While the East coast was going through the polar vortex that froze us all, I ventured out West for work and gladly soaked in the heat wave San Diego was experiencing. I’ll take 80 degrees over 9 degree weather, any day!
I’ve visited San Diego several times, so I naturally have my favorite haunts, BUT as I revisit cities this year my plan is to experience the new and uncharted. That said, I did start this trip with a trip to Coffee & Art – I just can’t pass up an acai bowl! However, in the spirit of experiencing something “new” I got the one with coconut. Additional confession – I HAD to do my annual trip to Tin Fish for fish tacos – they’re just sooo good!
Okay, now to the new and uncharted.
Cucina Urbana | I went here with my former manager and it was perfectly quaint with dim lighting and industrial shabby chic decor. The best part, outside of the food? It’s tucked away in Banker’s Hill, off the beaten “Gaslamp District” track. I ordered the caesar salad and bucatini pasta, washed it down with ‘the professional’ and cleansed my palette by sharing the gelato + sorbet sampler. The strawberry was my favorite, but the flavor of the orange gelato brought nostalgic tones of elementary school “ice cream day” orange creamsicles.
travel tip: If you’re staying at a hotel near the convention center, it’s only a $5 Uber ride.
Meze |Great place to gather with friends or co-workers (the ones you actually like). The restaurant recently moved locations and like many others in the downtown area had a very open and garage-like or lofty feel. After having a couple of ‘spicy pears’ earlier in the evening at Union Kitchen & Tap, I continued with my new drink as the girls and I sat in the bar and waited to be seated. A quick stroll up the stairs and we were seated at a reverse U-shaped table and began to order a slew of mezes (aka appetizers). My favorites? The saganaki (pan seared and flambéed kasseri cheese) and chicken souvlakia (kabobs). The hummus was pretty tasty as well, but the other items we ordered were just OK and that was confirmed by my Greek co-worker who went there as well. We had a much better Greek meal at Nemea in downtown San Jose. Anyhow – it’s a nice, fun place and if you get the saganaki – you get to exclaim Opa!! That’s worth the trip alone.
Double Standard |To borrow words from ‘Zagat’ – this restaurant is a ‘testament to the gorgeously composed dishes that are works of art in themselves…’ Seriously, just look at my caesar salad. Have you ever seen one like this? It tasted as good as it looks and the ‘popeye’ pizza and blackberry bellini were the perfect complements. Astro turf, stadium chairs, picnic tables replete with benches and lacquered high backed chairs set the outside dining scene, and inside was just as eclectic with turquoise velvet sofas, bookcases for backdrops and industrial elements dotted throughout. If ever back in San Diego, this will become a go-to spot.
Noble Experiment |This is a speakeasy. Enough said because I’ve already said too much. But really, speakeasies are the worst kept secrets. The secret is knowing to look for them and chances are you will figure out how to get in (hint: try Yelp). One cool thing about this one, is the name. I was reading a book ‘The Paris Wife’, a story about Ernest Hemingway and his first wife, that I picked up from my travels the week before, and stumbled across the very name of this speakeasy “noble experiment”. No, the book was not referencing this particular joint, but as the book was set during the days of prohibition, my curiosity set in as did my Google-ing skills. Turns out, noble experiment is THE nickname for the entire prohibition era. Interesting, right? I love learning random facts. I might have to make a run at Jeopardy one of these days. Just kidding.
Until next time San Diego, this trip was real.
happy travels, tiffany