February 22, 2015

OUT AND ABOUT: THE DONUT BAR


This is one for all my fellow lovers of food and everything sweet and greasy: if a margarita donut (for National Margarita Day today), a french toast donut or anything that looks pink and has sprinkles on top sounds like music to your ears then The Donut Bar in downtown San Diego is the place to be. I mean I really want to try out that margarita donut right about now... perfect for a lazy Sunday! 

I've been told the place is pretty famous but of course I had never heard until - conveniently - a week before my birthday. Needless to say I didn't want cake anymore but doughnuts. We didn't know however that there is a bit of work involved getting these delicious looking things fried by the gods: queuing. And I didn't really feel like waiting for food on my birthday even if it looks this delicious (thank you very much) but we did go back a few weeks later. 


Since we had already forgotten just how long that line can get we decided we had nothing better to do than just join in and wait. It took us 40 minutes in the end but we did leave with a glorious supply of dooughnuts. Let me tell you though: choosing under pressure like that is very hard! 

The menu changes daily and is posted on the website the evening before so you could make your decisions ahead if you wanted - even if you probably forget all about them once you get there. It is overwhelming! The thing is... you know when the Donut Bar opens but never when it closes, since they just keep going until they're sold out. So if you want your first choice, you better go stand in that line! Smart people probably just order a dozen doughnuts in advance (although I don't know if you can skip the line when you do this because that would be awesome) but I've been known to be stubborn. 


Thinking back about it now we probably should have ordered a dozen because then at least I could have tried every single flavour colour I wanted. But some of these doughnuts are HUGE and it's a lot of food for just two people. Still, these were some of the best doughnuts I've tasted in my life; creative, fun and the dough is actually very 'light' compared to others.  

Doughnuts we tried: Crème brûlée, Chocolate Euphoria, Apple fritter, Nutella

Doughnuts I would love to try: Margarita, French Toast (order in advance!), Strawberry Cheesecake, Maple Bacon, Birthday Cake, ... ok just all of them please.



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You can find these delicious fried pieces of heaven at two different locations: 

631 B St, San Diego
18011 Newhope St, Fountain Valley
Mon-Fri: 7AM - We Sell Out
Sat & Sun: 8AM - We Sell Out

February 7, 2015

EXPAT LIFE: THE CALIFORNIA EFFECT

How I've become a little bit American 


I've been living in the US for a little over a year and a half now and I've grown used to life here but it's mostly when I visit my family back home that I really notice how San Diego has changed me. I mean I eat American food, watch American shows and speak (American) English every day, but it's the little things you pick up that make you more of a local than a tourist. I usually don't pay attention to those so I loved thinking about them for Holly's linkup!

Compliments, compliments
Americans are very open and are not afraid to say something positive (or negative for that matter) when they see it. The cashier who asks me where I'm from when they pick up on an accent or the sales staff in a store complimenting me on what I'm wearing; it was all a bit creepy at first (and I couldn't help but think it wasn't genuine). But then again, what's wrong with saying something nice to someone every once in a while? Recently I started noticing how I do it too now... I don't hold back anymore when I think someone has beautiful hair or an awesome shirt and it feels good.

I rarely buy things at full price
Another marketing trick? Maybe, but America is the land of the never ending SALES and who am I to ignore that? I shop for clothes at the outlets or wait for online sales and when I go to the supermarket there's always some sort of coupon or discount you can get with a rewards card. Forgot about the reductions? No need to worry the shop assistant will remind you herself. And if that doesn't work you can always go to Costco and buy your toilet paper and breakfast cereal in bulk. I realise it might all be an arbitrary system but my brains are just wired to respond to that and every time I find myself in that situation I can't help but think: this is so American!

I've become more outdoorsy
Getting up at 7AM to hike up a mountain for a couple of hours? I would have called you insane a few years ago. I liked working out and was good at playing sports, but I've never been the 'go-explore-nature'-type. I can look at my surroundings and admire them but mostly from a distance... I sort of hate walking uphill. Until I moved here and Nick dragged me to the top of Mount Woodson. I can see the fun in it now, but I still hate sweating. 


I've embraced the beach look
Back home I would never go to the store without taking a shower, washing my hair and putting on a nice normal outfit. I would also wear that same outfit for the rest of the day: no changing into comfy clothes when I got home. The dress code in California is definitely more laid back and you can't fight against it because it's like fighting against nature. It's so comfortable. Sometimes I even go to the store in my workout clothes and I don't mind my crazy beach hair *gasp* The fact that I have separate clothes for running now says enough. Unless it's a really nice place you're going to, you can get away with wearing pretty much anything; flip flops, gym pants, you name it - as long as you're wearing something you're fine! It's actually been nice to not have to worry about clothes so much, although I do miss dressing up sometimes and I definitely still have to manage looking fashionable AND casual at the same time like most California girls.

I've only known adult life in San Diego
Since I moved to California a year after graduating university I didn't really experience life on my own in Belgium. The first apartment we rented was in San Diego, the first real job I got was here, I pay my bills and taxes here and learnt to deal with insurance companies and paperwork here. I can still compare it to Belgium and what I know from before, but I've never experienced it first hand in my home country and that automatically makes me a bit American.

Also: I rarely hang clothes up to dry anymore, I've started seeing chips as a snack and am not surprised
 by the idea of having them with lunch anymore, there is no chocolate in my cupboards at this very moment and I sometimes catch myself trying to get the closest parking spot to the store. When I was in Belgium for New Year's I even completely forgot that shops don't open on Sundays (I mean you would think I'd remember that from living there for 23 years). No worries for losing my Belgian roots though, not a day goes by when I'm surprised at something I see or hear and where I ask Nick if that's actually possible here. Yep, it is.

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