Bratworks in San Bernardino

Bratworks is a new gourmet hot dog eatery located in San Bernardino, the city I live in. Ohhhhhhh, how to describe San Bernardino…it has a bad reputation (not completely undeserved), but I believe in this city, and it’s historical roots. It is a bit misunderstood and has been mismanaged for so long. But, I truly hope that things are changing and new businesses are on their way.

I often complain that there are not many vegan options locally and I have to spend my money in other cities in order to find delicious vegan food.

15526838651_c4f08f9a24_o Bratworks is an approximate five minute drive away from my home. I saw someone post about it on my local Facebook board. I was intrigued. I saw a hot dog decked out in delicious toppings and I said a silent prayer that they had a meat-free option

A quick visit to their website told me they did and I jumped at the next opportunity to visit.

Loaded up hotdogs used to be one of my faves as a meat-eater, but luckily I have not been missing out on this as a vegan. Bratworks definitely tends to those cravings and then some.

The eatery is set up Chipotle or Subway-style. You pick your dog, your bread and your toppings and without much of a wait, you are ready to eat!

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I loaded my dog up with onions, jalapeños, pineapple, spicy mustard, ketchup and sriracha sauce. My step-son accompanied me on this trip, but I could not tell you what he chose as toppings, I was way too absorbed in my own food (step-mother of the year!). We also shared a yummy order of fries.

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Bratworks also offers a diverse selection of fountain drinks and beer by the bottle. I love an ice cold hoppy beer with a spicy dog. I will definitely need to return to try that combination out.

I am delighted that there is a new vegan option in my own zip code! I will definitely be back!

Hike to Devil’s Chair

This weekend featured a wonderful hike to the Devil’s Chair. I have done this hike a few times before and it is always an enjoyable experience. The trail isn’t too strenuous and the expansive view at the end is a huge payoff.

This time around the added bonus was taking some of my husband’s students from the hiking club he runs at his high school. It is a pretty amazing experience to see students who have not done many outdoor activities before, discover nature through a new lens and feel the accomplishment of a good hike.

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The trail is 7.4 miles total, with a 1,000 ft. elevation gain. It is steep in some parts, but overall, the gain is too slight to even notice. This is an excellent hike for both experienced and newer hikers. Beginners may find it difficult in some spots, but it is still accessible to anyone willing to push through a little incline.

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Fun was had, by all.

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What are some of your favorite hiking spots?

Local Loving: Desert to the Ocean

This weekend I took advantage of the best parts of Southern California and made my way around it’s gorgeous topography.

I started at Joshua Tree National Park with a trail run, followed by an overnight camping trip. We had planned to run to Lost Palms Oasis, however, the middle of the day desert heat had other plans. We ended up hiking most of it.

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We were more than ready for ice cold beer and food when we returned to camp. After chugging one gallon of water, a beer was much appreciated, along with snacks as we cooked the rest of our food. (Hummus + pita & olives)

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I had planned to make veggie dogs with vegan mac and cheese, but someone (it was me) forgot to pack the buns. We improvised and made bowls of cut up veggie dogs, vegan mac + cheese (recipe is from here, seriously YUM) and baked beans.

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We could not have picked  a better night to camp. The moon was full, bright and breathtaking. These pictures do it no justice.

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We came back on Saturday, unpacked, napped, then went to Redlands Shakespeare Festival. This was a showing of Julius Cesar, and since it is the Season of Gender, this was done with an all female cast. It put a very interesting twist on the show. The actresses who played Cassius and Mark Anthony completely stole the show. As always, the performance was amazing!

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Sunday, we made our way down to our second home; Venice Beach. We try to make it out there about once per month. We feel at home amongst the diverse characters, I love people watching, meeting fellow beach goers and drinking cold beer under the sun.

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Sundays are great days to be there because there is the drum circle that goes on till sundown. We danced around, made beautiful music and spread positive energy.

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I feel fortunate to live close to so much culture and diversity!

Local Loving:The Redlands Shakespeare Festival

The first event I want to highlight on in Local Loving is The Redlands Shakespeare festival.

Redlands is located about 15 minutes away from San Bernardino and I spend quite a bit of time there. I lived there for a few years and the city definitely grew on me. It has a historical and artistic feel, and some of my favorite local, businesses are here (Augie’s Coffee Shop, Inner Evolution Yoga, The Thai House).

Each year, The Redlands Bowl (a gorgeous outdoor performance space) is host to The Redlands Shakespeare festival.

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This was my 4th year attending the festival, and I am always impressed with the performances.

Amazingly enough, the performances are FREE. Usually, for free Community Theater, you expect to see an amateur performance with sub-par actors. I have yet to see that here. Shakespeare is not easy to perform, but each show has been executed with fidelity. The costumes, sets and acting all culminate together to give a true Shakespearean experience.

This year, we saw Love Labor’s Lost. As is our tradition, we stopped by Trader Shoe’s beforehand, to load up for a pre-show feast.

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I like getting to the show early, to watch the warm-up performances by The Players, who were witty and amusing as always.

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The show starts at 8:00, just as the sun is setting you are able to see Shakespeare performed under the stars, much as it was at The Globe. Sipping wine and watching a Shakespearean play is this book nerds idea of a great Friday night, and again, the show was FREE (donations are excepted and happily given).

The play was executed in a humorous and creative manner. I was once again impressed with acting from my own local talent pool.

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There is still one more week left of the festival, and I still plan to catch a showing of Julius Cesar (since this is the Season of Gender, it will be an all-female cast, should be interesting).

If you are local, I can not recommend enough catching one of the free showings, supporting local theater and show some local loving to one of these fabulous establishments, while you are there (Oscar’s Mexican Food, Mu, Time in a Bottle).

Local Loving

The city I live in gets a bad rap. It is not undeserved.

I live in a portion of Southern California called the Inland Empire (IE). I live in one the biggest cities in the IE, with probably the worst reputation, San Bernardino. This area is often believed to be high in crime, gang activity, low-socioeconomic statuses (the city itself recently went bankrupt) and various lower class activities.

This is all true and there many things I do not like about living here. I have lofty dreams of packing up and moving to San Francisco, New York City, Boulder or various parts of Spain. And, although I know I will eventually move, circumstances have me living here, right now and I am determined to make the best of it.

I plan to start a segment here on the blog called Local Loving, where I highlight some of the best parts of living in this area.

My favorite thing about where I live is that it is central to all of the amazing topography Southern California has to offer. Within an hour, I can easily drive to the ocean and spend the day at the beach, or I could head in the other direction and within an hour, be in the mountains, hiking beautiful trails with amazing views. I can also head another direction and be in the gorgeous landscape of the desert. There have been some weekends I have literally spent one day at the beach and the next in the mountains. No plane ride or hotel needed, and I was comfortably sleeping in my bed that night. I am also only an hour’s drive away from Los Angeles, where I know I can catch nearly any Broadway show or concert, as it goes on tour. And, even though I am continuously swearing it off, I am also close enough to drive to Las Vegas on very short notice.

hiking in the mountains

hiking in the mountains

Vegas

Vegas

drum circle at Venice Beach

drum circle at Venice Beach

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running in the mountains

trail run

trail running in the desert

Please check back as I start posting some of my favorite things to do around this valley and hopefully put more a positive spin on this area of the world.