Meet Marcela Valladolid – San Diego’s Guide to the Good Food

Marcela Valladolid - San Diego Guide to the Good Stuff for Food

Marcela Valladolid - San Diego Guide to the Good Stuff for FoodFans of the Food Network know Marcela Valladolid as the star of Mexican Made Easy and one of the hosts of The Kitchen, but many viewers might not know that Marcela is a San Diegan through and through! And this chef loves the cuisine of San Diego, which is full of Mexican influence. As Marcela notes, “we’re so close to Mexico, it’s unavoidable!”

Let Marcela Valladolid be your Guide to the Good Stuff with her picks for the most authentic flavors of San Diego:


Best Spots for Authentic Mexican Cuisine

There is no shortage of places to find Mexican food in San Diego, but trust Marcela to point you towards the very best.

  • Old Town San Diego: “It’s very California in the sense that it’s very relaxed, but it’s very traditional in terms of what it’s offering you from Mexico,” Marcela shares. Try El Agave for traditional mole or Café Coyote for their fresh tortillas.
  • Chula Vista: Marcela loves this neighborhood because many restaurateurs from Tijuana have settled here. She loves Romesco, the San Diego restaurant of famed Baja chef Javier Plasencia, as well as the TJ Oyster Bar.
  • Aqui es Texcoco: This little family owned restaurants gets Marcela’s vote as one of the most authentic Mexican restaurants in town.
  • Las Cuatro Milpas: This tiny Barrio Logan shop makes food “like grandma used to make you at home, if you grew up in Oaxaca or Jalisco.”

Marcela Valladolid’s Favorite Non-Mexican Dining

Mexican cuisine is certainly delicious, but we all need to change things up from time to time. For some different flavors, Marcela recommends these San Diego dining ventures.

  • Searsucker: Marcela loves how celebrity chef Brian Malarkey’s signature restaurant makes you feel like you are having a fine dining experience in a social environment with fun, funky décor.
  • Morton’s: The great bar, stellar service, and feeling like family when you dine are just a few of the reasons that Marcela enjoys visiting this popular steakhouse.
  • North Park: This neighborhood is known for its young, hip vibe, but the dining options make North Park really special. Marcela enjoys the small but well-executed menu at the Smoking Goat, and Italian fare from Alexander’s is always a favorite when she is in the neighborhood.

Check out more of Marcela Valladolids’s favorite things about San Diego, including best places to go with your kids, at

Bruce Glassman

San Diego Brews and Views You Can’t Refuse

Amplified Ale Works - Pacific Beach - Brews with a View
Amplified Ale Works - Pacific Beach - Brews with a View

Drink beer the San Diego way with a cold one in your hand a view of the Pacific Ocean. Photo courtesy of The San Diego Brewery Guide / Georgian Bay Books

In my humble opinion, the two greatest things about living in San Diego are the beaches and the beer. So, what could be better than combining the two? Here’s a list of breweries and brewpubs that offer the best combinations of brews with views. I’ve organized them from north to south – basically along the coast – from Oceanside all the way down to Coronado Island.

Surf on Up to Breakwater Brewing Company, Oceanside

Situated on the Coast Highway, Breakwater is only a block up from the beach. The brewpub has embraced the casual surfer vibe of the area, and even serves their tasting flights on little wooden surfboards. A perfect spot to relax after a day at the beach, Breakwater has a full menu and an impressive variety of taps that feature their own house brews (about 14) as well as guest beers (about 24). Be sure to also grab a taste of their Rabiscus Mead, which is a fairly unique offering.

Where: 101 N. Coast Highway, Oceanside, CA 92054
> Find out more about Breakwater Brewing Company

Coast on Down to Pizza Port, Carlsbad

Another casual, family friendly brewpub that’s only a few blocks or so from the water, Pizza Port has been a top local favorite for many years. Awesome pizzas and salads accompany some of San Diego’s most award-winning beers, all available from a large selection of taps (Sharkbite red and Swamis IPA are two crowd faves). Interesting guests beers are another regular feature of Pizza Port, as is the loud, fun, boisterous atmosphere that makes it a perfect after-beach chill for parents and kids alike.

