Friday, March 27, 2015

Siamese Basil - Encinitas, San Diego, CA in Pics

Trying to get caught up with our recent local jaunts, so you'll see a few more San Diego related entries in the near future.

Spring Rolls with Tofu and Peanut Sauce

I'd never been to Siamese Basil, but Dean had been meaning to return there after a number of years, and it just didn't seem to want to happen until last weekend when we couldn't find anywhere near LAM and MAP's hotel in Del Mar worth eating at for dinner that wasn't packed to the gills and we kept driving northbound until we lucked into a handicapped parking spot (we had MAP's handicap placard handy because walking's hard on him these days) a few doors down from the restaurant.

Chicken Larb

Just now reading the most recent yelp reviews on the place (today is 03.27.15), I was surprised at the negative remarks. With the exception of one dish of several (the Chicken Satay which was too dry for our tastes), we absolutely enjoyed everything we ordered (and we ordered A LOT OF FOOD, which is par for the course when we dine with my parents).

Chicken Satay - the only dish I wouldn't repeat.

We all found the seasoning well balanced, with just the right interplay of the salt, sweet, tang, and heat you look for in Thai food, and we appreciated that they gave us "Thai hot" when we asked for 10s.

Thai Fried Rice with Shrimp

And both of our servers were friendly, accommodating, and I might even add, sassy and entertaining, but not rude or overstepping in the least.

Spicy Eggplant with Tofu

Yes, there are better options for Thai food in South county, but I'd gladly return to Siamese Basil if I'm in the area and craving Thai.

Forget what this is called, but it's their
House Special Curry with Scallops.

Pad Thai with Chicken


Izz's bugs that Wa got for her earlier in the day at
San Diego Botanic Garden.

Bon appétit!


Siamese Basil (yelp link - They don't have a site that I can find.)
527 South Coast Highway 101
Encinitas, CA 92024

Thursday, March 26, 2015

San Diego Botanic Garden - Encinitas, CA in Pics

I've been meaning to visit the San Diego Botanic Garden for the longest and finally got down there when LAM and MAP visited last weekend for a little local staycay. It's both beautiful and charming, and you could easily get lost in the flora for an entire afternoon.

Springtime is best for visiting gardens, and doubly so after the rains for which we Californians have waited so long. If you're local and can make it here while the temps are relatively mild and the plants are basking in their aprés-rains glow, I'd highly recommend it. And with everything in bloom right now, it's a macro-photography dream.

They're also at the tail end of their Sculpture in the Garden exhibit featuring some very cool pieces for viewing and purchase (if you've got that kind of change laying around... ;) ). That's running through April.

The Lady by John Dupree
I love her. 'Twould have been nice to bring
her home, but I don't have $4,650 to spare
for sculpture ATM. ;)

Ginger by Leslie and Paul Wilton-Metalmorph
The plaque reads, "Made of propane tanks, Ginger is a gas!"
Get it??? :P

And the Children's Garden is simply delightful.

The whole family had a lovely time.

Izz and Grandpa taking a load off.

You can even buy plants there. LAM got a flowering Cymbidium orchid for 10 bucks - a steal.

Wish we'd opted for the membership over regular admission, but there's always next time. :)

For some truly fantastic pics of our day at the garden, check out Dean's album.

Happy meandering,

shinae :)

San Diego Botanic Garden (link)
230 Quail Gardens Drive
Encinitas, CA 92024

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Fish 101 - Leucadia/Encinitas, San Diego, CA in Pics

We love Fish 101 for their uncomplicated, well-executed seafood offerings, good beer and wine selection, casual vibe, and reliably fresh, clean-shucked oysters. The food is always fresh and delicious, the staff are always friendly and attentive but unintrusive, and their happy hour oysters and fish tacos are an exceptional value.

$1 Happy Hour Oysters - SCORE!

If you go when it's busy, have someone in your party grab a table while you hold your place in line to order.

These pics were taken over two separate visits.  Descriptions from their menu. Hope you enjoy. :)

Dean Robinson, bubbly, and oysters?
Trifecta of Happiness. :)

Happy Hour Baja Fish Tacos in the front,
Grilled Fish Tacos in the back.

Burger - Natural Angus Beef, Cheese, Farm Lettuce,
Tomato, Onion, 1000 Island Dressing
(Joey holds the cheese. He also orders burgers
at a place called Fish 101. Weird kid.)

Fried Shrimp Po' Boy - Dressed with Lettuce, Tomato,
Pickled Onions, Spicy Aioli

Shrimp Ceviche

Albacore Tuna Poke Bowl - Sashimi Grade Tuna, Seaweed,
Rice, Cucumber, Avocado, Lettuce

Salted Caramel Chocolate Cake
Probably the only thing I've had there that I
wouldn't order again. Way too much frosting
to cake for me.

