It's ready when you are
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Jane’s favorite spot was the Museum of Contemporary Art, where she stumbled on an exhibition of works by the Brazilian artist Vic Muniz. Muniz is known for re-creating masterpieces such as the Mona Lisa using materials like peanut butter and jelly. “He is a genius,” she mused, as we sat in the old-timey comfort of the Whaling Bar at La Valencia. Though she’d been a Muniz fan for years, finally getting to see his work in person was not what she had expected when I told her we were going to a beach town for the weekend. After a cocktail, we moseyed across the lobby to the Mediterranean Room for the most delicious calamari steak appetizer and fresh halibut I’ve ever had. We were happy to find Stubbs Chardonay on the menu, and once we had polished off the bottle, we somehow started talking about Marin with our waitress. Turns out, she was headed up here with a friend, and was planning on hiking in Muir Woods. Ever the ambassador, Jane gave her my son’s phone number in case she needed a guide. Beyond the wall-size windows open to the Pacific, the surf was pounding the rocks of La Jolla Cove, as an army of pelicans rode on the air currents backlit by the languid setting sun.
“Here.” Jane broke the spell by setting a paper bag next to the remains of our chocolate torte.
I put my hand in the bag and felt the familiar shape of a framed picture. Apparently, as Jane walked through the museum and art galleries in town she was inspired to search for the perfect memento to bring home. Surprisingly, she said, she found it at the Wyland Gallery: a simple line drawing of a turtle. “It reminds me of you,”.
Places to Stay
La Valencia When La Valencia opened in 1926, a room for two people was $5 a night. Today’s nightly rates start at $300 for a room in the hotel and $695 for the luxury Ocean Villas. 800.451.0772, lavalencia.com
La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club Sign up for a week of tennis or golf at this popular spot. Rooms and suites from $169 to $689. 800.640.7702, ljbtc.com
La Jolla Shores Hotel Set right on the beach; rooms and suites start at $179 to $499. 866.392.8762, ljshoreshotel.com
The Grande Colonial Another historical elegant hotel on the coast. Brand-new suites available in summer of ’07, starting
at $375 per night. 888.530.5766, thegrandecolonial.com
Estancia La Jolla Hotel and Spa Selected by Condé Nast Traveler as one of the “Hottest New Hotels in the World” in 2005, this is a great spot to go as a family or with a large group. Starting at $299. 858.550.1000, estancialajolla.com
Things to Do
Surfing Private and group lessons available for all levels. 858.454.8273, surfdiva.com
Kayaking Explore the coastal coves including the picturesque seven caves and Underwater Park. 858.459.1114, lajollakayak.com
Snorkeling Beneath La Jolla Cove lies San Diego–La Jolla Underwater Park & Ecological Reserve—6,000 acres of ocean bottom and tidelands, from Scripps Park in La Jolla, north across La Jolla Shores to the upper end of Torrey Pines State Reserve, where crystal-clear waters reveal a wealth of sea life, including bright orange garibaldi, tiger sharks, and spiny lobsters. 858.454.1010, sandiegobikeandkayaktours.com
Stephen Birch Aquarium This aquarium-museum focuses on ocean science education through its 34 qaquarium displays, demonstration tidepools, ocean science museum and tropical seas gallery. 858.534.3474, aquarium.ucsd.edu
Places to Eat
Alfonzo’s Enjoy casual, family-style Mexican food indoors or out. Great margaritas, fish tacos and carne asada burritos.
1251 Prospect St., 858.454.2232, alfonsoslajolla.signonsandiego.com
La Jolla Brew House Good for lunch or dinner, plenty of homemade brews and a wide variety of comfort food and eye candy. 7536 Fay Ave., 858.456.6279, lajollabrewhouse.com
The Mediterranean Room and Tropical Patio Take in the views of the Pacific and enjoy a cozy atmosphere any time of day. On Sundays check out the champagne brunch, voted “Best Brunch” by the La Jolla Light Reader Poll. 1132 Prospect St., 858.551.3765, lavalencia.com
Jack’s La Jolla It’s any gastronome’s dream: three distinct restaurants and four bars in one space. Choose the Dining Room, where the chef, a former three-Michelin-star winner, turns out contemporary American cuisine. 7863 Girard Ave., 858.456.8111, jackslajolla.com