Essential Tipping Knowledge (Chart Included)

We should all know how to tip properly. Unless, of course, you live in Japan.

tipping-chart

Walking Away From 100,000

In November 2011, this website reached its peak with over 95,000 unique views. In fact, the exact number is 97,075. Just a tad under 100,000 views. Up to that point, I had been blogging about T-Shirts religiously. I’d blog about as many new tees as I cold keep up with. I did monthly lists that were designed to drive in traffic (one of these lists has nearly a million views). I’d do posts whenever there was a T-Shirt sale. I was earning good affiliate income, gaining ad revenue, and receiving tons of free tee swag. Getting 10 free T-Shirts in the mail a week was not an unusual thing for me. And then I stopped blogging.

[Read more…]

I’m Back! Say Hello To Dr. Gonzales!

Hey Guys! Hope everyone has been doing awesome. Some of you regular readers may have noticed that I’ve been blogging  and doing video reviews pretty inconsistently over the last 6 months. There’s a perfectly good reason, and it’s not because I’ve fallen out of love with indie T-Shirts. Over the last couple of months I’ve been making the final push towards finishing graduat school, defending my dissertation and earning my Ph.D. in Psychology. Well, I am happy to say that I have finally completed this particularly grueling journey in my life and am now Dr. (or Professor) Coty J. Gonzales. How awesome is that?!

I thought that it was appropriate that I mentioned this life accomplishment on this blog, for two reasons. First, I started this blog as a way to de-stress way back in 2008 when I completed my Masters thesis defense. So in many ways, this T-Shirt blog exists because of my academic pursuits. Second, I’ve developed a lot of awesome relationships with YOU – the readers of this blog. I’ve shared with you some of the greatest moments in my life over the last couple of years, and this one might be the biggest so far.

With that said, we can now get back to blogging!

Here’s a pic of me after I successfully completed my defense. I didn’t wear a T-Shirt, but I did wear an awesome Johnny Cupcakes tie (you can kind of see it in the pic). Hey, I had to “tie” in the indie T-Shirt world somehow!

Here’s a pic of me with my Dissertation advisor. You can see the Johnny Cupcakes tie a lot better in this one!

Seattle/Portland Trip Day 5 + 6

And my Seattle/Portland daily recaps continue!

Day 5 T-Shirt of Choice: Make Me A Sandwich by Seibei and Bombs Away by Dale Edwin Murray (Tilteed)

This marked the start of our road trip to neighboring state, Oregon. We began the morning by having breakfast at a little cafe en route to Tacoma, were would switch off with our friends cousin whose car we were borrowing for the trip to Portland. The Shipwreck Cafe is this small stop off of Martin Way in Olympia, Washington. I got the breakfast special, which consisted of chickenfried steak, eggs, hashbrowns and toast. It was better than I expected! Tons of gravy lathered over the chicken steak. Don’t pay attention to the calories because the gravy really makes this dish special.

Oregon

After breakfast we headed straight for our first stop in Portland, the Full Sail Brewery, which is right next to Hood River. Full Sail Brewery is known for their award winning Session brew. The brewery tour lasted about 30 minutes and was quite interesting and informative. They walk you through the entire beer making process and even let you taste the ingrediants that go into brewing beer. At the end of the tour you score a free Full Sail glass!

Full Sail Brewery

The food at Full Sail Brewery was OK but the beer was exceptional. I especially loved the Full Sail Session Lager, that is definitely my type of beer and well worth the 2.5 hour drive from Tacoma. We ended up buying a case to bring back to the hotel.

After Full Sail we headed to Portland to check into our hotel, the third Marriot stop of our Seattle/Portland journey. We got lost. But that was a good thing because we ended up at a Traders Joe’s and bought tons of snacks! I wish Hawaii had a Trader Joe’s.

Lo and behold our hotel was only 5 minutes away from Trader Joes. We made it to our hotel, quickly unpacked and headed out to yet another beer destination – Rogue Distillery & Public House, to meet up with Travis Greenwood of Found Item Clothing and Patrick Treadway of Tilteed! We had a great time chatting about tees, Portland life, tees, and tees! It was great meeting up with those two excellent dudes. And my friends were happy because they scored some free tees from Patrick and one of you lucky readers will score a free tee(s) from Travis (I need to first figure out how to give them away)!

