Oh JoyOh Joy

the best carrot cake ever...


I never really understood the concept of carrot cake. Why would anyone want vegetables in a meal that is supposed to be an escape from healthy?!? I never understood, that is, until I tried the best carrot cake ever from Truluck's. I have actually never been to this seafood, steak, and crab house. But my husband often has work rendezvous there, so I have had the unexpected pleasure of having the doggie bag version of this heavenly concoction.

Not only is it moist, rich and creamy...but the spiced candied nuts sprinkled ever so sweetly on top offer an extra crunch and zing of spice that just sends it all over the edge. I really don't know what else to tout other than its mind-blowing qualities and its instant ability to make a bad day turn good. If you're in San Diego and need a little escape, dive right into this slab of heaven and you won't be sorry...

{photo by Oh Joy}

a mid-day nosh in {san diego}...


A couple weeks ago, my husband and I went on a day-long date of food adventures. It's something we rarely get to do...so when I had a chance to have a mid-day nosh {or second lunch}, we were off to Chocolat in Hillcrest. The unexpected treat included fresh-squeeze blood orange juice,  a shared Egg, Ham & Gruyère Crêpe, Chocolate Hazelnut & Stracciatella gelato, and tiny biscotti sandwiches. Happy Friday to you all and wishing you some unexpected treats this weekend!

{photos by Oh Joy}

sushi heaven in {san diego}...


The Tsukiji sampler plate {top photo} from Sushi Ota in Pacific Beach is the best plate of sushi I've ever had. Seriously. Special weekly batches of fish are flown in from Japan, then served as a sample appetizer. Each slice is topped with a complementary sauce or topping...Japanese Butterfish with Yuzu Kosho, Sea Bass with Wakame Shoyu, for example. I don't even know exactly what they all were, but they were amazing. The Kumamoto Oysters {bottom photo} were delicious too as was everything we had. {This is one of the few restaurants in San Diego that actually lives up to the Yelp ratings it has!}

Final thoughts...5 out of 5 happy ladies!

{photos by Oh Joy}

{local designer}: tend living...


Every time I walk into my favorite San Diego home decor shop, Pigment, these gorgeous terrariums surround me in a flutter of beautiful green. I just discovered that they are the work of the super-talented design studio Tend Living. So, so beautiful...and I especially love their wedding centerpieces too...

{see some of my past photos of the terrariums at Pigment here and here}

mama & baby cupcakes in {la jolla}...


Cups in La Jolla is like a bakery and lounge in one...offering up fun-filled organic cupcake flavors in an upbeat atmosphere {there's an actual DJ spinning beats!}. The two "cup" sizes {big for $4 and small for $2} provides portion control for when you want to taste test a few different flavors or just need a little sweetness to hit the spot. The PB cup {chocolate cup with creamy peanut butter cream covered in gold flecked chocolate} and the Coco Limey {Coconut-lime cup topped with creamy kaffir lime-white chocolate ganache} were favorites of the day. In terms of beverages, their Thai coffee hits the spot just right...a warm {and not too sweet} take on the traditional Thai iced drink.


fish tacos on wheels in {san diego}...


When moving to San Diego recently, everyone talked about the infamous "fish taco" that you have to get in San Diego. With our proximity to Mexico, the fish tacos here are certainly the best I've had outside of Mexico. My new favorite fish taco comes from the streets of San Diego at Marisco's German Taco Truck in City Heights. Marisco's offers authentic, non-pretentious street food tacos that make me happy to be eating in a cement parking lot. The seating is no frills and is made up of a couple plastic tables and chairs under a tent. But each fish taco is only $1.00, so a meal for two {including 4 tacos, 2 soups, and 2 sodas} runs $7.00!


a lovely & luxe lunch in {san diego}...

Cucina-urbana-new1 Cucina-urbana-new2 Cucina-urbana-new3

Cucina Urbana in Banker's Hill has become my new favorite go-to spot for always pure, always good California/Italian-inspired food. Lovely and rustic {yet cush} in ambiance, dining her always feels comfortable and fun with an attentive and friendly waitstaff...especially during lunchtime when the dining room isn't so packed. Standout dishes for me include the Polenta Ragu Board {5th photo}, Chocolate Budino {1st photo}, and the Zucchini Bread Pudding with Pistachio Ice Cream and Candied Carrots {3rd photo} - yum! I also love the Lavender Lemonade and the Aquazul Strawberry soda.

Final thoughts...4.5 out of 5 happy ladies. One of the best restaurants in San Diego, hands down.


oceanside brunching in {del mar}....


For a lovely brunch or lunch by the ocean, take your dearest to dine at Kitchen 1540 in the L'Auberge Hotel in Del Mar. Like a mini sun-filled vacation, the modern space surely feels like an escape from the everyday hustle and bustle. The almond french toast was a decadent breakfast treat while the beet salad offered a refreshing lunch-perfect palate cleanser.

Final thoughts...4 out of 5 happy ladies for calm ambiance, service, and delicious fare.

{photos by Oh Joy}

bread heaven...


Dear Con Pane,

I've touted your glorious abilities in bread-making before, but now I really know the power of your abilities. I could cuddle up with your cinnamon buns on any given Sunday, and I'd gladly use your Pane Ciccolata {chocolate bread} as a pillow for a restful slumber. Just in case you didn't know it before, I love you a lot. I'm scared to say this {but I believe it to be true}, you've got the best freshly baked bread this Happy Lady has ever had.

Yours in carb heaven,
Happy Lady

{photo by Oh Joy}

{local inspiration}: beet & grapefruit salad


I love being inspired by ingredients and combinations used in a restaurant dishes especially when they're simple enough to make at home. This seasonal greens + baby beet salad at Cucina Urbana is so fresh, light, tasty, and a nice treat to recreate. Simply combine beets {red or yellow}, grapefruit {or pomelo} segments, thin slices of ricotta salata, candied pecans, and a light vinaigrette for a summery, colorful, and refreshing salad.

{photo by Oh Joy}