Strip Mall? Yes, please!


Last summer we moved from the inner city of Portland Oregon to a gated community in the suburbs of Escondido California. Of course we knew it would be an adjustment on many levels, but didn’t think trying to find our kind of “stuff” would be one of them.

Where to shop? Where to eat? It was quite a challenge for us, since we had lived in the heart of the city where we could easily walk or bike to coffee shops, artisan pizza, DIY pottery studios, and organic grocery stores.

It is Portlandia, after all.

But, like I said, we moved.

Walk six blocks for a farm to table gluten free dinner, leash up the dog, grab a cloth grocery bag and head out for some free-range brown eggs?

Not anymore.

Welcome to the land of strip malls. And by the way, you must drive to all of them.

I admit it; I was a strip mall snob. I had assumed everything in a strip mall was a Subway, Payless shoes, or Papa Johns. You know what I mean?

Not so.

Exhibit A, Trader Joes. They have them in strip malls here. I kid you not.

The first time I went with my daughter, who fought the move from day one since we were “ruining her life,” she all but fell to her knees in prayer to Allah Joe the moment we went inside.

“Mom… it’s just like the one back home.”

Since they are all pretty much laid out the same she finally felt comfortable somewhere because it felt so FAMILIAR.

Typically I am a stealth shopper on my weekly TJ’s run, but this time we slowly strolled down every isle while she carefully loaded the cart with her favorite items. Naturally we came home with twice as much usual, including way too many of those oh so good Toblerone bars. Ugh.

(P.S. I needed that reprieve, so I heart you even more now, Trader Joes)

Ok, groceries bought for the week but I don’t want to cook, so where do we find some decent pizza?

I’ll tell you where, in a strip mall!

We found two places we love, both in strip malls. One of them is Killer Pizza from Mars in Escondido and not surprisingly the whole place is decked out in wacky alien chic. They have a great selection of old school arcade games, the people working there are super friendly, and they make a darn good pie.

The other is a local chain called Flippin Pizza with décor straight outta Brooklyn. Brick interior walls, nice old wooden bar, and gluten free you ask? Why yes, don’t mind if I do! They serve it five different ways and all are quite tasty.

Where to go for date night? Our local Strip Mall, of course! We had a wonderful authentic Indian dinner paired with a fabulous Pinot Noir and great ambiance at family owned and operated Curry and More in San Marcos. Delish!

I could go on and on. We have found hidden gems at every turn.

Our new dentist Dr. Miller who we love?              Check

K9 Dog Park daycare for neurotic Dexter?           Check

Family owned tailor/dry cleaner?                          Check

It’s all at the Strip Mall.

We just had to get over ourselves, take a drive, open our eyes, and walk through that tinted glass door.

About JulieRae, she’s a hardworking Realtor/Mom whose mantra is “Yes, but first coffee.”

For help buying, selling, or investing in SD she’s your gal @