Creme Brulee
Happy eating! :)


Fish 101 (link)
1468 North Coast Highway
Leucadia, CA 92024

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Good afternoon, Sunshines!

2 PM rolled around, and I realized I hadn't spent any quality time with my plant babies today. As time goes on, the more it seems I only have time and patience for people I really love, like, or enjoy, and my plants. A few years ago, I might have found that a troubling interpersonal development, but these days, I like to think of it as simplifying - "hacking away at the unessential," as Bruce Lee called it.

I've hacked away at a few unessential relationships this year, and it feels pretty damned good, actually. Sometimes we really do suffer needlessly to try to tolerate certain others too much from too close a distance. We can choose to practice compassion and empathy for some people from a very removed place if that's what it takes to be compassionate with ourselves.

Moving right along, is it strange of me that I'm so very fond of this particular tomato vine? I guess it lucked into a good spot in the yard because it seems to love it there. I think it grew in that direction because there's greater sun exposure and my pink jasmine vine to the left whereas it's mostly shaded and unpopulated to the right.

In the past couple of years of learning to garden, I have observed that most of the plants in my yard really do like just enough company. Too much company, and they warp or suffocate in any number of ways. Just enough, and they flourish.

Kinda like me, I guess. ;)

Time to start thinking about dinner. Takeout fried chicken will not fly two days in a row.

Off to the kitchen!


Museum of Making Music - Carlsbad, San Diego, CA in Pics

As we were leaving the Museum of Making Music, a dad who was headed there with his wife and three young children asked, "So is it worth it?"

I understand his reservations because it's located in an office building located within an office complex and doesn't look like much from the outside. As a matter of fact, it's not all that big on the inside, either. And anytime you take the whole family out for any kind of fun that isn't free, the expenses start to add up quick.

But if you consider that general admission for adults is $8, kids $5, and little ones under 5 free, and you can get at least a good hour's worth of musical exploration, some of it even hands-on, and possibly even inspire your kids to want to learn to make music, yeah - it's totally worth it. And the people who volunteer there are so nice and welcoming.

It's also right around the corner from Legoland, so if you're staying in the area, this is a nice, low-key activity to follow up a crazy day at the amusement park. :)

Izz fell in love with cymbals that day. ;)

Mads and StepDean making music.

I always turn into a huge groupie whenever Dean plays
just about anything. :)
Daddy - Izzy coloring time. ;)

Happy music making,


5790 Armada Drive
Carlsbad, CA 92008

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Quick & Easy Brown Mustard Aioli with Capers

Happy St. Patrick's Day, Sunshines!

While I'm boiling our Corned Beef, here's a quick, easy and delicious aioli to enjoy with your Corned Beef & Cabbage dinner tonight.

Leftovers are great on sandwiches or in potato salad.

Quick & Easy Brown Mustard Aioli with Capers
Time: 5 minutes

- 1/4 cup mayonnaise (I like Hellman's/Best Food)
- 2 Tablespoons brown mustard (or just about any non-yellow mustard)
- 1.5 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon grated garlic
- 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
- 2 teaspoons capers

Combine all ingredients except capers in a small bowl, mix thoroughly, then sprinkle capers on top, and serve alongside your Corned Beef & Cabbage.

Sláinte! :)


On Collecting Sunrises, Synthesizing Life Lessons & Smelling Toes

Good morning, Sunshines. :)

Yesterday, I started an album titled Sunrise - Work in Progress in which to collect all the remarkable sunrises I'm lucky enough to shoot. This morning's sunrise is the second entry.

I know there are a few other amazing sunrises I've managed to shoot floating around out there, and I wish I'd started gathering them sooner, but the best we can do is do better going forward, right?

These days, I find myself in a familiarly restless place in which the idea of achievement (or my lack thereof) tugs at some piece of my ego, and I question the value of my output into the world. No doubt it's compounded by my identities outside of motherhood that are clamoring for greater freedom from the mostly amazing and adorable tyranny of a two year old.

There is a constant struggle between the part of me who wants to make a bigger mark out there where success is measured in tangible, material, and yes, clearly remunerated terms, and the part of me who wants to be here with and for Izz, and our family in general, to continue to witness all the big and little miracles and moments I either could not be or chose not to be present for when my older two were her age.

These moments require a certain philosophical discipline to continually redefine success or achievement in terms that best align with my conscience and current priorities, recognizing that the priorities can evolve over the seasons of my life.

They require me to step back and see my life and my very personal life lessons in broader perspective.

And from that broader perspective, I have to remind myself that I've already learned how to make money, and how to do things that reap applause and attagirls from the world out there. I have to remind myself that I have already taken those pursuits to literal and figurative fatigue in the chapter before this one.

