Right now it’s all about shopping (soon it will be all about family, food and feelings of gratitude). As an aunt, I have an obligation to my niece and nephew to send the perfect age-approriate gifts, and as a daughter, I’m responsible for buying sensible gifts that are fully returnable. My sister just says to send gift cards.
Since I started working in La Jolla recently, I’ve been spending a lot more time in the cove, UTC and Torrey Pines areas. Nearby Westfield UTC mall has launched a $500 million expansion this year, that at times has been a pain to navigate around, but has made the shopping center super luxe. One of the coolest things about this mall is the indoor ice skating rink that’s open year-round. Several local hockey teams also practice there, so check the public skating schedule for availability. The mall boasts more than 150 stores, as well as a large plaza area where they often have live entertainment. Take a break from shopping to check out their Plaza Unplugged acoustic music series Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 2 p.m. in Palm Plaza. How many malls do you know offer free live music?!
Since I’m not a big fan of food court fare, I recommend heading over to Asian fusion restaurant Cafe Japengo for sushi and cocktails afterward. My favorite menu items are the roasted shishito peppers, Kona-spiced seared Ahi tuna, carne asada sushi roll, and the coconut gelato. The restaurant is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, so it’s obviously doing something right. Cafe Japenego is located across from the Hyatt Regency La Jolla at Aventine, where I had a staycation earlier this year after their $12 million renovation was completed. UTC has gotten a face-lift, ya’ll!