Travis Greenwood of Found Item Clothing

That’s Travis Greenwood from Found Item Clothing. Amazing guy who knows a ton about shirts and has crazy ideas! Follow him on Twitter @founditemclothing.

Parick Treadway of Tilteed.com

Hey, it’s Patrick from Tilteed.com! He markets, prints, and ships out all Tilteed orders by himself! Talk about dedication and being passionate about what you do! Follow Tilteed on Twitter @Tilteed. Use the code “TiltCoty” for an additional $2 off your Tilteed order!

After Rogue, Patrick was kind enough to drive us to VooDoo Doughnuts to get a taste of the weirdness that is Portland! VooDoo Doughnoughts was great experiece filled with an eclectic set of people! I’ve never quite experienced anything like VooDoo Doughnuts. It was a trip to say the least. And Patrick was right, VooDoo Doughnuts is best experienced at night because when we stopped by the following morning, the crowd was a bore compared to the night munchers.

VooDoo Doughnuts

Yes, that’s bacon on top of maple syrup drenched doughnut. Only at VooDoo Doughnuts!

Day 6 T-Shirt of Choice: Make Wellness Not War by I Am Wellness

Portland here we come! The morning was spent exploring the Pearl District of Portland. Our first stop was the famous Powell’s Books on Burnside. To say that this bookstore is huge is a big understatement. It’s ginormous. It’s probably larger than most public libraries you’ve been to. The store is split up into 8 different sections based on genre and occupies three full floors. You could spend countless hours exploring Powell’s, unfortunately our time was limited so our visit was brief (I still left with two new books).

Keep Portland Weird

As I was walking through Portland someone walked right pass me and said “I Love Your Shirt”. You can get it from I Am Wellness. Use the code “SUMMER09″ for 15% off (hopefully the code still works).

By the time we were through with Powell’s we headed out to lunch at Old Town Pizza which is an iconic Portland eatery with a haunted reputation. “Don’t be surprised if an unexpected guest joins you for a slice today. A constant presence at Old Town Pizza is Nina (pronounced “Nigh-na”), our resident ghost. If you feel a presence behind you, or smell a faint waft of perfume, you may have just received a visit. Nina is often seen in a black dress observing diners and wandering the basement below.” We settled on the House Pizza topped with salami, pepperoni, Italian sausage, mushroom, black olives and bell peppers. The pizza was good but unfortunately there was no sighting of Nina, the resident ghost. I will say, though, that the restroom was freaky as hell. It is very dimly lit in there and I had a weird feeling (while I was peeing no less) that someone was watching me. Freaky!

Ground Kontrol is a neat little vintage arcade that Travis of Found Item Clothing suggested we hit up and I’m glad that we did! We spent about an hour in there playing some very old school arcade games like Centipede, Punch-Out, Simpsons and Space Invaders. This is not your typical arcade because at Ground Kontrol there is a fully functional bar. Awesome.

Ground Kontrol

I’m a huge fan of Punch-Out so I was stoked to find this classic arcade game at Ground Kontrol!

After Ground Kontrol my buddies decided to grab a box of VooDoo doughnuts for the drive back home. While they stood in line (in the hot sun no less and yet another reason to go during the night time) I ventured down the street and stumbled across a neat little coffee/art shop called Stumptown Coffee Roasters. It had a a nice open space as opposed to the typical cramped coffee shop. I had the Queens Iced Tea and it was the cool refreshment that I needed! While the guys stood in that line for VooDoo doughnuts I sipped on my iced tea in air conditioning!

Good bye Portland, I knew you for just a day but I had a great time! Now en route to Tacoma (to return the car), we decided to stop by the Outlet Mall near Chehalis and in Centralia, Washington. The outlet stores of importance included Quicksilver, Billabong, and Nike. We hit those three shops up pretty hard.