Where: 571 Carlsbad Village, Carlsbad, CA 92008
> Find out more about Pizza Port Carlsbad

Drift Down to Pizza Port and Culture Brewing Co., Solana Beach

The Pizza Port in Solana Beach, like its siblings in Carlsbad and Ocean Beach, is also just a shell’s-throw from the water. And like all Pizza Ports, the beach-inspired setting is all about good food, great beer, and relaxing in a casual, friendly spot. Each Pizza Port shares certain beers with all the others, but each location also has its own brewer, so don’t miss the excellent offerings that are unique to each location.

Where: 135 N. Highway 101, Solana Beach, CA 92075
> Find out more about Pizza Port Solana Beach

Culture Brewing is just a block or two from Pizza Port and two blocks from the beach. As one of the “new kids,” this small tasting room and brewery has faced the challenge of offering their beers in the shadow of Pizza Port, which has been a Solana beer mecca for a long time. The talented folks at Culture, however, seem up to the task (try the black IPA if you can).

Where: 111 S Cedros Avenue, Solana Beach, CA 92075
> Find out more about Culture Brewing Co.

Float on Over to Karl Strauss, La Jolla

Karl Strauss has a number of excellent brewpubs located all over San Diego, but this one is closest to the water and the beach – though it is a few blocks up the hill, in town. One of the newer locations, this beautifully designed spot features large windows, an outdoor seating area, a full menu of great beer-inspired dishes, and a nice selection of the brewery’s tasty beers. On tap, usually, are some of Karl’s core production beers, some of their specialty beers, and one or two seasonals. (If available, don’t miss Off the Rails (red), Tower 20 IIPA, or Wreck Alley Imperial Stout.)

Where: 1044 Wall St, La Jolla, CA 92037
> Find out more about Karl Strauss La Jolla

Wade Down to Pacific Beach Ale House and Amplified Ale Works, Pacific Beach

Here are two great ocean-centric locations, each right off the beach with great views. The family friendly PB Ale House offers a full menu as well as 8 or 9 house beers, all served up in a large space that offers everything from outdoor seating, to indoor tables, to an awesome rooftop area, which is the place to go for the most impressive view.

Where: 721 Grand Ave. San Diego, CA 92109
> Find out more about Pacific Beach Ale House

Just a few blocks south of PB Ale House is Amplified Ale Works, which also boasts a good view of the water, a full menu (it’s part of California Kabob House), and nice outdoor seating bathed by fresh ocean breezes.  Though their list of house brews is relatively short, they are all long on flavor (Belgian fans should not miss the Bier de Garde).

Where: 4150 Mission Blvd. #208, San Diego, CA 92109
> Find out more about Amplified Ale Works

Paddle on Over to Coronado Brewing Company, Bay Park

In the spring of 2013, Coronado completed this wonderful new facility just a quarter-mile or so from Mission Bay. A huge brewery fills most of the space, but there’s plenty of room for thirsty patrons in the large tasting area. Given its proximity to the bay, this Coronado location provides the perfect capper to a busy day of water sports, beachcombing, or exploring the many wonders of SeaWorld. After all that activity, few things will taste as good as a cold Orange Ave. Wit, a Mermaid’s Red, or the Frog’s Breath IPA.

Where: 1205 Knoxville St., San Diego, CA 92110
> Find out more about the Coronado Brewing Co. Tasting Room

Dive into Pizza Port, Ocean Beach

Here’s another great Pizza Port location, a block or so in from the water, and filled with great beer, delicious pizza, and a warm, friendly, SoCal vibe. On the small side, compared to its Carlsbad siblings, this location still provides a great lineup of house-made beers, as well as Pizza Port core production beers, and guest beers.

