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Jul 28, 2008 03:32 PM

San Diego with foodie parent, annoying teens

Here's a challenge for you San Diego folks. We're coming for three days, staying near Hotel Circle but will have a car. Mom is food blogger and beer aficionado who likes all kinds of ethnic foods and will not eat in chain restaurants.
Kids are typical teenagers who of course cannot get into pubs and like fairly basic foods from the teenager food groups 1) pizza 2) tacos 3) burgers and 4) possibly fish or fish tacos.
I think I will subject them to the Linkery because I loved it; where else can I take them where the food will be decent for me? And nothing fancy!
Mexican and fish tacos?
Other places with good beer that allow kids besides the Linkery?
Non-corporate diners and breakfast places?
I'll probably take them to Extraordinary Desserts -- any other ice cream or treats not to be missed?


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  1. Does the Neighborhood, downtown - allow kids? Might be an option - gourmet burgers that have been compared to Fathers' Office, as well as lots of beers. Cafe Chloe downtown might be fun for the group - but go early or late because it gets crowded at prime meal times and the tables are small. Urban Solace would probably be a hit - kitty corner from the Linkery on 30th (they have a new location, in case you did not know - the Linkery moved to much larger, nicer digs at the corner of 30th and North Park Way, near University - check (if you haven't already) for the details.

    Sammy's Woodfired Pizza is a local "chain" that has good pizzas and salads, there's one downtown and one in Mission Valley. There's also a pretty decent Vietnamese restaurant called Pho Cali down there. In the Hillcrest area, you might try Mama's Lebanese (closes early at dinner - I think 8) which is just around the corner from Eclipse Chocolat (on El Cajon - - which I would highly recommend for dessert.

    For Mexican, it depends on how far you are willing to go. If you want to stay near the hotel, you could go to Old Town - the Alamo, Old Town Mexican Cafe or Casa Guadalajara. If you're willing to venture further afield, you could go to Cuatros Milpas, Super Cocina or Mariscos German, which have been written about on here pretty extensively. Mama Testa and Lucha Libre are also good quick service Mexican places within a short drive of Mission Valley.

    There's also a new place in Point Loma - not too far from Old Town called Tender Greens that you might enjoy. Gourmet salads, organic, etc. Azucar, a new bakery in Ocean Beach might also be worth a trip. Hodad's in Ocean Beach would be a great place to take the kids - great sloppy burgers in a fun beachy setting - and S. Beach, at the end of Newport Avenue, is considered by many to be THE place for fish tacos. Not sure about minors, since it is a bar - and get the sauce on the side, since they drown the tacos in it.

    Have fun!

    3 Replies
    1. re: Alice Q

      Thanks, this is very helpful. I think we will definitely do Hodad's and Eclipse Chocolat. Lebanese sounds good, since it's a cuisine they are familiar with (we live near Glendale!)
      Funny, the last time I took them to La Jolla maybe 12 years ago we went to Sammy's pizza when they were just tots!

      1. re: Alice Q

        I think Neighborhood does allow kids.

        1. re: Alice Q

          Tried Azucar. It's not bad, but a little pricey. Some things are a good deal, like guava juice. They are a "cuban-style" place, which I was told means 15% authentic cuban. They also have some Spanish stuff (jamon serrano, etc.).

          One of the owners is a trained pastry chef (Cordon Bleu), and the pastries look really good.

          The food takes a while, which is strange since many of the sandwiches are pre-prepared (by them). I think that they are not used to fast food prep (see above). Granted, I was there the 4th day they opened, so maybe they picked up the pace.

          Anyway, I wouldn't recommend it for annoying teens.

        2. For Icecream, you might want to visit Mariposa Ice Cream on Adams Avenue, it is actually not far from Hotel Circle. They make all of their stuff from scratch, the two employees are the owners, they are very hands on and community oriented, and it is the bast darn icecrem around.

          2 Replies
          1. re: normalheightsfoodie

            It is good, but they keep very erratic hours during the summer, so I wouldn't make a special trip there without calling. It's just the two owners and they do a lot of booths at special events this time of year.

            1. re: Alice Q

              They are closed on Sunday's and they are open until 9pm on the other days.

              Phone (619) 284-5197


              Mariposa Ice Cream
              3450 Adams Ave, San Diego, CA 92116

          2. Ricky's on Hotel Circle Drive is a 1950's style diner. They have an awesome Dutch apple pancake which easily feeds 2 for breakfast or brunch. Huge, puffy mound of souffled egg, cinnamon, sugar and apples. The rest of their breakfast menu is pretty decent as well--hash browns, omelettes, eggs, pancakes, etc.

            Mama Testa's in Hillcrest specializes in tacos from all over Mexico. Awesome salsa bar too. Maybe your kids will branch out and try their mashed potato tacos--one of my faves there.

            1. I like the set of constraints- exercise for the committed Hound mind.
              Perhaps a bit out of the way, but it does kill a few of your birds:
              Basic Urban Kitchen and Bar in the newer "upscale tower living" section just a bit East and South of downtown. Pretty good pizza and a nice happy hour from 4-6.

              1. Friars Road is the northernmost part of that Mission Valley area you will be staying and if you go east, it turns into Mission Gorge Road. Right at that intersection is a small mall (Starbucks, Jamba Juice, Petco at one corner light and Carls Jr at the light at the other end of that mall). In that mall is San Diego Brewing Company- has excellent food and brews its own beers. I usually get a 'Sampler" of 5 oz sizes of the beers 9$7) and if you go from 4-6 on weekdays, the appetizer menu is 1/2 price and you can make a meal out of it.