What I'm Into Wednesday - The Turkey(free) Edition

Contrary to popular belief, turkey is totally optional on Thanksgiving. In fact, it's like the one thing usually on the table that I never eat. It just doesn't do it for me. 

So I wasn't upset at all when we planned to go to Angelo's sister Domenica's house for Thanksgiving dinner. She was vegan for many years, so turkey is low on her priority list as well. So low for both of us, that we didn't have it at all. But don't worry, we still managed to eat plenty (as seen in our food and real baby belly photo below). 

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So here's What I'm Into from this Thanksgiving week:

SEE

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There are two websites that I love that feature unusual and weird things to do in San Diego/Southern California: Atlas Obscura (which I've talked about before) and Hidden San Diego. Both of them have entries on the Desert View Tower. This tower is about an hour east of San Diego, in Jacumba, just north of the 8 freeway. Angelo and I took Arlo adventuring on Saturday out east and decided we were so close, we just couldn't miss seeing the tower in person. It was well worth the decor. The goofy guy who owns it has his 6 dogs running around, your dogs are allowed in and off leash too. The first floor of the tower is exactly the weird gift shop you'd imagine in the middle of nowhere desert and for $6.50 you can head up the stairs to the top of the tower, which yes has an amazing desert view. Don't forget to stop at each landing along the way to check out the creepy museum-ish exhibits that are there.

Bonus: your ticket gets you entry to the boulder/cave park just on the other side of the parking lot. We had a blast climbing with the dog up, over, and around big rocks, into caves, and enjoying the strangeness of it all.

I highly recommend making a trip out. Also, he's selling the property for $1.2 million (93 acres!) if you happen to have that laying around.

DO

Pre tower stop we headed up to Mt. Laguna for a morning of hiking. We had the funny thought on the drive up that getting to the PCT on Mt. Laguna (some of the best hiking and trail running anywhere) only takes about 45 minutes - and yet it seems so far away, we almost never go. It can take me 45 to get home from La Jolla. Silly (and a totally random aside). 

Anyway we headed out and just stopped at a random trailhead to start hiking. The Big Laguna Trail is a huge series of trails but the part we ended up on connected us after about half a mile to the PCT. It was perfect weather, looked like fall, and was so much less trafficked than closer hikes. We had a blast!

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SMELL

The main dish for Thanksgiving this year was a butternut squash that was unbelievable. Mind you, we totally forgot about it on Thanksgiving itself (we did each try a bite, but by the time we remembered we were stuffed - pun intended) but it made for amazing leftovers. 

Thanksgiving or not, you should make this. The house will smell am.az.ing.

TASTE

The taste test winner on Thursday was a bit of a surprise. We had all of these amazing, home cooked, delicious foods - and we lost our shit over baked brie. How can you not?

We did a brie, sliced in half and filled with Trader Joe's Hot and Sweet Pepper Jam, and wrapped in puff pastry. Served with crackers and bread - yum! That could've been the whole meal. We would've been just fine.

HEAR

Here's a poll for all you readers. I'm curious if this is a "thing" or just a Neroni family "thing." Or maybe a midwest/Ohio "thing". Do you listen to Arlo Guthrie's Alice's Restaurant on Thanksgiving? Angelo's family has for as long as he can remember (it's on the radio every year on Thanksgiving, apparently) so we adopted that tradition as well. Seeing as though Arlo is named for him, it's even more fitting. For the past few years we've listened on our record player and, I have to say, that 18 or so minutes that is Alice's Restaurant is some of my favorite time of that day. The song/story is just unbeatable.

If not, do you have a weird family tradition that you just can't give up for Thanksgiving? I'm curious!