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Memorial Day in San Diego
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Memorial Day weekend in San Diego is the clarion call for summer season.

The city's bulging with sun-dazed tourists. The highways are jammed. Summer movies are out, and restaurants are rolling their colorful shade umbrellas out onto sidewalks. 20-somethings flock to the beaches in rented convertibles, eager to waggle their thangs at one another, slamming cocktails camouflaged in soda cans; the rest of us congregate in bunches in backyards, drinking freely while setting fire to various foodstuffs and watching kids squeal in sprinklers.

Where I live, just up hill from Mission Bay, you can actually smell the barbecues firing up as early as 9 a.m., preparing chilaquiles (that's the image, right) and machaca for breakfast.

If you have no idea what I'm talking about or have never had chilaquiles or machaca for breakfast - well, you have my condolences. Mexican food - real Mexican food, not the Americanized crap a la Taco Smell - can and should be eaten any time of day.

This year, there were more parties and barbecues than ever. We went to two of them - our neighbor's and a teeny Italian Riviera-style gathering thrown by the parents of our friends Ian and Abi. [Quick side note: Ian and Abi are our "pregnancy twins" - they're having their first baby a month before we're having ours; we're completely into that whole "having company through the experience" thing, but especially happy that they're going first.]

Both parties were fun, but it was the smaller gathering that really grabbed us. It was a beautiful DeliciousFood.jpgnight, and the party was outdoors in a glowing, Italian-inspired candlelit flower garden. Our hosts, Kathleen and Dan, selected fresh-plucked items from their garden to roast, whie guests all brought something special to grill.

It was a quintessential San Diego night, mellow and relaxing, with good wine, good people and great stories. Nobody wanted to leave. These are the kinds of nights out I have come to love - I'll pass on the huge crowds, frenetic mating squeals and lines in the bathroom.

Give me a basket of crusty fresh bread, creamy butter, a few ripe strawberries in season, a great cab, some well-traveled people and soft place to sit under a starry, warm San Diego sky. You'll have a helluva time crowbarring my happy little butt from the seat. It's the kind of night that sounds like heaven, where you can build real relationships with people and carry the night with you when you leave.

I want more of those in my life.

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I am a writer and lazy artist who loves travel, architecture and design. Right now, I'm into photography. My fabulous husband (a.k.a. The Varmint) and I are also the principals of a San Diego-based creative agency - and new parents to the divine Baby Mak. Read More >