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Your fave places to go for the holidays. .

I love going to the Hotel Del Coronado to get in the holiday spirit..have a drink or hot chocolate.
Top of the Hyatt for drinks.
Manhattan's of La Jolla is always a riot..
Bali Hai

Waterfront or NuNu's. .need I say more.

Where do you like to hang for the holidays?

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  1. The Del, of course...outside on the patio to watch the kids skating. Drinks at The Grant Grill. Wednesday night at Manhattan to see Manny and Polo from La V and listen to Roman Palacios sing Frank Sinatra with Tommy Gannon on the piano...it is such a trip!

    But my favorite place to be during the holidays is New Orleans. Santa Claus second line parade anyone? Priceless.

    8 Replies
    1. re: foodiechick

      Sinatra songs at the piano..sweet.

      Is La V whaling bar open yet?
      Miss that for Xmas Eve cheer..it was in the LJ doctrine..a must..good times.

      1. re: Beach Chick

        Supposedly this week, highly doubtful IMHO. No more Whaling Bar, it will be Cafe La Rue with a light, airy, fast cafe kind of vibe. Me no likey. But with the talent they have hired in the kitchen, I have high expectations that the food will be top notch.

        1. re: foodiechick

          Yes, free cocktails for two hours(?) every Xmas Eve in the Whaling Bar with Rafael.

          Cocktails with (Not-so-Big-anymore) Mikey at Manhattan with a side of Manny.

          Xmas day cocktails at The Spot since it was the only place open on the street once upon a time.

          1. re: deckape

            We would walk over and hit up the Spot after dinner on Xmas and Jerry would be there and it was all the La Jolla locals, just like at the Whaling Bar..

            I was dancing at a hotel resort in Cabo years ago and I bumped into he and his wife on the dance floor after he sold the Spot..don't you love running into people you know around the world..

            We had marg's and celebrated our friendship...may he RIP.

            1. re: Beach Chick

              For several years my family had xmas eve dinner at Sante and walked over to the Valencia for cocktails in the lobby/Whaling bar. It's just never going to be the same!!

            2. re: deckape

              I want to hear more old school LJ Xmas stories...hee hee

            3. re: foodiechick

              Walked by LV Xmas day and noticed Café La Rue. Made me miss the dark Whaling Bar.

              1. re: globocity

                Talented Chef, but that new room is awful. :(

        2. Anything interesting in that hot chocolate, Vandermint, Kahula Especial, Bailey's, Cognac etc.

          1. Agree with the Del.

            But, we're inland, so the RB Inn is on the agenda this week--pretty trees, walk around, have a few drinks. We're still debating over the Veranda or the new-to-us Avant (the old Bizcocho).

            Then, up the 15 to the Mission Inn.

            3 Replies
            1. re: pine time

              Love love love RB Inn...does the Colachis family still own it?
              I miss the old Bizcocho room..

              Please report back..maybe a lunch with the beloved in-laws during Christmas week..they always buy and I like to go big, since my FIL has exquisite taste in food and wine and loves running up that check on his dime..

              ; ^)

              1. re: Beach Chick

                I got a sneak peak at Avant before it opened. While a younger crowd probably will like it better, it was just a little too informal for me. I liked the proper, but not stuffy, vibe of El Bizcocho. Plus, we're within walking distance, so we can imbibe as we please--we could always crawl home, if needs be.

              2. We went to Top of the Hyatt for the 1st time in years a couple of months ago, and it was pretty gross, I have to say. It hasn't been updated in years and the clientele was just plain bizarre. We saw several "ladies" picking up "dates." It was incredibly strange. High on the people watching score I guess, but not exactly what we were expecting!

                I love going to Nunus around the holidays - the little fireplace is going, the xmas lights are up. Albie's Beef Inn, Mr. A's, Red Fox, he Hotel Del (for drinks only), and once upon a time La Valencia - though they're pretty well destroyed it now. :(

                7 Replies
                1. re: aliceqfoodie

                  Alice, you should give La Valencia another try...maybe when the weather is nice so you can forgo the altered interior and sit out on the back patio. Chef Daniel Baron is KILLING it.

                  1. re: foodiechick

                    Well the Whaling Bar has been literally destroyed - but I'll check out the hotel lobby and new cafe when the remodel is done. The last time I went it was under heavy duty construction. Glad to hear you like the dining room - I've heard mixed things.

                    1. re: aliceqfoodie

                      I hate the mausoleum of a dining room, it will be going through a refresh after the first of the year but from what a hear it won't be much of one. However, the food is vastly improved and if you are able to talk with the chef he sends out amazing, off-the-menu creations (including the CA-banned FG).

