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San Diego Vacation choices. Input requested!

Raboi Jul 22, 2009 05:48 PM

Thanks for the recent input and past posts. We will be in SD in 2 weeks with our two kids and these are our current choices. If I am missing anything too incredible to miss let me know.

Day 1 – Dinner at Café Chloe
Arriving late in and staying at downtown Embassy Suites. Chloe is in walking distance and sounds low key for a nice evening after a long flight.
Day 2 – Dinner at Oceanaire
We will spend the day at Seaworld and will not have a car yet. Oceanaire is close enough to walk and is arguably the best seafood in San Diego and restaurant in Gaslamp.
Day 3 – Lunch at Prado
Spending the day in Balboa. Sounds like Prado is the best lunch and by dinner time we will probably be shoulder deep in the zoo and just eat typical attraction food for dinner.
Day 4 – Dinner at Candelas
We will be in Tijuana during the day and back in time to change and take the Ferry across to what sounds like one of the best upscale Mexican fusion restaurants with a great view.
Day 5 – Nothing
Pick up a car this morning. Gonna spend the day in Knotts Berry Farm
Day 6 – Lunch at Tacos El Gordo and Dinner at Urban Solace
Morning at Chula Vista Nature Center and Lunch at Tacos El Gordo which sounds like a great authentic taco place close to the nature center that we can all be happy at. We are then going to Soak City then back to the hotel to rest. For dinner, Urban Solace sounds interesting. While the restaurant is not garner rave reviews, there are a few things like the meatloaf that people rave about on the board.
Day 7 – Nothing
Gonna spend the day at the Sea Life Aquarium and Legoland
Day 8 – El Pescadoro for Lunch, Nine-Ten for Dinner
We will be in La Jolla and Belmont Park today. El Pescadoro gets out of Mexican for a bit and allows to taste the local seafood again in a relaxed setting. Nine-Ten’s menu doesn’t excite me but your reviews on the place make it sound like the best place in La Jolla with a great view.
Day 9 – Mama Testa for Dinner
The day will be at the Wild Animal Park. Dinner will be fun, typical Mexican, San Diego good food. Catching the red eye back to Florida.

Notable Exceptions”
Point Loma Seafood - I just can’t see where we can fit them in as they aren’t open late enough for dinner and I don’t see us making it there for lunch.
George’s – An option for dinner in La Jolla but many people feel it is over rated.
Bahia Don Bravo – A lunch choice for La Jolla but we needed more seafood and a short break from Mexican.
Old Town restaurants – Sound over rated
Sushi places – Nothing stands out as being over the top excellent. I can get decent sushi in Florida.
Mariscos German – Where to fit it in???? I don’t know????
Super Cocina – Beaten out by Mam Testa. The wife thought the place may be too challenging for one of our kids.

  1. cgfan Jul 22, 2009 05:56 PM

    "If I am missing anything too incredible to miss let me know."
    "Nothing stands out as being over the top excellent. I can get decent sushi in Florida."

    While I haven't had Sushi in Florida, I feel that Sushi bars delivering the quality of our Kaito Sushi are few and far between.

    Just want to make sure you didn't leave the Sushi stone unturned; please don't take this the wrong way: are you a traditional Sushi diner or a non-traditional rolls Sushi diner?

    If the former than I'd highly recommend that you consider Kaito. Plenty of discussion on these boards.

    BTW impressive planning and research on your part of our local dining scene! If only more visitors to our city were as thorough.

    8 Replies
    1. re: cgfan
      cgfan Jul 23, 2009 03:58 PM

      Raboi, just read that you may not be in S.D. again after this trip, which makes me want to recommend all the more a trip to Kaito Sushi. My bets are that it will have you dreaming of the Sushi that you had in San Diego, and perhaps even bring you back here for a second time! ...and no problem here with the 6 & 7 yo, even at the Sushi bar. (I find that if they're not bashful kids just seem to love ordering from the chef.)

      1. re: cgfan
        thirtyeyes Jul 23, 2009 11:08 PM

        I've never lived in Florida, but I've had sushi a few times there. San Diego is way better. Sushi Ota or Nobu or Hane Sushi if you like rolls and stuff. There's a Nobu in Solano Beach.
        Shirahama or Kaito if you're more traditional.

        1. re: thirtyeyes
          stevewag23 Jul 24, 2009 07:41 AM

          "There's a Nobu in Solano Beach."

          That Nobu has nothing to do with the Nobu downtown.

          "I've never lived in Florida, but I've had sushi a few times there. San Diego is way better."

          Depend on exactly what you are looking for.

          I have certainly seen prettier girls and more model girls in Sushi Samba in South beach than in any sushi bar in san diego.

          All jokes aside (even though the above statement is true), Nobu in south beach is far better than the Nobu in downtown san diego.

