Drinks Under Cherry Blossoms + Ice Cream in Any Weather

This past Sunday, some clouds decided to roll in through San Diego, and I am all for it. I'm pretty much convinced we didn't have a Winter at all because all I can recall are some pretty harsh Santa Ana's that gave (and are still giving) my sinuses are run for their money, and having to use my car's sun shade more than I ever recall having to in any Winters past. All this talk of the "Winter" Olympics is sort of surreal to me because it's felt *nothing* like Winter here in SoCal! But I won't complain much longer, since I'll soon be shivering my behind off on a barren glacier in Iceland (ah!) - stay tuned for that!

 

Drinks under cherry blossoms

Back to that chilly Sunday afternoon - We headed down to Little Italy to meet up with some friends for drinks at the newly opened CLOAK & PETAL. Parking was crazy difficult to find on this particular day, but we all persisted! Once we made it to our destination, I was absolutely floored by the beauty of the space - I'd already seen pictures of the restaurant with its indoor cherry blossom trees and edgy street-inspired decor, but seeing it in person in the midday light just made it feel unreal. And can I just mention that their music selection was just the cherry on top? 👌🏼

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Let us introduce 2 of our best friends, Nick and Noriko, and one special reason why we wanted to visit Cloak & Petal with them: Nick and Noriko are both married. Noriko is half Japanese, and Cloak & Petal happens to be a Japanese restaurant. We've come to find out that Cloak & Petal also has a drink on their menu named "Nick and Nori" which we thought was too much of a coincidence. How CRAZY is that?! So we had to come see it for ourselves, so lo and behold - the Nick and Nori.

I ordered the Japananah, after divulging to our server that I enjoyed sippin' on gin. It was super tropical and refreshing, and came out in a tiki-style glass and garnished with a tiny Arcanine (yes, you heard that right, Pokémon aficionados!). Jason went with the Japanese to English, which was their take on a Japanese manhattan made with sesame infused japanese whisky - I thought it would've went well with a beef bowl but alas we were only there for drinks this time. It was super smooth, though - highly recommend both drinks.

Nick + Noriko got the Nick and Nori (obvi) and damn it was a stiff drink! It's their take on a martini and is made with Japanese nori-infused gin, among other things. It was incredibly aromatic, and if you're a fan of strong martini's I'm sure you'll enjoy this one.

For our second round, I got the Elyx Fix which was basically a super refreshing lemonade - couldn't even taste the alcohol which could be very dangerous but was also very delicious. Jason got the Casa Branca which was more like an old fashioned but with lemon and ginger and looked like a sunrise in a cup - he liked this one even better than his first drink!

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Drink garnishes turned toddler toys

Drink garnishes turned toddler toys

Loved the ambience of this place so much that I think I might consider coming back here for girls' night to celebrate my birthday after we get back from our trip... I definitely think the girls would enjoy it and the music and drinks are right up their alley! It'd also give us a chance to try out the food. Hmmmm.


Dessert before Dinner, because why not

All laq'ed up, we all walked down the street over to SALT & STRAW to finally get some scoops from their brick and mortar! We'd gotten some ice cream from them before they opened up shop as a sort of preview here in town, but never from their actual storefront after they came down to San Diego. Thankfully, the line was even shorter than their line in Portland the last time we'd gone over Memorial Day weekend :) all thanks to the gloomy weather, perhaps?

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Jason and I went through a few tasters, including a peanut butter stout, chocolate chip cookie dough, and a hazelnut from their special chocolatier series, but we still ended up getting 2 scoops of their James Coffee & bourbon - SO freaking good! If it's not this, I'll typically go with the lavender ice cream if there's nothing special on. They've totally stepped up their specials game, though, so it's so hard to decide what to get nowadays without trying at least 4 other flavors first!

 

I’ll admit - we kind of ate our dinner backwards. We started with drinks, then had desserts, but we finally got hungry so we decided to walk down the street to RAKI RAKI for ramen and more Japanese food since it was getting even gloomier now and our appetites were growing! We worked up our hunger while making our brisk walk half a mile down, and it's honestly probably the most we've walked in a while, especially since parking was so difficult that we had to park quite a ways down the other side of Little Italy already. Luckily, the weather was nice and cool, so it was perrrrrfect.

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Honestly, this Raki Raki should probably be called a Raki Raki Express or something, it's like a mini version of the shop and it feels kind of like a shortened version of the sit down restaurant. Totally reminds me of a food hall I'd find somewhere, but it was a good convenient place to grab food before we walked all the way back to the car to head home for nap time.

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Unfortunately for me, I think my body's getting increasingly sensitive to salty foods and this bowl of ramen I had probably overdid it and I ended up getting a huge migraine shortly after finishing it. In retrospect, I probably should've just eaten more ice cream! But I ended up taking a long nap after we got home, and that's how we spent our last Sunday in San Diego before taking off for Iceland.

In any case, I should probably get started on packing...