The biggest mistake I made about visiting San Diego (SD) was going to the best spot first. La Jolla. Everything thereafter pales in comparison. I was staying in an Airbnb in Bird Rock. I rented the car. I drove from the airport to La Jolla and I turned a corner to go down a hill and there was this knock your socks off view. It was breathtaking and beautiful.
I stopped at this cute little market called Gelson’s Market and got some dinner. I went to the beautiful Air BnB (blue house below) and ate my dinner and made my itinerary, which included an incredible list from the people where I was staying. The nicest people. SUCH a fantastic AirBnB experience.
Next morning upon her suggestion, I went to Bird Rock Coffee, which was this adorable coffee shop in town and a real hangout. I met people at the coffee shop and even kept in touch with someone I met there that suggested a great place for me to play tennis if I moved there.
I even got a coffee with a swan design in it...
Then hopped up on caffeine, I went up the coast to Carlsbad and drove back down along the coast weaving in and out of all these adorable little surfing towns that were completely ideal.
Here are some images from this drive through these towns...
People arrived at restaurants by bike in these towns...
My favorite town was of course the most expensive town. Del Mar. They were having a flea market in a park on the water. Beautiful.
The views in San Diego are really quite magnificent.
I also tasted my first Acai bowl, which is this huge healthy bowl of fruit, Acai(which you can buy in frozen packets in Trader Joe's) and a variety of toppings. This one had granola, banana, nuts, and coconut sprinkled on top of it. It tastes like a smoothie that is thick enough to eat with a spoon.
And then I landed in La Jolla.
La Jolla is just as beautiful as you have heard and can imagine. The seals that are sunbathing down in the town center are cute as hell, which is good because they stink to high heavens. I wandered through the THE VILLAGES, the SHORES and the SHOPS.
I ended my first day at sunset WINDANSEA. So many people came out for sunset. I completely understand why. It was beautiful!!!
Then I went to a place that was touted the best sushi in San Diego. It was so off the beaten path. I got so lost and yet I got there and it was amazing! SUSHI OTA. Crazy fresh. Tasted like they plucked it from the sea and cut it up and served it to me on a plate.
2pc. Salmon w. chives & sesame seeds
Spicy Salmon Roll - Chopped Salmon w/ spicy sauce
Hand Roll tuna roll
On Sunday, I woke up went to Mission Beach, followed by Tournaline Beach and then went for my daily coffee at Bird Rock Coffee. At this point, I was ready to move to Bird Rock if I could afford it.
I went to Calumet Park. I went to the Point Loma Lighthouse…or as far as I could go until I realized how much I had to pay to see it and promptly turned around.
I went to try a restaurant that my friend Chef Brad Borchardt had suggested to me.
View when eating on back deck of the restaurant.
TACOS W. SEA BASS
It was yummy and let me tell you sitting at a marina watching the boats and the water wasn’t bad either!
Then I know I should be ashamed…I did a drive by at Hodad’s on Ocean Beach to see where it was and the line was out the door!!!
I went to my AirBNB on Coronado. I took a long walk until I got caught in the rain and ducked into a store. The shop keepers raced outside as if it was the first snowfall of the season, but alas it was rain, which was just as shocking for them to see as a first snowfall. I don’t understand. I am from Ohio. I see more rain than sun. The phenomenon of never seeing rain is mindboggling to me.
I went down to the beach behind the big famous Hotel del Coronado! It is a storybook hotel..maybe quite literally. It is beautiful and so are the sunsets behind the majestic old hotel.
Sunset behind the hotel...
Then it was time to go to Hodad’s. I opted for the one downtown. I think it is one of the best if not “thee” best hamburger I have ever had in my entire life! It was a religious experience! I still think about it like a lover that gives you one knock your socks off kiss and because of that kiss..there is a part of you that can never let him completely go…that was the burger. I am not kidding you! The décor was fun, surfing, beachy, Sean Penn in Fast Times, but the burger with the bacon cooked into it to a perfect crunch in each bite was magical. I was glad I ate it at the end of the trip or I would have gone back daily. The waiter insisted I try an onion ring. I told the waiter…I do not like onion rings! I liked this one. Best onion ring. So, I highly recommend it!!!
I took the exterior picture at the restaurant up at Ocean Beach...the rest of the Hodad pics are from downtown SD.
The next morning, I woke up and went to a place called Tartine’s for a cappuchino. I then walked down Orange Ave. to a place called Juice Crafters for another acai bowl.
I was hooked on those by the time I left town. It could have been worse…I could have been hooked on Hodad’s…on wait, I was!
I went back to the famous hotel and wandered through the neighborhood. I felt like I was in Hyde Park in Cincinnati, Weston in Boston, Westchester in NY, Roland Park in Baltimore, Buckhead in Atlanta or Woodley Park in DC. It is beautiful there. The homes, the setting, but unlike those towns I mentioned. There was some odd vibe I got in that neighborhood. I thought, I wonder what REALLY goes on behind those closed doors or do I?