From there we caught a shuttle to the 4th and final hotel of our stay – the Marriott Seattle Waterfront, which is just a few steps from Pike’s Place. We didn’t stay in the hotel for long as we decided grab some Clam Chowder from the original Ivar’s Seafood, right on the Seattle Waterfront. When you go to Ivar’s there just one thing you need to get – The Clam Chowder! We ordered one of each of the three different varieties: white, red and salmon. I urge you to do the same.

Ivar's

They encourage you to feed the Seagulls.

Ivar's

Small cup of Salmon Clam Chowder from Iver’s before heading to Del Rays for even more food and drinks!

Next we hit up Del-Rey’s for appetizers and drinks (or should I say beers and margaritas) and then finished the night off by closing down the bar at, appropriately, Ohana’s in Belltown, a Hawaiian themed bar. This was the third night that we stayed at a bar till closing (2am in Seattle).

But the night did not end there. We ventured off into the alley ways of the Seattle Waterfront and eventually ending up at Pier 67. The streets were empty and all that was left were four guys from Hawaii, laughing, talking and enjoying the camaraderie that you get from being with your closest friends.

Ohana Bar

Strangely enough, we ended our last together at Ohana’s in Belltown.

Co-Tee TV Seattle Edition: Ugmonk

Welcome to this special edition of Co-Tee TV in Seattle!

In this video I review Jeff Sheldon’s very popular And Then I Woke Up. This is the Royal Blue variation. Some of you may recall that the original colorway is printed on an American Apparel Tri-Blend tee and that one became a hit in InternetLAND. In fact, you can find the Tri-Blend variation of And Then I Woke Up in Urban Outfitter’s throughout the United States. In fact, I spotted it in both Las Vegas and Seattle. The Royal Blue colorway, on the other hand, is only available in the Ugmonk online store (as far as I know). Price: $21 but you can save 10% by using the coupon code “COTY09″ at checkout.

DSC06406

That’s me acting a fool at the Seattle Aquarium.

San Diego/Las Vegas Trip Day 7 + 8

Day 7 Shirt of Choice: American Apparel Poly-Cotton
3/4 Sleeve Raglan Shirt

Day 7 started off with breakfast at the popular Bellagio Buffet. There was a lot of food, a custom omelet bar, and tons of pastries and fruit. But if I am being honest, it was pretty standard breakfast fare. 

We then headed toward the MGM Grand to purchase tickets to both The Phantom and The Beatles LOVE Cirque Du Soleil. We were able to get tickets to The Phantom but was unable to snag any for LOVE. So we spontaneously decided to buy tickets to a 12 hour guided tour of the the Grand Canyon. Crazy!

Following our ticket buying frenzy we did some further shopping at the Primm Fashion Outlet Mall. We spent about 3 hours there and then we made our way back to the strip to do even more shopping at the Miracle Mile Mall. At this point I was all shopped out and couldn’t wait to get back to the Bellagio to freshen up for The Phantom. Back at the hotel room we had about an hour to spare before making the mad rush through the crowds to the Venetian were The Phantom was playing.

Coty Posing

That American Apparel 3/4 Sleeve tee looks good! I want to pick up a couple more now.

The Phantom was defintely an exciting and haunting experience. I was thoroughly impressed by the Phantom theater, which was custom built to house this specific show. If you’ve seen The Phantom of the Opera at another venue, it’s worth checking this one out because of some of the welcome changes. First of all, there is no intermission. Secondly, they’ve added a few extended scenes. And lastly, the falling chandelier is breathtaking. I’d suggest sitting on the balcony, you’ll get a great view of all the action and the ticket prices are not as expensive. 

Phantom: Be Seduced

That’s me just about ready to enter the theater. Right after we snapped this picture, the usher yelled at us! How dare!

Iron Chef’s Mario Batali’s B&B Ristorante was our pick for dinner on this particular evening. B&B Ristorante had some big shoes to fill since the food at Bobby Flay’s MESA Grill was superb. Unlike the Mesa Grill’s southern infused fare, B&B was more of a traditional Italian eatery. I had the Lobster Spaghettini with Spicy Budding Chives, Sweet Garlic and One Pound Lobster. Michelle had the Grilled Pork Chop with Cipolline, Artichokes and Vin Cotto. I really enjoyed the Spaghettini and the lobster portions were quite generous. However, in the end, we both decided that the food at the MESA Grill was indeed better!

