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"A gourmet who thinks of calories is like a tart who looks at her watch." - James Beard


Thursday, May 16, 2013

San Diego - Day One: Getting our Beerings

La Jolla Cove

Matt and I have wanted to visit San Diego for a long time. One of our first trips together was to the Toronto Zoo and we have a very warm place in our hearts for well-run zoos.  The San Diego Zoo is world-famous so we were hoping to visit someday.  

San Diego's craft beer scene is among the best in North America.  It's constantly rated among the top beer cities in the USA.  They also have outstanding Mexican food.  Since Matt lives for craft beer and tacos, it wasn't hard to convince him to take this trip.

In addition to the food and attractions, the climate is fantastic.  It is generally 21 degrees Celsius (70 Fahrenheit) all year long.  Once we learned we could go snorkelling in the ocean with leopard sharks, we were convinced this place had everything we could possibly want in a vacation.  

Pizza Port Ocean Beach

Once we arrived, our plan was to head to Little Italy to check out the weekly farmers market and a beer shop there.  But, due to an unexpected festival, we couldn't find parking so instead we headed to Ocean Beach where we'd heard Olive Tree Marketplace had a good beer selection.  We stocked up on beer for Matt and then went looking for lunch.  I recognized  Pizza Port from my pre-trip research on places with good beer selections.  I think Matt was pretty surprised to find such a great beer selection in an unassuming pizza joint.  We grabbed a slice and a beer and both were fantastic - just what we needed after a long flight.  

Inn at the Park San Diego

We checked into our first hotel in central San Diego, Inn at the Park.  We got a fantastic deal online for this place and ended up with a one-bedroom suite with a full kitchen (all the better to keep Matt's beer cold), and a balcony.  The hotel is older and a little north of the main downtown area, but it was a great choice for us.  

We stocked the fridge with beer, juice and snacks.

Evolution Fresh juices

Before we headed to our hotel, we stopped at Whole Foods for some juice and yogurt for breakfast.  Since we don't have a Whole Foods in our city, I love visiting them when we travel.  This one had a craft beer bar inside, but we didn't get a chance to stop in for a drink.  We got these great juices and I loved them all.  

Yerba Mate

We also tried these yerba mate drinks.  I was hoping they would give me energy instead of drinking espresso.  I preferred the sparkling versions.  The other cans tasted like iced tea, and the energy shots tasted vile.  I didn't notice much of an energy boost from any of them.  

My only worry about our hotel's location was that it's not very close to bars and restaurants, but right across the street there was a little place called Jimmy Carter's Mexican Cafe with a big sign advertising Happy Hour.  As soon as we sat down we were given free warm chips, salsa and pickled vegetables.  The happy hour menu had 2 tacos or tostadas for $2.50 and a massive stuffed jalapeño for $1.25.  We ordered some of each and I had a margarita.  Of the three beer taps, all were local craft beer so Matt was in heaven.  Service was fantastic and we left very satisfied.  

Cafe Bassam

We headed to the adorable Cafe Bassam next door for a little caffeine to get us through the rest of the evening, since we were still on Eastern time.  

Local Habit

Later that night we headed to a nearby bar called Local Habit, I'm sure Matt will fill you in on their beer selection in an upcoming guest post, but it was one of my favourite bars of the trip. We had some mac and cheese and Brussels sprouts as a snack since we'd filled up at happy hour, then walked back to our hotel.  A great first day in California!  

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