Cruisin’ Down the California Coast


I couldn’t come all the way to California and not venture more than a mile outside of downtown San Diego, so Ben and I stayed an extra day to explore the golden coast!

Sunday morning we got up bright and early, hopped in our rental car and headed straight for Cardiff by the Sea – my favorite, sleepy beach town about 30 minutes north of San Diego.

Home to the most hoppin’ breakfast place around – Pipes!

The line to eat Pipes’ fast, filling, phenomenal breakfast yesterday morning was just as long as it had been when Ben and I first visited nearly 4 years ago.

The wait is soooo worth it though.

We ordered, then posted up at the corner breakfast counter, which overlooked waving palm trees lining the street outside.


1 Vegetable Scramble with eggs, tomatoes, onions and chopped tortillas served over a bed of Pipes’ signature breakfast potatoes, positively smothered in cheddar cheese!

No seriously – suffocated – in cheddar cheese!

It was the best breakfast I have ever had. There. I said it.

Can we talk about the genius that is putting sliced flour tortillas in an egg scramble? The thick, warm and chewy strips were all around life-changing. Can’t wait to recreate this a home!

Ben ordered a Breakfast Burrito that was bigger than his torso.

And it was basically the best thing he’s ever had as well.

After breakfast, we rolled ourselves to the beach located less than 100 yards away.

It has been my experience that southern California mornings tend to start out cool and hazy.

It’s the perfect time for surfers to come out and play.

It’s also the time when this Midwestern girl questions her current living situation.

Seriously, people live like this. Everyday. It’s wild!

And so did we, if only for the day.

After a nice long walk in the silky smooth sand, we headed up one of the towering staircases dotting the coast, connecting beach to town.

It was just then that the morning haze started to burn off and the water turned a beautiful shade of sparkling blue.


We strolled back through quaint Cardiff (where I would absolutely insist on living if we ever moved to southern Cali) before heading back to the car to continue our sight-seeing adventures.

Oh, right. Check out our whip.

Ben calls from the rental place – “Well the good news is they gave us a Camero. The bad news is it’s canary yellow.” Work it!

And so we drove our bright-yellow, rented Camero down the coast, soaking up the views from our windows like they’d be gone tomorrow.

‘Cause they would be!

Next stop on our tour de San Diego County – La Jolla!

La Jolla is a gorgeous coastal town also north of San Diego.

It’s home to incredible beach-side homes, restaurants (George’s) and shops.

And seals!

Those suckers are fun to look at, but shoooo do they stink!

Our walk along the cliffs that tower above the ocean in La Jolla brought us to some tide pools to explore.

Lots of crab and fish here!

After a nice hike around the area we were going to try and make it to Coronado Island, but traffic was getting horrific, and we’d explored most of the island on our last trip to SD, so we did the logical thing – headed back our hotel for drinks on the balcony!

Are you sensing a recurring theme here?

I was still stuffed from breakfast, but these Stacy’s Cinnamon Sugar Pita Chips I picked up from the expo hall during the conference looked mighty fine to my chirping sweet tooth. Umm, they taste like Cinnamon Toast Crunch. Awesome!

Cold beers were tasty as well.

Our stomachs started to rumble a few beers later, so we got showered up then headed to the hotel’s pool bar for a happy hour cocktail before heading to dinner.

A Classic Margarita on the rocks was refreshing to the max.

Which we enjoyed with some new friends we made – Chris & Erin from Portland – whee!

It was um, dark, by the time we tore ourselves away from C&E, but we knew right where we were headed for dinner. Neighborhood.

Neighborhood’s décor and menu is fun and funky.

Pasilla Steak Frites – charred pasilla pepper, gaujillo crema feta, cotja & gorgonzola cheese, sweet potato fries, cilantro and tomatillo salsa – practically leapt off the page, calling to me.

May I introduce you to sweet potato fries smothered in multi kinds of cheese, topped with steak and served in a meatloaf pan?!?!?!!

I know I keep saying this, but O.M.G. I cannot even go into detail about how mothwatering this was.

It was as completely bananas as it sounds AND looks, and was easily my favorite meal of the entire trip.

And so our sunny California getaway ended in a blaze of cheesy, meaty, potato glory. Sounds about right!


Thank you all for following my posts from my trip to the BlogHer Conference and shenanigans in San Diego! I am so grateful to the folks at American Express for sending me, and actually had a lot of fun tracking my trip budget using their pre-paid card.

BlogHer was everything I thought it would be AND more. The sessions I attended were informative and inspiring. I feel refreshed and more excited than ever to keep plugging away on IGE. I would totally recommend this conference to anyone that is considering attending in the future.

And with that – it’s back to real life! As much fun as I had, I’m ready to get back into the swing of things. Ok, you know what? I’m not. That was really fun and I kind of wish I could do it all over again!