Tomorrow: The Grand Canyon

Day 8 Shirt of Choice: Mack Hated Mondays

Our last full day in Las Vegas involved waking up at 5am in the morning! It was Grand Canyon day so getting an early start was imperative. This would be a 12 hour trip to and from the Canyon through Comedy on Deck Tours. We left the Bellagio and headed across the street to Bally’s to catch our shuttle. Our tour guide was named Jodie and she was both friendly and welcoming as well as informative! Once we hopped on we grabbed a quick breakfast at the Boulder Dam Hotel in Boulder City en route to the Hoover Dam. What’s interesting about Boulder City is that it was built for the people who had worked on the Hoover Dam. As for the hotel, our tour guide mentioned that it’s ranked as the 4th most haunted hotel in the US. I didn’t see anything! But Dennis McBride, author of Midnight on Arizona Street noted that “One of the people who owned the hotel in the 1980s used to do night work at the desk, and she said several times she would see a man standing in front of her only from the waist-up. He was gone from the waist down.” One famous guest was Howard Hughes, who recuperated here after a plane crash at Lake Mead.

One we left Boulder City we made a quick drive thru and stop at the Hoover Dam and then headed toward our first Grand Canyon stop, Eagle Point. The road to Eagle Point was, quite literally, bumpy! 14 miles of unpaved road with just a landscape of Joshua Trees made for an interesting ordeal.

The Grand Canyon

And that’s the West Rim of the Grand Canyon. It’s so impressive in person!

The Grand Canyon is definitely a stunning natural marvel to look at. Its powerful and intimidating landscaping stretches over 18 miles wide and consists of over 277 river miles. We did a tour of the West Rim of the Grand Canyon that consisted of Eagle Point and Guano Point. Eagle Point is known for the recently opened Skywalk which is the first-ever glass bridge and suspends visitors 4,000 feet above the Grand Canyon floor. The views here were spectacular and truly breathtaking. And I got to scratch off yet another item off my Things To Do Before I Die list!

We then had lunch at the Grand Canyon West Ranch, a 1,060 acre working cattle ranch, did some activities and rode a horse wagon around the property. After lunch we made the trip back to Vegas. Spending a day away from the strip and at the Grand Canyon was definitely worth it! If I ever come back, I’ll be sure to hit up the Grand Canyon Caverns. Our wagon driver mentioned that this was a 230 feet drop below ground level that consists of 60 miles of limestone caves. There is no humidity down there and as such he mentioned that anything that stays there is preserved. 

Once we arrived back on the strip we made a mad rush to The Mirage to see if we could get some last minute tickets to The Beatles LOVE Cirque Du Soleil. It was ourlucky day! We scored two tickets to one of the hottest shows on the Las Vegas strip. 

But before the show we wanted to eat at one last Food Network star’s restaurant. This time it would be Chef Emeril Lagasi’s New Orleans Fish House at the MGM Grand. Emeril’s probably had the friendliest bunch of waiters of the three big restaurants we dined at while in Las Vegas. There was a constant flow of bread and drinks! We started off with the New Orleans Blue Crabmeat Bake with Baked Blue Crabmeat & Pickled Sweet Piquant Peppers with Herb Crust served with Emeril’s Spiked Crostini and Creole Tomato Glaze. For entrees, I had the Emeril’s Sweet Barbecued Scottish Salmon on Andouille Sausage & Brabant Potatoes with Spicy Onion Crust and Emeril’s Homemade Worcestershire. Michelle had the Herb, Sea Salt & Pepper Crusted Ahi Tuna on Homemade Sopressata Sausage, & Italian Cheese & Spinach Ravioli with Basil Pesto, in Tomato Olive Stew and Balsamic Extraction. The food here was so good! I thoroughly enjoyed the food, the environment and the service! The waiters were quick, efficient and friendly. In the end, though, we decided that Bobby Flay’s MESA grill ruled supreme amongst our tier of culinary challenges during our Las Vegas stay.