          And the one in solana beach for that matter.

          1. re: stevewag23
            thirtyeyes Jul 24, 2009 04:05 PM

            Yes, the two Nobu's have nothing to do with each other. Other than the fact that they have the same name. Oh, and the fact that they both serve sushi. Oh, and they're both in the upper price range as far as sushi bars go. Oh, both are very good sushi bars. However, I am fairly certain that different people will be working in the different Nobu's at the same time since they have different owners and the fact that a single person working in both Nobu's at the same time would signal a rift in the space time continuum. ;)

            I still stand by my comment that you'll find better sushi in San Diego than you would in Florida--except of course the south beach Nobu which is better than the Solana Beach Nobu which has nothing to do with the downtown Nobu.

            1. re: thirtyeyes
              stevewag23 Jul 27, 2009 05:48 PM

              "Yes, the two Nobu's have nothing to do with each other."


              "Other than the fact that they have the same name."

              They actually don't have the same name. Solana is called "Nobu Gourmet Japanese Restaurant", downtown one is called "Nobu San Diego".

              "Oh, and they're both in the upper price range as far as sushi bars go."

              Solana Beach Nobu isn't that expensive.

              And neither is as good as the one in South Beach. On many levels.

        2. re: cgfan
          Raboi Jul 24, 2009 02:09 AM

          There are so many great places to go in the world so if you get the honor to be some place, you might as well suck it dry for the best it has to offer.

          i love your passion for Kaito, and this was a great recommendation. I am putting it on my itinerary for the drive back home from Knotts Berry Farm for Dinner. Although our kids are young, they love tuna tartare/sashimi and other rolls. This place sounds very different from any place in SE florida except Marumi. Thanks for the recommendation.!

          1. re: Raboi
            cgfan Jul 24, 2009 12:18 PM

            Couldn't figure out from your other post on which day of the week your KBF visit would land on, but for those interested here's the layout on the best days to go to Kaito for ingredient selection. Friday's are the best, but the better days are also the days where you'd want to go as early as possible before some things start to run out:

            Friday > Tuesday > Saturday > Wednesday... Sunday closed...

            1. re: cgfan
              Raboi Jul 24, 2009 08:49 PM

              We'll hit Kaito Sushi on Friday the 18th after hitting Legoland so that should be perfect!

              Now I need something for dinner on the way back from Knotts Berry Farm on Friday.

      2. m
        mcgrath Jul 22, 2009 06:18 PM

        Just a heads up: Cafe Chloe is a good one mile from your hotel.

        1. d
          daantaat Jul 22, 2009 07:21 PM

          Sushi and Legoland--Kaito sushi in Encinitas has the best traditional sushi in the county. It's roughly 10-15 minutes south of the Palomar Airport Rd exit and would be a perfect place to unwind for dinner. Extremely reasonable prices for the quality of sushi and service. If you don't want sushi, Yu Me Ya in Encinitas has excellent izakaya-style food.

          There are several other good, cheap options in Encinitas. Do a search on the board and you'll turn up more.

          NIne-Ten doesn't have a view, although the food is good. George's (downstairs dining only) is very good and has a view. The patio and bar area have a different menu than the formal dining room downstairs.

          Berta's in Old Town is probably one of the few, if only, not over-rated, touristy place in that area.

          Knott's Berry Farm--Anaheim/Orange county is home to Little Saigon, if you're in the mood for Vietnamese food.

          Excellent research! I too, wish more people would do their footwork first and then ask on the board!

          2 Replies
          1. re: daantaat
            Raboi Jul 24, 2009 08:50 PM

            Any recommendations for the best Vietnamese to hit on the way back to San Diego that wednesday night?

            1. re: Raboi
              daantaat Jul 25, 2009 09:24 PM

              oooh, I will defer to the OC hounds on that one. I'd recommend searching the LA board for Vietnamese in Orange County/Little Saigon and if you're still lost and confused, then put up a post.

          2. a
            aafflyer Jul 22, 2009 07:24 PM

            Day 3, have dinner at at the Zoo at Alberts Tree house restaurant in the zoo. Maybe not Chowhound greatness, but darn good food for a zoo. Given that its summer, I'd call ahead and see if they take reservations.

            1 Reply
            1. re: aafflyer
              Raboi Jul 24, 2009 02:11 AM

              Thanks. Sounds like the only place to get some liquor also! Check out the comments on Yelp. Absolutely Hilarious!

            2. a
              aafflyer Jul 22, 2009 07:34 PM

              Day 9 possibility is Hacienda De Vega in Escondido. Nice outdoor dining area and good food. FYI, business has been booming at Mama Testa since the Booby Flay Food Channel throwdown that aired 7/15.

