I sat down for dinner tonight - leftover fettuccini alfredo with a ton of chili flakes (just how I like it) - and decided to open up a can of Cutwater gin + tonic. I thought, "a little bit of alcohol will get me to relax, help me write this blog after dinner".
I'm also listening to the Mellow Beats station on Spotify and it's full of super chill hip hop instrumentals and the description succinctly says it'll either help me CHILL OUT or FOCUS ON WORK. And guess what? I'm the total opposite of focused right now.
After a full plate of pasta and a drink, I could really use a nap but it's not even 6pm and that's a pretty irresponsible thing to do so I suppose we should just move along with what you're probably here for right? If that's anything in particular to begin with... because *SURPRISE* I'm just going to continue talking about even more drinking :)
Brunch at a Beer Hall
We weren't really planning on brunch this time, it kind of just happened. We drove down to Little Italy on a quiet Saturday morning, nabbed an awesome parking spot (yo - the parking gods are just on our side lately 🙏🏼 - so blessed), and walked just one block over to NOLITA HALL. We'd been wanting to check Nolita out since it'd open but were hesitant due to reports of crowds and the nasty parking in Little Italy. It's the little homebody on our shoulder whispering in our ear trying to convince us to just stay home.
I must say, I was truly enamored with the decor inside the bar area here. White marble, geometric wood inlays running in parallel lines (a theme that remained consistent throughout both the interior and exterior of the building), deep black menus with minimalistic crisp white geometric lines —perfection. What I loved even more was their massive split-flap display, commonly found at airports. It changed frequently to display cocktails, beers, and other messages. At the bottom was also departing flight information - nifty tidbits of info and a nice nod to the airplanes that would pass loudly overhead every 10 minutes or so.
Onto the food and drinks!
I ordered an NPT (Nolita Prescription Tonic) which was a mix of their lemon, cucumber, and rosemary infused gin with some fever tree tonic, while Jason opted for a beer. My drink arrived in a tall wine glass (a little odd) and looked like a tall drink of ice water. Refreshing, at least. But I'm happy to report that their beers are definitely full pints! Their logo is also pretty pleasing to the eye, so I like their choice of glassware.
For food, I did the most millennial thing one could do and ordered the avocado toast and added proscuitto, while Jason got their #brunch which was essentially a hash with eggs on top. Not only that, but I think this was the most expensive avocado toast I'd ever gotten (but to be fair, I've gotten very few in my life).
Both dishes were surprisingly super filling, full of flavor, and delicious for how simple they seemingly were though - highly recommend this as a new chill brunch spot if you're trying to stay low-key like we always are! Would I get this bougie avo toast again? Actually, yeah. It filled me up for the rest of the day and we actually didn't even eat dinner until late in the evening. The scrambled egg was cooked to perfection (and I'm SO picky with scrambled egg - to the point that I avoid ordering it anywhere at all costs actually), and the avocado was more like guacamole and was seasoned also amazingly well. It was super tough to cut with the worthless butter knife they gave us, but I guess I was overdue for an arm workout so...
What is Brunch without Coffee
I think you know what's next! Luckily for us, we were only 2 doors away from JAMES COFFEE CO. - another super chill coffee joint, located inside a nifty warehouse of sorts that also houses several other storefronts. Need a haircut? Some glasses? A hat? A birthday card? AND your coffee? Get it all here. Pretty amazing.
But alas, we just needed coffee.
We shared a large vanilla iced latte with soy and slurped it up as we took in our surroundings within the dark and moody warehouse. There were patrons studying, sipping, conversing, laughing, shopping, wandering in, and wandering out. The square steel ottoman I was sitting on was cold and hard, and being in large dark building made me crave the warmth and sunshine of being outside so I drank the coffee with a quickness which definitely helped prevent our impending food coma.
Basking in a Beer Garden
In search of sun and warmth, we headed next to Liberty Station where we decided to visit STONE BREWING. We knew it'd be busy but hoped we'd still be able to score a spot somewhere on their outdoor patio. The sun was shining bright, and we nabbed a table underneath an umbrella next to the koi pond pretty easily!
We spent a good amount of time here, enough for me to notice the shade of the umbrella move. It was a gorgeous sunny day out, and the koi in the pond were unbelievably active! Even the turtles were out splashing in and out of the water - I don't think I've ever seen such active koi pond inhabitants at any other koi pond. It gave me a pretty good chance to finally pull out that funny polarizer for my camera. You can see how it cut the glare on the water in one of the photos above, but unfortunately I can't do anything about the nasty bubbles in there haha.
Several beers later... we were getting tired of the same ol' view and while perusing the 'gram noticed that a certain local bottle shop finally opened up so that's where we decided to head next (but quickly before they closed!)
A Brand New Bottle Shop
Just before our wedding back in November, we had a meeting with our videographer at a little coffee shop called Copa Vida. It was tucked away in a business park, nestled in a newly built building. While curiously wandering around, we noticed a new liquor license application on a window front that was made out to BOTTLECRAFT just a few doors down - neat!
Well, months later, Bottlecraft finally opened its doors in Sorrento Valley, so we rushed on over to check it out. Again - we like wide open quiet spaces, so the appeal of this was very high.
Behold - a new post-work drink spot to wait out the 5-805 traffic at!
And if you work in the Sorrento Valley area, you'll be happy to know they don't close until 9pm on weeknights - but on Saturdays they close at 5pm so we were outta there right at the close of shop. We comprised of 50% of the patrons that were present at the shop this fine afternoon for the last hour and a half or so, but it was a nice beautiful evening outside on the patio and we enjoyed the peace and quiet out there before heading right on home for the evening.
Did we have time for a nap? You betcha. And so concludes another day drinking adventure (because we're too grandma/grandpa for going out at night and we have a strict bedtime to adhere to). I'm not sure how we used to do this all day and stay out all night at our friends' house too but then again we have aged nearly a decade now so that explains a lot of things. Until next time - cheers!