When your son is stationed in a great city, you have to make sure you visit. Sean is stationed in San Diego, California, and has been there a few times, but we’ve never been able to make a trip to visit. This time, we would make it to celebrate Sean’s birthday and we were so excited. We arrived on a very foggy Wednesday night on a direct flight from Austin. Sean picked us up from the airport and we went straight to the Marriott Seaport located in Seaport Village. The hotel is connected to a waterfront conference center so there was a lot of people but also a wide variety of coffee bars, restaurants and shops. San Diego is located in Southern California bordering Mexico and is known for its beautiful year-round 70 degree weather, vibrant culture, incredible food, and stunning views of the ocean. All of which are right up my alley.
I’m a complete control freak when it comes to vacation planning but I gave up the reins to Sean and his girlfriend, Kait, and let them plan the whole the trip. They did a spectacular job and gifted the perfect itinerary for a 3-day visit to San Diego.
On Thursday, we ventured over the bridge and started our day in Coronado, an adorable and very walkable resort town that is loaded with gorgeous shops. I couldn’t wait to do a little browsing. Sean knows his mother is a renowned (by family, that is) French Bistro connoisseur so he took us to the Little Frenchie, a chic, Parisian-style bar and bistro. The first thing I saw on the menu was beef tartare and if there’s beef tartare on the menu my heart (or taste buds) will desire none other. This dish was served with an exquisite quail egg on top along with some delicious toast points. Scot and I decided to share it and it was perfection. I had a very nice French onion soup which had a savory and beefy broth with the perfect amount of cheese, topped off with a crouton. Scot decided to have the Croque Madame, which is a grilled ham and cheese with an egg on top that was served with a side salad. We both had cocktails but they did have a wonderful wine list and a large assortment of bubbles. We proceeded to walk around the downtown area and burn off some of those lunch-time calories and of course, I should say, do a little shopping. Scot was very happy that I walked away with only a few things in addition to a hat I wore the rest of our trip.
We headed down the street to the gorgeous Hotel del Coronado, which was something straight out of a Nancy Meyers movie. It is Southern Californian perfection with stunning views. All four of us got cocktails and shared some small bites that were reminiscent of corn nuts I had in my youth, olives, and some great Marcona almonds.
For a true San Diego experience, we headed over to Mitch’s Seafood for dinner. You do not sit down and order at Mitch’s, you walk up and place your order and have a seat. It is a very small place and unfortunately the only seats available were outside where it was very chilly. We manned up and sat down outside and waited for our food while the boats bounced with the waves in the harbor. I had fish tacos because I was in San Diego, so you have to have fish tacos. Scot had the Fisherman’s Platter.
After that we headed downtown and went to The Nolen, which is a rooftop bar. Again, it was a little chilly and windy but they did have fire pits and heaters. The view was beautiful and you can even see into Petco Park where the Padres play. I highly recommend the tater tots, which I had to try because I’m from South Dakota and in South Dakota you. eat. tots. They were perfectly seasoned and came with a tasty dipping sauce. After that we went back to our hotel room to relax for the night.
On Friday, we drove up the coast a bit to Carlsbad to visit Jaclyn James’ recently opened storefront shop, which I had been following closely having purchased so many cool things from her online. I reached out to Jaclyn and asked if I could come visit with her as I learned she had some insider information about one of the spots we were checking out in Mexico. We had a lovely conversation and I was so happy to find out that she was as sweet in person as she appears to be online. I bought Kait a candle, because you have to have a Jaclyn James Company candle, called Staycation. It’s my favorite scent of Jaclyn’s which is a wonderful blend of sea salt, Tunisian orange, and white drift wood.
Jaclyn recommended a spot in Encinitas for lunch called Buena Forchetta so we stopped there while we made our way back to San Diego. We shared an incredible Burrata plate with fresh tomatoes, basil, and prosciutto. We also shared a few pizzas and my favorite had artichoke hearts, prosciutto, and a generous amount of mozzarella cheese.
After that, Sean drove us around town to some local spots he has become a regular at since he has been living there. Our first stop was at Nova Easy Kombucha in Ocean Beach, where they make, and have on tap, kombucha and beer. It had a really cool atmosphere with lots of bright colors and paintings on the wall and their kombucha had equally interesting fun and exciting names.
That night we went to dinner at Baci, an Italian restaurant that could stand next to any authentic Italian restaurant in New York City. We started our meal with the beef carpaccio and paired it with a beautiful bottle of wine. I chose the Pollo Toscano which was chicken breast stuffed with gorgonzola and prosciutto, baked with red wine and served alongside incredible mashed potatoes. Scot had the Osso Buco and we shared a piece of New York cheese cake with strawberries for dessert.
On Saturday, Sean took us to the farmers market, which I am always up for, but had no idea what I was walking into. This market is at least four or five blocks long and the amount of vendors was incredible. There were flowers, meat, microgreens, a whole stand dedicated to mushrooms, wood carvings and cutting boards, and everything else you can think of. My favorite vendor was a pozole stand where you can pick chicken or pork and every topping imaginable. We stood there in the wind and misty rain and ate the most incredible pork I’ve ever had in my life. It was a wonderful and exciting trip to the farmers market and a must visit in San Diego.
That afternoon we took an easy drive about an hour northeast of San Diego to Temecula. Once you meander your way through town, all of a sudden you are completely surrounded by wineries. Our first stop was at Peltzer located on Temecula’s main wine road which was packed full of cars. Peltzer looks like an old farm house on a hill with a big windmill outside. We sipped a tasting and were recommended to visit Akash up the street, which was where we headed next.
For a tasting at Akash, you purchase a flight of six from fifteen different wines that they offer. Both places were very nice but I would not go back again without reservations as they seemed overwhelmed and were not very attentive.
The next place we went to was Lorenzi Estate, which was my kind of tasting room. They had a wonderful selection were you receive five different wines for twenty-five dollars, all red, which is my preference. Our favorite was tied between the 2017 Fifty Fifty and the 2017 Phantom. The Phantom was a blend of Petite Syrah, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon. The Fifty Fifty was a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel. We liked these wines so much that we ended up joining their wine club, I guess that means we have to go back, right? The views from Lorenzi were gorgeous, the service was fantastic, and I was happy to end our wine tastings there for the day.
Kait made reservations for us at Miramonte for dinner and we arrived a little early so we sat by a fire pit and shared a bottle of Four Torch Red, which is a blend of Syrah, Grenache and Mourvedre. It was very tasty and helped to keep us warm. Miramonte had a great menu – we chose a charcuterie board, Four Torch chicken wings, and the pesto mac and cheese. It is a very popular restaurant and had a really cool set up in regards to private eating areas and tasting areas. We will definitely visit Miramonte again when we return Temecula.
Overall I would say I love San Diego and I really want to go back when it’s a little warmer and I can walk around more during the day. I will definitely visit the farmers market again but next time I’ll bring an extra suitcase to ship back all the goods I will want to purchase. Kudos to Sean and Kait for planning such a wonderful time for us, we truly can’t wait for our return trip!