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?
Pizza Port for pizza and beer. Wonderful beers and pretty good pizza.
I've seen kids eat at Ritual Tavern, fairly decent beer selection. (Or, you could take a long "bathroom break" and run across the street to the Toronado for a quick pint). Excellent beer there.
Searocket Bistro has a nice selection on tap.
Linkery does as well.
Hamilton's Cafe is next door to Hamilton's Tavern. Can't get beer at the cafe and kids can't go into the tavern so that might be tricky.
When downtown, Downtown Johnny Brown's does decent pub food with a few EXCELLENT beers on tap. One of the secret gems when it comes to craft beer downtown.
You should take them to Pizza Port, either Solana Beach or Carlsbad locations (Carlsbad is nicer but further away). You can take the Coaster up that way if you prefer not to drive.
Pizza is pretty good (get the whole-grain crust), great beer selection (lots of locals and their own, plus select out of town craft beers), and they are kid-friendly. Both locations have video games and stuff like that for the kids to enjoy.
I also am surprised nobody mentioned O'Brien's pub in Kearny Mesa. They have good sandwiches and burgers, a great beer selection, and people bring their kids in all the time. It may be that kids aren't allowed after a certain hour, I'm not certain on that, but I've definitely seen them there during the day.
I've never seen any kids at O'Brien's at night so it might be best to go during lunch hours.
A lot of the beer places I would recommend have already been covered here: The Linkery (might be the best option), Liar's Club (the food is still good at the new digs Ed), Pizza Port (Pizza Port/Port/Lost Abbey puts out some of the best beers in the world), and San Diego Brewing Company (or Callahan's in Mira Mesa). Hamilton's Cafe next to Hamilton's (great beer bar in South Park) will allow in kids but I don't think they serve alcohol. Does the Ritual Tavern let in kids?
Basic and Pizza Port are probably your best pizza options. Pizzeria Luigi, Bronz, and Lefty's Chicago Pizzeria have better pizza but there isn't as much atmosphere in any of those locations.
Mexican: Mama Testa, Super Cocina, Mariscos German, Aqui es Texcoco, Casa Guadalajara, Hacienda de Vega
Diner: Studio Diner
Breakfast: Parkhouse Eatery, Cavaillon (Sunday only), Original Pancake House
A bit of a drive, but The Liar's Club has relocated to Alpine and has a wonderful selection of beer (32 taps - many featuring local breweries). The food used to be excellent bar food - good burgers, great fries, ahi sandwiches, sweat potato fries etc though I haven't eaten in the new location. I don't know for sure that they allow kids, but I would think so. A quick call could find out.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 www.thelinkery.com (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 - www.eclipsechocolat.com.) - 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.
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!
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.