Category Archives: Food

The New Old La Mesa, Ca

Standard
The New Old La Mesa, Ca

I was born and raised in a small town outside of San Diego County, called La Mesa. La Mesa, California, also known as “The Jewel of the Hills” was established in 1912.  Throughout much growth, both in population and industry, La Mesa’s sophisticated yet quaint image has risen over the years. La Mesa is now best-known for its seasonal festivities, as well as for its historical downtown area on La Mesa Blvd. more commonly referred to by the locals as “The Village.” I moved from La Mesa to Puerto Rico about three years ago and always experience a major shock when I return back to my hometown. I can barely keep up with all the changes! I am an old soul and normally struggle with accepting change when there are alterations and new establishments around our town, but this visit found me in a completely different state of mind of acceptance. I was completely overwhelmed by how many new restaurants, bars and shops were lining La Mesa Blvd but there was not one place that didn’t feel like it belonged. The city has been doing an amazing job at what is being allowed to be opened in town and restricting establishments that don’t mesh with the quaint town vibe. Everything felt like it remained true to the original historical design of town as well as integrating just the right amount of newness to draw the right kind of attention.

I am learning to accept the beauty that can come with change. Now when I return to my hometown of La Mesa I look forward to seeing what has altered along the boulevard and what remains the same. There’s very little that could alter my love for this adorable little town that I will always call my original home. This list of restaurants that I have provided below is primarily establishments that are set along The Village Blvd. If I left something out or have placed something on the list that no longer exists please comment below and let me know. Even though I live in Puerto Rico now I love keeping informed about what happens back in my family neighborhood. You can be guided to the websites belonging to every single one of the places listed below simply by clicking on the name. Enjoy!

List of New Establishments in La Mesa Village

 

Newbie’s Still Holding Ground

Some Good Ole Classics

A Few of My Favorites That I Grew Up With Still Standing Strong (a wee bit off the Blvd)

 

My last visit home was filled with fun, family and lots and lots of food. I added a restaurant review about my visit to the new Farmer’s Table La Mesa and you can read it here in my Restaurant Reviews Page . I can’t wait to see what changes will be in store for me on my next visit back to La Mesa!

 

Advertisements

Doggy Diet Danger

Standard
Doggy Diet Danger

Yes yes, I am one of those freakish Dog-People who puts her fur kids first above all else. My dogs are not my whole life, but they truly do make my life whole and complete, not to sound completely cliche. After 14yrs of life with my Pomeranian-Schipperke, Osita, we made the family decision together to get a new dog friend. The first month with our new Sato (stray island mutt), Hennessy went beautifully smooth, way to smooth in fact. I should have known better.

I wanted life to be easy on all parties involved and had the best of intentions of instilling fairness on all levels within my two girls lives. I made my first mistake by assuming these two very different dogs would need exactly the same things. I so very badly wanted them to love each other like true sisters so I enforced the same rules and gave the same privileges to both Osita & Hennessy. I attempted to merge my two dogs lives into one without considering each of their individual needs. Looking back now I can see exactly what I did wrong. I made a mistake similar to a new mother who already has a teenager in the household, instilling sameness in areas that so obviously needed individual attention for each (fur)kid’s needs. I did not show respect for Osita’s 14 year old body needs and then further disrespected her by taking away almost every freedom and priviledge that she had been used to as I attempted to teach Henny about our household rules and train her. No more couches or beds, locked doors and fenced in gated areas, no more free roaming and coming back as she pleased, no freedom and less of Mama’s time. I inadvertently knocked Osita off her much deserved Alpha still wouldn’t eat and post and in doing so gave Henny the impression that she was Alpha over us all.

All of a sudden anything that Henny wanted she bullied into taking from us and would snap at me if I tried to discipline her at all. When Henny began showing signs of food aggression that became violent I realized we had to nip that in the butt immediately. When she attacked me in my sleep for rolling over and accidentally touching her while she had a treat in her mouth I realized what a severe problem we had on our hands. Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me.

We are working on establishing new ground rules every day but this one is the most important ever for her own safety and the safety of all others that visit our home. I learned a lot from watching a dog walker/handler that I stayed with back in San Fransisco handle her own, her clients, and my dog and things I watched her do and say was stored away in my memory banks. Back then I didn’t understand why she had set certain ground rules of hierarchy during feeding time but after being attacked by my own dog I understood immediately.

