I’ve shared my adventures in San Francisco and our road trip to LA. Now, the final installment of our three-part trilogy… Ah San Diego, the best part of the trip. We stayed stationary, went to the beach every day, and explored the nightlife in the evenings. I’ve been told that San Diego is like “Hoboken on the beach” so I was most excited to check out this city and it’s exactly how I pictured. We stayed in Pacific Beach, just north of the city, so that we could enjoy the beach while still easily taking the bus to downtown. So as soon as we threw our luggage in the room, we set out to admire this gorgeous beach.
And make Tom pose as I had fun with my camera….
Our hotel was The Caramaran Resort, an awesome find by our travel agent. This was the perfect tropical resort feel we were looking for after all of our traveling, and at a decent price, too. As the reviews warned, it is a little dated and can use some sprucing up, but the beauty of the property trumped the decor. They even had parrots and ducks (and lots of baby ducks) roaming the property. Including this guy – a Mandarin duck – which I’ve never seen before.
And an added bonus was the amazing view from our hotel room of both the Pacific and Pacific Beach.
So since this was the first city where we had no plans, of course we laid on the beach, drank some tropical beverages, and ate at as many eateries as we could! I have to hand it to the friends who offered me the restaurant recos – all of them were AMAZING.
First we tried Firehouse Grill across from our hotel – a rooftop grill that turns clubby after dark. The quinoa salad was perfectly unique. The wine was even half price AND they were getting rid of some of their good stuff so we snagged a deal, sipping some red as we watched the waves.
The next night we went into San Diego to try out a restaurant my friends had been to – Cucina Urbana, a “California inspired Italian kitchen and wine shop”. The neighborhood (Banker’s Hill) was a little more desolate than I would have liked, but damn this food was worth it. The place had an upscale farmhouse feel – cute with quality. Since we didn’t have reservations (whoops, guess it’s popular on Wednesdays too) we had to sit at the pizza bar, a community table, which worked out because we got a view of the pizza making, meat and cheese slicing, and other cucina creations right next to us (pictured below).
And the food… ricotta gnudi in a sage brown butter sauce (above left) and meatball + mozzarella pizza with spinach, fontina, and parmigiano (above right). Wow, I could eat this every day of my life.
After, we hopped in a cab back downtown to the Gaslamp district – the real “Hoboken” of San Diego. Every other business was a bustling bar or or tempting restaurant, with 20-something post-grad patrons, all looking to have a good time. This is Hoboken on the beach. We had a drink at The Tipsy Crow (a bar with an active drink exchange) and Nicky Rottens before exhaustion took over.
The next day we had to try World’s Famous back in Pacific Beach. Supposedly they have some of the best fish tacos. And hey, being a swim away from Mexico, I believe it. The tacos and shrimp spring rolls were so perfectly gratifying.
Finally, on our last night, we took a ferry from the city to Coronado Island. We went to another recommended place, Peohe’s, and this was really our “splurge” meal. After a martini, Ceasar salad, and coconut shrimp, we had their specialty made-to-order chocolate volcano cake. Wow. Worth it. Look at that warm chocolate oozing out!
Unlike our previous city stops, San Diego was commutable (their public transit rivals NY), the people were nice (someone gave up their bar table so we could sit), and the food was some of the best I’ve ever had (across all categories). What a great way to end our California adventure ….
More travel stories to come as I escape the hustle and bustle of Manhattan to explore life outside the city that never sleeps.
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