Where: 1956 Bacon St., Ocean Beach, CA 92107
> Find out more about Pizza Port Ocean Beach

Sail on Over to Coronado Brewing Company, Coronado Island

There’s no better vantage point than Coronado Island for getting a panoramic view of the beautiful San Diego skyline, replete with glistening water, marinas, and flocks of seagulls. And less than a block from the Coronado harbor you’ll find Coronado Brewing Company, which offers visitors a large brewpub setting with more than a dozen delicious house beers on tap, all of which pair very well with the casual pub-inspired menu.

Where: 170 Orange Avenue, Coronado, CA 92118
> Find out more about Coronado Brewing Co. Brew Pup

Bruce Glassman’s San Diego Brewery Guide, which offers essential information on each brewery, tasting notes, and touring maps, is available at

Brent Bernasconi

Santee Brewery Crawl – There’s Great Beer Out East

Butcher's Brewing Tasting Room - Stop #1 on the Santee Brewery Crawl

So you have been to all the breweries up north, have spent time sampling beers in downtown before a Padres game and biked around the local breweries of North Park. But have you ever explored the three great breweries out in Santee? No you say? Well then put on your walking shoes and prepare to sample the best of East County’s brewing community on a Santee Brewery Crawl.

Please remember to be safe while you enjoy any of San Diego’s amazing craft breweries. Plan on using alternative modes of transportation or bring a designated driver with you. Just make sure to supply him or her with plenty of soda, water and all they can eat as a thank you!

Getting to the Santee Brewery Crawl Starting Point via Trolley

While you can drive, why not play it safe and take the trolley. Just hop on the Green Line heading towards Santee from any of the stops including Downtown, Old Town and Mission Valley. Get off at the Gillespie Field stop and start walking toward the first brewery, Butcher’s Brewing. You can get walking directions for the entire “crawl” from the Google Map embedded at the end of this post.

Butcher’s Brewing

Walking directions from trolley stop: Head northwest on N Marshall Ave toward Cuyamaca St. Turn right onto Cuyamaca St. Turn right onto Prospect Ave. Destination will be on the left.

Butcher's Brewing Tasting Room - Stop #1 on the Santee Brewery Crawl

Make friends and drink good beer at Butcher’s Brewing, the first stop on the Santee Brewery Crawl

The 72nd brewery to open in San Diego (according to West Coaster San Diego), Butcher’s Brewing pours ten house beers along with special brews and four beers from the Mucho Aloha label. Once you arrive, check out what’s on tap and order up a flight. If it’s a warm day, cool off with a taster of the Haupia Cream Ale, a dry-hopped ale with roasted coconut and vanilla, or the Fair Weather Friend. My personal favorite was the Choice Red IPA, a crisp beer with hints of caramel and biscuit notes. Once you finish your flight, thank the bartender and head on out to the next stop, Twisted Manzanita.

> Read about my visit to Butcher’s Brewing during a Beer Up

Where: 9962 Prospect Ave, Ste E, Santee, CA 92071
Distance from Trolley Stop: .6 Miles
> Find out more about Butcher’s Brewing

Twisted Manzanita Ales & Spirits

Walking directions from Butcher’s Brewing: Head east on Prospect Ave toward Ablette Ct. Destination will be on the right.

Twisted Manzanita Tasting Room

Sample the Gillespie Brown at the Santee Brewery Crawl’s second stop, Twisted Manzanita Ales & Spirits

When I first discovered Twisted Manzanita, they brewed out of what is now this Santee Brewery Crawl’s first stop, Butcher’s Brewing. Manzanita had larger ambitions and needed a much bigger space. Keeping to their Santee roots, the brewery moved only .2 miles down the road. The larger tasting room invites you to relax inside with the air conditioning or to sit outside in the shade while enjoying a few tasters. You can easily sample all six house beers in one visit. Make sure to enjoy the Gillespie Brown Ale, their most popular beer. If you are feeling adventurous, order a taster of Where There’s Smoke, a 7% ABV brew infused with chiles.

Wait, they have spirits too?