Hennessy is a rescued island sato, so her food aggression comes from fear and anxiety, not alpha dominance. We are working fast to establish consistent routines that make her feel safe and at the same time let’s her know who the Alpha in her family is.
Our new routine flows as followed:
– Exercise before mealtime to reduce hunter mentality
– I enjoy my breakfast first in front of the girls (I always felt so rude for doing this before but I respect the importance of it now)
– Osita eats her meal while Hennessy sits and waits patiently outside
– Hennessy eats last and she eats small portions at a time from my hand until she learns my hands near her food means rewards and love

I apologize for not making myself perfectly clear before you stepped paws into our household baby Henny girl. You will always get good consistent meals, you will never be touched forcefully, and you will Always get love. BUT…..I am Alpha, don’t forget it young lady. 💪🏾

Just as we nipped the food agression in the butt I began noticing a severe change in Osita’s mood and behavior. After 14 years of life together, I am just as in tune with her as she is with me and my moods. She stopped playing, wouldn’t react when I asked her to come or go for a walk, refused to eat, and got sick several times a day. I could literally feel my little girl wasting away by the day so we backtracked super fast. I began to watch everything super closely and pulled everything in her life out for individual review. She would bounce back to her regular spunky attitude as soon as she was out of the house alone with me and Henny was left behind. Osita is an incredibly sensative dog so at first I considered that maybe she was more than a little sad about the severe changes in her lifestyle. She would immediately regain her ultra dramatic depressed attitude when we returned to Henny and I still couldn’t get her to eat.

My next step was putting all her raw diet and old kibble food elements in separate bowls and watching to see what she selected. I was honestly shocked when given the option she kept selecting her dog kibbles over the meat, sweet potatoes, eggs and rice she had loved so much last month. Trust and have faith. I trusted that she knew what she needed and for the next week I proceeded to give her every option available and allowed her to essentially make up her own meals this way. I checked in with our vet and they assured me that backing off on Osita’s raw diet was the right move. Since she had never before in her life eaten a completely raw diet it was wrong of me to attempt to alter her what her body had been accustomed to. We have since found a balance of a little bit of everything and I swiftly noticed Osita’s energy levels increase.

Today I looked up from my crocheting to see both my girls enjoying their separate and completely different meals at their own separate paces and my heart exploded in happiness. As I was sitting there beaming with pride for my little ladies, Osita finished her entire meal and went over to Hennessy and began their usual post meal nuzzle & tussle routine. We did it! With far less effort than I had realized, all it truly took from me was consistency and patience, the girls both learned and relearned super fast. We have regained balance within our household and I am still learning lots everyday about how to handle Osita & Hennessey’s individual needs. I read lots of websites, books and got advice from vets and friends before we began the raw diet transition. There is so much to consider that we humans might not be aware of when it comes to our fur kids needs. I loved this article found online

How To Make Raw Dog Food: A Primer 

I am still learning and I would love to know Anything & Everything that does and doesn’t work for other people’s dogs during the raw diet transition. It takes a tribe to raise a youngster and I appreciate the knowledge gained from others. Please comment below with any suggestions and advice that you may have.

If you live in the Oakland/Bay Area, have fur kids that you love dearly and want the best possible care for them, contact Claire who owns Ruffin’ Around and can be found on DogVacay. She has more than 10 years of experience, provides a wide range of Dog Services such as Dog Walking & Boarding, and can help with a lot of different types of behavioral patterns while your fur kids are in her care.

Ruffin’ Around

 

Restaurant Review: Copas in Aguadilla, PR

Standard
Restaurant Review: Copas in Aguadilla, PR

I don’t have my own vehicle and I don’t eat pasta very much anymore, but my friends and I were hunting for fun places outside of Rincon to enjoy so we thought we would give Copas a try. They had been advertising a Whiskey Tasting & Bossa Nova on Facebook so I couldn’t think of a better night to go. Copas had been on my Puerto Rico Restaurants Bucket List for quite some time now so I was very excited to finally visit. My buddy was in desperate need of a fun and relaxing evening and I was really pleased to be able to take him to a new spot instead of our Rincon Regular haunts.

