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Boston hounds in SD for 7 days

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Hi, everyone. My husband and I are coming to your beautiful area next week from the Boston area for seven days. My husband has traveled here for business before, but this is my first visit and I'm really excited. We are staying at the Radisson in Rancho Bernardo and will have a rental car. I will be on my own with the car during weekdays, and we'll be exploring together the rest of the time. I'm not sure how many business dinner obligations we'll have, but should have quite a few meals on our own.

We (and our budget) tend to prefer casual sit-down places as opposed to fine dining. We're mostly affordable beer and wine people but could have fun with a cocktail or two.

My husband isn't fond of lamb or shellfish, but I eat everything. We'll also probably skip Asian as we're looking mostly for fish, Mexican "San Diego-style", classic burritos, and any other local cuisine. We can get adequate Thai, Chinese, Korean and Burmese food in Boston. We would also be open to inexpensive and fresh sushi, although we're not connoisseurs.

It looks like Aqui es Texcoco is very lamb-focused, so we'll probably skip it and any other place that really focuses mostly on shellfish. I'd like my husband to have a nice variety of dishes to choose from wherever we go.

We'll need probably three sit-down breakfasts and just grab a bite the other days:

R-Gang Eatery
Farm House Cafe
El Comal
The Red Door (Sunday only)
Ave. 5 (Sunday only)
Brigantine (Sunday only)
Super Cocina
Cafe Chloe

Lunch or dinner:

Brigantine
Pacific Beach Fish Shop
The Red Door
Whisk n Ladle
Prep Kitchen
Red Light District

Joao's Tin Fish
Blue Water Seafood
Bay Park Fish Company
South Beach Grill

Bahia Don Bravo
Emiliano's
Rana's Mexico City Cuisine

Bencotto
Arrivederci
Pizzeria Bruno
Cafe Calabria

Dinner:

Urban Solace
Farm House Cafe
Terra American Bistro
Whisk 'n Ladle

I'll probably grab a Rubio's fish taco so that I know what Boston hounds are referencing when they bemoan the lack of fish tacos in Boston.
Also, should we grab a burger at Hoddad's for the local flavor?

I'd appreciate any feedback. The board is wonderful, but a little overwhelming!

TIA

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  1. Since you are looking for local places, Mexican influences and cocktails/wine/beer I would also put El Take it Easy and Linkery in North Park for dinner high on your list. Starlite and Alchemy are two other very good options in SD.

    1 Reply
    1. re: honkman

      Thanks, honkman. Those all look perfect, and not overly pricey. I've added them to the list.

    2. I'd move Cafe Chloe to dinner and add Vine Vault, Super Cocina to lunch, Brigantine and Wisk n Ladle for happy hour. Skip South Beach Bar & Grill. Maybe catch a Marisco's Truck for a good Baja fish taco or goubenador (shrimp) taco. For Mex seafood, great cheviche etc, Marisco's Godoy is very good. Stay with Bahia Don Bravo, it has a good view of the ocean, ditch Rubio's. Don't bother with Italian or pizza.

      1. I am looking only at your weekday breakfast considerations: Are you thinking of going to breakfast together and then dropping your husband back in Rancho Bernardo for his meetings? Travel on the 15 North or South is very tight in the mornings, without accidents. All of your choices will be a more than 30 minute drive from the hotel.

        R Gang opens at 9 am on Fri-Sat-Sun only,
        Farm House Cafe is only open for breakfast on Sunday (9am),
        El Comal opens at 10 am ,
        Super Cocina opens at 8 am,
        Cafe Chloe opens at 7:30 a.m. (know that there is only street parking there and the enforcement of parking meters starts at 8 a.m.)

        As an aside, if you go to a Rubio's, they have fish tacos for $1.50 on Tuesdays after 2:30 pm. Hodad's is OK, but I do drive past when the line is out the door.

        Enjoy your stay here. My husband is from the Boston area (Milton); you live in a great part of the US.

        1. For interesting beer selection in your area, consider Urge Gastropub. You are also not far from the Ballast Point Scripps Ranch Tasting Room, Alesmith, Green Flash and Hess Breweries. None have food other than having food trucks parked outside (check the brewery websites for hours and/or info about food trucks that may be there) but all have beer worth trying.

          1. Might want to consider Solace and the Moonlight Lounge as it's a bit closer to you and the sister restaurant of Urban.

            Kaito sushi is nearby in Encinitas - you don't have to be a snob and the prices are very reasonable.

            I would also skip the Italian, WhiskNLadle will suffice.

            I would reconsider the traditional fish shops - I'm supposing you can get something similar in Boston. Rather than PB Fish Shop consider Oscars in Northern PB / Bird Rock or maybe Sea Rocket Bisro.

            Just pointing out that Terra/Farm House/Urban Solace all similar themes IMO - I understand it's a style that appeal to you, but if it's variation you seek, pick one for dinner and another for breakfast.

            1. Thanks so much, everyone. I'm revising my list based on these rec's.

              To clarify, we probably only want breakfast on Sat., Sun., and Mon. That's really helpful breakfast info, Cathy. The other days I'll drop my husband off at work and then I'll probably grab a taco or two late morning. That's where the trucks and Mariscos Godoy will come in handy and I can get a shellfish fix and a quick local bite. (Unfortunately, the old waistline can't handle too many meals in one week anymore so I won't do both breakfast and lunch during the week to save room for dinner.)

              Urge Gastropub sounds terrific, and we'll add it to the lunch/dinner list, JRSD, and it's in our area. It's definitely going on the list.

              Moving C Chloe to dinner makes since, cstr, and Super Cocina to lunch.

              Rodzilla, thanks so much for the info about location. Right now I'm full of energy and willing to drive quite a distance, but I'm sure with jet lag and the time difference, proximity to the hotel will become a priority. It's great to know that we can still get the same vibe but not have to drive for an hour to get back.

              I still have a few more days to revise/rethink, and of course have to keep things a bit flexible for work obligations, but this has all been really helpful and well-tailored to my needs. I really appreciate it! Of course, I'll report back, and I'll happily take more input. My head is still swirling with so many possibilites, but things are starting to take shape!

              2 Replies
              1. re: bear

                I'd reiterate what Cathy said above about distances. Your hotel is in an area of the county that is pretty far removed from most of the places you've listed. And the connector between you and central S.D. (I-15) can sometimes be very congested. Just FYI.

                1. re: bear

                  If you'd like another RB place, consider the Wine Barrel--ok cheese platters and a decent wine BTG selection. We go for an early glass and a few nibbles if we're saving room for a bigger, nicer dinner. You could also consider lunch at Cafe Merlot in the RB Winery or the Veranda Room at the RB Inn--niether have spectacular fine dining, but they're local, in pleasant settings. Another nice but casual RB resturant is Bernardo's, another of our glass-of-wine-and-dessert choices, however unfortunately, in an ugly strip mall.