Yes they do! Twisted Manzanita Spirits is one of the first San Diego breweries to branch out into the world of spirits (Ballast Point and BNS are two others). In a separate tasting room, you can order up a flight of their craft spirits while learning about the process of distilling. I have yet to sample any of their spirits, but a co-worker of mine recommends the Oaked Moonshine 80 proof. After you have sampled the beers and/or spirits, grab a water and start the trek toward BNS Brewing & Distilling Co.

Where: 10151 Prospect Avenue, Santee, CA 92071
Distance from Butcher’s Brewing: .2 Miles
> Find out more about Twisted Manzanita Ales & Spirits

BNS Brewing & Distilling Co.

Walking directions from Twisted Manzanita: Head east on Prospect Ave toward Ian Way. Turn left onto Cottonwood Ave. Turn right onto Buena Vista Ave. Turn left onto Railroad Ave. Turn right onto Mission Gorge Rd. Continue onto Woodside Ave. Slight left to stay on Woodside Ave. Turn left at Woodside Ave. Slight right onto N Woodside Ave. Turn left onto Wheatlands Ave. Destination will be on the right.

BNS Brewing & Distilling Co.

Sit on the patio or step up to the bar inside at BNS Brewing & Distilling Co., stop #3 on the Santee Brewery Crawl

With two breweries under your belt it’s time to hitch a ride or mosey on over to BNS Brewing & Distilling Co. You might want to bring a bottle of water for the 30ish minute walk. The beer will taste even better after the long walk! It might be best to start things off real light with the Gunfighter Golden Ale. After you cool down, move on up to the heavier beers like the Ma Deuce Double IPA or the Gatling Gun Imperial Stout (a favorite of two friends). Since this is the last stop, grab a full pint, take a seat on the outdoor patio and soak up the San Diego sunshine.

Where are the Spirits?

BNS was recently approved to build a spirits tasting room and the opening date is to be determined. When open, BNS plans on serving tasters of house vodka, gin, whiskey and bourbon.

Where: 10960 Wheatlands Ave #101, Santee, CA 92071
Distance from Twisted Manzanita: 1.7 Miles
> Find out more about BNS Brewing & Distilling Co.

Getting Back Home

Congratulations! You have just completed the Santee Brewery Crawl and it is time to return to your home base. If you are feeling energized, walk back to the trolley and enjoy the ride. However, if the weather is really hot or you just can’t walk anymore, call up a taxi or use on demand car services like Uber, Lyft or Sidecar. All I ask is that you get home safe, so let someone else do the driving for you!

Santee Brewery Crawl Map

Brent Bernasconi

San Diego Brewery Tour – 3 Beer Stops with Brew Hop

Toasting the Groom - Societe Brewing Co.

You know the drill: boy falls in love with girl, boy asks girl to marry him, girl says yes(!), boy asks best friend to plan his bachelor party, best friend decides to book a guys weekend including: a bungalow at The Lafayette, Cards Against Humanity and a brewery tour.

There are plenty of good reasons to book a brewery tour when visiting San Diego: a designated driver, behind the scenes access to the brewery, a knowledgeable tour guide who will select beers based on individual tastes, and of course, plenty of beer samples to be enjoyed with friends. Even Greg Koch of Stone Brewing Co. knows the value of a great brewery tour:

Setting Up The Brewery Tour

I called up Summer at Brew Hop to set up the bachelor party brewery tour. With more than 80 breweries throughout the county, it can be hard to narrow it down to just 3 stops. Thankfully, Summer spent a good amount of time with me working out the perfect schedule. I really wanted to make Societe Brewing a stop along with Ballast Point Scripps Ranch/Old Grove since the groom’s brother lived in that area. We finally decided on a route that optimized our time and included 3 great San Diego breweries: Societe, Ballast Point and Helm’s.

3 Amazing Beer Stops

Want to make the groom (and the groomsmen) feel like a VIP? Just have Summer pull up in the luxurious Brew Hop Escalade with a cold beer waiting for him inside. The six of us loaded ourselves into the SUV, took heed of the safety and decorum speech (you are on the tour to have fun, not be a drunken jerk) and headed off to our first stop.

