Despite the departure of my beloved President Obama (and the chaos and madness brought about by a new administration), I (Dianderthal) managed to have quite a bit of fun in 2017. In no particular order, here are some of the awesome places, experiences, and events that impacted me this year.

SteelCraft
I wrote about SteelCraft at the start of 2017 when the first of its shipping container eateries, Steelhead Coffee, launched. With the place just a $4 Lyft ride away (or a 15 minute walk), I visited many more times after my first post as additional SteelCraft restaurants opened, and made superfans of the place out of my kids. My favorite of all the container spaces is Smog City Brewing, whose on-tap sour beers I’ve fallen in lust with. :: SteelCraft 3768 Long Beach Blvd. in Long Beach
burger and beer from Steelcraft

Kith Treats
In typically Dianderthal fashion, I compiled a list of restaurants and shops that I’d need a month to take on before my trip to Miami – no way I could eat that much food in a matter of four days. Kith was one of the lucky ones – I found it. Actually, I was the lucky one, enjoying one of their cereal and sweets infused ice cream confections late one afternoon after a day of beach lounging and Miami shopping. Definitely a treat that is a real treat. :: Kith Treats 1931 Collins Avenue in Miami Beach
The Witness from Kith Treats

I’m On A Boat!
A duffy boat, that is. Long Beach has been my home for a couple of decades, but it took an after work work-related outing to get me on a boat on the marina. Who knew how easy it was to rent, steer, and sip your way around Naples island? A great activity to do with friends and family. (My boss rented our boat from London Boat Rentals)
On the duffy boat in the Long Beach Marina

Crack Shack
My daughter and I went to San Diego this summer so that she could attend volleyball camp. We headed down the evening before to avoid commuter traffic on the 5, and dinner plans found us at Richard Blais’ Crack Shack, in line with a crowd who’d heard word of tasty fried chicken sandwiches there. No need for an excuse to venture south again San Diego – I now can get my cluck on once again at the Shack in Costa Mesa, just some 20 minutes from home. :: Crack Shack 2266 Kettner Blvd. in San Diego (Little Italy)
sandwich from the crack shack

A New Bike!
It’s a Fuji road bike I’ve only ridden it twice – once during the Long Beach Marathon and once on a training ride for the Long Beach Marathon with my husband. But it’s awesome (okay, not the best bike in the world, but 23 times better than the bent and busted hybrid I’m used to), and I plan to ride it much more in 2018. :: Performance Bicycles 7611 E. Carson Blvd. in the Long Beach Town Center
At the Long Beach Marathon following the Bike Tour

Kale
I hated kale before I tasted it – just more healthy green trendy shit that restaurants were making salads out of. In 2017, I finally tasted it. And that green shit, healthy as it may be, ain’t so bad. My way to get it so far is in Pier 76 Fish Grill’s kale salad (I top mine with blackened salmon) with candied pecans and roasted butternut squash (another something else that’s annoying and healthy but good). :: Pier 76 Fish Grill 95 Pine Avenue in Long Beach

First Avenue
It was a strange and sentimental coincidence that the first of my two trips to Minneapolis this year (yes, for volleyball) happened to fall on the anniversary of Prince’s death back in 2016. I left early from my hotel to the convention center on that particular day to give me time for a short detour to First Avenue, the site of His Royal Badass’s epic breakthrough movie, Purple Rain. It was easy to get swept up into the magic of his memory with the tributes happening there, and the love poured out for him throughout the city during our visit. :: First Avenue 701 N. 1st Street in Minneapolis

Outside of First Avenue

Philz Coffee
One visit. One drink. One location. But it made an impression. My chai tea latte from the Philz Coffee in Huntington Beach did the dang thang. :: Philz Coffee 21010 Pacific Coast Hwy. in Huntington Beach
Chai tea latte from Philz Coffee

Orange County Marathon
With four halves and one full this year, 2017 was my most runningingest (don’t look that up – you won’t find it) year yet. The OC Half Marathon (gave me great race tale to tale, with its hail and rain and cold. The challenges of it made it one of the best races I’ve had in these four crazy years of running I’ve had. :: Orange County Marathon scheduled for May 6, 2018
OC Marathon 2017 - at the finish line Screen shot of article on OC Marathon

Great Maple Doughnuts
They’re oven warm. They’re maple glazed. They’re bacon topped. They’re worth a drive to Torrance. I was fortunate enough to savor them twice this year. In 2018, I’ll have to at least double this number. What’s nice is you can roam around the Del Amo Fashion Center after eating an order to burn off the calories. :: Great Maple [Torrance location now closed – find one in Pasadena, Newport Beach, or San Diego – what a shame! 🙁 ] the bacon maple doughnuts

Next list of Honorable Mentions comes out next Sunday, December 10