To give you a visual of how busy my September has been, imagine a large, tall, overfilled plate of buffet food. From the birth of my nephew, traveling to three states for work, plus traveling to California, AND getting engaged, that giant full plate of food is a pretty accurate description of how my life has been these past four weeks. However, as busy and as overwhelming as I have been feeling, as soon as I look down at this sparkly rock on my finger, I immediately start to smile. From the moment we entered landed in LAX until we entered San Diego proper, I knew in my heart that one day, we’d eventually call the West Coast our home.
To save some dough and to enjoy the scenery – literally, we flew into LA and then drove down the coast to our stay in San Diego. Here are some of the spots I stopped at along the way and during our “love-fest” trip:
8104 W 3rd St, Los Angeles, CA 90048
Being one of my bucket-list foodie fantasies since the show “Eat, Drink, and Love,” I can finally stop imagining going and reminisce on the delicious non-fried fonuts I consumed. Outside of West Hollywood and on an adorable little street is this infamous donut cafe.To answer your question, Yes, they are as delicious and beautiful as they look on tv/iG. My favorite out of all that I had consumed was hands down the rosemary and olive oil (below).
3029 E. Shore Ave. Corona Del Mar, CA 92625
Although the beautiful shores of Huntington and Laguna Beach might be tempting, muster 15 more minutes of your time and head to Corona del Mar for Tackle Box. Located in (legit) a shack next to the beach, well-known Top Chef contestant, Brian Huskey continues to bang out quick, simple, and unique flavors on the beach all year round. Loaded with spice and tang, order the house chips and aqua fresca while you wait for your. Regarding main courses, it’s a toss-up between the “bahn mi” or the “elote” street corn. Both will leave you happily full, yet leaving room in your bikini to show off that beach bod.
Ocean Pacific Grille
531 F St, San Diego, CA 92101
Started by a guy who is actually from the Chicago-land area and one of his industry colleague’s, Ocean Pacific Grille was constructed to be a Pacific centric restaurant fused with Filipino flavors. Headquartered in downtown San Diego’s Gaslamp district, OPG is offering anything but ordinary dishes. For starters, try the “Filipino Toast,” topped with creamy burrata, roasted tomato, and drizzled with a balsamic reduction. However, if you’re in the mood for a lighter entrée (like I was), order the fresh “island style ahi poke,” or the grilled seasonal Opah.
Besides totally filling us up with food, this restaurant holds a special place in my heart… seconds after exiting this restaurant, my (now) fiance got on his knee and popped the most important question I’ll ever be asked. There must have been some magic in all of those dishes because OPG was apart of one of the most memorable nights of my life.
1441 L St, San Diego, CA 92101
Functioning much like a neighborhood watering hole, Mission Brewery is a place to go at all hours. Located in San Diego’s old Wonder Bread factory, Mission is a giant brewery overlooking an equally giant taproom. The atmosphere is super chill and inviting, with a dash of sarcasm. Not only can you kick back and grab any of Mission’s on-tap brews, but you can even bring your own beer and just hang out. Pretty awesome right? Pro tip: Order Mission’s hard root beer – it’s pretty spectacular. It may be creamy, smooth, and sweet, but beware of how many cups you polish off. You might be a little wobbly when you stand up.
789 W Harbor Dr #155, San Diego, CA 92101
I bet you’re thinking why are you telling me about Mexican cuisine when it’s basically a staple in San Diego? Well, because Puesto is awesome. Originally started up the coast in La Jolla, Puesto’s main goal was to not be just another taco joint – it set out to revolutionize Mexican food. Using their “from scratch” techniques and foundation, Puesto sparked a lot of interest from local crowds and many publications. It’s true, you can really taste the difference when attention is paid on the little details, even if it’s extra (homemade) guac in between a hand pressed torilla. Some favorites I’m still dreaming about are:
- “The Puesto Perfect Guacamole” – made with avocado, Parmigiano Reggiano, chile Habanero, lime, cilantro, and orange
- “Mexican Street Bowl” a.k.a. a tower of fresh sauced fruit
- “Zucchini and Cactus Veg” taco – filled with crispy melted cheese, calabasitas, cactus, avocado, and cilantro tomatillo
- **My FAVORITE**- “octopus tacos” – made with (duh) octopus, avocado, chipotle crema, inside maiz azul tortillas (purply blue looking)
631 B St, San Diego, CA 92101
For those who know me, the way to my heart is thru my stomach…especially if my stomach is filled with a donut. No matter where I travel, a vacation to a new location is not complete without trying out a local donut. So naturally, before coming to San Diego, I scoped out the perfect location, Donut Bar. Just from checking out the website and seeing all of DB’s creations and accolades, I knew we needed to hit this place before we left. Although we arrived super early in the morning, there was already a long line. While we waited and drooled over the stacks of donuts shown in the windows, the fun and upbeat 80’s music made the wait fly by. Once we finally arrived to the front of the line, the most important decision of the day (which donut to debut my new ring to) had to be made. Ranging from savory to sweet, to salty or spicy, I was in agony choosing just ONE. However, as soon as I saw the “burger donut,” and one of my finance’s favorite foods, I knew I had met my match. Other favorites we wanted to order but simply did not have room for were “big poppa tart” donut, a donut literally encasing a pop tart and the “churro waffle.”