Our Wednesday adventures found us in Balboa Park, a gigantic urban park right on the outskirts of the San Diego Zoo.

Among the beauty to be found there was the world’s largest outdoor instrument, an organ:

And there was this guy, playing an outdoor instrument as well:

But the best part by a landslide was our unexpected visit to Italy.

We were just walking by the international houses and stopped to peek inside the House of Italy when a man sitting outside informed us that they were only open on Sundays from 12 – 4pm. We were going to keep walking along but our new found friend kept chatting, telling us all of the good places to go in San Diego that were “true San Diego.” We told him that we were planning on going to Little Italy to which he responded, “Oh, you go to good place to eat. Not some guy from Kansas who say to himself, ‘Oh, I make pasta, I make money!’ No, no, you go to Roberto, he make the good sauce.”

And then this happened:

Morgan: “My grandfather is actually from Italy, so my family is Italian.”

Italian Man: “Oh! Oh! (motions older woman, pictured above, over) Oh, es Italiano! (…Italian, Italian, Italian…), es Italiano from New York!”

Mama Italia: “OH!”

And then, they opened the doors to the House of Italy to us.

They showed us around and told us all about the Italian culture in San Diego. Out of nowhere, Mama Italia came us behind us with cans of Diet Coke as a refreshment. After we were done chatting, I asked our guide if we could take a picture to remember our trip to the House of Italy. This was his chosen pose:

Which was followed by, “Oh, you take picture of yourselves and send it to us! We put it in newsletter and say, ‘Italians come to visit San Diego from New York!”

The only thing that could come close to matching our experience at the House of Italy was our friend’s recommendation for dinner at the Mona Lisa in Little Italy.

Despite the creepy Mona Lisa depictions, the food was absolutely amazing (the best garlic bread ever made!)

Definitely not from some farmer in Wichita who came to Little Italy to make a buck.

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