We had planned a sunny getaway back in January 2014 but those plans were crushed because of the 3 feet of snow we received as a New Year’s gift from Mother Nature. So, V & I decided to attempt again, except this time we would go to California – the state with the happiest cows! And having returned from San Diego, we both understand why all the cows are so happy!
The beginning of our trip started with a few bumps – parking lot was overfull, a bit of racial profiling, and a watered down coffee at Pete’s Coffee Bean. But no way were these bumps going to get our spirits down – we were off to a warm sunny land! Unfortunately, day 1 of San Diego was a bit overcast with minimal sun so we decided to check out the local neighborhood…Hodad’s for Lunch! Hodad’s is an all American burger joint with the classic Cali laid back feel & retro-chic. We were definitely excited about the place since it was a recommendation from a friend (thank you!) and we were not disappointed! My Veggie burger was fantastic – grilled to a crisp and loaded with tomato, onion, mayo, mustard, lettuce, ketchup, and then a golden brown bun. Served with a basket of steak fries, it was definitely a meal to be eaten by two, but of course I ate one on my own…perhaps on second thought, I would share it next time? Nah…its too good to share. Word of advice – do not wear white pants or shirts, be prepared to spill things, & have TONS of napkins handy because the burger is stacked high with all the produce they load into it. Hodad’s was definitely a fantastic start to our trip. Now, as we walked around to burn off some of our lunch, we started noticing Tattoo parlors, and we soon realized that in a radius of 3 blocks there were approximately 15 tattoo parlors. I felt like they were all trying to send me a message – perhaps a tattoo is in my future? The adventurous walk was followed by a quick cat nap (I love naps!) and then date night #1! We decided to show our support for a fellow South-Asian comedian – Hasan Minhaj. He was great…very good with his material & worked well with the crowd, but best of all his parents are from the same small town in India as my mom..what a small world. Actually on second thought, it is not that unlikely since there are so many Indians in the world! But if you are able to catch a show, definitely check him out!
Just like children in a candy store, we were super excited to be in the San Diego Zoo on Day #2! Why? Well, I love animals…no I dont love animals in cages, I just love animals. I would much rather prefer them to be in their natural habitat…roaming freely. However, since humans can be so cunning & cruel, we have to protect these animals from becoming extinct. And also, being in a Zoo reminded me of childhood. Off we went to Zoo and we both quickly realized that this was going to be a fabulous day! Lions, elephants, cheetahs, giraffes, eagles, leopards, gorillas, and Panda bears were all included in our trip. We were so ecstatic that without knowing almost 8 hours passed & we still felt like we had not seen it all. By the evening, we were exhausted. Barely able to get home, we took another a nap (do you see a pattern here?)…and then woke up for some dinner in the romantic Little Italy of San Diego.
USS Midway Museum is quite the sight to see. It is a US aircraft carrier now remodeled to be a naval aviation museum. When standing next to one of these gigantic structures, I quickly realize how small I truly am in the food chain. haha But we loved the ship & all the history it had to offer. I am sure there are so many stories hidden within the crevices of this battleship that are just waiting to be written out, and I hope one day they are available for us to read and appreciate!
I know you are all wondering where are the beaches!?! California is known for their beaches…right? Well, we decided to take a quick road trip out to a couple of world famous beaches…La Jolla & Coronado! Loved them both! La Jolla was the perfect intro into beach towns of California…we had a surf n’turf (only fancier) brunch at Cody’s in La Jolla. I had their decadent Grilled Mahi Mahi Tacos with Chipotle Creme Fraiche while V got their cooked-to-perfection Crab Cake Benedict with Stone ground Grits…to top it off fresh Ceviche! This lunch was possibly my absolute favorite meal in the trip…the outdoor patio seating overlooking La Jolla’s Scripp’s Park and late afternoon sun shining upon us was a perfect set up for a lazy Saturday afternoon. I wish I could wake up every Saturday to this view & food! Next, afternoon stroll along La Jolla Cove & Point La Jolla gave us the opportunity to observe some of the local sea lions taking a nap. Yes, that is correct, La Jolla has its own population of sea lions that are routine visitor to La Jolla Cove! Coronado Beach was equally beautiful & serene, with soft golden sand, it is welcoming of all people. The beaches in California made me excited for the coming summer and trips to the beach! How exciting those trips used to be..perhaps its a goal I can work on this summer!
One of my most memorable parts of the trip was Sunset Cliffs. We capped off on of our evenings at Sunset Cliffs. This view was breathtaking. The beaches and water were glowing in the golden shades of the setting Sun. We sat there for over an hour – just observing the locals & tourists (like us!) gather to bask in the Sun’s glory. We watched Mother Nature paint a picture that not even Shakespeare can justly describe. It was a moment when all else in the world held still, so that my soul could soak up the warmth & beauty of the nature. The perfect way to celebrate Earth!
Last day in San Diego entailed Hawaiian coffee/breakfast at the Lion Coffee (with names like Aloha Mocha & Lion Thai Latte), a Trolley Tour, and visit to the Old Town! What is Old Town known for? Mexican food & artisan markets! Just like good little South Asian children, V enjoys Mexican food, and it would be an absolute travesty not to try out San Diego’s take on Mexican food. And we were not left disappointed. With fresh flour tortillas & well marinated meats, we were stuffed beyond our capacity! Of course, we took a stroll around the Seaport Village in San Diego (see a pattern yet?) before packing it in for the trip!
Bottom-Line Top 10 Picks for San Diego:
- San Diego Zoo
- Sunset Cliffs
- La Jolla Beach area
- Hotel del Coronado & Beach
- Cody’s at La Jolla
- Hop On Hop Off Trolley Tour
- Seaport Village
- Old Town Mexican food
- Hodad’s Burgers
- Walk through the Gaslamp Quarter
Thanks for hosting us San Diego – we had a wonderful time!