West Coast Meets Midwest – Five New Addictions I Wish I Could Find Back Home

A few months ago, Mike and I traveled to San Diego to visit with his brother’s family. After living in the Midwest their entire lives, they picked up, went on vacation, and never came back. (Okay, I’m exaggerating – a little). Having only been to California once about 15 years ago, I didn’t quite understand the allure. I can tell you now – I wholeheartedly do.  So much so that now almost two months after our trip, I find myself longing for certain things I haven’t been able to find back in the Midwest.

Aside from the ample sunshine, clear skies, warm weather, beautiful scenery, and overall healthy outdoorsiness (need I go on??!!??) these are the few things (aside from family, of course) that I haven’t seemed to be able to recreate back home.

1. Cafe Miel (Also seen listed as a Cafe Viennese) 
I love all things coffee, so naturally my #1 selection is going to be coffee-related. This drink (made of milk, espresso, honey, and cinnamon) has become a full-blown addiction. In trying to cut out processed food (and especially artificial sweeteners) the honey and cinnamon really fulfill that sweet tooth without being sickeningly sweet. It was a drink on almost every barista’s menu out west that I have never seen here. Not only have I not seen it – most baristas seem perplexed when I ask them to make it! I have been trying to cut back on dairy, so I prefer to have it made with almond milk or coconut milk (which I personally prefer the taste of anyways).

2. Acai Bowls
Basically a smoothie topped with oatmeal/granola, fruit, and whatever other goodness you want to throw on there. In San Diego, these were on the menu at nearly every coffee shop/breakfast restaurant that we frequented. And they are delicious!  Granted I no longer live in the city, so these are most likely more readily available downtown, but I cannot find them in a single place out in the suburbs! While I love smoothies, having a smoothie alone for breakfast doesn’t really work for me because I feel like I never really “ate” (to me, eating means chewing my food). Here – problem solved!

3. TKO Fish Tacos
Okay, you can get fish tacos back in the Midwest as well, but they are nowhere near as good (or fresh)!

4. Sprouts Grocery Store 
Think a smaller and less-pricy Whole Foods with all sorts of natural products. Definitely a store I could have spent a lot of time wandering around in with lots of healthy food options!

5. Hiking/Mountains/Beach (etc.)
Enough said. I am 100% convinced that if I were the same exact person living in San Diego rather than Chicago, I would be in much greater shape just because of the changes in elevation alone! It is so much easier (and more desirable) to be outside and there are so many places that you can go and explore (for free).