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Mar 22, 2010 09:31 PM

Trip Report--Car Free Chowing in San Diego and a Lot of French Toast

I spent a weekend in San Diego (Friday afternoon-Monday morning) and wanted to do a brief trip report. I found it possible to do a good deal of eating (and drinking) without using a car. I stayed in Downtown, just off Broadway, which really made it possible. I learned of almost all of these places from Chowhound, except for Cafe 222 and The Mission, where I'd been on previous trips.

Breakfasts--All in Downtown, reached by walking. Without planning to, I wound up ordering french toast each morning.
Richard Walker's Pancake House--Acceptable french toast, but nothing special
Cafe 222--Not so great, a little too healthy tasting, french toast, but the food around me looked very good
The Mission, East Village branch--A huge (huge) amount of thick, not excessively sweet cinnamon bread french toast, more than I could eat, which is unusual.

Mariscos German--truck at 35th & University--reached by #7 bus--The fish tacos were very good, I didn't think life changing, but the ambiance with the little plastic tables was superb. Maybe next time I'll try the truck in Ocean Beach.
Point Loma Seafoods--A crabcake sandwich is something I rarely get to eat, I just wished that I'd asked them to hold the tartar sauce. This was one trip I probably shouldn't have taken, because the 28 bus there (from Old Town) only runs once an hour on Sunday, but it worked out OK.

Cafe Chloe--Walked--Lovely, lively place. I'd had a lot of food earlier so I just got a fine green salad and a Duvel beer (I I've come to the conclusion that I really like good American beers better)
The Linkery-Reached by the #2 bus there and the #7 bus back--North Park is good because you can take either. A pretty fabulous meal in most ways--good beer, good greens, good sausage, good service charge policy. I shouldn't have let them talk me into the lardo ice cream, it was interesting but I felt serious bloat afterwards. I walked some of it along University Avenue rather than just waiting for the bus..
Neighborhood--walked--I'd meant to just stop in for some ale, but the burgers called to me. My 777 Burger order disappeared in some black hole, so they comped me a beer and I got to try a Ballast Point Stout, creamy without being sludgy. Alas, they don't seem to bottle that kind. I was a bit disappointed--they listed baby spinach with the burger, but there were only a few wisps of it.

And just for the record, coffee at St. Tropez Horton Plaza, Caffe Italia (didn't it have a different name) via the trolley from Old Town, and Cafe Colibri (walked there from Mariscos German, #10 bus to Old Town afterward).

Total transportation expense--$12 for a 3 day pass.

I hope I get a chance to come back and hit Hob Nob Hill, some 30th St. beer bars, maybe some places in Barrio Logan.

Cafe 222
222 Island Ave, San Diego, CA 92101

Mariscos German
3515 University Ave, San Diego, CA 92104

Caffe Italia
1704 India St, San Diego, CA 92101

Point Loma Cafe
4856 N Harbor Dr, San Diego, CA 92106

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  1. Redrover, thank you for posting, especially about using our not so rapid transit system. You've proven that with a little forethougth, it's possible to navigate this city to find tood :-).

    If you return to Cafe 222, order the waffles, that's they're real claim to fame. That and the PB&J French Toast that Bobby Flay seems to think is wonderful

    Cafe 222
    222 Island Ave, San Diego, CA 92101

    1 Reply
    1. re: DiningDiva

      It's interesting about the buses, they mostly travel at a reasonable clip, they just don't run often enough, especially at night and on Sunday. Maybe there will be a better funding day.

      I hope to get back to Cafe 222, it's one of the few San Diego places I've known about for years. I'm not much of a waffle man, but the egg dishes looked pretty good, maybe a scramble.

      Cafe 222
      222 Island Ave, San Diego, CA 92101

    2. Nice report. I agree that after a full meal, the Linkery's lardo is a bit much for one person! I salute you for trying, though.

      3794 30th St, San Diego, CA 92104

      1 Reply
      1. re: The Office Goat

        I think those high alcohol craft beers, even little ones, skewed my judgment!

