San Diego – a vivacious Californian coastal town mixed with Mexican culture and beach mentality makes it a great place to live, work, play and explore. We love California for the beautiful weather, fresh ocean air and delicious fresh seafood. In San Diego the people are pretty laidback and friendly enjoying an outdoor and active lifestyle- everything from surfer dudes to CEOs. You have your beaches and seaside living, your downtown and urban sprawl, your state parks for hiking, and you’re just a stone’s throw from Mexico if you need to run for the border.
Over the years I have been lucky enough to keep in touch with an old friend from Hawaii and we had not seen each other in over 15 years. Along with her, a friend from College who is also originally from Hawaii, and my bestie who currently resides in Austin – we all met up for a few days of outdoor adventure, relaxing, never ending laughter and great food! When I saw my old friend for the first time I have to admit there was a bit of a running/hug situation and then it was like old times all over again. Fifteen years had past but we were still the same, ready to explore, have fun and reconnect.
Weekend Guide to San Diego
Pacific Beach was our location of choice to be close to the beach and a local friend. We rented a 2 bedroom apartment from Home Away that had access to to 4 amazing cruiser bikes. The two we chose to ride were huge, beastly bikes that kept us peddling around searching for adventure. We hopped on just by Inner Crown Point and biked the trail all the way around to Woody’s B&B. Along the way skirting the park people were out socializing, riding bikes, having luau’s and flying kites, super family friendly area and full of activity. Check out the Pacific Beach area if you want easy access to beaches, good, the theme park or driving up the coast to La Jolla Cove or Torrey Pines.
Food & Coffee & Beer
There is so much great food in the area! Let’s hope I can remember them all. We sat on the porch and had a mid-afternoon snack and mimosa flight at Crushed on Garnet Ave that was delish! The Lavender mimosa was surprisingly good and not too sweet. Woody’s Breakfast & Burger had a cute window drive up off Mission Beach and we snagged up a couple excellent coffees to-go and rode the beach strip. Better Buzz Coffee and Java Earth Cafe helped us get our morning fix of espresso, coffees and fresh fruit. Side note- We opted to stock up on breakfast food, snacks & wine at Whole Foods to keep at the apartment and save money so we didn’t eat breakfast out at all.
“A Rising Tide Lifts All Boats” – We made a special trip into San Diego’s Little Italy area to visit Ironside Fish & Oyster Bar. Just our luck an amazing art show and festival was going on and we were able to experience an artistic montage of local artisans, live music and performers while waiting for our reservation. Ironside Fish & Oyster Bar is a beautifully decorated restaurant featuring a raw bar, daily catch specials, specialty entrees and mouthwatering desserts. Styled with old school signage, subway tile bar and hexagon tile floor, exposed iron beams that stretch the cieling (huge full liquor bar!) and a gorgeously lush fern/plant exterior wall cascading down the front, this place is a foodie dream. One wall is decorated with over 2,000 piranha plaster cast skeletons. It’s freaky but you can’t help but want to sit close to it. Someone there seems to have a sense of humor, as a friend say on the entry board witty musical lyrics or sayings such as “Shuck my life into pieces, this is my last oyster!”
About an hour North of San Diego is the Stone Brewing World Gardens & Bistro in Escondido. The grounds are beautifully landscaped with lush vegitation and restaurant was bustling with beer enthusiasts. Upon arrival the wait for a table was 2+ hours, keep that in mind when you go, from what we hear it’s always that busy. Sadly it was pouring rain the whole time so seating was limited to indoor area which contributed to the long wait, so we just sat at the first come first serve covered back patio bar, shared a couple flights or beer samples and small plates. Regardless it was fantastic catching up with the ladies, laughing, drinking and munching yummy food like Grilled Baby Back Ribs, Housemade Kimchi, Stone-style Hemp seed Pretzels, or Crispy Brussel Sprouts. The Horchata beer was something a friend had heard of and apparently its very rare, but being the ladies we are we convinced the bar tender to get one for us, shared it and LOVED it. Check out the gift shop on the way out and go home with some Gargoyle covered paraphernalia.