As we approached the establishment there was an air of nothingness all around us. No noise, no people, tons of cars and blacked out windows. It’s always a sign of good things to come when the windows are blacked out, in my opinion. I love the sense of mystery. It’s going to be empty, Crystal said. Or we will open the door and get hit with a wave of food smells and noise, I replied hopefully. I cracked the door and peeked inside to hear….nothing. I peered around the corner and saw that I was in a small dimly lit dining room with a bar featuring a bottle lined wall at the far end. There were only two tables with couples at them and nothing that looked like a whiskey tasting or a Bossa Nova band. We were running an hour late so I didn’t let myself get disappointed because I came with no expectations and was more interested in checking out a new spot that I had never been to. A waiter came to seat us and we learned that in fact we were not too late to join, if we would please just follow him right along this way Ma’am’s and Sir. From the outside the restaurant looked small, I had no idea where he was taking us but I was incredibly intrigued when I turned the first corner and saw a gondola sitting in the middle of the room, umbrella lighting fixtures dangling from the ceiling, and silhouettes of Italian architecture along the walls. I still heard no music and show no people other than the two couples when we had first entered but I followed along the corridors curiously. How big IS this place?! I lost count of how many corners we turned down, but I gasped out loud when we finally made one last turn and I saw the dining room. I stood still for half a step with my mouth gaping open resisting the urge to whip my iphone out and photograph everything. We were standing in a room that looked like a creepy cool Italian dollhouse! The entire room was done up to look like an Italian city courtyard complete with tiny little houses, doorways, windows, scones, awnings, twinkle lights and more. Am I stoned or did I eat the cookie and fall down the rabbit hole? Maybe a little of both.

The whiskey tasting event was posted to start at 7pm but when we arrived around 8pm people were seating and waiting for missing members to arrive so we didn’t miss out on anything (thank you heavens for “island time” mentality). Our tasting host for the evening, Robert, and the rest of the staff were incredibly friendly and had laid back and fun vibes. Robert has been hosting wine tastings for a little while at Copas and the events were so successful that he turned it into a regular weekly event. I’m not sure if he had ever hosted a whiskey tasting before but he did a great job with the selections for the evening. Mi español no es bueno pero necesito practicar (my Spanish is not good but I need to practice), so I was very pleased that Robert’s English was good enough to fluctuate between English and Spanish enough for me to understand everything that was being said throughout the evening. We arrived hungry and knew the whiskey would hit us quick so we ordered a bunch of appetizers and a couple main dishes to pair with our tastings. My two friends and & shared a Caprese Salad, Risotto Balls, and two pasta dishes. Everything was beautifully displayed and the portions were generous. Our pastas contained clams and mussels, which I am not a fan of, but nothing about the dish tasted fishy at all so I was able to enjoy it. I am not sure if they make their pasta from scratch or not but I Am In LOVE! Nice thin, flat noodles that soaked up the sauces so beautifully that I ate more than my fill and had me regretting my sexy little skin tight dress decision.

Robert had six single malt whiskeys waiting for us all to sample with a warning that we would all be feeling very relaxed and silly half way through the tasting. My friends and & gave each other Bring-It-On smirks and took a quick “Pre Whiskey” picture for laughs later. I have no idea why I was so confident in my abilities to handle a whiskey tasting on a semi empty tummy but Robert predicted the evening perfectly. While some connoisseurs might enjoy all the background information about their tastings, I much preferred Robert’s casual flow and easy banter. I tried really hard to keep track of our tastings and I have listed them below.

  1. The Glenrothes 1879: Speyside Single Malt Scotch Whiskey
  2. Aberlour 12: Double Cask Matured Scotch Whiskey
  3. The Glenlivet: Founder’s Reserve 1824
  4. The Glenrothes 2001: Speyside Single Malt Scotch Whiskey

Here’s where things begin to get a little foggy. Robert warned us this would happen.

5 & 6. I’m trying SO hard to remember the last two but I’ve got nothing guys sorry. Next time I will bring a little notebook and keep proper track of notes tasted and my favorite selections.

I had absolutely no room for dessert, but plenty of room for more whiskey so we wandered back through the Italian maze rooms to check out the Bossa Nova band in the main bar/dining room. Crystal & I made a scene of posing ourselves along the gondala and having our pictures taken before we meandered back to the first dining room we originally entered to hear the band, Spirale d’Bossa, perform.

