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Yes, it looks EXACTLY like this I promise
Oh. My. God. Talk about dining like a king! In case you haven't realized by now, I'm a bit of a foodie. That being said, I always love a good steak (or any other tasty morsel). A part of my job includes making reservations, and when Donovan's offers a restaurant credit for each guest I refer, it makes my job that much more enjoyable.

With the coming of Spring Break, I offered my roommate (also a food aficionado) to come dine with me at one of San Diego's finest establishments to start the break off right. Oh did we eat...I felt as though I was going into labor after that ordeal...

Starting off with a glass of scotch (compliments of the management staff), we worked our way into a couple of appetizers, followed by salad and soup, our entrees, and of course we had to have room for dessert. While everything was SUPERB, I would feel terrible if I didn't recommend the 16 oz. Bone-In Rib-Eye steak. Talk about top tier steak, this is the juiciest part of the cow and it was worth every penny ($64 a pop). Just before that though we sampled the Cajun spiced lamb chops...and all I have to say is one word: wow. I could go on, but the food is well worth the price!

The ambiance of the place reminded me of one of those ritzy LA establishments that require reservations months in advance. Lucky for me, I'm a "VIP" in their book! The staff of course was gracious and notably attractive, then again I'd expect nothing less of a place that'll run ya a few hundred when it comes time to pay the bill ($300 bucks between the two of us...thank God for that restaurant credit). Overall, I'm giving this place 5 stars and a thumbs up to their popular phrase "America's Best Steak & Chop House". Is it the best? Who knows, but I will say it was DAMN good. On to tomorrow...got a ticket to the Elite 8 (I've never been to an NCAA tournament game, much less the Elite 8!).

I think it goes without saying that I'm stoked! If only SDSU could have beat that damn Kemba Walker...oh well...cheers to new things!!

 
 
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Meet the most dysfunctional family, ever.
Another day closer to Spring Break! Tomorrow marks the beginning, yet with one day left to persevere - I opted for a Netflix suggestion. City Island, a story about a family that clearly failed any and all communications courses, was given 4 stars via the Netflix rater folks...so I took a chance and put it on...

The Rizzo family (see photo) are life-long residents of a small town in New York known as City Island. Andy Garcia, known as Vince Rizzo in this comical film, holds the job title of prison guard for a local facility. Little does Vince know that a future inmate will turn out to be his son from a former lover. Upon finding out this information, Vince takes matters into his own hands and brings him home to a family that runs as well as a broken clock. I took a real shot in the dark with this film, but I thought it was quite entertaining and would recommend it to even my closest friends. Check it out, and in the mean time give me more suggestions!   

 
 
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What's there to do that has yet to be done? Lots of course. Trying a new place to grub? Always an option. Located in the former space of La Promesa, and La Torta prior to that - is Buddy Burger. If SDSU was missing something, this may have been the golden ticket...or somethin like that. Anyway - I happened to stroll in at 10:15 tonight to conquer my munchies. It was only after I had ordered that I found out that this spot actually closes at 10...yet Buddy himself let it slide. Considering he had only opened the night before, I think he was looking for any customer he could get (I doubt it will stay that way for long).

Buddy's restaurant is simple, In N Out kinda style if you catch my drift. Vintage surf films playing on the flat screens, Roy Orbison belting out "Pretty Woman" on the speakers, and family photos plastered on the wall...this is Buddy's dream (at least, that's my take on it). Sticking to burgers, hot dogs, fries and shake menu - it's almost too easy to f-up, yet so delicious to consume. Like I mentioned earlier, SDSU was missing a good place like this (assuming you don't count Jack in the Box as legit)!

The food was good, and the staff was cheery. A note of caution, if you're hungry - order the double (my roommate was mildly disturbed by the size of one patty). Overall, this place will probably last longer than their predecessors...though they might consider staying open a bit later than 10 if they really want to make some money (though I fear the drunk crowd might overrun the place).

On to tomorrow, gotta try new things...

