The last night I was in San Diego, Lisa mentioned that when she was looking for a shop one day, she'd driven past a Moroccan restaurant near where a friend of hers lived and she wanted to try it some day. I said "How 'bout tonight!" She wasn't sure exactly where it was but she knew it was within a few blocks of here -
- so we should be able to find it. The Hillcrest District is an uptown area in San Diego near Balboa Park. Mostly residential but with a "village center", it is the center of the gay and lesbian community and also attracts other urban families so it was (stereotype coming!) a really diverse and interesting area.
We started driving around from the center in cloverleaf patterns to find the restaurant. It wasn't much of a chore as there was so much to see, so many fun shops and restaurants of every type imaginable - Thai, Mexican, tapas, Italian, sushi, Vietnamese..... We drove around and around for about a half hour before we stopped enjoying ourselves and decided that hunger was setting in and with such an abundance of choices, we'd simply park and pick something else fun and new.
So, uhm, parking. Lots of people both drivers and pedestrians. We drove around for another fifteen to twenty minutes trying to find a parking space. Finally I spied a space just as we were almost too far past it. The traffic obligingly let us back up about a car length and Lisa did a perfect parallel park. As she was turning off the car I started laughing. I tapped her shoulder for her attention and pointed to the building we were parked in front of....
....we were about one car length away from parking right in front of the Moroccan restaurant! As you can see from the photo (I'm standing right next to the car) it's in a odd subfloor setting and the sign is much lower than one would expect when scanning for it. I think it was probably behind a van or something when we were driving around looking for it.
In any case, in we went. It wasn't as "authentic" (as if I'm an expert to know if my only other Moroccan eating experiences were authentic) as the place I've eaten in London, but it was delicious. I suspect it was more of a fusion of Moroccan and California fresh cuisine. Lisa, who's been labeled our "picky" eater, said never again will she accept this title after trying and enjoying all the odd selections I ordered for us to share. Here she is sitting relaxed, peaceful and happy.
And here I am sitting equally relaxed and happy, but not quite so peaceful. I'm holding the whirlwind of energy in my lap. I think the silverware were dancing or something like that. Joli lasted through the entire meal quite well considering how late it was. The trick was to keep feeding her the small triangles of pita bread.
Lisa and I both loved the deep rich colors of the decor. I already knew that I loved this style but I think it was as new an experience for Lisa as was the food. This was a photo of a lamp and the shadows it made in the bathroom against the blue wall.
After dining we wandered about in a few shops that were still open and more so just enjoying the window views. We found our second French patisserie of the day (when it rains it pours!) and Joli and I ate more macarons (we'd just had some for lunch) while Lisa went for a dark chocolate truffle. I can see a very serious pattern here - if there's dark chocolate about, Lisa eats it. We finished up the night chatting and sipping hot cocoa at a corner Starbucks where Joli managed to charm the barista into giving her a free cocoa of her own.
Here's a sampling of the window shops we walked by -
This Buddha was in a window right near the car. Joli loved him. When we went past him several hours later she went running past the car towards him yelling "I see Boodah 'gain!" I was surprised she'd remembered who he was as I'm 99.9% certain she'd never heard anyone in her life say the word "Buddha" before that night.
This was a very elegant shop. If you click on the pic you can see more details. I liked the glass baubles hanging from the manzanita branch. They stole my idea - I have some branches here at home because I want to do something similar with them.
This was in the window of a fabulous shop full of garden statues, decor, and fountains. Largest and most interesting selection I've ever seen and the prices were surprisingly reasonable. Of course a large fountain or green man would have been tough to fit in my Subie so I just looked but didn't buy. I got a kick out of this rock hard ab'ed fellow showing off his flamboyant sense of style.
Another "over the top" party skirt. I thought two things. 1) I know a lot of bloggers who love old fashioned prom dress stuff like this and 2) who in real life in contemporary San Diego would actually find a place to wear this dress!? The entire window reminded me of something out of the '50's.
Speaking of the 50's, check out this awesome retro barber shop/hair salon - not sure which it is.
Nothing says "I love animals" more than a woman wearing fake fur while holding a fake furry animal in front of a fake nature setting in fake colors. I tease but I actually thought this was a really neat window.
And here's the other window. These windows looked like they would be at home on the sidewalks of Paris, non?
When the kids were younger I remember ordered from this company, Bluestocking Press. At least I think it was the same company as the catalog was for American history books and that was the type of books in the window. I took the photo though to show you the books painted on the storefront along the bottom of the window and up the right corner. You have to do a double take to see that those books are part of the wall and not sitting in a shadow on the ground.
This interesting hot pink hookah take on the Eiffel Tower was in a shop called Inhale. Hmmm, I wonder what sort of tabaccy folks are inhaling in these? (I get an automatic underline on words that are spelled incorrectly when I make up one of these posts. The word "tabaccy" is being ignored. No underline. Seriously? That's really a word??? I was just being silly.)