Ah well, there’s always next year.

Regular programming to commence tomorrow! Have a great night!

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  1. Libby Bouma 08.08.2011

    Thank you so much for sharing your weekend at BlogHer with us! I enjoyed reading about your experience and all of the information you learned! It’s never fun coming back home from such a fun time away, but I can happily tell you that you won’t be coming back to stifling heat.. it has cooled down a little back home! Safe travels.

  2. anna 08.08.2011

    Looks like a blast! And yes, please get to recreating that breakfast at home so we can have the recipe :)

  3. What a fun, whirlwind weekend for you! I LOVE SD!!! And Coronado, and La Jolla… and just Cali in general!

  4. Nicole 08.08.2011

    Pipes! Oh….the memories of stuffing myself with delicious food! The courtesy van driver took us further than he should, just so my friend and I could eat there. It rocked.

    Thanks for sharing about your trip. I’ve been to the San Diego & La Jolla areas twice now, and hope to add to that number. :)

  5. 1. Breakfast is my all time favorite meal – and that one looks like it might be right up there with my favorite dishes.
    2. Cardiff is super cute. A friend of mine from college lived down there and I LOVED it when I went to visit. So jealous!
    3. Sweet potato fries in a meatloaf pan? This I MUST recreate and then eat entirely by myself. Amazing.

  6. Michelle 08.08.2011

    I concur on the Stacy’s chips. I helped my mom devour the bag. They’re sooo good!

  7. You had a texbook-perfect vacay in SoCal! Way to live it up, girl! All of the food looks amazing. No, really–AMAZING! I live in (upstate) NY and find myself questioning why I am not living in Cali, I mean, our states are so alike except Cali has paradise-like weather and we, umm… don’t. But I think it’s better to just visit and enjoy it like you did. I know I’d probably miss home after awhile. Or not. LOL :)

  8. Jackie Smith 08.08.2011

    Hot tip: Trader Joe’s repackages those Stacy’s chips under their own brand! They are delicious!

  9. Kristen 08.08.2011

    Can’t wait for that egg recipe!

  10. Dani 08.08.2011

    Thanks for sharing your trip. I love San Diego too! I like the picture with the names on the rock. You can see the reflection of a bird flying by. Cool.

  11. Dawn Marie 08.08.2011

    yes, girlfriend some of us are lucky enough to live here EVERY SINGLE DAY and LOOOVVVEEEE to rub it in! Ha! ;-)

    Mothwatering? A new pass time? ;-)

    You look like you really soaked it up baby girl!

  12. AHHHH Cali just SCREAMS “chill”!!! I love itttt I need to visit! Also that melty stretchy cheese is making my mouth water. Juuuust so you know.

  13. Carrie 08.08.2011

    You are the cutest, I love reading your blog because you seem so genuinely happy! And, of course, your recipes are amazing.
    I’m a former-Iowan currently in California and let me tell you CA is beautiful but my heart is in IA :)

  14. debbie 08.08.2011

    oh gosh, I am so jealous! Everything looks so beautiful! I’ve never been to San Diego but I want to go (and go to its surrounding areas) so badly! I hear it’s absolutely incredible.

    p.s. I would’ve rocked that car! Hah!

  15. Melissa 08.08.2011

    Aww… You are too cute when u say people live like this everyday. (hugs) Its true… Im writing this from Hawaii : ) I totally feel the same way about snow. I recently saw snow for the first time in my life (yes, in my whole 27 years!) and it was amazing! I thought that was wild! I was running around like a 5 year old kid! Whee! Lol ; )

  16. Looks like you guys had a great time! Love your pictures!

  17. Hope 08.09.2011

    Looks like such a great trip! :) All of that food looks amazing!

  18. Emily 08.09.2011

    Ha! Ben is tooooooooo funny laying on your sweet ride! You make me want to go to San Diego like, right NOW

  19. Y’all are too stinkin’ cute. I’ve loved your SD recaps, especially all of the gorgeous photos in this post. What a beautiful day! I love SD – our conference was there in ’10 and were at the Marriott, too. The views are perfect!

  20. Elyse 08.09.2011

    I loved your posts from SD! My family live in SoCal and I haven’t been to visit in close to a year and a half! Your pictures made me realize it’s been FAR too long! :-D By the way, I am TOTALLY trying Pipe’s for breakfast! Glad you had fun!

  21. Marie 08.09.2011

    I love migas (tortillas in scrambled eggs) and always order it for breakfast! Here is a good recipe that you should try:

  22. Megan 08.09.2011

    Have to say I love your blog! your pictures leave me pretty much always hungry/ jealous lol! Also just wondering did Ben go to the U?? If so I love seeing another hurricane representing!

