let’s eat home!

Hard to believe as I watch temps plunge into the 40s and  snowflakes cast for tomorrow that a week and a half ago we had that warm California sun at our backs as we headed into a week at the beach in La Jolla.  Kathy and I fell in love with that place during my winter ’17 UCSD sabbatical, particularly the rocky beach just down the street from our place: Windansea.  Nearly every evening we’d walk the 4 blocks down, sit on a bench or a rock, bag with wine and other provisions, and watch the sun set over the Pacific.  Several of you reading this might remember the many sunset shots I sent you.   We try to get back as often as we can afford it, usually twice a year.  We seek to get as close to the beach as possible, but somehow “steps to the beach” in the listing turns into at least a block or two. Closer than my Gravilla sabbatical bungalow, but still not optimal.  Not being right on the beach means that at some time you must pack it up and go home, leaving those crashing waves behind.  But our past two times out, Kathy has scored places on the beach, and those waves are with us all night.  This latest was the best yet, an old wooden chalet with a great deck, big windows, and a straight shot from the deck through the dining room into the bedroom, so that surf music was muffled not one iota.  Why we happened to go out when we did relates to the the other love that grew during our ’17 stay, that for a church.  I’m not sure what caught our eye about La Jolla Presbyterian (“LS Pres”(1)), but we quickly became regulars, particularly attracted by the pastor, Rev. Dr. Paul Cunningham.  A Fresno kid, he never put on airs from his Princeton Doctorate of Divinity, and was as real as they come.  And what an ace at exegesis.  His sermons stirred the mind as well as the soul.  When we found out after coming home we could attend services virtually, we did regularly, mostly pulling away from our local church.  Whenever we visited LJ, we tried to make sure to include a Sunday so we could attend LJ Pres in person.  When Pastor Paul began to announce Holy Week plans for this year, we decided to spend that week in LJ.  I won’t regale you with details except to say it was very much worth it.  Highlight was Easter sunrise service at the built-in-1915 organ pavilion in Balboa Park

Except for the churchy things, we didn’t do much.  Nearly every day we took the 3-mile round trip hike up the beach into the Village for lunch at El Pescador plus a little provision shopping and back.  For you whose Spanish might be a little rusty, “pescador” translates as “fisherman”, and most of the fare behind the counters had been swimming in the Pacific the previous day.  Should you not be adventurous enough to take some prey home, they’d cook it up for you, expertly.  Grocery store Von’s (now “Provisions”)(2) and wine warehouse BevMo (3) were nearby, so we could fill our backpacks and seek out the bench for the #30 bus stop and take our booty down La Jolla Ave to Rosemont, where it was a couple blocks downhill to our place.  And of course you eat outside at Pescador jn that glorious LJ sun.  But after that activity we took our cue from the seals on the rocks at the Cove, eating, sleeping, grunting, occassionally changing positions, and emitting waste. 

All right by the beach, of course. While LJ has many fine establishments at which to eat and drink, to go to one would mean to leave the beach!  Thus was born the “let’s eat home” approach, which served us well throughout our stay.  The VRBO had a decent kitchen with a gas stove, but no grill on the premises.  I now include a digital thermometer in our “survival” kit.  I’ve learned enough from using one at home that good meat shouldn’t be left to guesswork.  Our gas stove had a broiler.  Radiant heat from above, radiant heat from below, what’s the difference?  Not much, I proved with our first night dinner, a nice one of the NY strips I’d scored on sale at Von’s.  3 ½’ on a side, probe to 1300  internal temp, beautiful.  Believe we had purple Mexican asparagus on the side, and a nice red blend.  How much would a meal like that have cost in one of LJ’s tony establishments?  Dinner II required some foraging.  I’d stumbled into a great little butcher shop (Buck’s) on a previous trip, and it took Yelp to find it again.  But Buck’s on Fay had the choice big veal chops I was craving.  I gently coaxed those babies to 1450 internal temp before uncorking the pinot my wine pairing guide said this more delicate meat should join.  Maybe regular asparagus this time, but who cares about the vegetables?  Next night our friend Ken, host for my sabbatical and good friend from long before then, was coming over.  I had something a little different rolling around my brain, and here’s what I threw together:

They were a hit.  I used yellowtail as that was what Pescador had, but I think any fish could substitute.  Just don’t cook it too much.

Kathy and I would have one last dinner by the beach.  Back to the steaks we went, as we had but one left from our original trio.  Meat should never be the sideshow, but the perfectly cooked 1300 steaks had to stand up to a topping and a side.  I’d toyed with the topping before, doctored it up a bit for this occasion, and here it is:

Then the side.  This started as a Thanksgiving dinner staple, but has spread.  No matter what the season, you can always get Brussels sprouts, and cooked like this, they’re always a hit:

Ah.  The morning after that dinner was time to begin packing up.  But this time on the beach reawakened Kathy’s long dormant LJ real estate bug.  The realtor who had helped us with our current rental was eager to show us some other properties.  He knew our narrow set of parameters and came up with a place a block north of us: modern condo unit with a curved face.  Of course, Kathy fell in love with the place.  Big and open, with an big curved deck staring down Windansea beach.  Not on the market yet, but maybe available for monthly rent.

If only the two of us could move more books!  You folks put there, go to Amazon and place some orders (5,6)

But we eventually had to leave paradise for northern California, where family and friends reside.  The Pescadaro clan was all there, unfair to ask mother Janet to feed ‘em all.  So we went down the coast to the Costanoa Lodge (7).  Needless to say, a good time was had by all.

First row: Orion (20), Janet, Mertz(Jim), Kathy, Aislinn (17). Back: Skyler (15), me.

We finished up in Petaluma, visiting my Barnes buddy Dave, who usually runs a 5:31 PM Friday “Safety Meeting” in a back room of his friend Jim Maselli’s hardware store, instead took the show on the road to a local distillery yet to register on Yelp.  The booze, food, and comradery were fabulous, but the next morning found us with still enough energy to negotiate the trip to San Jose Mineta.  We knew the way.  Even though we were happy to be California Fleein’ (8), we knew we’d be back, just like Arnold says (9).


  1. La Jolla Presbyterian Church. https://ljpres.org/

2. Vons.  https://www.vons.com/3

3. BevMo.  https://www.bevmo.com/

4. El Pescaor Fish Market.  https://www.elpescadorfishmarket.com

5. Robert Ike.  About the author. Amazon.com.   https://www.amazon.com/stores/Robert-Ike/author/B095CPDZGP?ref=ap_rdr&store_ref=ap_rdr&isDramIntegrated=true&shoppi

6. Auntie KC. Amazon.com. https://www.amazon.com/s?k=%22auntie+kc%22&crid=27Z0GGU4P298H&sprefix=auntie+kc+%2Caps%2C183&ref=nb_sb_noss

7. Costanza.  https://costanoa.com/site.php

8.  California Fleein’ (Beach Boys Parody).  YouTube.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TwJlKw56l30

9. Terminator – I’ll be back. YouTube.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SZdVWKM1ILs

Published by rike52

I retired from the Rheumatology division of Michigan Medicine end of June '19 after 36 years there. Upon hitting Ann Arbor for the second time (I went to school here) it took me almost 8 months to meet Kathy, 17 months to buy her a house (on Harbal, where we still live), and 37 months to marry her. Kids never came, but we've been blessed with a crowd of colleagues, friends, neighbors and family that continues to grow. Lots of them are going to show up in this log eventually. Stay tuned.

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