The kids get Easter baskets every year. This year, I told them I want one, too, and I want it to be stuffed with chicks. Not the marshmallow kind, either. The real deal. Chick days have started at the Tractor Supply Company Store in El Cajon (619-561-1230). Right now, they have Red Sex Link, Cornish Rock, and White Leghorn chicks for $2.99 each. They also have white ducklings, $5.49 each. Besides the birds themselves, the store carries supplies for everyone from the novice to the seasoned backyard chicken farmer: coops, runs, feeders, waterers, feed, shavings, lights, and even egg-care products. Prices vary depending on the size of whatever you pick out.
While I’m getting in on the action, my artsy side wants to learn pysanky — traditional Ukrainian Easter egg decoration. It’s a folk art that eschews paint in favor of writing designs on the egg with beeswax. Balboa Park’s House of Ukraine offers workshops every year, but only during the month before Easter. Maybe next year. For now, I’ll follow the guidance of learnpysanky.com. The site has information standard prices for basic supplies (beeswax, dyes, stylus, $17–$20) and extras like lathes for holding eggs ($24–$28) and egg blowers ($9–$15), as well as where to find stuff, basic procedures, and 35 step-by-step designs.
For Easter brunch, I’m thinking about Mille Fleur in Rancho Santa Fe (858-756-3085). The menu is a three-course prix fixe ($59.50 per person) created by chef Martin Woesle. Appetizer selections including fish, fowl, vegetables, and cheese. I’m leaning toward the Maine lobster and scallop salad, or else the duck-liver mousse. Entrées range from eggs Benedict with applewood smoked bacon to a duo of lamb chop and osso buco to hanger steak with hen egg. Brunch runs from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
But I’ll have family in town from back East, and in case they want to dine near the water, there’s the brunch at Bahia Resort Hotel in Mission Bay (858-488-0551). That one includes a complimentary cruise on Mission Bay. It’s buffet-style and includes an omelet station, Belgian waffles, quiche, and of course, mountains of bacon and sausage. For the less breakfasty, there’s seafood, beef, pork, and chicken, as well as vegetarian ravioli. Either way, there’s dessert: tarts, cakes, pastries, peach bread pudding, and bananas Foster. I like that it’s kid-friendly: there’s an Easter egg hunt throughout, and a knee-high buffet featuring mac ’n’ cheese, pigs in a blanket, cheese pizza, tater tots, and chicken dinosaurs. Brunch runs 10 a.m.–3 p.m. and costs $52 for adults and $25 for children ages 5 to 11. Children under 5 are free.
On the subject of Easter egg hunts: this year, my dad the golfer may succeed in luring us north to the Lawrence Welk Resort San Diego Oaks Golf Course in Escondido (800-932-9355). Mr. & Mrs. Bunny will help kick off the festivities: four age groups, four hunts, and one golden egg in each, good for a free foot-long and pizza party courtesy of Welk Resorts Golf. While the game is afoot, hubby and Pop can enjoy a free golf clinic, and I can battle Mom in cornhole. Other options: golf ball decorating, a bouncy house, and life-size Jenga. Food and beverage options include cotton candy, burgers, and hot dogs, and there are Bloody Marys and mimosas available for sale. The event runs 10 a.m.–1 p.m.; tickets are $10 apiece or $7.50 each for groups of four or more.
Other Easter egg hunts around town: Birch Aquarium in La Jolla (858-534-3474) is celebrating Spring with a water eggstravaganza. Price of admission ($18.50 adults, $15.50 seniors, $14 children 3–17, $15 students with ID and UCSD staff) includes an exploration of animal eggs, a shark craft, and participation in an “underwater egg hunt” — no basket required. Event runs April 14–16, 11 a.m.–3 p.m.
The City of Santee’s Spring Eggstravaganza at Santee Lakes’ Lake 5 includes continuous egg hunts for kids ages 8 and up on April 15, 9 a.m.–3 p.m. Craft booths, petting zoo, DJ, and rides — bumper cars, frog hopper, swings, and also pony rides — onsite. Plus bunnies for photo ops. Activities range in price from 1 to 10 tickets ($1 apiece). Drinks, hot dogs, nachos, popcorn, and sno-cones available for purchase. Onsite parking, $10, with free shuttle service available.