photo9

You know who you are. If you have met me before and were given a CritDicks business card, then you should know I approve of your business when you see me walk through the door the next time around. There are a great deal of establishments we, and many others, visit without even a moment’s thought. A hot dog at Costco, a pair of tacos at Jack-in-the-Box or maybe a bag of pistachios while waiting for the lecture to begin. We eat . . . therefore we think!

I visit places . . . that I don’t even like. And yes I can probably say I eat their food too. Whatever! What I want to say is I eat at various places throughout time that I don’t always get to acknowledge. Places like Curbside Café in Vista, CA. http://curbsidecafevistaca.com/ I think I have been there a 1/2 dozen times now . . . always a treat to eat there. I feel bad because I don’t often times get to spend enough moments with an owner or chef where they remember me. Or . . . , they remember me as that “blogger” that dumped his stupid business card on them. I know I may sometimes come across wrong . . . I think that’s my wiring. I’m also very social, so I may get talking with a server and a General Manager may be giving me stink eye over his/her bifocals . . . because they’ve seen me before! “WATCH HIM” . . . he’s sneaky! Perhaps one day, I will feel welcomed as a writer when visiting an establishment. Actually, I have . . . now that I think about it! “Steve and Steve” remembered me while visiting http://www.underdogstruck.com/ with Underdogs during a food truck and music festival. Steve immediately recognized me and the stories began . . .

photo2   There are so many attributes of 2013 that I needed to include in this blog somewhere, but now I’m approaching a new vector in my life and must quickly scan whatever pictures I took and try to recall stories of those memories. There were so many stories to tell . . . but I just fell plain flat. I had serious burn out and needed to clear my mind. Glad it really only lasted a few weeks, during which time I was able to even slip in a quick retreat at Lake San Marcos, in San Marcos, CA http://www.lakehousehotelandresort.com/. photo3photo 1We were treated to a very large lofted ceiling, luxurious post-modern retro decorated room overlooking most activities in the area and the lake. Our room had a large balcony that overlooked the adult spa and “wooded” fire ring (pretty cool). Our deck was open to adjoining decks and had some really cool chairs. Look ’em up. They are very heavy and sturdy and made from post consumer plastics, made to look like wood and painted. Quality! Other quality amendments in the room included a 60″ thin-edge HDTV with HD service! Top Notch! photoThe room was simple, elegant and included a remodeled bath featuring a large wall-to-wall glass-encased shower, LED lighting and new plumbing fixtures. Water pressure was fair. Service was very good and unwavering . . . trust me . . . I tried!photo5

We also ate at a place called Thai Garden in Oceanside, CA http://www.thaigardensd.com/index.html were we were treated to some lovely plating of authentic Thai cuisine and an educational owner that brought us a chili from his back yard explaining, “the top of the flair is sweet, the rest to the stem is very hot”. Taken with caution I tasted the sweet, but could already tell the hot area was with the seeds, and needed to stay there today. This kid must’ve had a hangover. photo6Oh yeah, I attended my graduation . . . yes, I sat in the back and congratulated all graduates for this day was for them.

As part of my graduation celebration, I also will soon have a Daughter-in-Law that shared in my graduation, by graduating herself from Cal State San Marcos. My gift to her . . . and myself, was to take her out for a nice meal . . . somewhere fancy. Normally I don’t put pictures of persons I know, but the day was spectacular, one of Oceanside’s finest. photo7Due to all circumstances, we elected to have lunch at 333 Pacific http://www.cohnrestaurants.com/333pacific, and Chef Brian Hyre greeted our table and announced each arriving course from our skillfully coordinated Prix Fixe menu. Skillfully coordinated means I spent the last 3 or 4 days trying to contact the Chef by whatever means to ask him to do me the favor, having explained the circumstances and that I wanted the meal to be special. Chef somehow felt obliged to fulfill with my request. Not something often found out there anymore, unless at a real small mom and pop’s brick and mortar. Chef Brian is, as most good chefs, are always super busy, so their moments are very special. Chef Brian also hooked us up with an amuse bouche of 333’s signature Sweet Chili Calamari. Ok, now I have tasted the best. Previous calamari crown was held by Blue Water Seafood in San Diego, but now 333. It was just so tender . . . so tender, with the Sweet Chili dipping sauce. You know, when Chef Brian and I briefly discussed what I wanted on the menu, I asked Chef to “clear out the fridge” . . . he knew exactly what I meant. I think at that moment, Chef Brian knew I was someone worth meeting. Thanks Chef Brian! A true professional! Oh, BTW; there was also a finisher of fruitful frozen Mango puree on a frozen Coconut milk shell . . . something like that. Heaven!

To top everything off, I had a wonderful Christmas holiday celebration. I am very much looking forward to 2014 and all of the antics that should be displayed by all.

Dicks

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