We had the best time on our trip to San Diego! I collected our whole week of activities into one big post.
Day one: We met up with my parents, my sister, and her boyfriend Joel at our rental car place at LAX (to pick up our awesome minivan!). I convinced everyone that we should stop at In-N-Out Burger before driving down to Escondido. We made it to our resort, and then grabbed dinner at this yummy Argentinian spot (though the manager did have an annoying habit of asking repeatedly if we'd like to pose for a picture on their Facebook page. Thanks for asking, but NO.)
Day two: The gentleman in our group were particularly excited about the plethora of craft beer s in this area of the country. We went to Stone Brewing for a drink in their amazing gardens while waiting for a table to have a late lunch. The gardens are deceptively small, but are so well laid-out that every table and seating area feels private and special. We made a quick stop at Stone Farm on our way home. They grow food for restaurants, including their own, and there are chickens and goats and such. They sell beer, and people just seem to hang out (we came across lots of spaces during our trip that seemed conducive to that!).
Day three: Using Eater for guidance, we went to Mariscos El Pescador for lunch. It's in the parking lot of a mostly abandoned strip mall, but they had the most delicious fish tacos - for $1.25 each! We spent the afternoon at the San Diego Zoo. I loved the set up there - each new animal habitat felt like a happy discover because it's so lush and green, and the paths just wind along.
These flamingos were among my favorites.
That night, we met up with some long-time family friends for a drink at the lovely Hotel del Coronado (which the Grand Floridian in Orlando is based off of!). There's a giant patio in the back that looks at the ocean, with couches and chairs set up around fire pits. It was heavenly. For dinner, we ate waaaaaay too many chips and queso at Miguelito's.
Day four: My parents, Peter, and I spent the morning golfing at the course on our resort. Super hilly, but views were great and the holes were short (my favorite!).
Our beer tour continued with a visit to Ballast Point, where I tried the most incredibly crisp, light wheat beer (don't worry, I only had a sip!). My mom, sister, and I spent the afternoon shopping while the guys went on to do another tasting at Green Flash. We made fantastic guacamole at home and grilled steaks that night for dinner. I miss those avocados!
Day five: We stopped at Campini's Deli to grab sandwiches and snacks to go, and then went to Hart Winery. They have picnic tables on a patio outside of their tasting room that looks onto the (currently dormant) vineyards. Little grey lizards crawled along while we ate a lazy lunch with a bottle of their wine.
We later visited Wiens and Marimar - both lovely spots that are much more of a production than Hart was. Bigger tasting rooms, lots more people, large outdoor spaces. All the vineyards are very easy to bop around to - they're all basically off of the same road in Temecula.
For the afternoon, we shopped around Old Town Temecula, with a fantastic stop at the Temecula Olive Oil Company for an oil and vinegar tasting. (I was jealous of everyone else's wine and beer tastings, so I really went for it with those oils :) For dinner that night, we drove out to Carlsbad for sushi at Blue Ocean. This was one of our favorite meals of the week. In addition to sushi, they serve robata, which is basically grilled meat on a skewer. Delish.
Day six: The end of the week was unusually warm (around 80 degrees), so we spent the entire day by the pool, grilling burgers and eating more guacamole made from those unbelievable avocados. I had brought this book along with me for the trip, and I found it be terrible! Could not get through it. I'm now thoroughly caught up on the March edition of every magazine on the shelf, though.
Day seven: We started the day with a crazy drive up to Mt. Soledad. The views of La Jolla were stunning, and the memorial was touching. To round out our fish taco eating, we went to El Pescador Fish Market for lunch - also amazing, and the setting is a bit of an upgrade from the strip mall parking lot.
We spent an amazing afternoon Cabrillo National Monument to see the tidal pools. There are easy walking paths and beautiful views everywhere you turn. We went up to the top to see the lighthouse afterwards, which was very cool - you really got a sense for how isolating it was to be a lighthouse keeper.
For dinner, we were back in La Jolla to go to Whisknladle. Oooh, this place was so good! Everything I tried - which included bone marrow, my main dish with pork, olives, and asparagus, and a chocolate peanut butter confection - was wonderful. Highly recommend if you're looking for a fun celebratory dinner in that area.
I really, really didn't want to come home from this trip. Being outside so much in the sunshine, eating so many delicious things, getting to spend so much time with my family - it was just a perfect mix. California, I can't wait to see you again someday.