol Express, using mussels! I could eat that silky coconut milk broth on its own any rainy day!
We also tasted the popular salted pepper chicken wings.  Let me tell you, these rival any found in the Chinese restos in National City / South Bay area! Go see and taste what I'm talking about!
Next, these Japanese-inspired mushroom gyoza with shisito peppers are a vegetarian option!  I liked that they used mushroom in lieu of pork or shrimp!
Another Chinese dish were the pork belly bao buns.  The fried jalapenos gave each bite a robust punch of heat!
From Hawaii, we got a taste of local onos with their version of Loco Moco served over fried rice with Chinese sausage.  The Chinese broccoli and bacon stayed crunchy and perfectly balanced the texture of the soft egg and meat patty. My husband would LOVE this!
Not really from Asia, ... let's say the land of the free, the Messy Burger served with taro chips!
Another bar food favorite of customers is their dirty fries! They can make their filthier if you want by adding a fried egg on top! This was the talk of our table.  The pork and sauce mixed up with creme freshe and some fries, Five Star Bar Food!
To wash this deliciousness down, we sipped on a lychee mint spritzer,
a strawberry sojutini,
and my favorite, plum wine!
In addition to serving drinks and food, Trade Winds holds Trivia Nights on Wednesdays, a recent one dedicated to Game of Thrones! In addition, there are game nights and also an Instagram contest with the prize being a Golden Ticket, the ability to purchase unlimited beers for $3 for the next three months!
Our group ate, (but first took pictures of the food, hahaha), drank, interviewed Sylvia and it was an amazing time!

The food was not what I would expect from a place with Tavern in the name. It felt like we ate carefully thought out meals cooked from a dear friend who knew what we would enjoy.  Sylvia made us feel so welcome in her new place.  Please go visit Trade Winds Tavern soon!
A few members of our SD blogger group!
I was treated to a tasting menu in exchange for this blog post. All opinion are my own.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Ten Tips if You're Planning a Trip to Great Wolf Lodge!

1.  There are so many promo codes out there, don't ever pay full price! We used a code for 40% off sixty days in advance and paid  $417 for two nights! I think the deposit was non-refundable but even the check-in guy said, "How'd you get that price? Some people pay that for one night!" After your initial stay, you will receive offers via email to come back at even more discounted prices. Depending on the season, they may have extra activities. We went in Fall, Howloween time! Tip: Do some research for offers before you book your stay.

2. Let's face it, eating out on vacation can really put a dent in your wallet. A donut from Dunkin' donuts, which is there on site, is more than a dollar.  We got a half-dozen from a place up the street for less than $5. McDonald's is right across the street too. That was our breakfast place. Lee's Sandwiches is also next door in the strip mall. Banh mi for days at $3-4 dollars a sandwich. You can't beat a freshly baked hot baguette for a buck and some butter chips!  We went there twice! I heard someone say that Garden Grove is the mecca for Vietnamese food. We had pho at Saigon 9, in the same strip mall. We enjoyed huge bowls of savory soup for less than $7 per bowl.  I also saw a mercado there in the mall as well, but didn't go in.  I paid $12 for 3 street-sized shrimp tacos and fries at Great Wolf Lodge. I'm sure that's a whole meal with rice and beans in that store. They do have a sit-down restaurant and a buffet, but we didn't eat there. Tip: If you are on a budget or want other food than the usual amusement park food, go out of Great Wolf Lodge to eat!

3.  The Nickel Nickel Arcade next door was so fun! Just a hop, skip, and jump from the wolf lodge!  $2 admission price per person but a yelp check in gets you a dollar off. Group of six or more gets you in for  $1.25. Then you buy bags of nickels from $3 to $10. They have a good range of games from Free to six nickels! I played my childhood games, Frogger and Centipede for free! Open until 11 pm. Tip: For a change of pace, get your arcade game on at Nickel Nickel! 

4.  Great Wolf Lodge also has a convention center upstairs.  Ralphs sponsored their floral holiday training there. They had the whole second floor and then booked the buffet to feed the employees.  Tip: Great Wolf is not just a water park and hotel, host your next company event there!
5. They were so considerate!  There is a little welcome basket with candy, coffee, and I forgot what else in the room.  Even some deep conditioner for pool hair! Nice touch Great Wolf! Tip: I don't really have one, but isn't this nice?

