August 3-11, 2019
San Diego is what we consider to be our hometown. No matter where we go, it will always hold a special place in our hearts. While neither of us were born here, our important formative years were spent here; we met here, bought our first house here, adopted our fur baby here, and got married here. Because Carina’s family still lives here, and our dentist is here (it’s only been 3 years okay, we will get one eventually in Oakland), we use it as an excuse to keep coming back twice a year! Shout-out to Dr. Simerlein in PB.
This time, we spent a week celebrating Carina’s dad’s big 6-0!! Family traveled in from Argentina and the mid-West which meant lots of food and celebration together.
There are many places we love in San Diego but the lists below are small selections of the places we checked out during this trip:
Coffee [this is all Carina]:
Pannikin Coffee –
This is hands down my favorite place and been around forever in San Diego, with a couple locations (don’t get me started on their closure in Flower Hill Mall). While I adore their coffee, it’s their scones that keep me coming back for more. They are different from any other scone out there. Can’t describe it but a warmed up scone from Pannikin is the ultimate feel good food for me. I now buy several and freeze them when I get home so I can enjoy them for weeks to come even when I’m back in Oakland. (One thing I learned this last time I was here is that they don’t have free WiFi.)
Better Buzz Coffee – I go solely for their honey latte. It’s so good, that said I recommend asking for half the honey cause it’s way too sweet otherwise. They have a couple locations but the one I go to is in Pacific Beach (not the small drive through one).
Birdrock Coffee in Del Mar (new place I tried on this trip) – Cute hipster place to hang out, have avocado toast and a latte on their lounge patio that overlooks Torrey Pines beach. Or you can get a machaca breakfast burrito next door at Roberto’s like Chris did!
Parakeet Cafe in Carmel Valley (another new place I tried on this trip) – I had a cinnamon honey latte which was lightly sweet and very cinnamon-y and Chris had a Mayan Mocha which had quite a spicy kick (from the cayenne pepper they add). The place was a little bit too pretentious for our taste.
Carina’s parents’ house 😁 – sorry not open to the public but my family knows how to make delectable dishes! It’s been fun to see my dad develop his talent in the kitchen in the last couple years (although I wish he had realized his craft before we moved out!). We’ve had all sorts of Argentine staples: sandwich de milanesa, chocotorta [cake made with chocolinas (bittersweet chocolate cookies), chocolate pudding, and crema pastelera (homemade custard)], asado with homemade chimichurri, choripan (Argentine brat in a roll), facturas (fresh baked pastries), sandwiches de miga (thin ham and cheese sandwich), biscochitos de grasa (salted crackers), gomitas de eucalipto, and more. So amazing!! It’s definitely time to plan a trip back to my birth land or place another order on Pampa Direct!
Pizza Port –
They now have several locations throughout San Diego, but my favorite is their original spot in Solana Beach. They have delicious pizza, a solid Caesar salad, and a great selection of craft beer. Our standard order is the Laguna with a Caesar salad to share. This time around Chris ordered their Smoked Chronic and he looked like he enjoyed it!
Sotos Mexican Food – Chris had a breakfast burrito from there and said it was the bomb dot com! It had eggs, bacon, cheese, rice, refried pinto beans, and pico in a deliciously soft and buttery flour tortilla! He only shared a couple bites with me, but man! So good! Why can’t Oakland make Mexican food like this?!
Jimbo’s – it’s a local supermarket but they have a deli with organic, local, fresh to go dishes. Super good!
Beer [all Chris]:
San Diego is arguably the craft beer capital of the US. At the time of publication there are more than 150 brewhouses in San Diego County. I’ve visited a good chunk of them over the years and, while this list only represents a few, these are the only ones I went to on this trip: Stone Brewing (while their main brewery is in Escondido (North County San Diego) Carina and I visited their Liberty Station location in Point Loma on this trip), Rough Draft Brewery, JuneShine Hard Kombucha, Pure Project Brewing, and New English Brewing.
Places to See and Things to Do:
The beach –
This is the number one thing we miss most from San Diego. Local tip: the best time to go to the beach is late August and September, and here’s why. Kids are back in school and the tourists have gone home, we have finally gotten past May Grey and June Gloom and gloomy July (no cool play on words for that one) and while Faugust (read fogost) is around, it burns off by noon. Best of all the water is the warmest it is all year, in the 70s (Fahrenheit). While I can’t give away the locations of my favorite local beach (sorry), Del Mar and Torrey Pines beaches are fantastic as well!
Liberty Station in Point Loma –
This really developed after we moved away, it was merely a Trader Joe’s and Vons supermarket when we were there. Every time we come to visit, we stop by to enjoy the cool vibes. They have great walking paths by the water, green open spaces, restaurants, bars, art galleries, and of course the very hip public market.
Petco Park –
This is the Padres baseball stadium and it’s very well done (Oakland could learn a thing or two, here’s hoping the new A’s stadium turns out this awesome!) While super overpriced (about $14 for a pint), they have great food (Gordon Biersch garlic fries and Oggies personal pizzas) and craft beer to feast on while watching the Pads play their heart out.
Where to Stay:
We stayed with family in Del Mar but there are many different and great neighborhoods in San Diego. The ones below are the ones we would choose to stay in:
Del Mar/Solana Beach/Encinitas: stay in these neighborhoods to be close to great beaches and spots to catch a wave. Total laid back, surfer vibes.
North Park/South Park: stay here to be close to downtown and Balboa Park but easier to find parking. Hipster, very walkable, tons of places to eat and get craft beer.
Point Loma/Ocean Beach: stay here to have the best of both worlds. You are close to beach in funky/hippy OB, close to hipster Liberty Station and other great eateries in Point Loma, and super close to downtown.