San Diego Getaway

Wednesday, May 23, 2018
Last month we took a short trip to San Diego and it ended up being a super relaxed and enjoyable visit. I hadn't been to San Diego since I was about seven years old when I visited my great-grandmother, and I had been wanting to go back. With an unusually cold April here in Wichita, we were excited for some warmer temps and time on the beach. Turns out we visited during a cool period for San Diego as well and needed our hoodies and jackets, but the sunshine was still radiant and we enjoyed plenty of beautiful ocean views.

Here were a few of our favorite things -

Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens

One of Mike's favorite IPAs is made by Stone Brewing, so I knew I wanted to make a stop at the brewery while we were in town. The brewery has multiple locations throughout the city, but we decided to have lunch at the brewery at Liberty Station. The location was perfect as it sits right next to the airport. Once we landed and got our rental car, we headed to the brewery for lunch.

I feel like all breweries have really good food, and this place was no exception. Their food was amazing. (See more later on) Mike really enjoyed beer tasting and ordered a flight of IPAs that he wouldn't be able to find in Kansas.

The huge patio and gardens have to be mentioned as well - they were gorgeous. Large koi ponds, beautiful flowers and a bright, sunny patio made the dining experience even more enjoyable.

Yes, that really was my beer. 

La Jolla

We stayed twenty minutes north of San Diego in La Jolla, which was so beautiful. I remember staying there as a kid and loving the beaches, sea lions, and neat downtown area. We stayed at La Jolla Shores Hotel located right on the beach, which was great for walking the shore in the morning and evening. Just a mile south of our hotel was downtown La Jolla which is so beautiful and fun for window shopping, strolling the sidewalks and finding a great place for dinner and drinks. We spent every evening downtown.

Checking out La Jolla Cove 

Exactly how I feel after too much Chipotle

Beautiful beaches 

Walking the beach in the morning

Mike's secret admirer

San Diego Zoo

Our first morning in San Diego we headed to the Zoo, because when you're in San Diego that's got to be on your list, right? You could really spend a full day at the Zoo - especially if you are pushing a stroller, or wandering around with little kids, as we saw many parents doing. Mike and I strategically planned out our path around the Zoo and did it in a full morning. My legs were tired and I was ready for lunch by the end of the morning though.

The San Diego Zoo was huge and very impressive, but it also made me realize what an incredible Zoo we have here in Wichita. Our elephant habitat is hard to beat. We loved seeing the polar bears and catching the panda lunch just in time.

Hotel del Coronado 

I really wanted to see Hotel del Coronado while we were in San Diego - much more than Mike who I believe had never even heard of it but he didn't grow up idolizing old movie stars like I did. The Del is just as beautiful as it looks in the famous Marilyn Monroe photos, old movies and postcards. It did surprise me just how huge the place is though - and all constructed of wood! I can't imagine the upkeep to keep the hotel in such grand condition. The hotel was built in 1888 and was the first beachfront resort on the West coast. We walked around the grounds, through the lobby and into the gift shops before heading off to lunch.

Coronado Island was so beautiful. I wish we would have spent more time on the island. Orange Avenue, the main drag, is filled with all sorts of unique boutiques and swanky shops. We walked through some of the neighborhoods and I loved looking at all the quaint little beach cottages (probably with a huge price tag!) with darling patios and window boxes literally dripping with colorful flowers.

Bottomless Pina Coladas

Let's take a moment to talk about how many Pina Coladas I consumed on this trip. So many tasty ones! Unlike restaurants in Wichita, so many restaurants had frozen nonalcoholic drink options, which made me so happy!

It was nice to have a break from ice water, and Pina Coladas are one drink that taste just as delicious without alcohol. It put me in vacation mode and felt festive to have a drink at dinner.

Cue DJ Khaled..."Another one!"

My favorite one was a lavender Pina Colada from Duke's La Jolla. I know the combination doesn't sound like it would work - but it was SO good.

Duke's Lavender Pina Colada was heavenly!

So much good food...

One thing that stood out to me on this trip was how amazing the food was - maybe it was because I was finally crawling out of the deep, dark hole known as morning sickness, but we ate really well on this trip. So many delicious dishes and fresh seafood. I didn't have one bad, or even so-so meal. Here's what we loved -
  • Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens - We ordered the Smokey Brisket Sandwich (our waitress recommended we add avocado - we did), and the Balsamic-Fig Jam Grilled Cheese (she recommended adding pork belly - we did) and both sandwiches were so tasty. Mike did a flight of their IPAs he can't get in Kansas and I enjoyed their nonalcoholic brew.
  • Duke's La Jolla - Obviously the Lavender Pina Coladas! We also loved the fish tacos and the fish sandwich. Sit outside in the barefoot bar area for the most beautiful ocean views. 
  • The Crab Catcher - We really splurged here, and had a "when in Rome" attitude. After perusing the menu we said, "What the heck!" and ordered the giant seafood platter for two that the waiter recommended. Definitely not something we can order in Kansas. We enjoyed a huge platter of shrimp, lobster and ginormous crab legs - all delicious. By the end of the meal our bellies were full, our hands were slippery with butter, and I had a new appreciation for how easy it is to eat a steak. 
  • The Waterfront Bar & Grill - We were in the mood for splitting appetizers for lunch and we loved our nachos and fish and chips. The batter for the fish and chips had cinnamon in it - unexpected flavor but it worked so well! This is the oldest bar in San Diego and is full of character! 
  • Shore Rider Bar - Go here for instant laidback surfer vibes! Mike had an incredible fish sandwich. I ordered a chicken and avocado salad (not my first choice but I started to wonder about the amount of seafood I was consuming on this trip while pregnant...). It was still really good - and spicy! My only regret was not being able to order their amazing looking Froses, frozen rose drinks. I saw some people actually pour a little champagne on top of theirs. Sigh. 
San Diego was a great getaway - and I'd love to go back! Especially when I can add some rum to those Pina Coladas....

Have a great holiday weekend!
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