 
 
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$54 for 5 gallons of beer? I'll take it
With my last test done and mind at ease, I hopped in the 'Stang and took a trip to the Home Brew Mart with "Randy" and my dorm buddy Spencer. Per request of my former co-worker and beer lover, I opted to brew a pale ale variety beer in honor of his departure from my hotel.

Basing my recipe off the commercial style Abbey de Leffe Blond, this beer (hopefully) will consist of a strong malt character minus the heavy taste of alcohol that might be noticed in taste/aroma. As far as color goes, the brew mart didn't have the light colored malt called for in the recipe, so I opted for the dark. Not to worry, after the brewing process is complete I'm sure this will be yet another crowd-pleaser.

Recipe:
Steeping Grains:
1/2 pound Dark Carastan Malt
1/2 pound Carapils
1/4 pound Caravienne



Malt Syrup:
8 pounds Pale Malt Extract

Hops:
2 oz. Styrian Goldings (pellet) 4.6% AA

Special Additives:
1 pound Light (Clear) Belgian Candi Sugar

Yeast: White Labs WLP530 - Abbey Ale Yeast

Schedule:
Steep grains in 1 1/2 gallons water at 155 degrees. Rinse with 1 gallon 170 degree water.
Bring wort to boil
Add 2 oz. Styrian Goldings Hops @60 min
Add 8 pounds LME @ 45 min
Add 1 pound Candi Sugar @ 15 min
After 60 min, remove from boil
Cool wort to 70-72 degrees, pitch yeast.
Add water to bring total volume to 5 gallons.
Oxygenate, and let it ferment for 2 weeks.
Bottle.

I'm excited to see how this one turns out (hopefully the guy I'm making this for enjoys it too)! A big thanks Spencer and "Randy" for the help!

For my readers: As always, leave me some comments so I can try new things! Looks like hiking is on the horizon...
P.S. - thanks Melissa for the suggestion!

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My soon to be beer, happily bubbling away
 
 
Remember how I mentioned I was in the middle of mid-terms?

Right. Well I tried studying at the gym today. Thinking I could bike + read / highlight information simultaneously, I gave it a try. Up until this point, I had only seen people do this. Now I know, it's a terrible idea (ever try highlighting while your legs are pumping? Forget it).

With that being said, 20 minutes, 4.5 miles, and only a little actual comprehension later, I gave up. Leave your studies at home people, it's really not helping (not to mention the low RPM rate you'll probably have on the bike is a waste of time too...). Anyway, as I always say - at least I tried. Check out the video below for people biting it on the treadmill, and to think I felt dumb at the gym for trying to STUDY - this guy can't even figure out how to run! LOL...
 
 
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The Fighter, starring Mark Wahlberg and Christian Bale, is based on a true story about a pair of brothers who share a passion for boxing. Christian Bale, the older of the two brothers, was the former "Pride of Lowell (MA)" after knocking down infamous boxing legend Sugar Ray Leonard. Following his dramatic accomplishment, he would end up losing touch with the ring and instead get addicted to a variety of drugs while haphazardly training his brother for the opportunity of a lifetime - a chance to become a World Champ.

Mark Wahlberg, playing the role of Mickey Ward, lives for boxing. In an attempt to reach the top of the metaphorical boxing ladder, Mickey works tirelessly to become the aforementioned "Pride of Lowell" - shoes once filled by his older brother / trainer. In a dramatic series of events, Mickey takes his fair share of bodily harm and emotional trauma before he finally finds the right opportunity to achieve his dream.

I found this film to be extremely engaging and worthwhile. In saying that, I could easily watch it again without a problem. Even those snobs at Rotten Tomatoes gave this film a 90%! Check out Mark and Christian in this boxing drama that's sure to inspire you to do something great...

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Located at 4th & J in the Gaslamp District
And in other news - I made it over to Jolt'n Joe's in the Gaslamp the other day to have a drink to pass some time. Given the hour I was in (2 o'clock on a Friday afternoon...), the place was a bit empty but I could tell it would be a fun place to hang out. With pool tables, pong tables, and flat screens galore, this place is surely the one to be at come game day.

The decor was..uh..dated to say the least. I suppose if you're out for a drink, that shouldn't be your #1 priority...

