by some miracle, i got one of the last flights out of dc this past weekend before the #snowicane2016 hit. i was visiting my brother, kevin, in san diego who moved to the west coast about a year ago. while i’ve been to california a number of times, this was my first time in san diego. my sister and her bf, kimmy and chris, made the trek down from LA and the four of us spent the weekend exploring all that this wonderful city had to offer. it was so great to spend time with friends and family now living a coast away.
- nicos: tiny mexican hole-in-the-wall in ocean beach, aptly voted the #2 california burrito in america. $6 will get you a incredibly delicious california burrito stuffed with carne asada and crunchy french fries, the size of your forearm.
- neighborhood: american-style loungue/gastro pub in the downtown area with pimms cup cocktails on tap and incredible mussels. i later learned that there’s a hidden speakeasy in the back, so i guess this means i’ll be going back.
- crushed: special little place in pacific beach serving brunch and beer. we were taken with the pretzel bread, cinnamon roll pancakes, and make-your-own mimosa flights with interesting flavors such as grapefruit rosemary. super nice servers, too.
- mad beet: this place was a godsend the morning after two late nights in a row. they have made-to-order healthy fare such as acai bowls, smoothies and juices. the best part though is the hilariously clever names of their products (i.e. “beyoncai”, “canteloupe fiasco” and “honeydewtang clan”).
- baja beach cafe: we ate right next to the beach here in pacific beach with a+ views and decent fish tacos and bloody marys.
- 32 north: a newer brewery in the miramar area. if you want great beer without the crowds, this is the place. favorite beer: black currant landfill berliner weisse.
- stone brewing world gardens & bistro: the grandaddy of breweries. we went to the escondido location (~30 minute drive from sd) which has 1 acre of beautiful gardens. favorite beer: stone pilot batch mocha ipa.
- ballast point: a must visit in sd. they were just bought for $1 billion, so happy we got in before any changes. favorite beer: victory at sea imperial porter with peanut butter OR pineapple sculpin ipa.
- green flash: another must visit. it’s a smaller brewery with good beers and a food truck outside. favorite beer: orange creamsicle on cask.
- pizza port: if you’ve ever been to austin, this place is sd’s pinthouse pizza. we went to the ocean beach location which has picnic style seating, extremely sweet bartenders and a hippie vibe. favorite beer: the swami IPA.
- culture: another small, new(ish) brewery in ocean beach. favorite beer: mosaic IPA.
other fun stuff
- mt. woodson trail to the potato chip rock: about a ~30 minute drive from SD. go on a weekday and if you take the steeper of the two ascent options, you’ll be at the top in 45 minutes.
- balboa park: there are a ridiculous amount of deco bike rental kiosks around the city, and about 3 in balboa park. park your car near a kiosk (you can check online if there are bikes available). you can see the whole park in about an hour, or a $7 bike rental.
- hotel del coronado: drive across the bridge to the island. it’s a quaint vacation town with lots of shops and streets to walk down. be sure to stop at the bar in the famous hotel coronado for a drink.
- our little airbnb was so cute. it was clean, spacious, had a great rooftop deck and fireplaces. there are tons of little cottages and cute apartments in almost every area of san diego, but here’s a link to where we stayed.