Saturday, September 19, 2009

Afoot in San Diego: Imperial Beach, Donuts to Die For

Jennifer and I headed for Imperial Beach today. I wanted mainly to check out the Pier and a donut shop I had seen on Noah Tafolla's Wonderland show on San Diego's KPBS. Jennifer had just finished a morning swim meet. She was tired, more interested in the fish and chips at the end of the Pier, and glad there weren't a lot of historical buildings her Ouma wanted to see.

Imperial Beach is the very southernmost outpost of San Diego. Step across the Tijuana River and you're in Mexico...but first you'll have to get across the Border Fence the separates San Diego from Tijuana, more than 900 miles of fence completed to date but that's a story for another time.

Photo downloaded from Wikipedia

Early Anglo settlement of Imperial Beach was part of the 1887 land boom of San Diego when a couple fellows thought they would build a beach resort for folks looking for relief from the heat of Imperial Valley. If I were to pick a year for time travel in San Diego, it would be 1887. It must have been a jumpin' year. Even Wyatt Earp was here.

It's hard to miss that this is a surfin' town. Monuments, sidewalk surf art, surf shops, surfer dudes everywhere.

We walked down the Dunes, I.B.'s beach, toward the pier. One couple must have been getting practice for I.B.'s annual Sand Castle contest, the US Open of Sand Castle Building. They were adults with a full on man-size shovel, not the usual kid stuff seen on other beaches. Fortunately, the next competition is almost a year off. These guys look like they need a little more practice before getting to the level of the usual entries.

At the end of the pier, we enjoyed some fish and chips at a little outdoor fish place. Even though it was a misty day, we could see down to the Coronado Islands off Mexico.

The culinary highlight, though, was the Stardust Donut Shop on Palm Avenue, a drive in, walk up to the window place in need of a paint job but the donuts and cinnamon rolls are heavenly. Fortunately, they are not the huge Cinnabon type and no heavy frosting. Still, Jennifer and I had the good sense to buy just one glazed donut each for today and a cinnamon roll to save for Sunday morning.

The shop is run by two elderly brothers who have apparently been a fixture for the last thirty years. By now they open up when they get there and close when all the donuts are gone and a gaggle of customers hang around waiting for the next batch.

Jennifer's interest was beginning to wane... the Tijuana Estuary Reserve will have to wait for another time.


Kappa no He said...

Wow, those usual entries for the sand castle building were pretty amazing. I miss white sand beaches. All our around here are black, lava rock. Owch.

Katharine said...

What's amazing is that with our excursions I'm finding out just how much there is to do in our little town of San Diego.

Pat said...

I've got your amazing. When are you going to blog some more about Scotland, huh????

BTW, Terrie, those black beaches are really cool looking - I didn't realize the sand hurts your feet. Guess it makes sense though. Pumice, anyone?

Katharine said...

Very soon. I have all winter.