Birch Aquarium and Foodie Training Day
It was a random day off of school for the kids, so off we went to La Jolla for a day at Birch Aquarium, Mount Soledad and two additional stops at places that have been on my Yelp radar. I surprised the foodies-in-training by breaking up the long-ish drive with a stop at Devilicious Donuts, a new place in Mission Viejo that’s trying a little too hard to shake up some very standard-quality donuts. The bacon bar was good but not enough to make me want to go back. On the other hand, the two foodies that didn’t have the bacon bar wanted to go back a.s.a.p.
There was no stopping allowed after our sugar break until we reached Mount Soledad for gorgeous views of San Diego and beyond. The foodies loved that they could see Mexico to the south and “home” to the north. They were super excited (hyper and obnoxious) and a little upset (had tantrums) about all the photos I was taking but I reminded them of future bacon donut credits and that turned things around very quickly.
All that fresh mountain air made us a little hungry (I think that’s what I’m supposed to say to make an excuse for eating again, right?), so we went down to Pacific Beach and searched for the little heavenly hole-in-the wall known as Oscar’s Mexican Seafood. It’s a clean but tiny place where the fresh fish choices change daily and the aguas frescas do too. After I had already ordered, someone enthusiastically recommended the spicy shrimp taco, so I have that as my main reason to go back. The foodies liked their battered fish tacos and quesadillas well enough but they probably wouldn’t willingly pick mahi-mahi over mac n’ cheese. The biggest card I can play in making the oldest foodie go back would be the little packets of Tapatio that he had never seen before. Thank goodness for this blog, which will help me remember that little tidbit of information, and lead me to a spicy shrimp taco…
Birch Aquarium was as fun as ever and we stayed until the gift shop shut its doors and the cleaning people gave us the stink eye. They still have a really great collection of seahorses and the three huge tide pool touch tanks are still filled with a great variety of local examples of starfish, anemones and fish. Because we were able to catch a tide pool feeding, we were able to see the aquarium’s famous 50 year-old (and possibly 50 lb.) lobster stagger out of its hiding place. My favorite creature of the day was the wolf eel and the foodies liked the moray eels. They were all out and especially interactive and so darn cute/ugly that the foodies and I all picked the eels as the best part of the day.
Before we left we spent some time sitting and admiring the view of La Jolla cove below the aquarium. There was no time for a walk around town, which was fine with me; spicy shrimp tacos and a La Jolla walk are enough to make me want to visit again very soon.