Societe Brewing Co.

Toasting the Groom - Societe Brewing Co.

Toasting the groom while enjoying amazing beer from Societe Brewing Co.

It did not take long for Societe to become one of San Diego’s most popular breweries. It’s head brewers Travis Smith and Doug Constantiner spend most of their time focusing on perfecting their good ol’ fashioned house beers. You won’t find any crazy concoctions here, just delicious and flavorful classic brews.

We pulled up to one of the tables and Summer brought forth plenty of samples based on individual tastes ranging from IPAs, to ales to stouts. After a few tasters, we had the chance to go behind the scenes to tour the brewery and learn about the brewing process while still enjoying their amazing brews.

Brewery Tour with Summer of Brew Hop

Getting the lowdown on Societe’s brewery with Summer from Brew Hop

The big question when leaving Societe is are you on #TeamApprentice or #TeamPupil?

Where: 8262 Clairemont Mesa Blvd, San Diego, CA 92111
> Find out more about Societe Brewing Co.

Ballast Point Brewing & Spirits – Scripps Ranch/Old Grove

Two Thumbs Up - Ballast Point Brewing & Spirits - Old Grove

We give Ballast Point Brewing & Spirits Two Thumbs Up

Ballast Point is a San Diego beer institution. If you have never had a Sculpin IPA, you need to rush out and find one. You can thank me later!

Summer knew that since our party comprised of all local boys and the we had had our fair share of Ballast Point beers, she selected some of the more interesting brews included a few spicy/chili-infused beers. One of the aspects that makes San Diego beers so interesting is the experimentation that brewers are willing to try with spices and even peanut butter (check out Karl Strauss’ Beer Week special release).

Since the place was packed we were unable to take a tour of the brewery but that was just fine since we still had plenty of samples to try before moving onto the last stop.

If you are also into craft spirits, Ballast Point offers daily tastings at the Old Grove location.

Where: 10051 Old Grove Rd, San Diego, CA 92131
> Find out more about Ballast Point Brewing & Spirits

Helm’s Brewing Co.

In Helm's Brewing Freezer with Brew Hop

Our last stop was Helm’s Brewing and we took a few minutes to check out the freezer…since it was so hot outside!

Our final stop on the brewery tour took us to one of San Diego’s newer breweries, Helm’s Brewing Co. There I discovered the amazing Hop the RIPA, a red India Pale Ale, and the seasonal Samuin Harvest, a spiced beer that tasted like autumn (trust me on this one).

Since we were with Brew Hop, one of the owners stopped by to say hello and spent some time chatting with us about the brewery and the business behind running one. It was fascinating to learn what it took to go from home brewing in a garage to a fully armed and operational brewery.

Where: 5640 Kearny Mesa Rd. Suite C/N, San Diego, CA, 92111
> Find out more about Helm’s Brewing Co.

As we headed back to the bungalow in North Park, we enjoyed our slight giddiness by trying to decide the best beer of the day. Of course, we could not choose a winner since we each have different tastes. For one friend it was “The Butcher” at Societe, for another it was Ballast Point Black Marlin with Chipotle, for me it was Hop the RIPA.

However, that’s the beauty of a brewery tour, everyone will find a beer they enjoy all while having a great time. So what are you waiting for? Book your brewery tour today and explore San Diego’s Craft Beer!

> Check out all my photos from the brewery tour with Brew Hop

Brew Hop Information

Phone: 858.361.8457
Cost: $75-$169 per person as of April 2014
> Find out more about Brew Hop

Other brewery tour companies include Brewery Tours of San Diego and San Diego Beer and Wine Tours.

> Read about my Beer Train Tour with SD Beer and Wine Tours.

To top things off, a contest winner took the brewery tour right before ours! Make sure you follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ to never miss another chance to win a San Diego prize package.


