Budget San Diego
I haven't been to San Diego in years, but have been asked by a friend for recommendations:
"if you may have a few inexpensive places to eat that are extremely delicious...burritos, japanese, even good fresh sandwiches-or something that's decent with a location that is special to the area. Unfortunately we're holding back on the fine dining for now but we love good food. I don't eat beef or pork but I'm not a veg either. we're only there for a few days."
I used to always suggest Ichiban in Hillcrest but I've heard downhill reports.
I believe she is teaching a class in La Jolla, but I have already recommended she visit Extraordinary Desserts (a MUST visit for me and where I send everyone!) and the Mingei museum, so I believe they will be exploring the city a bit; Gaslamp, Hillcrest, etc...
After her weekend teaching gig, they are heading to Anza.
re: Carrie 218
La Jolla: Mission Cup Cafe for breakfast, brunch and lunch. Asian-Latino fare w/ lots of great vegetarian options. They have really, really good grilled marinated tofu.
Japanese: Okan and Izakaya Sakura on Convoy. Lots of posts on both. Not dirt cheap, but the food is excellent and you can eat well if you choose wisely.
Japanese udon/ramen: Chopstix or Tajima.
Burritos/Mexican--do a search on the board. Many oft mentioned places in many neighborhoods.
re: Carrie 218
If they're in La Jolla I'd definitely recommend checking out El Pescador for awesome grilled fish sandwiches.
I 2nd daantaat's Japanese & ramen recommendations but note that they might not be budget friendly. I like Santouka's ramen as well.
For Mexican: Super Cocina, Mariscos German, Aqui es Texcoco, and Tacos El Paisa
Mama's Lebanese on Alabama near El Cajon is a good stop near Balboa Park - great falafel wrap. Eclipse Chocolat is also just around the corner on El Cajon. Also nearby are a couple of decent Mexican places - El Zarape and Mama Testa Taqueria.
In La Jolla, El Pescador, Rimel's, Girard Gourmet or the Cheese Shop (near the Shores) are all good budget choices - the former two have good inexpensive seafood, and the latter two are good sandwich shops/delis.
Just off the 5 fwy at Washington St. are Lucha Libre, a fun and fancied up taco shop with good fast Mexican, and Saffron, which has great grilled chicken and often has good daily specials. Love their soups and spicy noodle dishes. Just down the street there's also a good inexpensive seafood place - Blue Water Grill.
If your friends are willing to travel a little further South, I can also second the recommendations for Mariscos German, Tacos el Paisa, Super Cocina and Aqui es Texcoco. The huitlacoche quesadilla at Aqui es Texcoco is really good and unusual. They serve mostly lamb - and Mariscos German is mostly seafood, so would fit in with the no beef/pork.
I haven't been to Ichiban in years - used to go ages ago for their sushi special. I think maybe I just liked it then because I had never had good sushi!
El Pescador on Pearl in LJ, good fish tacos, Roppongi, on Prospect, for HH, Clays also for HH, Harry's, on Girard, for old school breakfast. Porky Land, on Girard for Mex.