San Diego Recap + Recommendations

Uncategorized Jun 17, 2018

Oh, San Diego! What A Wonderful Place You Are. 

 After the race! I have my shirt on "I don't do Marathons, I do a Marathon runner."
 

John and I spent four lovely days in San Diego. As many of you know, John is an avid runner, and just ran the San Diego Rock and Roll Marathon. His goal was to beat the Boston Marathon qualifying time, and he did! Hooray! He ran 26.2 miles in 3:02:40. I am so proud of him. Right before he crossed the finish line, I welled up with emotion. He’s been training (and I’ve helped a little!) for the past 3 months, and it was really exciting to witness him beat his personal goal.

Ok, proud wifey moment aside, we also had an amazing time in San Diego. I know this city well, but it had been over a year since I had visited. We decided to extend the trip for 2 full days after the race to relax and explore. This post covers a bit about the city, where we ate, and some very interesting “adventures” that were thrown our way. 

Ready? I’m breaking this out by day. Included is where we ate so you get a story and food recommendations all in one! 

KEY TAKEAWAYS

Many times during the trip, John and I looked at each other and said “I could live here.” The weather is so wonderful, it wasn’t too busy, and the people were nice and generally healthy. 

This has been the easiest city for me to eat the way I like to eat. I didn’t feel that I was compromising quality for convenience when eating out. In fact, when I got home, I didn’t feel bloated or like I had spent the weekend over-indulging. It’s just easy to eat healthy there. 

We enjoyed some awesome beer on our trip. However, after tasting many different beers, we both felt that New Terrain here in Golden is better than any of them. Sorry! #beersnoblife

The weather is amazing. I could definitely feel the slight humidity and it was just enough. My hair had naturalwaves and my skin was dewy and glowing. My skin didn’t itch and I hardly needed any chapstick. I mean, we’re talking miracles, people!

We love walking vacations! We dropped the rental car off the day we picked it up. We walked everywhere! It felt so good to be able to walk out of the hotel and walk anywhere we wanted. I don’t tend to work out when on vacation, but I take advantage of Bowspring walking and stretching before bed - that’s all I need!

While our trip had s rocky start, we were able to roll with it and find joy in all moments. We were able to avoid starting the trip on the wrong foot, and actually had a lot of fun with each new “adventure” that presented itself. 

This trip reminded me of the importance of getting out of your routine and taking time off. John and I have both been working a lot lately, and it’s easy to lose sight of the bigger why. Exploring a city as a couple, achieving a joint goal, and spending unscheduled quality time together is essential. We both felt refreshed and connected after the trip.

Here’s a mini recap of each day of the trip. There are some interesting stories in here...including a shooting, a drug bust and a masturbating homeless man! 

If you are just here for the food and drink recomendations, you can skip to the bottom of the page. ☺️

DAY 1

The trip started when a super sketchy van arrived at our house. Our Lyft driver got out and let us into her very smoky car. [Cough] It was a long drive. We arrived at the airport only to find our 6:30 am flight had been canceled. When we asked Frontier customer service, we were told “the plane never arrived” by confused staff. They offered to rebook us on a flight to LOS ANGELES. With no other options, we accepted the rebooking to LAX, which, by the way, is about 2+ hours from San Diego.

After my initial frustration and a cussing storm about Frontier, I took a deep breath and decided that I was going to make the best of the situation. I found a cool car rental service, Silvercar, that only rents Audi’s. I was excited to arrive in style.

While waiting for our flight to LAX to leave, we hung out in a different terminal to eat breakfast. Then, I got a notification that our flight was leaving in 10 minutes (45 minutes before our tickets noted). We rushed to the monitor and didn’t see our flight anywhere. So we hurried back to our gate only to see the flight was headed to Omaha! Panicked, I asked the gate agent where our mysterious flight was and he said it was leaving at the original time from this gate. It was so odd… it’s like they created this random flight for all of the people who were supposed to go to San Diego. 

Luckily our flight took off on time and landed in Los Angeles without issue. Woohoo! 

Once we landed I checked with my car rental service to make sure I could drop the Audi off in San Diego. I was informed that no, that is not possible - that you cannot pick up your rental car from one of their locations, and return to another. Surprising, considering their slogan is “the way rental cars should be.” So we created a quick reservation with Enterprise. Pretty easy. 