The Beatles LOVE Cirque Du Soleil

If you decide to watch a Cirque Du Soleil Show in Las Vegas, I would highly recommend that you see this one. It was seriously spectacular!

And for the final major spectacle of this epic trip we watched The Beatles LOVE Cirque Du Soleil at the Mirage. It was a full house and I quickly understood why. The show was spectacular and covered a ton of Beatles hits like Elanor Rigby, I Wanna Hold Your Hand, Help!, Blackbird, Hey Jude and All You Need Is Love. In total, the show consisted of 26 Beatles classics. The exuberance of The Beatles was definitely channeled through the youthful, urban energy of a cast of 60 international artists. The panoramic sound and visuals made for an excellent end to a wonderful trip.

Departure Shirt of Choice: Pyknic Logo Tee

I can honestly say that this was one exhausting trip! We squeezed in a lot of exciting and fun things and for that I have to thank Michelle for planning. What can I say, she’s an excellent planner!

San Diego/Las Vegas Trip Day 5 + 6

Day 5 Shirt of Choice: Bears, Beets, Battelstar

The San Diego Zoo is one big zoo and it houses an extraordinary amount of animals! But I’m getting ahead of myself. We first had breakfast at Hash House A Go Go, a place were big food is the norm. The portions at Hash House A Go Go are, in the words of the New York Times, gastronomic! And from firsthand experience, I know that they aren’t kidding. The portions here were huge and definitely a little daunting. It’s a great place to go on a hungry stomach or to share a plate with a friend. I ordered the Andy’s Special, which consisted of Ham Steak and a biscuit on a bed of mashed potatoes topped with spinach, tomato, ham, scrambled eggs, cheddar and covered in chili cream. The dish was good (and a little on the spicy end) but for some reason I probably did not enjoy it as much as I should have simply because of the enormity of the serving. 

Hash House A Go Go

That monstrosity is the Andy’s Special at Hash House A  Go Go!

After breakfast we headed over once again to Balboa Park en route to the San Diego Zoo. Again, I cannot stress enough the size of Balboa Park, at just about 1,174 acres big, you would definitely need at least two days minimum to see (or try to see) everything it has to offer. We snapped a few pictures and then made our way to the zoo entrance and eagerly jumped onto the first of many zoo trails, the monkey trail. Our favorite part of the zoo had to be the new Elephant Odyssey, which had opened just a few days prior. It’s a massive area of the zoo that was created just for the elephants. By the end of the day we had done all of the trails, rode on the Skyfari Aerial Tram twice, did the guided bus tour and saw a whole lot of animals!

San Diego Zoo

Me posing next to an ancestor.

And finally, for our last night in San Diego, we walked to the Little Italy district, which was just 9 blocks or so away from The Sophia Hotel. I’ve been to a couple of Little Italy’s in different cities and this one was a little subdued compared to the others. We had dinner at Filippi’s Pizza Grotto. What’s interesting about Filippi’s is that you must walk through their “cash and carry” Italian grocery store and deli, stocked with cheeses, pasta and a lot of various imports from Italy before ending up at the restaurant. The line was out the door, so we knew it had to be good! The servings at Filippi’s were huge. I ordered the Spaghetti with Sausage and Meatball and Michelle had the Chicken Parmigiana with Spaghetti. This Filippi’s is actually the first of this California chain and has been serving excellent pasta and pizza for over 50 years now. By the time we left Filippi’s, it was dark out and the Little Italy district had picked up steam, was lively and filled with people, drinking, eating and having a merry time. 

San Diego's Little Italy

Until I make it to the real Italy, these Little Italy’s will have to do for now.

Tomorrow: Las Vegas, NV

Day 6 Shirt of Choice: No shirt, just a standard polo :(

This was our last day in San Diego and our first day in Las Vegas! The morning consisted of some last minute packing, returning of the rental car and shipping some stuff back home via the United States Postal Service. After those errands we had a quick breakfast at The Cheese Shop were I had the breakfast sandwich and Michelle the eggs & sausage. 