  23. Nancy 08.09.2011

    I was just introduced to your blog by my daughter – thanks Kate! I am a former Twin Cities native, living in NE. We did live north of Santa Barbara for four years and my bro lives in SD. I’m reliving so, so many memories. I loved weekend breakfasts at those little joints with the ‘garage’ doors that opened up onto the beach. Cilantro on the scrambles – YUM!

  24. Linda Kidd 08.09.2011

    I see you living for sure in California. I know you are an Iowa girl
    but not really – you seem much more for like a California Guy and Gal!

  25. Sara 08.09.2011

    How fun! San Diego is a favorite spot to visit for my hubby and me, so we’ll have to try out that breakfast place next time we’re there.

  26. What a wonderful trip! It’s so fun that Ben went with you too! I hope your transition back to your regular programming goes well! :)

  27. Jess S 08.09.2011

    So fun! This summer, we did the Hwy. 1 drive from literally where it starts around Leggett down to the LA area, with extra long stay-overs in San Fran (my hubby had never been there) and Santa Barbara (where I used to live!). It was an amazing 10 days and made this current Des Moines resident also question our living situation! :-) The next time you’re in sunny CA, you have to try to make it up to Santa Barbara. You won’t be sorry you did!

  28. Those pictures are absolutely stunning! So cool that AmEx sent you to BlogHer! Love it :-)

    Of all of these pictures, my fave is of that staircase off the beach…it’s just so serene and picturesque! Thanks for sharing :-)

  29. LatteLove 08.09.2011

    Looks like you made great use of your extra day in San Diego! Our beaches are pretty fantastic :-) (from one midwest girl to another).

  30. Great photos, Kristin! It looks like a GREAT time. Mmm…Lots of great drinks and food too. I visited a friend in La Jolla a few years ago and we both ran the San Diego marathon. It was crazy how strong the ‘June gloom’ was in effect, but the houses and cars there were holy amazing!

  31. Jennifer 08.09.2011

    I LOVE all the vibrant colors in your photos, from the natural scenery to the food to the yellow car! Great colors and it looks like a great trip. Best from

  32. Emilie 08.09.2011

    Yummy cheddar cheese! That looks like an excellent trip. I love that the town is called Cardiff and that the streets all have UK names! Cardiff in the UK is also beautiful!

  33. Bridget 08.09.2011

    I love it! I have an obsession with So. Cal and my place to live would be Dana Point. It’s gorgeous and I’m in awe of people that have that scenery/atmosphere every day. Lucky ducks!

    Glad you enjoyed yourself!

  34. Stephanie Clement 08.09.2011

    Well I guess all I can say here is: THANK YOU!!!

    So, believe it or not in a week (well, 8 days) my husband (got married this past July 2nd!!) and I are moving to San Diego. Now, we’re currently living in Massachusetts (where he has lived his ENTIRE life); I’ve moved 14+ times and am originally a Canadian native. We’re moving because my smart-pants husband is going to get his PhD at U.C.S.D. I have been almost in denial that we have to move away from both of our families, our jobs, and a town we just LOVE. I’ve almost been depressed about it actually. Matt has visited twice now and raved more about it than I’ve ever heard him rave before…but for some reason I’ve still be semi-reluctant. Anywhoooo, your posts made it really seem incredible!! Such an up-close look and to hear you rave about it, like you have, seems wonderful. So THANK YOU FOR MAKING ME EXCITED!!!!! (Matty thanks you too!)

  35. Rachelle 08.09.2011

    Oh the memories! I grew up in Missouri, moved to San Diego for law school and lived in Cardiff (just five blocks up the road from PIPES). I had breakfast there every Saturday following many miles of running along the coast. Now I live in VA in miss Cardiff so very much. My husband and I are hoping to get back there. Thank you for this post and making my day!

  36. Mollie 08.09.2011

    I live right by Cardiff! (Encinitas). So glad you had a good time & went to Pipes!

  37. Woah. That burrito is freaking huge!!!!

    The breakfast looks so good. It is our favorite meal of the day. Your breakfast looks kind of like Migas, one of our favorite breakfast foods ever. We used corn tortillas in ours, but it looks pretty similar.

  38. popcorn plays 08.10.2011

    aw, i’m from la jolla + yr photos totally made me miss my hometown! glad you had a great time!

  39. Lindsey 08.13.2011

    So glad you made it to Neighborhood! It’s one of my absolute faves!

  40. Jessica 07.01.2012

    It’s too bad you went to Neighborhood but you totally didn’t find the hidden prohibition bar in the back Noble Experiment! It is so cute, but you have to make a reservation before you are allowed in! ;)

  41. Bill Davis 07.19.2012

    Glad you love our city (and Cardiff is our favorite, too) and our seals. Just FYI the seals don’t stink. That’s the seaweed. The seals’ job is just to be incredibly adorable. They do that nicely, huh?! =)

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