The Los Angeles airport is… well, not the best California airport. Just as we were about to exit, we witnessed someone being arrested. He had a bag of heroin and a thick wad of cash. I mean, if I were going to sell drugs, I don’t think I would target an airport, considering it is surrounded by cops and drug dogs. But, to each his own. 

Off to our car! We got a sick Rav-4 and hit the road south. According to Google, it would be a 124 mile, 2-hour drive. Halfway through, there was an accident and major slow down. So it ended up taking us about 3 hours. John rested and let me do the driving…surprising because he calls me “Mario Kart.” 

Upon arriving in San Diego, we were happy to see a Tender Greens restaurant across the street from our hotel! Praise the lord! This is a fast-casual restaurant that serves organic, fresh veggies, and pastured/humanely raised meats. You can mix and match to create a plate or salad. The food is healthy, fresh and well priced. We had lunch there then headed to get John’s race-day packet. 

After that, we dropped our bags at our hotel. I was worried because the hotel is not in the nicest part of town, and looks run down and ugly from the outside. When we checked in, the front desk had no record of our third night. But luckily, they were able to add it for us. Once arriving on the top floor, I was relieved and elated to see how beautiful our room was. Plus we had an ocean view. 

So yea, day one was an adventure. Instead of being annoyed or frustrated about the things we had no control over, we made a conscious decision to call it all an adventure and just roll with it. It definitely made a difference for us. 

DAY 2

Happy Marathon Day!!

John left early to run while I managed to get myself out of the house by 8:30 am. However, I needed to get matcha and a smoothie before catching John at the finish line at 9:17. On my way to the Cafe Gratitude (linked below), I nearly walked right into a homeless man having his way with the trash canYikes! He was actually masturbating into the trash can. I can’t. I do believe I was on the phone with my mom at the time. Shout out to mom!

I made it to the coffee shop and back to the finish line in time to catch John crossing. Woohoo! It was another 45 minutes or so until we found each other. After some down time, we started to walk back to our hotel. We were passed by 3 police cars racing toward our hotel. As we got closer we saw a fleet of cars and a helicopter

As smart citizens, we decided to STOP, DROP and TWITTER. 🚫 I searched the latest #SanDiego feed and found that there was a hoopla across from our hotel. A woman had a gun on the 10th floor of the parking garage across from our hotel. The police had snipers too! We took cover and listened to the dispatch radio and twitter updates. Turns out she was suicidal (sigh) and had nothing to do with the marathon. They were able to get her to surrender safely. Unfortunately, during the chaos and officer accidentally shot himself and was rushed to the hospital. 

The rest of the day was rather uneventful. We took a long walk around little Italy and enjoyed some food and beer. 

DAY 3

maritime.jpg

After another awesome night of sleep, I was ready for day three. We slept a lot this trip, thanks to the dark hotel room and ear plugs. I had some work to do, so we went to a cafe that had a great work environment. We spent 3 or 4 hours there having coffee, breakfast and kombucha. It was such a nice place! Afterward, we went to another coffee shop and took a long walk. 

We had planned to go to the beach that day, but it was cool and cloudy. So we decided to hit up another Stone brewery location, at Liberty station. We took an speedy Lyft ride there - the guy acted like a race car driver! After trying to relax for a bit, we had to move inside. This location is right under the airplane landing path to the airport. Just as we would relax, a super loud plane would fly by.

We ended the day with Pizza in our hotel room and James Bond!

DAY 4

On the last day we headed to Cafe Gratitude for breakfast. It was so good! After a leisurely breakfast, we went for a long walk by the water to explor the Maritime museum and the boardwalk. I must say, by day 4 we both felt relaxed. I had forgotten how nice it can be to just wander with no agenda or place to be. After that we went back to the hotel to check out and leave our bags. We decided to try a couple different breweries and have lunch near the Gaslamp district. After that we had an AMAZING lunch at Harvest by the Patio. 

WHERE WE STAYED

The Bristol Hotel, Downtown

The hotel is recently remodeled from the inside and pet friendly. Our room was beautiful with an ocean view! The bed was comfortable and they had a wonderful water filter in the lobby for top quality drinking water. It worked out for us because it was near the race start/end point, close to Little Italy, inexpensive, close to the water and close to Jimbo’s.