The flight to Las Vegas was short, just about an hour, but was worth it considering that a drive to Sin City would take a considerably longer. 

It only take a few seconds after leaving the flight deck to be enamored by the Las Vegas lifestyle of cha-chings! Even in the airport you can hear people gambling their money away. We swiftly picked up our luggage, found our shuttle bus and headed to the Bellagio. After a mishap with the rooms, we found our way to our guest room in the Spa Tower of the Bellagio with a view of the famous Bellagio fountains, Bally’s and the Eiffel Tower at the Paris Hotel. The view from our room was superb!

The Bellagio Conservatory

This is a peak at the Conservatory within the Bellagio. It’s always packed with people. 

We spent little time in the room, though. After quickly unpacking we headed out to Las Vegas Boulevard and went straight to Caesar’s Palace for dinner at Bobby Flay’s Mesa Grill. Unfortunately, the place was packed and they didn’t serve tables of two until after 9pm. So instead, we walked to the Fashion Show Mall and afterwards checked out the Forum Shoppes at Caesar’s. By the time we finished shopping we were just in time for our 10:00pm reservations at Mesa Grill. I have to admit that the wait was definitely worth it! We both ordered steaks – I guess we were both craving some red meat! I had the Black Angus New York Strip Steak with Homemade MESA Steak Sauce. Michelle had the Coffee Rubbed Filet Mignon with Mushroom-Ancho Chile Sauce. My medium cooked steak came out so tender and juicy, it was an absolute delight! The bread was also a welcomed surprise. The bread basket consisted of a three types of breads with my favorite being the jalapeno parmesan. 

Bobby Flay's Mesa Grill

And my steak at MESA Grill. So delicious!

After dinner, we checked out Serendipity 3 in Caesar’s Palace for desert. Serendipity 3 is a New York based restaurant known for their deserts, especially their frozen hot chocolate. And I can honestly say that the frozen hot chocolate was a massively decadent mouthgasm! It was so good that we came back for more (but more on that later). 

Tomorrow: The Phantom and Mario Batali’s B&B Ristorante

San Diego/Las Vegas Trip Day 3 + 4

Day 3 Shirt of Choice: Mr. Robot Goes Sightseeing

My shirt choice for this third day of travel was none other than Philip Tseng’s Threadless classic, Mr. Roboto Goes Sightseeing. We started off the day by having breakfast at Cafe 222 in downtown San Diego. The small hole in the wall cafe was very busy and the wait was long (about 30 minutes) but I was eager to taste their famous Pumpkin Waffles. I surely was not disappointed. Every piece was like taking a bite from a slice of fresh pumpkin pie. I loved it. Michelle had their Green Eggs and Spam, which came out looking nothing like we expected!

Mr. Roboto Goes Sightseeing

Here’s Mr. Roboto hanging out. As you can see, the UV ink on the tee does indeed work!

The rest of the day was reserved for one of San Diego’s more famous attractions: Sea World. Let me tell you, it was a busy day at Shamu’s abode! I don’t think I’ve seen more baby strollers in my life. This was both our first time visiting Sea World so we were excited to take in the whole park and see as many of the shows as possible. We ended up watching both of the Shamu shows, Believe and Shamu Rocks. We also caught SLL: Sea Lions Live, which turned out to be a bit tacky and the weakest of the bunch of shows that we watched. The Dolphin Experiences was fun and featured a “twist” of sorts, which was exciting. I also should mention that we sat in the “Soak Zone” in both the Shamu and Dolphin shows but missed getting splashed! We ended up spending nearly 9 hours at Sea World and definitely had our fill! The Journey to Atlantis Rollercoaster ride was pretty thrilling, but I expected to get a bit more wet!

For dinner, we drove a short distance to Ocean Beach and stood in line at THE place to get burgers in Southern California. Hodad’s, a burger joint that was started in 1969 by Byron and Virginia Hardin, has a vintage feel (the place is decorated wall-to-wall with license plates from the 50 states). The menu is a simple one: burgers, fries and shakes! I decided to get the Double Bacon Cheeseburger and I even SAC’d (added Swiss and American Cheese) it! Let me tell you, the burger that I had at Hodad’s may possibly be the best burger that I have ever had (and I’ve had a lot of burgers from many different places). Part of it might have been the setting and people, but, the burger alone was ace. Oh, and if you’re wondering what a Hodad is, well, it’s a term used to describe non surfers that frequent the beach (aka posers).