                  2. re: aliceqfoodie

                    Another NuNu's chica!
                    Isn't this one of the coolest places to drink and just have a friggin' good time..love love love.

                    Outstanding Alice and SO great to have you back!!!!

                    Wow, sorry to hear about the Top of the Hyatt..its usually dark when I go up there and haven't seen any 'putas' up there..nobody wants to see that crap.

                    Albie's Beef Inn, Bully's East, Red Fox...Solid

                    1. re: Beach Chick

                      Sad news about Nunus, just read that they ripped out the booths and put in high top tables?? And no more fireplace? Apparently they also put in big tvs. UGH!!

                      I think this year we are going to try Sycamore Den for cocktails after dinner at Farm House. Make it an Adams Ave. affair. :)

                    2. HOME! Pure and simple. No place else on the planet I'd rather be for the holidays.

                      1. For the past few years we gone bar hopping at several hotels up in North County. "Yes I would love a glass of sparkling wine, please" The TP Lodge with that little bar and roaring fireplace really set the mood. Aviara with their Christmas tree display is also a winner. RB Inn is so quaint and RSF Inn as well. Now after the remodels at both places, we will see how quaint they are. Probably not as heavy handed as the LV remodel. We have been to the Grand DM a couple of times, but they really don't seem to have much of a Christmas vibe. Love the discussion of the Spot, but we always went on the 24th for an early lunch, before heading over to the relatives for dinner. I have found thew discussion of the remodel of the LV very interesting. Unfortunatly I had only been to the Whaling Bar a couple of times, My s.o. many more, but I will miss it. The design team should of gone up to SB and seen what a tasteful remodel looks like, which was done at the Biltmore. The approach taken at the LV is not alone to them, My dear old friend, the Bel Air Hotel got a pretty harsh makeover from the Sultan of Brunei. So much so, my mom who used to lunch there often, refuses to step foot on the property.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: littlestevie

                          That is so solid Stevie that your Mom refuses to step foot at the Bel Air Hotel from the horrid makeover from the Sultan..
                          She is my kinda of gal..

                          Love the bar hopping you and friends do up in North County...you have to add the Pony Room at Rancho Valencia Resort..LOVE!
                          I love the RSF Inn but haven't been since the remodel..

                          Wonder what local rates would be for the holiday..
                          You should end it at the best dive in Cardiff...the beloved Kraken!

                          1. re: Beach Chick

                            Tend to end up at Red Tractons, love the retro vibe and like to finish up the day with some cow, not sure if they are open this year, going to give them a call today. Good idea about Rancho Valencia because we usually head back west thru Fairbanks.

                        2. We got married at Rancho Valencia during the holidays, so I'll always have a soft spot in my heart for that place. We haven't been since the remodel, but are planning an anniversary dinner at Veladora in about a week. I can't wait!

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: melee

                            How wonderful..report back.
                            Happy Anniversary!

                            1. re: melee

                              Had a fabulous dinner at Veladora and a lovely lunch at Pony Room when we went back the next day to retrieve our car!

                              Love, love, love the remodel. At Veladora we did the Guest Tasting Menu so we could each choose four dishes to try, and just about every one knocked it out of the park. Our favorites were the tenderloin tartare, carbonara, truffled risotto & apple crisp. We also had a velvety squash soup, lobster salad and a tasty wild boar dish. I had the Dover sole as my entrée, and thought it was a smidge overcooked. Mitch, the sommelier, did an outstanding job of pairing wines by the glass for us. After four glasses of wine we called Uber to take us home!

                              The following day we brought the kids for lunch at The Pony Room to show them where we were married. I can't say enough about what a fabulous job they did in transforming that space. I love that view across the croquet lawn and it makes so much more sense to use that space as a bar/restaurant than a library. I had the lobster sliders and my husband had the breakfast burrito with chorizo.

                              We are so lucky to be able to spend our holidays with the sun shining. Beach Chick is spot on: Rancho Valencia is the perfect spot to savor the end of the holiday season in San Diego.

                            2. We have a tradition. On Christmas Day, we go to LJ, walk around the cove to look at the tourists (and the ocean) and then have cocktails at at least two bars. Usually, we walk first, cocktails second.

                              The past few years, after our walk, we’ve gone to George’s Bar first because La Valencia, the other place we like to go, has been getting increasingly prickly about letting us sit out on the balcony while they’re still serving their Christmas lunch. It used to be that we’d go to La Valencia first, and try to score the table that’s at the far end. Maybe the problem the last couple of times is that I’ve been foolishly asking if it was OK to go out there for drinks, instead of just going there and sitting down. There were lots of empty tables.