WHERE WE ATE

Tender Greens

A wonderful fast-casual restaurant serving fresh, organic produce and well-raised, pastured meats. 

Jimbo’s

My friend described this as a combination of Whole Foods and Natural Grocers. It serves up organic, Non-GMO food and grocery items. They have a great hot bar and grocery selection. I stocked our mini fridge with hummus, coconut flour chips, cold brew coffee, peanut butter, GF bread, watermelon, kombucha, dark chocolate and fresh juice. I love having a mini fridge and a grocery store! It makes it easier to eat at the hotel, or have a snack.

Herb & Eatery

This is a gem in Little Italy! The restaurant offers food all day and night and is set up like a market. You can purchase drinks and alcohol from the cooler and cute gifts. Our food was delicious - John had a breakfast burrito and I had a sausage breakfast sandwich. We also got to taste an amazing local kombucha and water kefir by a company called Superfood & Company. Highly recommend their superfood kombucha and coconut-lime water kefir.

Blue Spirulina Smoothie and Sprouted Almond Milk Latte at Cafe Gratitude

Blue Spirulina Smoothie and Sprouted Almond Milk Latte at Cafe Gratitude. 

Cafe Gratitude

I hit this place up for a matcha and a smoothie before John finished his race. They make their own sprouted almond milk and it was a wonderful matcha latte. The smoothie blew my mind. This is a Vegan restaurant that makes fresh nut milks and juices along with almost everything else on the menu. It would also make being vegan easy. The food was full of flavor! The menu system is funny, you are supposed to order as if you are making an affirmation. For example, my blue spirulina smoothie was called “Stellar”, and my matcha latte was called “Vibrant.” so I am supposed to order “I am Stellar and Vibrant.” I obviously had no trouble with this, but I ordered for John! hehe. John was extremely surprised by this place. He went to please me but ended up thoroughly enjoying his meal and my smoothie. 

 

Harvest By The Patio

We found this gem for lunch and were so happy and satisfied with the food. They make large bowls of goodness. The bowls are a combination of quinoa, greens, protein and veggie goodness. Our meals were so big and filling (and we ate at 3:30 pm), that we didn’t even eat dinner!

Barbusa

This was s highly rated Italian restaurant in Little Italy. They make their own pasta. My meal was delicious and John’s was good. However, I don’t think we would go back, as it didn’t have the local, family-owned restaurant feel that I like when in Little Italy. 

EPIC salad bowls at Harvest by the Patio.

Bird Rock Coffee

This is a wonderful coffee shop and roaster. They have won many national coffee awards. I had an excellent cortado and bought some beans to bring home.

Ballast Point Brewery

This is another well-known brewery around the US. They make delicious beers and are known for the Sculpin series. John and I had a flight and some yummy tacos. John examining the beer at Half Door Brewery on the roof.

Mission Brewery

Our Lyft driver on Day 1 recommended this to us. It was in a sketchy part of town, but worth the drive. The beer was fresh and so tasty! It’s a big operation, and definitely worth checking out if you are in town. 

Half Door Brewery

I found this on Yelp. It was in a cute house right by the Gaslamp district. We sat on the second floor and enjoyed a beer.

Bird Rock Coffee Beans

Bird Rock Coffee Beans.

Stone Brewery

Ok, so Stone is a local hero in the San Diego beer scene. Turns out they have many locations in San Diego proper. I dragged John to one right by our hotel and enjoyed a delightful beer after our epic travel day. He had water.

John examining the beer at Half Door Brewery on the roof

John examining the beer at Half Door Brewery on the roof

 

Stone Brewery At Liberty Station

This 60,000 square foot locations is enormous! There is plenty of places to sit to eat and drink. While we enjoyed visiting, I wouldn’t go back. The one in Escondido is much nicer and quieter. This location is under the plane trail to the airport. VERY loud planes flew over every 5-10 minutes, making it hard to relax outside. It was much quieter inside, so that’s a plus.

That’s about it! We took a 7:30 pm flight home and arrived back to our house at midnight.

 

Enjoying a beer and beautiful weather at Stone Liberty Station after a great trip.

Enjoying a beer and beautiful weather at Stone Liberty Station after a great trip.

 

Thank you, San Diego, for hosting us. We are grateful to spend time in this city!

 
 
 
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