In gratitude… of friends and celebrations…

My friend Bonnie picked Gabriel and me up today and treated us to a wonderful excursion to a local phenomenon called The Anti-Mall, which is actually a two-part (The Camp and The Lab) outdoor shopping experience separated by a boulevard.

We ate at a restaurant called the Old Vine Café (click on photo above to visit their website), which has a very good lunch menu (and they serve breakfast ’til 3PM!), though we did have to wait for quite a while for a table for three inside.  It was worth the wait, though, as the food was delicious.  We shared the Baby Spinach Salad (Fresh Spinach, Fresh Berries, Pine nuts, Goat Cheese & Honey  Balsamic Vinaigrette), Caprese of Mozarella Buratta (Buratta, Flash Fried Arugula, Grape Tomatoes & Citrus Infused Extra Virgin Olive Oil) and a ‘Just Cheese’ Panini (Brie and Cheddar Cheeses served with Tomato Sauce for Dipping).



Everything was delightful… flavorful and interestingly nuanced with herbs, spices and oils.  They obtain their produce from an organic farm in Rainbow (San Diego County) which has a produce drop subscription service that you can sign up for if you are interested.  “The Camp” itself is a place to behold, with very “green” architecture and building materials, and it was a delight to walk through it and discover its gems.

 

After sharing a couple of fabulous desserts, a lovely creamy creme brulé (which isn’t listed on their online menu) and the Cheese Mousse Crepe (Stuffed with a Sweet Artisan Ricotta Cheese Mousse, garnished with Mandarin Orange Coulis), we walked around a bit more and then headed to The Lab across the street for further investigation.  

We discovered a cache of shops on the other side, and I found a pair of convertible fingerless-gloves-come-mittens at Urban Outfitters perfect for my upcoming trip to Western Canada.  The eco-theme was prevalent here too, making use of the “recycle-reuse” genre, with many found-object amalgamations, including a really cool mosaic divider wall.

After a leisurely walking tour of the place, we left for our final destination, the Mitsuwa Market Place, which is a few blocks away.  I was surprised to see such a huge array of Japanese shops inside the  nondescript building, which housed everything from a grocery store to stationery and book shops to toy vendors.  I marvel, always, at the Japanese esthetic, and their ability to marry form and function with such poetic sensibility.

My artsy fartsy side was quite thrilled as well as I scored a European style clip dispenser and a box of clip refills, which I’d almost ordered ages ago from an overseas source in Germany, but balked when the shipping cost was going to cost more than the actual items I wanted to purchase.  I was thrilled that I could now use those funky little clips pulled off of documents received from some of the foreign associates I’d dealt with over time but couldn’t make use of because I didn’t have the gizmo to attach them with.  I left with a bagful of warm, roasted chestnuts for the drive home.  Bonnie is my favorite adventuress to go exploring with… I am grateful to have met her through a previous workplace and more grateful still that we are friends.

 


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