Environment aspects aside, my bartender was awesome (not to mention smokin' hot) and fun to chat with. Taking a recommendation from her, I opted to sample the sliders to accompany my pint (did I mention they have a pretty decent selection of local beer?). 3 tasty morsels and a glass of carbonated glory later, I was a happy camper. Check it out on your next trip to the Gaslamp and see for yourself! Until then, leave me some ideas / suggestions in the comments.

 
 
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Bringin' my bell bottoms and platform shoes next time...
So 2 days without sleep led me into not hearing my first alarm(s) this morning. In other words, I was tired and hungry.

My solution lay a mere block away at Mary Jane's. No, I didn't blaze for breakfast. But I did grab a caffeinated beverage and a tasty morsel to hold me over 'til lunch. Specifically it was the cafe' mocha and blueberry muffin filling the hollows of my stomach. If you aren't on the go and are looking to enjoy a breakfast (or lunch), this could easily be your solution.

I won't lie, I kinda liked the theme of the place too. Sure, it looks like the 70's threw up and died here, but hey its cool by me. Overall, the staff was super friendly and the food was good. What more do you want?

Lucky for me, this place is right down the street. I suppose it's better late than never to find the finer places in life, like this one. Speaking of missing things...it seems like some of the coolest places have been right under my nose for awhile? Give me some ideas because I can always eat (or try new things of course)!

 
 
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The sweaty masses will return soon enough
Yes, I'm human...and a student. Last night was pure hell as far as studying goes. Anyway, count it for today / yesterday..whatever, but the new thing?

Walking the campus in the middle of the night. Sounds random..and it is. But looking back on it now, it's somewhat bizarre to see the campus completely empty (even in the summer, there's always somebody walking around). How did I see it? I took a break from my studies at 2am and wondered off to the gym. Along the way, I decided to see what this place is like minus the 35,000 students and faculty that usually overrun the place. Even if you aren't here, take a stroll around your community and see for yourself. It's kind of awesome if you can get over your fear of the dark (bring a nightlight...and maybe some bear mace?)

Anyway, Happy St. Patty's Day...new things on the horizon later today or tomorrow? Guess that depends on my BAC after the game.

 
 
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Mmmmm....Cheba....
My friends put this place high on their 'go-to' places, and considering I've been at State for 4 years...it was about time I checked it out.

For a sandwich shop, this place is pretty awesome. Using catchy "420" style nicknames for their menu items, this place offers a wide variety of toasted subs to choose from. As for me? I had the pizza sub which is otherwise known as the DANK by menu definition. The name says it all...tasty and delicious...or just dank.

Food aside, the staff is friendly and the shop is inviting (if you choose to dine in). I'll have to come back soon, as there were so many sandwiches to choose from I would feel left out if I didn't make a return trip. And for those reading from places outside of the SDSU area, they have multiple locations across the US (including Oregon, Arizona, and even as far reaching as Iowa).

With that being said, the next time you get the munchies, be sure to check this place out - located off of El Cajon and Choktaw Street in the College Area. And for those checkin' this site out for the first time (or more?), be sure to give me some suggestions so I can experience new things. Leave your tips in the comments!

 
 
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Studying is killing me and my ambitions. I have 12 hours logged in the library the last 2 days...did I mention I hate studying?

Anyway, tired and mentally exhausted, I needed some relief. Norkin sparked my interest with the suggestion of a French film, so that seemed to be the plan for my night...

Read My Lips centers around a middle aged secretary working for a development firm in Paris. While Carla (the secretary) is an extremely productive and talented individual, she isn't given all the credit she deserves due to a collection of corrupt business partners taking the spot light.

Carla is also impaired by a hearing disability that 'enhances' her other senses - including the ability to read lips. A novel skill, she has little use for it until she meets Paul - a young, talentless ex-con that was originally incarcerated for being a thief. Taking Paul under her wing, Carla provides him with a job and a chance to get a fresh start on life. Yet when a business opportunity presents itself (and a chance to make a big financial gain), the combination of Paul's klepto-skills and Carla's lip reading ability pave the way for a whole new life - for the both of them.