Vacation vibin' at Huntington Beach, California

Our Long Weekend in Huntington Beach, California.

Our long weekend in Huntington Beach, California could also be titled, “What I Ate in Cali” because the food was so incredible! And, also, I love eating. We just got back from the beach and I am already dreaming of going back!

We won this trip to Huntington Beach through Josh’s outstanding achievements at work, so I was all the emotions by the time we landed: proud, excited, tired and nervous. Tired because we had been up since 3am and nervous because the president of the company would be there, along with the vice-president, a.k.a, his son. I relaxed after I realized how chill and nice everyone was.

Other people from the company were being recognized, too, so there were about 15 of us and none of us really knew each other that closely. We all got along really quickly, phew!,  and I felt much more relaxed after we had eaten brunch.

Our first meal was after we had dropped off our bags at the hotel. I convinced Josh to sort of ditch the group and we ended up at a very famous local spot, The Sugar Shack. The hype is real, folks. Very hearty food with big portions and efficient staff. The servers are all friendly there and my coffee was constantly topped up for me. (Yes, I broke my “rule” and drank coffee during vacay. My face is paying for it now, though, as my cystic acne is back). We sat outside even though it was kind of chilly- the wind was kicking up and quite cold. I think Calgary, AB had warmer weather while we were away than we did in California! Everything is backwards.

The Sugar Shack in Huntington Beach

The coffee and food at The Sugar Shack helped to warm me. I had an omelet filled with sprouts, avocado, fresh salsa and mushrooms. Everything is so fresh in California! I am kind of jealous at the year-round access to fresh produce. Every vegetable dish is so vibrant there- and packed full of flavor. I think the best part was the fresh salsa paired with their local hot sauce, plus the sprouts. I was skeptical, but now I want to grow sprouts again just to put them in omelets.

Satisfied, we were full and sleepy. To walk off the feeling seemed a good place to start. Our room wasn’t ready, so we couldn’t nap.

Instead, we took a long stroll around the downtown core. Kitsch surfer gear everywhere! And the art! Murals and paintings and inspo all around. Cute shops with colour themes and surfboards everywhere. I was already charmed. I was further charmed when I walked the pier (the windy and cold pier that day) to the end for breakfast at Ruby’s diner. We ate classic diner food in a red and white themed restaurant while watching people fish. Little things everywhere make Huntington Beach special.

Ruby's Diner in Huntington Beach

The charm lasted the next three days that we were there. A lot of things were planned with the group, centered around meals, and it was always stellar food. Duke’s is famous for their meals and we had a private dinner in a back room that was delicious but too big! We all over-ate while we told ghost stories.

We also went to Blue Gold as a group and I had Opah for the first time. What a delicious fish! It was hearty and even good cold the next morning as breakfast. I hadn’t saved enough fish to eat and was still very hungry. You know that hungry where your stomach has been fed enough to know what it’s missing, so it just gets nauseous? Yeah, it was that feeling. Not awesome in the morning.

I asked Josh to go down to the restaurant, The Pacific Hideaway, with me so I could get something else to eat. I tried a quinoa chia seed porridge with baked banana and swooned- I still crave that breakfast every morning. Seriously one of the best things I’ve ever put in my mouth. Josh says that being gluten-free has broken my taste-buds, but I disagree. There was magic in that meal.

The days passed by quickly but in a lazy kind of way. Yeah, we had an itinerary, but we never felt rushed. The company was good, the food was good, and the cloudy days gave a dream-like quality.

The last day we were there was our free day. This was the day of the porridge and boozy coffee to start my day. (Yay!) We decided we had to check out the beach since it was our last day and we hadn’t walked it yet. To our joy, we were so warm in our jeans that we had to go back to the hotel and change. I forced some selfies on Josh to prove we had hit the beach, at last. I also did selfies so that we could compare our honeymoon shots with these photos, since the trip fell around our 8-year anniversary!

Huntington Beach Selfie!

Josh and I played in the water, watched the surfers and searched for shells until we got hungry. We passed young surfers going down to the beach and made our way to the taco shack that Josh had spotted. I will crave your tacos forever, Sancho’s Tacos! I explained my gluten-intolerance and the girls were very helpful at making sure I didn’t poison myself.

Then, we walked. We walked the side streets and the back streets and the neighbourhoods. Gorgeous yards and friendly laughter and loads of colour greeted us at every corner. I was in heaven. Especially after we had some of the greatest coffee at Portola!

 

One thing we made time for was the Surfer’s Museum. So much pride for their local surfer history. Their town basically brought surfing to the States. A lot of very cool facts that I was sure I would remember and haven’t. I recommend visiting. Tiny place but packed to the gills with info. I loved it.

We had a glass of wine with our group and then took off to find more food. Josh had spotted a Poke Bowl place, so we tried it. The kid who took our order was out of a tv show, he was such a character. He helped us “newbs” order and then we sat down to eat. I had fresh tuna and mixed greens bowl with a bunch of other stuff- it was great!!

One of the best things ever came after supper. We went next door to The Ice Cream Way and I had gluten-free ice cream made with liquid nitrogen! Think of a flavor- they have it. I had an almond milk-based ice cream with cardamom, coffee and nutmeg blend with chocolate sauce, chocolate chips and pecans on top.

The Ice Cream Way Downtown Huntington Beach

It was very, very, very good. They freeze it in front of you and it is delicious. Starting to wonder if I could use liquid nitrogen in my kitchen to make this at home….but, no, probably not safe when I can barely make tea without spilling it everywhere! Haha. The kid working there is a pro! He was a great help in picking flavours and, also, a bit of a character. I feel that there is a reality show if they follow the North Shore Poke Bowl and The Ice Cream Way staff.

 

That night was our last night there. We strolled the pier and then went back to the hotel to have a long bath in the hotel’s GIGANTIC bathtub. (Check their IG for pictures of the tubs).

It was such a good trip. The hotel spoiled me and now I only want to stay in nice hotels! It was so nice that we, actually, spent quite a bit of our free time hanging out in their common spaces or the room.

The beautiful Kimpton Shorebreak Hotel in Huntington Beach

 

The weather could have been warmer, but the people were so nice, the surfing impressive, and the food very memorable.

I cannot wait to go back to Huntington Beach and take the kids with us!

Where was your last vacation?

 

 

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