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"Sweetheart, corazon, will you be downtown today?"

Warning bells! She's going to ask me to do something I don't want to do.

"Uh, maybe."

"Great! Would you take this lipstick to Nordstrom's and exchange it for Doublewear Stay Ruby, or Doublewear Stay Rose. This one is cranberry. Too dark! Won't take you a moment. Just ask for Estée Lauder..."

Sigh. Which is why I am sitting on the fifth floor of Nordstrom's downtown (324 Horton Plaza, 619-239-1700). Just been through department store hell trying to find the danged Estée Lauder desk. Finally this guy Scott took pity, and spent a quarter hour trying to locate Stay Ruby or Stay Rose in the mass of Estée Lauder drawers.

"Good luck," he said, as if he'd dealt with this situation before, and he didn't like the odds.

Now, need that snack.

Up here on the fifth, the floor is littered with exhausted husbands asleep in easy chairs, arms loaded down with plastic bags and boxes. Sound system has corporate pop and tuneless jazz.

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Carla said they had a "very reasonable" cafe up here on the top floor. So what da heck: Cafe Nordstrom looks like just the place grandma would take the grandkids and spend the whole meal telling them to hush and be proper.

Paco the server's bringing me the best deal I could see on the menu, a cup of the soup of the day, white bean soup, $3.75. Quite a deal, and being white beans, filling. Glass of iced water, too.

I almost went for their California grilled sandwich, with turkey, aioli, avocado,bacon and cheese for 9.95. But too mean. Stick with the soup, even though it's nowhere the deal of, say, Costa Azul in Coronado. Their white bean chili's a buck more, but so much bigger, and stuffed with chunks of pork... But hey, ain't complaining. It's a nice li'l bowl with a crispy golden slice of garlic bread...

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...and here, man! You do get the view. Look right out over the top of the convention center to the ocean, and look sputh and there's the blue Coronado Bay bridge. On the horizon, the fog bank's waiting to roll on in for the night.

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Good news is, this soup will hold me over till I get home. Plus, with the check they give you a little stick of Maker's chocolate with fudge in the middle.

Bad news is I had to choose between Stay Ruby or Stay Rose. Chose the darker, sparkling Stay Ruby.

So why do I jes' know I'm gonna be back?

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