Tour guests always ask for my recommendations for what to see in San Diego and I usually tell them that I have so much to explore in Los Angeles that I don’t get to explore San Diego often, which is true. So recently, for our 5 year wedding anniversary, Matt and I had exactly 48 hours for a little escape and I suggested we head down to San Diego. It was a perfect combination of relaxation and taking in that city’s Sites & Bites. The eighth largest city in the Unites States sure doesn’t feel that way. We noticed little to no traffic congestion, no honking or angry drivers, very few homeless persons on the streets and no graffiti. Also, people were so friendly and happy! It was contagious.
Doing research in advance, I chose two special restaurants for our dinners. The first was recommended by a food tour operator on Taste Trekkers, called The Red Door, it was recognized as a Diner’s Choice Award on Open Table for being the best in the Farm to Table category. The second, Juniper and Ivy, was named the best new restaurant in the city and happens to be helmed by one of our favorite Top Chef winners, Richard Blais. We caught a brief glimpse of the chef as he worked in a corner of the open kitchen. True to his talents, many of the items were made with an innovative touch to classic American cuisine, including the deviled eggs which crumbled when you bit into them. The “off menu” In-N-Out Burger and (animal style) fries were amazing, though a huge portion.
To make the most of our one full day, we bought tickets for The Old Town Trolley, which stopped at 11 different locations around town with the option to hop off and then hop back on. Turns out this was the perfect way to see the major highlights of San Diego. Our first hop-off was Coronado Island so we could enjoy the beauty of the Hotel Del Coronado. Ahh, such perfection in a historic landmark. We next chose to hop-off in Little Italy for a yummy pre-lunch gelato. Lunch brought us to Old Town State Historic Park and vast marketplace. We knew we would have Mexican cuisine, so we just wandered until we found a place that spoke to us. We dined on a lovely tree-lined patio, drinking peach margaritas. Our final hop-off was at Seaport Village where we watched kite flyers and did a bit of shopping. We were able to walk back to our hotel easily from this area. We experienced three different drivers, all with varying degrees of humor and personality. We noted that we would need a whole day to explore Balboa Park and the San Diego Zoo, so have put those sites on a list for a future visit.
Our final morning consisted of breakfast at Richard Walker’s Pancake House where I got a Dutch Baby (a smaller version of the German pancake, baked into a large bowl) and just loved the combo of syrup, lemon juice and powdered sugar. On the drive home we stopped in La Jolla for quick ocean views and then lunch near the Mission in San Juan Capstrano, which I discovered deserves a visit of its own. Super charming area with a variety of restaurants to choose from. Our TOURific Escape to San Diego was packed full of interesting sites and delicious bites, and we look forward to a return visit soon. Hopefully before our next major anniversary!
By Trish Procetto