Meet Greg Koch: San Diego’s Guide to the Good Stuff for Beer Lovers


To craft beer fans, Greg Koch may be a household name. The co-founder and CEO of Stone Brewing Co., one of San Diego’s largest craft breweries, definitely knows his beer. But rest assured, even if you’re a beer novice, Greg has some tips to get event the first-time craft beer drinker started. As Greg would say, “I’m a beer nerd so that you don’t have to be!”

“San Diego is considered a Mecca,” says Greg. “We’re looked at as being a leading destination in the world for beer.” So where would this craft beer expert spend his time in San Diego? Check out Greg’s tips for getting to know San Diego’s craft beer and much more.

Great Breweries are Everywhere

Stone Brewing Co Greg Koch

Greg Koch enjoys a beer at Stone Brewing Co.’s World Bistro & Gardens – Liberty Station

Stone Brewing Co. is, naturally, Greg’s favorite brewery, but he has plenty of other favorites, too. “Many of them are doing incredibly specialized, unique creative things that nobody else does,” says Greg. Here are some of Greg’s favorite San Diego craft breweries:

Beyond the Beer Suggestions from Greg Koch

It’s true – there’s more to San Diego than craft beer! Break up your beer tasting with a few of Greg’s other favorite activities:

Get more insight from Greg Koch on exploring San Diego’s craft beer scene, including tasting tips, at

Brent Bernasconi

Top Things to Do in San Diego – April 1-6, 2014

Goodguys Meguiar's Del Mar Rod & Custom Nationals

From butterflies to beaches to beers to bodacious hot rods, there is a lot going on in San Diego this weekend with these top things to do.

San Diego Crew & Brew Classic

Rowers - San Diego Crew Classic

Don’t miss the excitement as it rows on by at the San Diego Crew Classic

With the excitement of rowing races complemented by sunny skies and warm temperatures, the San Diego Crew Classic provides a perfect backdrop for a spring getaway to San Diego.

> Read all about the San Diego Crew Classic

Butterfly Jungle

Butterfly Jungle at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Meet a few of the over 10,000 butterflies in the Butterfly Jungle

Each spring the Safari Park’s Hidden Jungle exhibit is filled with amazing and delightful exotic butterflies of all colors and sizes, and guests can walk among them, take photos, and enjoy pointing out different species using a butterfly identification guide provided by the park. There’s something for everyone, from fun kids’ activities to special presentations to fascinating facts about these wonderful winged insects.

Where: San Diego Zoo Safari Park – 15500 San Pasqual Valley Rd, Escondido, CA 92027
When: April 5-27, 2014
Cost: Included with admission
> Find out more about Butterfly Jungle

VinDiego Wine and Food Festival

VinDiego Wine and Food Festival - Top Things to Do in San Diego

Swirl and savor more than 200 handcrafted wines at VinDiego

VinDiego is about people coming together to celebrate a shared passion; a passion for great wine and mouth-watering gourmet food. Come sip, swirl and savor a selection of over 200 handcrafted wines from top-tier wineries. There will also be a fantastic variety of wonderful local restaurants offering delicious culinary samples.

Where: NTC Liberty Station – 2875 Dewey Road, San Diego, CA 92106
When: April 4-5, 2014
Cost: Varies by event
> Find out more about the VinDiego Wine and Food Festival

Goodguys Meguiar’s Del Mar Rod & Custom Nationals

Goodguys Meguiar's Del Mar Rod & Custom Nationals

It’s a full weekend of roddin’ at the beach in ol’ Del Mar.

It’s a full weekend of roddin’ at the beach in ol’ Del Mar featuring a giant show and shine with 1972 and earlier, rods, customs, classics, muscle cars and trucks. Watch the crowning of the Goodguys March Performance Street Rod d’Elegance and a Super Sunday Get-Together for late-model American made or powered cars on Sunday. See more than 3,000 cars, indoor and outdoor car shows, plus vendor exhibits, swap meet and car corral, Goodguys AutoCross, nightly parties, special woody exhibit, live music, model car show and much more!