Images from Hotel Del Coronado...
Inside the old hotel...
View from hotel to beach...
Walking around Coronado...on Halloween...
My last stop was to downtown San Diego. However, like I said at the beginning, I should have gone everywhere else before going to La Jolla because that was my fav (and so crazy expensive), but everywhere else paled in comparison to La Jolla. And there was no way in HELL I was going to land there unless I became a bestselling author.
I wandered through Old Town and had memories of being there with my Aunt Pat and Uncle Al when I was 12. I went to Little Italy, Cortez Hill, Gaslamp Quarter. I lost my car and had the kindest woman from Brazil, a total stranger drive me to my car. My first friend in town if I ever were to move there!
Images from Downtown SD...
Day of the Dead...
Clever name for a shop...
Then I went to lunch with a girl from my hometown and met her at another place my friend the Chef, Brad, had suggested with the most fitting name….CRACK SHACK.
Not that I have a clue what crack is like, but let’s put it this way…I think eating this chicken was like doing crack!
Look at all these sauces...
Between the two of us, this is what we ordered.
Spicy fried thigh, cool ranch, crispy onions, pickles, potato roll
FRIED CHICKEN, PICKLED FRESNO CHILIES, LIME MAYO, NAPA CABBAGE, BRIOCHE
schmaltz fried fries
As Guy Fieri would say, “It was off the hook!” Ridiculously good!!! And the French fries…OMG, OMG!!! Go…take a plane and go there!!!
I left lunch and went to check into my final Air BnB on Banker’s Hill.
Look where I stayed....look at how narrow the stairs were to get to my room..not my favorite Air Bnb...I must confess...
Outside cool...inside...not as much!!!
I sat on the porch and watched the planes fly lie super low over the house.
I did a stupid crazy and scary walk to a restaurant for dinner. I should have Ubered, but I thought…safe, big city…I was lucky, but it was not smart. This is not NY…I should not have been walking where I was…I ubered home, but not before I went to the last recommendation on Chef Brad’s list.
BRACERO COCINA DE RAIZ
ALBACORE TWO WAYS / SEARED / TARTARE
(lime salsa verde / burnt onion crème fraiche / crispy eggplant / jalapeño ponzu )
SHRIMP GREEN MACHINE CEVICHE TOSTADA
avocado / watercress / pickled red onion
meyer lemon / squid ink emulsion / olives / crispy garbanzo / yuzu roasted peanuts / octopus chicharrón / jalapeño
The waiter was KIMBERLY, if you are reading this...thanks for the special treatment and extra dishes- she was dressed like Tinkerbell for Halloween. She spoke fondly of her daughter, Marley. She was awesome! Many thanks to you for helping me pick memorable dishes!!
Since my visit…this place has closed. Unfortunately. I think they were reopening under a new name and new menu.
My final day in San Diego. I started with a cappuccino at Café Bassam in Banker’s Hill. (I bet you thought I was going to say a Hodad hamburger? It crossed my mind.)
I took a long walk through Balboa Park.
I drove through Hillcrest, North Park and stopped at a coffee place for a Acai bowl. (I told you I was hooked.) Notice the menu is on the hood of a car on the wall...
Then drove some more through Southpark.
I visited Seaport Village.
And there were some hills in San Diego...like San Francisco hills...
My friend, Sue, told me her hubby is hooked on the famous In & Out Burger, and so I went to have one of those..
and it was very good, and if I had it first…I may have really loved it, but it paled after the Hodad. I am just a Hodad girl!
I left San Diego and I thought I really did that trip out of order. By the time I left, I didn’t want to move to San Diego, unless I could live in La Jolla and hangout with Grace and Frankie and have a home like Saul and Robert!
BACK TO LAS VEGAS...on route to Cincy...
It was hard to go do a day in Vegas, but there were a couple of things to see and do there that my mom and I missed. Chef Brad had told me to go find the best pizza in Vegas at the Cosmopolitian Hotel called Secret Pizza and there are no signs, no ads, you walk down a hall
and run into it this...
and it was yummy. I got two slices of
white pizza (Sicilian and thin style).
I peeked in a window along the strip (after my pizza) to see the end of Game 6 of the World Series. I wanted to see the Luxor because I had missed seeing it before
and then it was time to go home.
It has been awhile since that trip to San Diego. Took me awhile to write up this blog. It is winter time in Cincinnati and the weather SUCKS the big one, and the urge for La Jolla pulls......these are some of the lasting images for me below...can you imagine doing yoga here with the water as the backdrop
or these views...
but it is faraway. All I know is…I just want to be somewhere where the sun shines…. A LOT!!!!