As wanderers, we have two things we yearn for: a sense of adventure that comes with the winds of change while drive with the windows down toward a destination. The second thing is a sense of home when we’re away from where we dwell.
Well, there are two things for me, in particular that can be both comforting and exciting when I go on a trip: where I stay and what I eat! My family can attest to the digital quest I go on to find the aesthetically and palette-pleasing restaurants in the city we’re visiting.
Where We Ate: Born and Raised
I had seen rave reviews from bloggers online about Born and Raised. This upscale steakhouse nestled in San Diego’s Little Italy is a draw for anyone with a hankering for food that is basically visual and performance art. We started with a Caesar Salad, and the server made it and plated it with such finesse. As he was fashioning the Caesar dressing from scratch, the smell of lemon, capers and spices traveled from the wooden bowl into our nostrils. It tasted just as delicious! In between bites of salad, I smothered the warm brioche in salted butter and washed it down with a glass of red zinfandel wine, rich in notes of blackberry and black pepper. Then our dinner came. My brother, parents and I all tend to order pretty much the same exact thing: an eight-ounce filet mignon. The one at Born and Raised was so tender it practically melted in my mouth. We also ordered a plate of legumes, crisp to perfection on the outside, and cloud-like on the inside. With every mirthful mouthful of food, we took in the grandeur of the art deco style space. Wooden columns shaped like trumpets flanked a fringy, crystal chandelier reminiscent of a flapper dress. The shimmering light bounced off the green marble tables and butterscotch leather chairs we sat on. It reminded us of San Diego’s version of London’s Sketch restaurant, which the four of us dined at when my parents and brother visited me in my old British abode years ago. My family’s love language is quality time and food, especially if it’s in a place like this that helps us time travel.
We decided to cap the night by sharing meringue and carrot cakes on the rooftop, which boasted its own beauty. You know that the interior designer of the restaurant did their job when the main draw of a rooftop bar is not the skyline of the city. A concrete jungle beyond softens with bubblegum and cotton-colored floral arrangements throughout the exterior. The floral lace pattern on my black bustier dress echoes the flower arrangements around me, unintentionally I assure you. After finishing up the gigantic cake slices while sitting in faux fur white leopard chairs, I decide to explore the space more. Each step I took in my my criss-cross gold chain heels, I find myself in a new corner with another fascinating detail. I delight in how my Burberry clutch matches the Scottish Tartan booths overlooking the cityscape. I revel in how the bar top’s golden finish is is a repercussion of my golden earrings with a pearl center and vintage Chanel chain necklace to match.
Where We Stayed: The U.S. Grant Hotel
After being fed, stomach and soul, my family saunters back to the U.S. Grant Hotel. The hotel built during the Edwardian period and commissioned in the name of a president during the Victorian period, is a luxury haven of eclectic history. Like it’s not-to-distant neighbor Born and Raised, the hotel’s lavished in the art deco style, all crown molding-topped columns, black and gold finishings, and chandeliers. I plop on the bed of white sheets and a mountain of marshmallow pillows after my belated birthday dinner with my family, still in quite effervescent spirits. It’s our final night in San Diego, after two days of wandering the Gaslamp quarter, Balboa Park, exploring the caves of La Jolla Cove, and traipsing the seascape of Coronado fueled by gelato and seafood tapas. I’m going to miss waking up to the sunlight peeking through gaps in the gold velvet curtains first thing in the morning, beckoning me to stare out the window as the skyscrapers whisper good morning. Most of all, I’m going to forever cherish each memory with my brother and parents, because it was our first weekend trip as a family in over a year. It’s the moments of laughter while eating two eggs and bacon breakfast in the wood paneled Grant Grill, or the more serious conversations about our hopes for the future while walking the beach that I’ll miss most.
Keeping it Krischic,