 

The members of Spirale d’Bossa were not only beautiful but incredibly talented. We recognized the saxophone player from Rincon where he performs regularly, he is a big bearded man with eyes of an angel and lungs of the north wind. The vocalist, Alexandria, had me swooning the moment she lifted one beautifully tattooed hand up to her vintage microphone, and I was a complete goner by the time her voice added to the sax music. I tried my hardest to not post myself directly in front of her like a groupie and sucked back a little too much whiskey to calm my nerves when she came over to introduce herself. My buddy David’s laughter filled the room, Crystal had all the male servers clustered around her hanging on her every word as she chattered away non stop, and my belly and heart were incredibly full. Just as I had the thought, “I wish my father were here right now he would love everything about this moment”, the band began playing one of our favorite Sade songs and I took it as a sign. I don’t drunk dial often, but when I do, its always to call my father and share my immediate moments with him and to tell him how much I love him while trying to not slur my words. I held the phone right up to the stage and let him have a listen for a few moments and then stepped to the side to give him a super quick recap of our evening.

By the end of the evening Robert had been inspired by my request for tequila tastings and my complaint of not being able to find many Mezcals on the island and has now planned for a Cinco de Mayo Mezcal & Tequila tasting. I gave a little shriek of delight when he told me of his plan and immediately started sending my friends invites to join me. I can’t wait to share this place with not only my papa, but with all of my Airbnb guests and local friends as well. I have listed their next scheduled events as well as all the links to the Facebook pages below so you can give them a follow and be notified of later tastings and other fun events that they host such as comedy shows and movie nights!

Copas Restaurant in Aguadilla, PR

April 8 – Viva Espana

April 9 – Noche de Vino y Cine Memoria

April 21 – Wine Tasting: Hungary

April 28 – Cata de Vinos: Hungary

April 29 – Carlos Ramirez y Su Stand Up

May 5 – Desgutacion de Tequila

 

Spirale d’Bossa

 

Are you visiting, traveling or living in Puerto Rico? Come stay with me and play with me in Rincon! I am not your average Airbnb Hostess and time spent in my spaces are unlike any experience you have enjoyed before while traveling. Follow my island adventures on Facebook or Instagram and check my calendar for availability!

Airbnb: Surf Town Beach Casita

Facebook: Surf Town Beach Goddess Casita

Instagram: @beachgoddessairbnb

Crochet: Educational Easter

Standard
Crochet: Educational Easter

My friends like to say “Cloud can crochet Anything”. I always put a disclaimer on that statement: I can crochet anything….that I am in the mood to crochet. If it doesn’t vibe with me, I won’t create it. That doesn’t mean that I am unable to, it just means that I don’t wanna. Fiber Art is just as much a creative art form as painting, sculpting, and any other art form. That means that if I am not inspired, I can not create. Luckily I’m completely head over heels in love with my craft, and I find inspiration in EVERYTHING.

I began crocheting children’s toys as a way to round out my Etsy Shop selections and quickly discovered that I have a passion for creating functional and educational children’s toys. I started by recreating Play-School type toys in crochet form, specifically kitchen type toys. Since I am also food obsessed this only seemed natural to me. I have sandwich sets, pizza packs, sushi sets, fruit salad sets, and more available for sale in my Etsy Shop.

I also like to please the masses by adding at least one fun “holiday” item for each season. This year for Easter I have combined my educational with my holiday and food to create these fun color matching egg sets!

Check out my Etsy Shop to purchase these adorable Color Matching Egg Sets and to see the rest of my crochet items. I love getting more ideas from my surroundings and suggestions from followers, please comment below about some things that you would like to see me crochet!

Gypsy Sugar Crochet (Etsy Shop)

Gypsy Sugar Crochet (Facebook)

Gypsy Sugar Crochet (Instagram) 

 

 

Crochet Art

Standard
Crochet Art

Pardon my absence! I have been busy focusing on my crochet art and filling orders for my Etsy Shop and I just wanted to take a moment and share some of my latest creations. I have been working on recreating my favorite foods for children’s play kitchen sets. All of my work can be purchased on my GypsySugarCrochet Etsy shop, and if you do not see it listed in the shop feel free to send me a message. I also love being challenged, send me a request, I can make ANYTHING! You can also view a lot of my crochet art on my Instagram page @gypsysugarcrochet

 

Crochet Fruit

GypsySugarCrochet

Berry Bowl

Collaboration with Klaycat Porcelain

 

IMG_9812 IMG_9916

Crochet Pizza

Pizza With Toppings

IMG_9931 IMG_9979

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stay Tuned! As soon as I figure out a better way to display the pictures of my finished projects I will be posting more of my creations here.