      2. Which tacos did you try at Mariscos German? Just the standard fish tacos or anything else. They aren't particularly known for their standard fish tacos so it's often better to get a different meat (i.e gobernador, marlyn, pulpo mexicano).

        Mariscos German
        3515 University Ave, San Diego, CA 92104

        16 Replies
        1. re: DougOLis

          The standard fish, which many people, I guess uninformed like me, were ordering. I knew I didn't want octopus, wondered about the endangered status of a bigtime sport fish like marlin, and didn't know what gobernador was. Next time.

          1. re: redrover

            If you like fish tacos red, you owe it to yourself to make it out to Mariscos Pescador. Their fish tacos are excellent, and would go much further to give you the "life changing" experience you seek.

            1. re: redrover

              I assume they use octopus from the Gulf of California which Monterey Bay Aquarium lists as a good alternative.

              I'm not sure of the source for the marlin so it could either be good or avoid. I think I read somewhere that it is Blue Marlin which could mean it's safe. I suppose it's worth asking about in the future.

              Shrimp is probably safe as well for sustainability reasons:

            2. re: DougOLis

              I agree Doug, it is the same at the OB MG truck. I will order almost anything BUT the fish tacos. I see a lot of people order them, and I just shake my head.

              1. re: Captain Jack

                So Google Transit says Mariscos Pescador is a 15 minute walk from the Palomar St. Trolley station. That's pushing it, but if they're really good ...

                1. re: redrover

                  A 15 minute walk! I'd add afew more minutes to that estimate. IMO, they're the best Marisco's truck tacos around and I'd walk the distance for them. The marlin and goubenator are awesome and their regular baja fish tacos are also very good. In addition they give you a cup of spicey fish broth, yum.

                  1. re: redrover

                    Im not kidding red, they are the best I have had.

                    1. re: Captain Jack

                      Well, Google says it's .7 miles, which would work out to 14 minutes at the standard 20 minutes to the mile (when it's flat).I'm guessing that it might not be the world's most scenic walk on Industrial Boulevard, but we want to pursue deliciousness.

                      1. re: redrover

                        It is flat and it is not scenic. The taco truck is, IIRC, in the same parking lot as the torta ahogada truck. You can kill two birds with one stone. Have a fish taco as an appetizer and the torta for the entree.

                        1. re: redrover

                          The name 'Industrial Blvd.', pretty much sizes up the view, still worth the walk plus you can justify all you'll eat by walking back to the trolley. Also, DD is correct the torta's are also good, plus you can specify the level of spiceness you want.

                          1. re: cstr

                            Watch out though, if you order your torta hot, you get incendiary. I should have known something was up. The woman that took my order smiled at me, and a couple of Mexican guys who appeared to be regulars, smiled and nodded their heads in approval. Keep in mind, I like spicy food.

                            1. re: Captain Jack

                              Funny, I ordered mine hot, and they gave it to me medium. I was kind of mad about that. They gave me the hot sauce to add to the other half. It was hot, but not that bad. After level 10 koi soi at Sab E Lee, not much seems hot to me any more.

                              1. re: Josh

                                level 10 owwww no need to treat your body so rudely haha

                                1. re: MrKrispy

                                  It was sort of by mistake. I usually would ask Koby for the heat level that he'd eat it (which it turns out is a 7), but that time I mistakenly said I wanted it as hot as they made it.

                              2. re: Captain Jack

                                What level of heat did you ask for? they're pretty good about letting you know about their levels of spice.

                        2. re: redrover

                          Another alternative is if you are willing to rent a bicycle. Combine that with our transit system and a lot more doors open up for you. I know there's an outfit in the Gaslamp that rents bikes, but I don't know the rates.

                    2. Thanks, this was an enjoyable read. I have yet to visit about half the restaurants you listed. I'll make it a point to check them out soon! There are some pretty good eats to be found in the Hillcrest area; if you visit again, you can take Routes 3 (except on Sundays), 11, or 120 to Hillcrest from downtown. As for Barrio Logan, I'm a big fan of the La Fachada taco truck (especially the carnitas tacos)—and it's just a stone's throw away from the 25th & Commercial Trolley stop.

                      La Fachada
                      20 25th St, San Diego, CA 92102