How was your weekend? I’m writing this on a Monday night, which is late for my usual Monday early AM posts, but today was a super busy day. Just another manic Monday friends! Any who, backing it up to last Friday, my weekend started off with a tropical acai bowl date with a friend… Next came Food Touring in Carlsbad.
…an evening tennis session with my hubby…
…and then a Saturday morning HIIT workout, walk with my pup + yoga practice:
I had planned on having this nicely healthy start to the weekend because I knew what was coming up next: eating and drinking the entire rest of Saturday, because A and I went on our very first food tour! I had recently mentioned us doing a few fun activities as pre-birthday celebrations for each of us before we travel to the east coast and spend our actual birthdays there, and it was only natural that my celebration of choice included food. And wine. And sweets. And in this case, exploring a town we love and live just a few minutes from! Food Touring in Carlsbad is a fun way to see the city.
The Carlsbad Food Tour takes guests around town on foot to a variety of restaurants to get a “taste” of what Carlsbad has to offer. The tour also sprinkles in some tidbits about Carlsbad itself, from its origination to explanations of its street art. I was especially looking forward to the day because I spend a lot of time in the cute beachfront town. In fact, my acai bowl date the day before was in Carlsbad. Food Touring in Carlsbad – Culinary Walking Tour of the Village.
Our first stop on the tour was to Caldo Pomodoro, a family owned Italian eatery whose location used to be a hotel. We tried their signature garlic bread with marinara…
…as well as their baked artichoke hearts appetizer:
Next up was a trip to Humble Olive Oils – a tasting room for gourmet olive oils and balsamic vinegars.
This place is right up my alley! I’ve often said that if I were to open up a business, an olive oil/dip/wine tasting place would be high on my list of ideas. Humble Olive Oils has every olive oil and balsamic flavor you could think of, from fig, blueberry, and expresso balsamic vinegars to lemon, butter, black truffle and blood orange infused olive oils. I think I tried about half of them! Food Touring in Carlsbad in so much fun. My favorite flavor was either their basil or Milanese Germolata olive oils, which features lots of yummy Italian herbs.
Moving on, there’s this painting of tigers in Carlsbad that I’ve always loved, and when we walked by it, the tour host stopped and explained the idea that the artist had behind it.
I learned that the mural was inspired by the following quote from American theologian Reinhold Neibuhr: “Change is the essence of life. Be willing to surrender what you are for what you may become.” Such a neat concept, right?!
The mural is painted on the building of Witch Creek Winery, which was our next stop. We had visited this Carlsbad tasting room once before.
Witch Creek Winery is in a great location for people who want to taste some wine before walking to dinner at one of the many restaurants nearby, but in all honesty, I wish that their wines were better. Neither A or I were impressed with the wines that they offer this time nor last.
Next up, we tasted something very yummy: cinnamon rolls from Cafe Topes: Food Touring in Carlsbad and delicious cinnamon rolls, what’s not to like.
The cafe is a few blocks off the main strip of Carlsbad and I had never even seen it before, but now I definitely have it on my list of somewhere to go the next time we want a breakfast splurge out. The menu includes items like pumpkin and oreo pancakes and Kap’n Krunch French toast – how crazy but intriguing! The restaurant was packed and I have a feeling that it’s typically a very popular spot.
Next up on the tour was a stop at Cafe Panini – a laid-back eatery that gives off very SoCal vibes with its selection of craft beer and wines, dog-friendliness and comfy patio setup. I love panini sandwiches and had a good feeling about this place, and I was right! Their caprese with pesto panini got a thumbs up from me:
I’m glad that we went there because I hate only knowing Starbucks locations for places with free WiFi and would much rather prefer a local joint, so now I know where to go when I want to work outside of my office!
Last up on the tour was a trip to a place I had been wanting to visit for months: The Chocolate Bar – Food Touring in Carlsbad.
If this isn’t already apparent to you guys, I’m a sucker for sweets.. and this chocolate and coffee shop makes some awesome treats! We were given sea salt dark chocolate caramels to try, and A and I both loved them.
I had expected to feel overly full by the time the tour concluded, but I actually felt pretty good at the end. While the tour wasn’t specifically vegetarian and there were some meaty items included, I only skipped eating at one place, and ironically, it wasn’t a meat item. It was eggplant sliders – which I love but am allergic to. I love little bites and enjoyed getting to just taste a bunch of different things without feeling stuffed.
When I had pictured going on a walking food tour, I was imagining a gorgeous sunny day, which is what we most often have in San Diego County. However, it wound up being the crappiest day of the year thus far. When the tour first started, it was lightly drizzling, but after a little while, the rain picked up and we got poured on.
We wound up skipping one of the further away tasting locations because of thunder and lighting (a rarity here!), and we had to laugh that on a day when we had an outdoorsy event scheduled, we were getting completely soaking wet with rain puddles and downpours. Our umbrella got use for a change!
Would it have been better if it was a nice day out? Sure, but some (much needed) rain wasn’t going to ruin my time. There was a woman within a group of people on the tour that sort of rudely stomped off of the tour because of the rain (and the tour leader was very gracious in trying to reschedule with her and all of us if we wanted to), and it made me think about the power of attitude.
We always have the choice to make the best of things or the worst of things. I just feel like life’s too short and too beautiful to let something like rain, or any other small annoyance, put me in a bad mood, ya know?
After the food tour, we decided to have a cozy rainy day in for the rest of our Saturday. I played the piano while A practiced on his new acoustic guitar (early birthday gift to him!), I napped for a bit, we watched movies, and we figured we’d keep the eating and drinking streak going and have a wine and cheese night for dinner:
We opened a bottle of chardonnay we had gotten wine tasting in the Santa Ynez Valley, noshed on fruit, cheese, and crackers, among a few other things. A few hours later, we sipped on some port and enjoyed the chocolates we had taken home from The Chocolate Bar while playing cards:
It was a pretty glorious and very indulgent day! Good thing I balanced it out with lots of workouts and healthy eating the day before and after….and no simple carbs on Sunday after the abundance of them on Saturday! 😉
Tell me… Have you ever been on a food tour?