California is in a drought. Over the past 5 years the threshold has gone from abnormally dry to exceptional drought. Lakes are drying up and water conservation practices are at an all time high. People are encouraged to stream #droughtshaming if they catch someone abusing their water rights, everything from washing your car to watering your lawn to a busted fire hydrant spewing water into the street. Reservoirs and lakes are shrinking and Californian’s desperately need water. A recent article in the Province Journal stated that “just this month (April 2016), the state announced that it’s snow pack reserves — which usually supply California’s farmers and residents with roughly a third of their water — have finally recovered to normal levels, thanks to El Niño.” It’s really only thanks to El Nino that the lakes here in Texas, mainly the Highland lakes leading down to Lake Travis have been refilled as well. We were at an almost all time low of 40+ feet below level and are now back to 100%. Lets hope for more rain in Cali this year!!
On our last night our local friend took us to Ichiban PB for sushi rolls and tempura. A perfect conclusion to a food centric weekend. Ichiban PB interior was clean and we got a booth quickly, they have yummy fresh rolls and bonus, a safe place to lock up the bikes out front. Check them out!
Beaches & Parks
We visited San Diego mid-April and even though California was in a drought, and people say the weather in San Diego is constant and usually gorgeous… never rains, etc.. it rained on and off for 3 days! We were able to enjoy Mission Beach the first day with just a little sprinkle, checking out the peers and getting a free pedicure on the sandy beaches. La Jolla Beach area with it’s delicate thinly sliced cliffs, grassy lounge areas and simple beaches leading all the way down to the serene seal cove was worth the trip. The old La Jolla Children’s Pool is now the reseting place of hundres of seal lions and harbor seals. Usually you can walk along the sea wall for a better view but while we were there the area was closed and posted as no tresspassing.
I love these ladies!
Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve was especially memorable on our second day. We made a stop here on the way to Escondido, parked on the beach side so we wouldnt have to pay parking, loaded up our waters and walked up the steep hill. You can walk up the beach to the main road enterance, all the way to the top where the hiking paths start. I’ve learned that groves of trees, and the Torrey Pines, are rare in Southern California, Spanish settlers would use the trees along the coast as markers that they were too close to shore when sailing in the fog. The park has some of the most natural and wildest parts of Southern California. Torrey Pines paths are lined with beautiful native plants, succlunents and cactus, simple loverlooks with grasslands that line the edges of cliffs, and large boulders you can climb up for a better view of the great Pacific coast.
Halfway through the hike after the top of the hill we were walking down and out toward the ocean looking at the awesome dark clouds forming and coming closer, when it quickly encroached upon us and started pouring rain. When lighting showed up, we booked it running back up the hills, down the path, across the parking lot and all the way down the steep incline back to the car. It was quite a thrill and over all Torrey Pines did not dissapoint!
Reach Yoga on Garnet Ave. had an excellent mid level sweaty class that did just the trick getting us stretched out from the plane ride and long day of relaxing. They offer the first week for FREE and $50 off your first purchase. We told them we were from out of town and sure enough they honored the free class, or you can opt to pay the $16 per class drop in rate. They offered rental mats and towels, everything you would need to get your yoga on!
When we first arrived in PB we needed to kill some time before our Home Away was ready so what better way to do this but to Shop! They have a great Urban Outfitters and Buffalo Exchange if you want something familiar and easy without a lot of digging. We found a cute place called Pangea Outpost and got lost in the booths of personalized crafted items by local artists, spliced with boutique goods like Roxy and Stance Socks. Also check out Cream of the Crop and Thrift Trader.
Can I just take a moment to tell you guys how much I LOVE Stance Socks! Seriously, they are so comfortable, you’ll never need another pair and the designs are totally killer. I think I have like 6 pairs and i keep buying them as gifts for friends and family, get a pair, you won’t regret it!
There is so much more to San Diego that we need to explore barley touched the surface and still had an amazing time. The sunsets, the beaches, the laughing, it was all perfect! Grab your ladies, buy a plane ticket and get there asap! You won’t regret it.
Till next time friends,
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