              Hacienda De Vega
              2608 S Escondido Blvd, Escondido, CA 92025

              1 Reply
              1. re: aafflyer
                Raboi Jul 24, 2009 02:13 AM

                Thanks but we want to eat closer to the airport as we are taking the red eye that evening.

              2. d
                DougOLis Jul 22, 2009 10:18 PM

                List looks great but note that Belmont Park isn't in La Jolla but in a few beaches south on Mission Beach. Not that far away but La Jolla Shores is far closer (no amusement park/rides though).

                6 Replies
                1. re: DougOLis
                  foodiechick Jul 22, 2009 11:01 PM

                  La Jolla Shores: yes, but they can kayak there. Have hotel concierge arrange a kayak tour with one of the many operators there. Great caves and protected ocean area.

                  Also, as daantaat is right about Nine-Ten, no view...and very adult food. George's downstairs seems better suited (also adult food), and they may let the kids order off the upstairs menu which may be more appealing to them.

                  Another heads up, El Pescador is really a fish market that serves delicious fresh fish sandwiches, salads, etc. Just want you to know what to expect...maybe 8 very cramped tables and very busy at the lunch hour. Since you will have a car by then, get food to go, drive over to La Jolla Shores and have a picnic in the park or at the beach.

                  1. re: foodiechick
                    RB Hound Jul 23, 2009 03:47 PM

                    You forgot the part about spending 30 minutes or so looking for a parking spot in the La Jolla Shores area. :)

                    1. re: RB Hound
                      foodiechick Jul 23, 2009 04:24 PM

                      Only on Sat and Sun afternoons.

                    2. re: foodiechick
                      Raboi Jul 24, 2009 02:16 AM

                      Thanks for the heads up on El Pescador. We'll get take out and head to Children's Pool to eat with the seals or go up to Torrey Pines Gliderport and eat while watching or doing some handgliding

                      We thought about Nine-Ten a bit more and talked to a waitress. They have a kids menu and will take us in jeans so I feel good about it. I'm sure George's is great (esp the soup) but i don't like the comments that its over rates elsewhere on the board.

                      1. re: Raboi
                        Josh Jul 24, 2009 08:18 AM

                        Secondary advice then, re: El Pescador - while the place may be small, their food suffers dramatically, IMO, from being taken to go. At that point, why bother?

                        Fish that fresh, cooked right on the grill, suffers from sitting and getting cold. The bread it's on even moreso. Packing that up and driving to the glider port guarantees a disappointing experience.

                        I'd say if you can't eat it there, then it's probably best to get something else to take as a picnic meal.

                        Just my $0.02, but I worked in downtown La Jolla for a year, and got a lot of stuff takeout to eat back at the office. I learned the hard way that my El Pescador lunches were best enjoyed on their premises.

                        1. re: Josh
                          Raboi Jul 24, 2009 08:55 PM

                          That true Chowhound worthy info. Thanks so much. I think we have to get rid of El Pescador in favor of Point Loma. I changed my plans for that day such that we'll see the Cabrillo Monument in the morning followed by a ride on the FlowRider at the Wave House. Then to Point Loma Seafood for lunch. Sorry no Pescador. Head north to the aquarium and gliderport for the afternoon. Then nine-ten for dinner.

                  2. s
                    stevewag23 Jul 23, 2009 10:19 PM

                    "Point Loma Seafood - I just can’t see where we can fit them in as they aren’t open late enough for dinner and I don’t see us making it there for lunch."

                    I would do it.

                    Can't get more San Diego than that place. (I mean in a good way).

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: stevewag23
                      Raboi Jul 24, 2009 02:17 AM

                      We are really, really, really gonna try to finish legoland early and head there afterwards!

                      1. re: Raboi
                        RB Hound Jul 24, 2009 12:00 PM

                        That can be a very ugly drive, especially on a Friday afternoon. You'd really need to leave Legoland no later than 4 if you'd want to get to Point Loma Seafoods before they close. I strongly suggest having a backup plan in place.

                        1. re: RB Hound
                          Raboi Jul 24, 2009 08:53 PM

                          Got my directions mixed up on where Legoland is. I changed things around such that we will have a busy day on Saturday. Now I definitely have Point Loma on the itinerary.
                          See the Cabrillo Monument in the morning followed by a ride on the FlowRider at the Wave House. Then to Point Loma Seafood for lunch. Head north to the aquarium and gliderport for the afternoon. Then nine-ten for dinner.

                    2. t
                      trauty32 Jul 24, 2009 01:30 PM

                      Raboi, I would highly recommend trying to get to Super Cocina. My wife and I were in SD on vacation in May and went there based on recommendations on this board. In a word it was outstanding. Besides the food, the best thing about it is you can sample basically every dish they have to offer that day. For kids I am sure they would devour the carnitas and they have these great potato cakes that i'm sure kids would love. Try not to miss this opportunity!!

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