6. It's like a sauna in the water park and the chlorine hits you in the eyes and nose! Just be prepared. The slides are long and topsy turvy too! I enjoyed the non-slide areas much better as I had a headache after each session of being in there. Tip: Bring some pain reliever meds and hydrate often!

7. They have a fridge and microwave in each room.  This was great for keeping drinks cold and heating up popcorn or leftovers from meals! They do check your bag when you enter the water park. I wasn't sure if they allow non-park food because they asked me about some candy I had. I just told them I needed it to keep my sugar level in check. Tip: Bring some disposable paper goods if you want to bring food from outside or home but you probably need to eat in the room or in the common areas.

8. They have packages which include Disneyland tickets! I think that's really smart of them.  Don't have the budget for Disneyland tickets? Tip:  Downtown Disney is not too far if you need a Disney fix and it's free! Well parking you may need to pay for.  Go watch the fireworks in the area outside the entrance! It is still spectacular!
Photo from
9.  The parking gate makes you tap in and out with the bracelet. We went out of the structure quite often, to go to the store or eat. We even explored Huntington Beach on one of our days there! Tip: Wear the bracelet on the left wrist if you're the driver.  This just makes it so much easier when you are coming and going.

10.  Although check out time is at 11 am, you can still enjoy the water park and kid activities until closing on the day you check out, typically 8 pm. Tip: Pack a day bag with extra clothes and shower supplies (towels are provided) to maximize your stay!

Hope these tips helped! Have one I didn't share? Please comment below!
High Paw for a Howling Good Time at Great Wolf Lodge! AAAWOOOOOOO!


It’s ninja time! LEGOLAND® California Resort celebrates the opening of Warner Bros. Pictures’ highly anticipated big-screen animated adventure “THE LEGO® NINJAGO® MOVIE,” in theaters nationwide on September 22, with LEGO NINJAGO Days on September 23 & 24. Guests are invited to come join in some LEGO NINJAGO fun at the family theme park and meet some of their favorite LEGO NINJAGO characters, including Kai, Jay and Nya. Guests can also participate in activities such as building a LEGO mystery mosaic, completing a scavenger hunt in Miniland U.S.A. and be one of the first to play “THE LEGO NINJAGO MOVIE” video game. All activities are included with the price of admission into LEGOLAND California Resort.

September 23 & 24, 2017
LEGOLAND California Resort, Carlsbad, CA
Please call if interested in covering the event

THE LEGO® NINJAGO® MOVIE™ Character Meet & Greets
Meet characters from the movie in LEGO NINJAGO World!
10 a.m., 1 1a.m.12 p.m.1 p.m.2 p.m.3 p.m.4 p.m.
Mystery Mosaic LEGO® Build
First come, first serve! Work together to build a LEGO mosaic and check out our FB page to see it completed!
10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Miniland U.S.A Scavenger Hunt
Find the ninjas in Miniland U.S.A. and complete your entry form for a chance to win a LEGO NINJAGO prize pack!
10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
WB Family GameSpace, featuring THE LEGO NINJAGO MOVIE Video Game
Master new skills and upgrade your weapons in your training to find your inner ninja in this new video game.
10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Get your Ninja on this weekend!

Saturday, September 9, 2017

San Diego College Campus Tours!

Fall Break is right around the corner for those of us who have children in the South San Diego area. What a great time to take the kids to see our local campuses! This is something we always did whenever we took a trip to another city.  We included a stop at the local university and a trip to the bookstore for a souvenir t-shirt.  It's never too early to start thinking about college!

There are many satellite campuses. This is the main one:
900 Otay Lakes Rd. Chula Vista, CA 91910
(619) 421-6700
Prospective Student Center 5500 Campanile Dr. San Diego, CA 92182
(619) 594 6336
Campus Tours You can also register for a group tour!

333 S. Twin Oaks Valley Road San Marcos, CA 92096
(760) 750-4830

9500 Gilman Dr. La Jolla, CA 92093
(858) 822-4750

  • Point Loma Nazarene University
3900 Lomaland Dr. San Diego, CA 92093
(619) 849-2200

5998 Alcala Park San DIego, CA 92110
(619) 260-4506
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