Foodie City Spotlight: San Diego
America's Finest City should be on your must visit list and naturally we want to take you there on Pacific Surfliner. It'd be easy to say you should visit because we have three stops in San Diego or because the zoo is great. But we all know the way to your heart is through your belly. That's why we chatted with Erin Jackson, city editor for Dining Out San Diego and a contributor to San Diego Magazine and Serious Eats, about all things San Diego, but most importantly where to eat.
Describe the one meal that screams San Diego.
Fish tacos and carne asada fries are in a dead-heat for the title. Fish tacos are available everywhere from swanky spots like George's California Modern to Mariscos German, a taco truck parked in San Ysidro. Carne asada fries (thin-cut fries topped with grilled steak, cotija cheese, crema, shredded cheese, and guacamole) are another must. What's so magical about this super-indulgent dish is how it's more delicious than the sum of its parts.
Where’s your favorite place to grab drink and why?
Puesto. Their line-up of fruity, refreshing cocktails go down dangerously easy and the tacos are all solid (particularly the chicken al pastor). Get a frozen horchata or lime chia if you want something without any alcohol.
You have one day in San Diego, what’s on your must-do list?
Start in Ocean Beach. Grab a guava cheese pastry and a cafe con leche from Azucar and amble down Newport Avenue towards the pier. Walk out to the end and watch surfers, then make your way to Sunset Cliffs National Park to gaze out at the ocean from towering sandstone bluffs. Have a bacon cheeseburger (with the signature bacon patty) at Hodad's. Burn off the calories on a bike ride around Mission Bay, hiking at Torrey Pines, or poking around in the tide pools at Cabrillo National Monument. Go for dinner in Little Italy. That part of downtown is bursting with too many awesome restaurants to count, but I'd pick Bencotto or Davanti Enoteca for pasta, Prepkitchen for seasonal comfort food, or Juniper & Ivy for Richard Blais' "left-coast cookery".
What is one of your favorite hidden gems?
Hanna's Gourmet is this totally adorable neighborhood restaurant on Adams Avenue in North Park. Their core menu has everything from Beef Bourguignon to Moroccan Chicken Tagine, but if you can make it to one of the family-style dinners (held every third Thursday), you can feast on a multi-course dinner with dishes that highlight the greatest culinary hits of a given country.
Lastly, outside of the great food, why do you love living there?
The weather is absolutely the best part about living here. It sounds like a cliche, but it's true. Temperature-wise, San Diego is like Baby Bear's oatmeal in Goldilocks: not too hot, not too cold, but just right.
Well you there you have it folks, a city with great weather, great food and tons to do. Now that you're prepped for a memorable foodie getaway, let us be your ride!
What do you like to do when you take the train to San Diego? Let us know in the comments section below.
More about Erin Jackson
Erin's personal blog can be found at EJeats where gives even more recommendations about San Diego