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adventures of a half-chinese yalie in hollywood

Torrey Pines Story Times

Torrey Pines Story Times

This past weekend, Deepak and I rounded out our tour of California golf courses with a 2-night stay at Torrey Pines.

What is a Torrey Pine, you might ask?

Hint: Not this!
Hint: Not this!
Nor this.
Nor this.
Getting warmer ...
Getting warmer …
Boning up ...
Boning up …
Oh yes! It's the kind of place that prints its logo onto Valrhona chocolate bars.
Oh yes! It’s the kind of place that prints its logo onto Valrhona chocolate bars.

Now, I remember grappling with the “What is a Torrey Pine(s)?” issue years ago while working at my college newspaper. Each fall, the outgoing cycle of editors had a tradition of creating a “joke issue”—that is, a full-length issue of the daily newspaper, but filled with The Onion-style spoof articles and obnoxious inside jokes. It was a masturbatory and indulgent errand, sure. But I will brook no criticism about the joke issue’s merits. Response was generally positive, but sometimes clueless critics—i.e., classmates in the dining hall or the pompous printers of a pulp tabloid that featured a regular “pointing out mistakes in the latest edition of the newspaper” section—would complain that they didn’t like the jokes, or that the spoofs missed the mark, or even that there were typos.

Er, hello? We just stayed up all night of our own volition and cobbled together this FREE publication – both distributed for free and made on the backs of an entirely unpaid labor force – and all this after staying up for the past 30 consecutive hours debating the minutiae of the incoming editors’ merits in the deceptively prosaic-sounding gory ceremony known as “elections.” Sit down with this disapproval of our satire choices.

Anyway! I got off track. My first encounter with Torrey Pines was when I was entrusted with writing the bio for my Yale Daily News colleague, Alberto. I interviewed a few of his close friends in search of juicy backstory. I’ll always remember his friend Laura’s deadpan response: “Berto is from Torrey Pines. Just write that and end the bio there.”

What does it mean to be “from Torrey Pines”? I whipped out my camera in anticipation of an investigation.

… But sadly, not my waterproof camera. The silly thing – an Olympus shockproof/waterproof I bought 5 years ago – has never been impressive or reliable. But I think now we’ve finally heard its death knell. The battery cover became loose on our trip to the Maldives last March. But now it’s become so loose that I can’t get the “CLOSE BATTERY COVER!” error screen to go away, thus preventing me from taking (or loading!) any photos at all. Ugh. I guess the picturesque Indian Ocean creatures were too much and WatCam (nickname for the waterproof; also indicative of questionable reliability) wanted to go out on a high note.

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San Diego/La Jolla/Torrey Pines has a gorgeous coastline and lovely beaches, so I was excited about my waterproof camera. But the upshot was that there were no shots! Though we kayaked into some true breathtaking sea caves in La Jolla, and saw numerous sea lions, no photos survive of the event. It’s like a Beyonce concert in that way.

I know this disappointed Deepak, because he loves animals. So I made sure we left with some photos of us with the sea lions.

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San Diego is about as close as you can get to Tijuana without getting your head lopped off in a senseless and random narcotics-related incident. Thus, the perfect chance to enjoy authentic Mexican food (and the attendant spices)! If you visit La Jolla, I recommend the Fisherman’s Torta from Oscar’s.

All the habañero spices you can carry!
All the habañero spices you can carry!
Which caused Deepak to make this face.
Which caused Deepak to make this face.
This is the bloodbath-looking mise en place after I'd added salsa to the torta.
This is the bloodbath-looking mise en place after I’d added salsa to the torta.
Deepak was more sensible, of course.
Deepak was more sensible, of course.

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We made sure to visit the overcrowded Asian market.
We made sure to visit the overcrowded Asian market.
Where I stocked up on fermented cabbage. This should last me 1 day or so.
Where I stocked up on fermented cabbage. This should last me 1 day or so.

Also recommended if you are in Irvine, CA: 85 Degrees Taiwanese Bakery.

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So many elaborate cakes! I find these types look better than they taste, but the more quotidian Taiwanese pastries (which they bring out like clockwork every 30 minutes or so) are fabulously toothsome.
So many elaborate cakes! I find these types look better than they taste, but the more quotidian Taiwanese pastries (which they bring out like clockwork every 30 minutes or so) are fabulously toothsome.
Two of their signature drinks: the eponymous 85-degree (Celsius) coffee, and an iced sea salt coffee. The latter is on the right. The salt is in the cream -- which really tastes like cream and not even half & half -- so licking the salted cream puts one ineluctably in mind of BUTTER.
Two of their signature drinks: the eponymous 85-degree (Celsius) coffee, and an iced sea salt coffee. The latter is on the right. The salt is in the cream — which really tastes like cream and not even half & half — so licking the salted cream puts one ineluctably in mind of BUTTER.
But he approved.
But he approved.
Nutcracker pilgrim was spotted in the "off season fire sale" rack at Camarillo outlets. But wait -- he's almost in season. I'm sad for the dank living quarters poor PilgCracker must have endured for 75% of the year. Reminiscent of that poor girl they looked up in Ray Bradbury's "All Summer in a Day."
(Nutcracker pilgrim was spotted in the “off season fire sale” rack at Camarillo outlets. But wait — he’s almost in season. I’m sad for the dank living quarters poor PilgCracker must have endured for 75% of the year. Reminiscent of that poor girl they looked up in Ray Bradbury’s “All Summer in a Day.”
There was beautiful scenery all over!
There was beautiful scenery all over!
And buses to shuttle us.
And buses to shuttle us.
Don't forget the amnesia-inducing "skinny" margarita (ingredients: tequila, lime juice, regrets).
Don’t forget the amnesia-inducing “skinny” margarita (ingredients: tequila, lime juice, regrets).
We switched to the much-safer cerveza.
We switched to the much-safer cerveza.
Mariachi was unable to shake us down.
Mariachi was unable to shake us down.
Why are Mexican portions always so big? Anyway, the middle plate was key -- roasted serranos, to dip into habañero paste.
Why are Mexican portions always so big? Anyway, the middle plate was key — roasted serranos, to dip into habañero paste.

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Non-Mexican palate cleansing dessert at the lodge. Verdict: underwhelmed.
Non-Mexican palate cleansing dessert at the lodge. Verdict: underwhelmed.
The danger with buffets ...
The danger with buffets …
We had so much fun that I lost my sobriety and facial melanin all in one go.
We had so much fun that I lost my sobriety and facial melanin all in one go.


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