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Mar 12, 2014 07:05 AM

Wrap up of 3 days in SD

Had a nice time and great to get out of Boston's winter (and Seattle's rain). A friend picked me up at the airport on Mon. and showed me the area including a beach with a bunch of seals. We went to one of his favorites, Ortega in Ocean Beach where we split a beef tamale, ceviche, I had a fish taco and can't remember what he got. Didn't take advantage of happy hour, decent food for cheap. Later on we met friends at the Red Fox on El Camino, very cool old school space with old school music entertainment. We ended up eating there (3 of us wanted to go somewhere else) and had a nice but ditzy waitress. Dry fries, eh burger, dry pork chop. Ended up at Tower Bar. Next morning was breakfast at Mission Café where I had a great banana granola pancake then good iced coffee from Better Buzz a few doors down. After walking around Balboa Park and more seeing the sights, we went to Carnitas Snack Shack and timed it perfectly, parking space in front and no line at 4PM or so. So glad I made it here. The triple threat was amazing, one of the best things I've eaten and the carnitas torta was great too, both around $8. Hit Mr A's for a beverage w/ a nice view of the sunset. Later we met my friend arriving from LA for a drink at Tractor Room on 5th. I'd read about the Sage Germaine which was fine but not as good as on paper. They had a ton of interesting drinks ($10 range) and the patio was nice, very quiet on a Tues. nite. Grabbed some decent tacos at El Zarape, had never had a calamari one before. A stop at Lancers Bar (good internet jukebox) then Live Wire, another cool old school bar w/ a great jukebox.

Wed. we wandered around Gaslamp and stopped at Rolando's to split a plate of rolled tacos. Then we walked thru Hillcrest and North Park to hit Polite Provisions for their $5 drink happy hour. Very nice rum and gin cocktails (photo below) plus ordered some Brussels sprouts from next door, biggest sprouts I've seen. Back to Mission Beach to regroup, got a drink at Saskas Steakhouse then over to Urban Solace for a nice dinner. Everything sounded great on the menu. I went with bacon and leek stuffed trout while G. had duck with a yummy corn pudding. We started with sweatbreads in a mustard sauce w/ kale. Dessert was salted caramel pot de creme. Last stop was Toronado, who serve a million beers (and the same bartender from Lancer's). Thurs. morning I had a coupon for Mission Café and since it was so good, we went back (I never repeat restaurants) for an amazing breakfast of eggs w/ chicken sausage and some of the best home fries along with a single blackberry pancake. Really good food there. So a fairly good range of spots during my 3 days there, thanks for the suggestions.

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  1. You seem like someone I would hang out with :) Glad you enjoyed your visit!

    1. Sounds like a great trip, and you hit a lot of bars I regularly visit haha.

      Thanks for the mention of the line at Carnitas Snack Shack, I will try to time our next attempt for 4pm (and feel like I am 90 years old and eating dinner).

      4 Replies
      1. re: MrKrispy

        It was a late lunch for us, that's how you need to think of it.

        Lots of bars we didn't get to, the Pink something next to Urban S. and Silver Fox in Pacific Beach that my friends told me is probably overrun with college idiots but sounded good. And was curious about El Dorado. Oh well, not sure I'll be back but you guys have some cool stuff. And it's always nice to see places keep the 50's motif, Boston axed most of that a long time ago.

        And I want to mention a couple donut places. I had asked about that and ended up at Golden Donut on University and had a great maple frosted old fashioned (my #1 choice). Also grabbed one at Donut Haven in Hillcrest which was decent. Both old school spots, I don't need to spend $3 on a donut. Combined w/ Top Pot in Seattle and a bunch in LA, this was the donut tour.

        1. re: Joanie

          Much like Bertos is used to identify our burrito/taco shops, "Golden" and "Sunny" are used to identify our independent (our semi independent) donut shops. Many if not all of them are in former Dunkin Donut shops when they abandoned California a while back - maybe the early 90s? And some people are making a big deal about them coming back. Yesh...

          1. re: RB Hound

            Golden Donuts was 100% better than Dunkin. And the woman was wicked nice.

            1. re: Joanie

              I'd believe it - the places that moved into the vacuum left by Dunkin leaving had that home touch. There is also a Golden Donuts in my hood (University City) that is pretty good. Not sure if they are related; probably were at one point in time.