Hodad's

That’s me at Hodad’s and by the way, I was able to spot a Hawaii license plate (it’s just not in this picture).

Day 4 Shirt of Choice: Bird is my Best Friend

Bird is my Best Friend was featured in Co-Tee TV Episode 19 and that’s the tee that I wore for part of the day. I also did film a portion of CO-TEE TV on location in Balboa Park (it’ll be part of a future episode). Bread & Cie on University Ave. and located in Hillcrest was our breakfast stop for the day and I sure am happy about that selection. This bakery features a bunch of sweets, sandwiches, paninis and specialty coffees. I decided on the PB&J (Peanut Butter and Jelly) and I have to say, it was the best PB&J that I have ever had – it was so decadent! Michelle had the Turkey Pesto Panini which was tasty, but not as tasty as my PB&J!

Bread & Cie

This was the best PB&J in the history of PB&J’s. I promise!

After Bread & Cie we headed out to nearby Balboa Park, San Diego’s premier park featuring a plethora of gardens and museums. We first checked out The da Vinci Experience in the Air and Space Museum. I had a great time at this temporary exhibit, especially since I am a huge da Vinci fan. I really should have worn da Vinci’s Mario! We then proceeded to check out the rest of the park and we took a gazillion pictures. We’ll be heading back tomorrow to visit a few more of the museums before we head to the San Diego Zoo.

And finally, we drove to La Jolla and dined at the popular fine dining restaurant, George’s At The Cove. The restaurant is known for it’s excellent service, great food and exceptional ocean side view. To start, we ordered the Pacific Oysters and the Pea Tendril Soup. The pacific oysters came out chilled and raw, just the way that I like it, and was accompanied with a cocktail sauce and mignonette. For the entree portion of our dinner, I had the Lobster Seafood Stew and Michelle ordered the Petrale Sole (fish with spring onions, asparagus, morels, crispy chicken skin, chervil puree, truffle-walnut oil vinaigrette). The Lobster Seafood Stew is a neat mashup that includes lobsters, clams, fish, shrimp, crab mixed in with toasted pasta, marcona almonds, and orange aioli. For seafood lovers, let me tell you, this dish is absolute seafood heaven! I loved it and if I ever find my way back to La Jolla I would definitely make it a point to visit George’s At The Cove just to order the Lobster Seafood Stew again.

George's At The Cove Lobster Seafood Stew

If you’re ever in San Diego, make it a point to dine at George’s At The Cove and order the Seafood Lobster Stew. It’s delicious!

Tomorrow: San Diego Zoo

San Diego/Las Vegas Trip Day 1 + 2

This is the first of a couple updates that I’ll be doing during my trip to San Diego/Las Vegas. I thought it would be cool to keep you guys up to date as to what I’m up to and what tee I am wearing! If you want to checkout the tee that I wore just click on the orange links.

Arrival T-Shirt of Choice: The Caduceus Tee by Found Item Clothing

So we landed in San Diego from Honolulu late Wednesday night and decided to grab a bite to eat after checking into our hotel. Luckily, The Sophia Hotel is a cute little boutique hotel located in Downtown San Diego and just minutes from the Gaslamp Quarter. Despite the large number of eateries in the area, most of the kitchens were closed. Who needs food when beer is plentiful? We did, however, happen to find a nice little Thai restaurant on 5th Avenue in the Gaslamp Quarter called Royal Thai Cuisine. The staff there were friendly, the ambience was nice and the food was good! I’m just glad they were open late!

dsc04926

Me and Michelle at the airport headed to San Diego. You can see just a piece of the Caduceus tee from Found Item Clothing.

While we were walking around 5th Avenue someone mentioned, as they walked passed me, “Nice Shirt! I love Ferris Buller!” You can pick up The Caduceus Tee from Found Item Clothing for just $21.95.