What I'm still in the process of learning is how to fully and peacefully appreciate the intrinsic rewards of being increasingly more present in this little world in here.

And when I think of it that way - in terms of my evolution as a human being - I realize I need to stay in this place a while longer. At least until I stop needlessly struggling with it, if not longer.

I have this feeling that when I get there, the next chapter may just be the one in which I learn to balance both parts of me more beautifully than I could have imagined before. But in the interest of returning to the present lesson, I'll try to leave that little anticipation here on this page and take it no further for the time being.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm being summoned to smell take in the fragrance of some adorable toddler toes.

Happy Tuesday,

shinae :)

Friday, March 13, 2015

Quick & Easy No-Cook Mediterranean-Inspired Tomato & Olive Melange

Printable Version (Recipe Only)

With Spring around the corner, I thought I'd share this light and delicious no-cook topping that's great for fish, scallops, white meat chicken, and bruschetta.

For a super easy completely no-cook meal idea, you can slice up the breast from a storebought rotisserie chicken, top it with some of this stuff, and serve a good crusty bread on the side. A complete meal in minutes.

Or you could put it between a sliced focaccia with some Italian coldcuts and provolone and make yourself a muffuletta. :)

Quick & Easy No-Cook Mediterranean-Inspired Tomato Melange
Time: About 10 minutes
Makes about 3/4 cup topping. Enough for 2 servings of protein. Easily doubled.
Printable Version

- 1/2 cup of quartered grape or cherry tomatoes
- 12 pitted green olives, quartered
- 2 teaspoons capers
- 2 teaspoons caper brine (for the salt element)
- 1 Tablespoon minced shallot (or onion if you don't have shallot)
- 4 basil leaves, chiffonaded (How To Chiffonade Basil video here)
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil

Just throw all the ingredients into a medium bowl and give it a few gentle folds to evenly distribute the ingredients.

That's it!

Enjoy. :)


Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Good afternoon, Sunshines!

The child naps at last, and I am taking a mental mini holiday by our makeshift beach.

If I had forgotten all of my blessings in this morning's frustrations of stay at home parenting, some fresh air, deep breaths, a call from Dean to let me know he'd moved his jam session to another night so he could stay home to make my life easier tonight, and a pat on the back from Izz asking me if I was feeling better before she finally went to sleep all brought me back to proper perspective.

These days, I honestly have no idea where I'm headed from one day to the next. The occasional challenging day aside, I'm mostly just happy and grateful to be doing exactly what I'm doing even if it defies any categorization and refuses to be wrapped up in a tidy and marketable job title.

That I have the time and opportunity to do what I'm doing is made possible by the love and support of my truly amazing family. That I have the forum to share my mind, soul, and food morsels in a way that is so fulfilling and rewarding is made possible by your interest, support, friendship, and good juju.

So I guess all I'm doing is taking a moment to say thank you to all of you, for all of it, and to send some freckle faced, big floppy hat wearin', warm, smiley, grateful, and sunny San Diego hugs and juju your way.

With love,


Monday, March 9, 2015

Leo Carillo Ranch Historic Park - Carlsbad, CA in (Mostly) Pics

Our original plans for last weekend were to take the kids and a couple of their buds out to Anza Borrego to see the wildflowers that were supposed to have been in full bloom, but plans were changed the night before when it seemed like Izz was starting to have some bad seasonal allergies that would preclude a visit with all that pollen.

The doormat for this structure said, "Su Casa, Amigo" so I'm
guessing this was the guest house? ^-

But her symptoms mostly cleared by morning and we were somehow miraculously able to get four teenagers (who hadn't slept until after I took them for donuts upon my usual 4am-ish wakeup) to rally by roughly 9 am, so we all headed out to the much closer Leo Carillo Ranch, where none of us had been before, to see what we could see.

You would probably not be surprised to learn that the teens were not quite as stoked about the Anza Borrego or Leo Carillo prospects as they were about the bowling plans afterward, but wouldn't you know that when you get a bunch of kids out in sunshine and fresh air with their friends, they somehow manage to have some fun in spite of themselves.

It's a lovely place to take a leisurely stroll with the fam, and even better, it's free. :)

Oh, and bonus peacocks everywhere, which were a real treat for Izz, who calls them "bwoococks."

Agave plants everywhere.
They should start a Tequila ranch. ;)

The girls discovered the pool is only about a foot and a half deep
according to their estimations. Guess it was just for wading.

Always feels good to let sand run through your fingers.


These pics aren't the greatest because my shooting mojo was kinda off on Saturday morning, but Dean took some great shots that you can see here.

Great place to while away an hour or two if you're in the Carlsbad area.

Leo Carillo Ranch Historic Park (Official City of Carlsbad Site)
200 Flying Leo Carillo Lane
Carlsbad, CA 92009

More info here: Friends of Carillo Ranch.