Still Over the (mini) Moon in Love with San Diego

It’s been over a month since our minimoon, but this weekend was first span of time I’ve had to do something other than work! Woof, what the HUBBY and I would do to live in San Diego right now (sigh). Although I wish we can just up and move there tomorrow, reality reminds me of our current lease + my dream job here in Chicago. However, until we figure out how to seamlessly become SD residents, we will continue to visit and keep tabs on all of the great places to dine-to keep us looking forward.

Besides the constant 73 degrees and sunny days, SD continues to grow as an off-the-radar melting pot of cuisine. Sure Mexican cuisine is a staple of the west coast, but we found that vegan/veggie centric locations are more and more prevalent each time we head west. Although I love veggies and eating less meat these days, I was floored to find that my very carnivorous husband LOVED the veggie/ vegan dishes we tasted. No matter what food we ate or the adventures we did in SD, everything just seems sunny and magical. Hell, if we had good weather and I was tan all year round, I’d be a much happier person myself.

In addition to our first adventure in SD, here are some more reasons why YOU should  travel to San Diego STAT:

La Jolla, CA

Since we only explored around SD last trip, we decided to rent a car and drive up to LJ. My god, LJ is gorgeous. Emerging from the green trees and whispy roads, Downtown LJ is mini and quaint. Filled with organic coffee shops, restaurants, and beach themed stores, LJ is a gem. It’s definitely a perfect spot to raise a family outside of the city. A bigger reason why to visit La Jolla (besides scoping out the Kardashian’s grandma) is to grab a seat at Galaxy Taco‘s outdoor patio.

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Galaxy Taco

I will admit, pulling up to Galaxy, we had imagined that it would be more of a taco-stand, however, we were pleasantly surprised that it was a humble indoor/outdoor restaurant. Nothing against taco stands, but it’s always nicer when you have a table to sit at. Started by chef Trey Foshee (who also owns George’s by the Cove in LJ), GT is a place where you can get both a killer taco AND cocktail.

For a restaurant who proudly states “Comer Awesome,” their motto is dead on because everything we ate was nothing but awesome. Outsourcing for REAL ingredients and making their own masa from scratch EVERYDAY (including the chips and tortillas), the menu is always fresh. Sure, there’s not a free basket of tortilla chips and it’s not as cheap, but for the quality and flavor you receive, it’s more than worth it. Here are some items you NEED to try:

Grilled Octopus Tostada

OMG…there are just no words. This was by far the best octopus dish I’ve ever eaten in my life.

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Wood Roasted Sweet Potato Taco

Sweet, smokey, and salty, this veggie taco doesn’t skimp on any sort of flavor profile. Even my hubs loved this meat-free handheld.

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Shrimp Ceviche

Ugh absolutely LOVED this. Made with hoja santa salsa verde, yellow beets, coriander, sorrel, oro blano, and raw shrimp, it’s no wonder why this dish’s greens was shaped like a heart.

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Cafe Gratitude

CG has been on my list for awhile now because I’ve heard nothing but great things. However, I definitely didn’t expect to be as blown away as I was. Each dish was organic, beautiful, and crazy delicious. Best of all, my carnivorous husband LOVED all of the dishes. We’d leave feeling “clean,” fully, and happy. Side note: CG is full blown veggie/vegan. I’ve tried to recreate some dishes myself ever since we’ve been back and they definitely have no comparison. I would DIE if CG ever decided to come to the Midwest, or Denver-so I can eat it all of the time.

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Lion’s Share

To anyone who knows me, they know I’m in LOVE with lions. Clearly, it stems from being born as a Leo, but I feel like I truly embody the characteristics of the golden (blonde) colored creature. So when I came across Lion’s Share and its eclectic menu, I knew that hitting this place was a MUST. Although LS has a “foresty” type of food menu, the libation program totally slays. Besides the typical cocktails, there’s a huge list of beers, wines, and even Absinthe-served in an old school presentation.

Here are some things to get at LS:

Absinthe – Although it may not be your drink of choice, order it for the presentation. It’s fascinating AF.

Some good appetizers to share and munch on were the savory Rabbit Hand Pie and the meaty Antelope Sliders. Although we’re not too much of a dessert-ordering couple, finishing off the meal with the Salted Caramel Pudding was definitely the right way to go. Rich, salty, and sweet, how can you possibly go wrong?

Puesto

I know, I know, I covered Puesto in my last SD roundup, but there’s a reason why I’m repeating myself, because Puesto is freeking awesome. Besides its vibrant atmosphere, the personable service, and its killer guac, the thing I remember the most about Puesto are their tortillas. Ugh, what I would do to eat one right now. Fluffy and gummy, each tortilla they hand-make from scratch has the perfect bite. The menu is so dynamite, it pains the Hubs and I to leave. No really, everytime we visit, we leave with massive stomach pain from eating too much. Here are some things to definitely order at Puesto:

Guacamole Nogada

I’m definitely NOT a fan of pomegranate, but holy ishballs, poms on top of some avocado, fruit, and chile de arbol totally rocked my world.

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Zucchini & Cactus Veg

Crispy melted cheese, calabasitas of zucchini, corn & tomato, cactus, avocado, cilantro-tomatillo = amazingness

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Octopus Tacos

Need I say more? Sorry for the lack of picture, I gobbled that taco up TOO fast.

Drinks: Any Agua Fresca (for those of us who don’t drink/want a night off)

&& 

Mercado Margarita

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Del Mar, CA

Since Coronado Beach last visit was a complete bust, my water loving hubs read that Del Mar (Northern of downtown SD) was a great place to surf. Plus, he also looked up some good restaurants to try, to sweeten me up for the long(er) ride up the coast. Since I knew zero about Jake’s and knowing my husband’s love for fried / Americana style food, I was verrrrrryyyyy hesistant about trusting his judgement. However, in the spirit of adventuring on our moon, I sucked it up and gave him the reigns for deciding on where we would eat. To my surprise, his research was dead on. Del Mar is a GORGEOUS little beach town. It seemed like everyone there was carrying a surf board, surfing the waves, or watching other’s surf. Total “hang loose” mentality. I even agreed to suit up and go surf (FYI I’m DEATHLY afraid of water I can’t see the bottom of) which almost made my hubs fall over in shock. Although the waves were really strong and I eventually gave up on trying to stand, I sat on the beach thinking of the kickass lunch we just ate at a restaurant called “Jake’s.” OMG the view of this joint was the sole purpose of why people go there. The dining room was probably less than 20 yards away from the water on the beach and the service there was incredible. Jake’s was hands down one of the highlights from our trip.

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Just-to-Evidence I went-Mention: Crack Shack

CS has been on my radar for quite some time now, so my Hubs knew that we’d have to make the long walk past Little Italy for some fried chicken. However, for as much hype as this place gets, I was surprisingly disappointed in the quality of food. While the hubs ordered the Mexican poutine – aka chicken fried fries, topped with chicken, and cheese, I ordered the mini biscuits with miso butter. I mean, nothing was totally horrible to eat (besides my super salty miso maple butter – i know, I ordered it, but I didn’t expect it to be THAT salty), both of us agreed that the food wasn’t very memorable.  HBFC reigns supreme in my fried chicken book.

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4 thoughts on “Still Over the (mini) Moon in Love with San Diego

  1. Pingback: Sisterly California Adventures | ONE FULL PLATE

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