                              This year it was drinks first and walk second, though. We went into La Valencia and I asked if we could sit on the balcony; but of course, no. I think lunch is served on Christmas until 2.

                              The place has certainly changed. The Former Whaling Bar wouldn’t look too bad if it wasn’t The Former Whaling Bar. It’s ok, and was doing a decent business, but it ain’t the same. Sad.

                              Georges Bar was packado at 1:15 but we managed to get seats (in the backless stools at the stainless tables nearest the windows, our favorite spot), right next to some folks that I really thought for a minute might be DD and her relatives. They were just finishing up and having some restaurant-related conversation when we arrived. I wasn’t snooping and didn’t overhear much, because we jumped when a less crowded spot opened up.

                              Recently we’ve been ordering the same things at Georges on Christmas Day each year: We split a blackened fish sandwich (which comes with a salad) and have Rob Roys. The fish sandwich is always good, but this year the fish was a little dry and a little overcooked, I thought. The salad always has a nice light dressing, but this year I thought it was too light. Far from the best ever there -- surprising for George's. The Rob Roys were as good as always, and they’re full size.

                              The odor from the beach was disgusting, though. Luckily, it wafted into the bar only once in a while, but it was pretty bad. It was even worse during our traditional walk around the Cove, although the tourists didn’t seem to mind. We ended up not even going to La Valencia at all.

                              9 Replies
                              1. re: DoctorChow

                                Lots of good tourist watching on Xmas this year. Interesting mix of Eastern Europeans and Middle Easterners.
                                I think the gorgeous weather helped to bring out so many people.

                                1. re: globocity

                                  The weather was brilliant wasn't it. We did the Midway on Xmas Eve and I think we heard more foreign languages than we did English! Tons of tourists and a good sprinkling of locals.

                                  1. re: DiningDiva

                                    It's always fun to see people enjoying themselves.

                                    I guess Balboa Park was jammed, also.

                                    1. re: DoctorChow

                                      It's so much more pleasant than being at Fashion Valley this time of year (shuddering at the thought of the crowds and parking.)

                                  2. re: globocity

                                    The weather was as gorgeous as it gets on Christmas! The tourists who came this year really lucked out.

                                    Sounds from this and your other post like we may have crossed paths.

                                    1. re: DoctorChow

                                      Yes, I think we may have! Even the strong stench of guano couldn't deter us from enjoying the Cove. We were surprised to see so many places open; Haagen Dazs, The Spot, even a few boutiques. What a lovely day, glad you enjoyed it as well.

                                    2. re: globocity

                                      And the warm weather no doubt helped the fragrant waft of the ocean creatures!

                                    3. re: DoctorChow

                                      Sorry DC, not us. Christmas Day we were in good old San Carlos.

                                      I've since packed up the relatives and shipped them back up to NorCal. Things are slowly returning to normal.

                                      1. re: DiningDiva

                                        Well, I knew it was unlikely, but I guess I was thinking about you. Glad to hear the clouds are clearing.

                                    4. We went to the Hotel del Christmas afternoon--never again on Christmas day! Had to park nearly 1.5 miles from the hotel, which normally would be pleasant walking, but I wore uncomfortable walking shoes, and it was hot, to boot. Hotel was so crowded. Waited nearly 30 min. to order a drink, then gave up. Every inch of the place was packed. We were naive that it wouldn't be so jammed. Guess next year we'll go on a weekday prior to Christmas.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: pine time

                                        We were at the Hotel Del for skating yesterday on NYD. After going for the last three years around the holidays, I think the best thing to do is sit out on the deck overlooking the ocean and forget about the bar/restaurant inside - where the service is slow and the food not very good. There is a self service bar/grill for the closer part of the seating area, and table service for the part out toward the water. I believe they also open earlier than the main bar. We were there on NYD and it was nearly empty at 11 AM, but packed by the time we left around 1:30. The skating is actually extended until the 10th this year.

                                      2. How long after the holidays does the Del or the others stay decorated?

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: Gypsy Jan

                                          New Years Day-ish. I would guess the Del will leave the decor up through Sunday 1/5 as that is how long "Skating by the Sea" lasts this year.

                                          1. re: foodiechick

                                            Hi, thanks.

                                            We were on Vancouver Island a few years ago with our daughter just after Christmas and she was dazzled by the Christmas tree displays they had in the alleys.

                                        2. Just had another fab lunch at the Pony Room..
                                          Love love love this resort.
                                          Food, service and ambiance are lovely.
                                          It was a great place to savor the end of the holiday season.

                                          2 Replies