Day 1 T-Shirt of Choice: Otter-Tude by ReThink Clothing

Our first full day in San Diego – I knew my feet would take a beating but I was game! The first stop of the day was the Embarcadero and a ferry ride to Coronado Island. Coronado Island is a small beach community with an island feel and is located just across of the San Diego skyline. After some photo taking we had lunch at Peohe’s on Coronado Island. Peohe’s is a Hawaiian themed seafood restaurant but the only thing Hawaiian about the restaurant is the name (which many of the employees had a difficult time pronouncing). The food was just ok for me, nothing great despite having a fairly high yelp ranking I would definitely suggest you check out either Alan Wong’s or one of the many Roy’s restaurants for far superior Hawaii/pacific rim fusion food fare. The one thing that was great about the restaurant was the awesome view of the city.

dsc04979

Here’s me doing a jumping around on Coronado Island. You can see San Diego in the background. I promise that I’ve got Otter-Tude under that button up shirt.

After lunch we took the ferry back and walked to Seaport Village which is basically a bunch of touristy type shops. When I say touristy I mean very touristy. If I ever make it back to San Diego I’d probably pass on visiting this place.

One place that I definitely would visit over and over again is the Gaslamp Quarter, which was our next stop. Lot’s of cool shops and a ton of restaurants. This area of downtown seems to always be lively no matter the hour. We walked up 4th and 5th Avenue and then checked out Horton Plaza, a huge mall in the middle of downtown San Diego. Later that afternoon we caught Angels & Demons, which for me, was a huge disappointment. The book was definitely better and I wish they didn’t remove as many things as they did. After the movie I had to rush down to an AT&T to pick up a charger for my iPhone because I had left mine in Honolulu!

We decided to, again, hit up the Gaslamp Quarter for dinner and decided to dine at Sloppy Joey’s. The Margherita Pizza was amazingly good! By the time we finished up at Sloppy Joey’s it was about 11ish and since the girlfriend is not a drinker we didn’t do the bar hopping thing (which I don’t mind because I was pooped anyway) and instead of heading back to the hotel I convinced her into watching Terminator Salvation. I’m a huge fan of the Terminator series and have been anticipating this McG directed flick for some time now. I was not dissapointed – I loved it!

Otter-Tude is available from ReThink Clothing for $19.99, use the coupon code COTY for an extrace 20% off your purchase.

Day 2 T-Shirt of Choice: Wingtips by Manos Lakoutsis

Amazingly this was the first time I’ve worn Wingtips (other than the time I reviewed it on Episode 19 of Co-Tee TV).

The first half of Day 2 was all about shopping. We picked up a rental car and then drove to just about the Tijuana border to the Las Americas Outlet Mall. After a quick breakfast at IHOP (not original, yes, but right next to the mall). The outlet mall was amazingly huge and easily the largest outlet mall I’ve been too, and I’ve been to a couple in multiple cities. We spent about 6 hours at Las Americas and bought a LOT of stuff, ’nuff said!

dsc04994

There’s Wingtips from Threadless! How do those white wayfarers look on me?

The second half of the day was spent at the ballpark! We checked out the San Diego Padres as they faced off against the Chicago Cubs at PETCO Park. We always make it a point to check out at least one sporting event whenever we travel which has been fun, especially since I’m a huge sports fan! We had great seats, 7th row, adjacent to first base. I must say that the fans here are very mild compared to ones I’ve experienced in both Boston and New York. The hotdogs were great as usual and enhanced, of course, by the setting and the firework show at the end of the game was a nice surprise. Oh yeah, and the Padres won 4-0.

Tomorrow: Sea World.

dsc05025

At PETCO Park after the Padres and Cubs game.

Repeat After Me: I Am Free

I found this pic over at Mazy Kazerooni’s blog and thought it was part presumptuous and part though provoking. The “graffiti” was found on Philip St, Bedminster, Bristol, UK. If for some reason you have a hard time reading the graffiti, here it is in nice clean text:

“go to work, send your kids to school
follow fashion, act normal
walk on the pavements, watch T.V.
save for your old age, obey the law
Repeat after me: I am free”