SoCal: Living the Good Life in San Clemente

San Clemente is a small beach town between San Diego and LA and it so happens to be where Candice, my bestie from Boston, and her husband Vince live. I visited once before last July and this time Chris came for the trip. It wasn’t too hard to convince him since surfing was involved.

I feel like San Clemente is the quintessential image of what I imagined California to be like before I moved here. Really tan, blond-haired people running around in bathing suits, driving Jeep Wranglers, surfing, and playing beach volleyball. What a hard life. On Saturday after a nice brunch at Antoine’s Cafe, we went out to San Onofre Beach and we were there pretty much all day. Vince was able to get two surfboards so he and Chris surfed (the Church break) while Candice and I laid out, slathered in sun screen, hidden under floppy hats and behind a beach umbrella. We did get some color I swear. 

Chris catching a wave.

In the evening we went to the San Clemente Pier where Ocean Fest was going on. Oddly enough last year when I visited, it happened to coincide with Ocean Fest! I just can’t seem to get enough of it apparently. Ocean Fest is a weekend event in San Clemente with surfing competitions, foot races, food, games, etc. 

As a part of Ocean Fest, there was a concert on the beach by the Flock of 80’s, a cover band of yes, you guessed it, 80s music. They didn’t play any Journey though! Lots of Duran Duran and other stuff I didn’t really recognize. 

The band was pretty good. They branched out a bit and started playing 90s music for their last few songs. As we were leaving the sun was setting on the beach. So pretty!

That night we ate at Cafe Mimosa, a French restaurant which is the sister restaurant of Antoine’s. Overall, the food was excellent, servers were super nice and pleasant, joking with you as if you were family. The service itself on the other hand, let’s just say it was European. It was slow, very slow. But good thing we weren’t in a rush (just very hungry). The next day, we went to the Rainbow Sandals Outlet. Did you know Rainbows are originally from San Clemente? I got myself two pairs, one for me and one for my sister.  I feel really California right now. After Candice and I headed to Fashion Island (it’s a mall, sadly not an island of fashion – I wish!) and Vince and Chris went to a shooting range. It seemed the guys didn’t want to shop, strange. For lunch, Candice took me to True Food Kitchen



It is a chain restaurant but their food is all about local, sustainable ingredients. They have awesome juices too. I got the Kale Aid – kale, apple, cucumber, celery, lemon and ginger. It was very kale-y at first but the more I drank, the more I liked it. Recharged we hit the shopping mall. I ended up getting a couple shirts for Afghanistan. I am heading to Kabul this Saturday for work – bananas I know. More on this later! After shopping for a few hours, we met back up with Vince and Chris at South of Nick’s for some amazing Mexican! We capped the night by watching The Bachelorette season finale. I’m happy with the results 🙂 It was such a great weekend and it made it really hard to go to work on Monday. Hope to be back down soon!

Weekend Escape to Capitola, CA

This weekend our friend Kyle invited us down to Capitola where he was house sitting. Kyle likes to surf so Chris jumped at the chance to spend a weekend catching some waves. As for me, I jumped at the chance go explore another California city.


Capitola is a small city in Santa Cruz County about an hour and a half south of SF. On Saturday, we walked around downtown Capitola and stumbled upon rows and rows of hot rods and Beach Boys music blasting from the town center.  It just so happened to be the weekend of the 7th Annual Capitola Rod and Custom Classic.

It was pretty cool. My favorite cars were the creamiscle colored ones that looked like they belong parked outside a 50’s diner. Some cars had interesting details:

Other cars had weird decorations:
There are cute shops downtown. Mostly touristy stuff but some boutiques that are worth checking out. I found a bunch of antique stores on Soquel Drive in Soquel, a town just north of Capitola. We didn’t buy anything, except for food of course!
Clockwise from left to right: Starz Cupcakes “Hot Rod” cupcakes, Cafe Violette Pistachio Ice Cream, Starz Cupcakes “All for one and one for all” cupcake, and Mr. Kebab lamb shwarma.
We were hoping to watch Game 7 of Celtics vs. Heat somewhere in Capitola but couldn’t find a good restaurant/bar that had TVs and a decent menu (clutch combination). So we ventured to burger. in Santa Cruz. This is not your typical burger joint!
I ordered the “Spicoli,” Kyle ordered the special burger (I forget the name but it had loads of blue cheese and bacon on it) and Chris outdid us both and got the “Phatty.” Just looking at it raises my cholesterol…
Sadly the C’s lost. It was a great season and I was happy they made it this far. It was nice because there were a bunch of Celtics fans/Heat haters cheering with us. The next morning I went back downtown to take pictures of surfers while Kyle and Chris were out surfing. I am not interested in surfing at all. I am too much of a land person to want to play in the ocean and plus the thought of potentially being eaten by a shark haunts me. It happens I hear. 
But I enjoy watching other people surf! Check out this “artistic” shot I took by accident:
Capitola was super fun and relaxing. It was nice to have a quick weekend getaway. Now it’s off to Dallas, TX for a work trip. Exotic, right? If anyone has any recommendations, let me know! I’m already preparing for the marathon eating I’ll be doing 🙂