Where: Del Mar Fairgrounds – 2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd., Del Mar, CA 92014
When: April 4-6, 2014
Cost: $6-$18
> Find out more about the Goodguys Meguiar’s Del Mar Rod & Custom Nationals

San Diego Opera Presents Don Quixote

San Diego Opera Presents Don Quixote

In the magical world of Don Quixote’s Spain, the eccentric knight pursues his impossible dream of capturing the heart of Dulcinea, his idealized woman, who sends him on a quest to recover her stolen necklace. With his loyal sidekick Sancho, he tilts at giant windmills, confronts bandits, and is nearly killed, but achieves his goal. However, when he returns with the prize, he is mocked, scorned and rejected. In one of the most emotional scenes in opera, the delirious Quixote dies believing he hears Dulcinea’s voice calling to him from a distant star.

Where: San Diego Civic Theatre – 1100 3rd Ave., San Diego, CA 92101
When: April 5-13, 2014
Cost: $35-$225
> Find out more about San Diego Opera Presents Don Quixote

Craft Beer + Bites

Craft Beer + Bites - SILO in Makers Quarter

Enjoy craft beer from 10 local breweries paired with small bites from 10 local restaurants, including Green Flash Brewing, Lost Abbey, Societe Brewing, Urbn Street and Alchemy Cultural Fare. In addition to local craft beer and delicious food, SILO will host a variety of interactive games including bocce ball, ping-pong, beanbag toss and life-sized Jenga. Local makers will also be on-hand displaying and talking with guests about custom menswear, murals, silk-screening and home brewing.

Where: SILO at Makers Quarter – 753 15th St, San Diego, CA 92101
When: April 5, 2014
Time: 4:00 to 8:00 PM
Cost: $30-$35
> Find out more about Craft Beer + Bites

More Top Things to Do in San Diego

> Browse the San Diego Event Calendar

Know of some other top things to do this weekend in San Diego? Let everyone know in the comments below.

Sarah Weinberg

San Diego Crew Classic Rows Its Way on Mission Bay

Rowers - San Diego Crew Classic

With the excitement of rowing races complemented by sunny skies and warm temperatures, the San Diego Crew Classic provides a perfect backdrop for a spring getaway to San Diego.

San Diego Crew Classic

Rowers - San Diego Crew Classic

Don’t miss the excitement as it rows on by at the San Diego Crew Classic

More than 4,000 collegiate, junior and master-level rowers converge each spring in San Diego for the San Diego Crew Classic. Held on the waters of picturesque Mission Bay, this thrilling competition draws rowers and spectators from throughout the United States.

More than 126 universities, clubs and high school programs participate in this premier rowing event, with rowers ranging in age from 14 to 84 years old. For many rowers, the San Diego Crew Classic is the highlight of their competitive rowing careers and also tests the competitive skills of potential future Olympians.

In addition to the exciting races on the water, the San Diego Crew Classic features a trade show, alumni and corporate tents, food vendors, the waterfront Sierra Nevada Beer Garden, and a massive Jumbotron offering a perfect view for the start of the races.

Where: Crown Point Shores Park, Corona Oriente Road, San Diego, CA 92109
When: April 4-6, 2014
Cost: $12-$15. Active military with ID and children under 12 years old – Free
> Find out more about the San Diego Crew Classic

San Diego Brew Classic

San Diego Brew Classic

Enjoy local craft beers and water front views at the San Diego Brew Classic

Enjoy the beautiful views of Mission Bay and the City skyline while sipping your favorite local brews at the beach. On tap will be beers from 10-15 breweries including Karl Strauss, Stone, Coronado Brewing Company, Hillcrest Brewing, Twisted Manzanita and more. Food will also be available for purchase.

Regular admission includes ten 4 ounce tasters and a souvenir cup. VIP admission adds an additional hour of beer tasting.

Where: Crown Point Shores Park, Corona Oriente Road, San Diego, CA 92109
When: April 6, 2014
Time: 2:00 to 5:00 PM
Cost: $35-$40
> Find out more about the San Diego Brew Classic

Brent Bernasconi

Padres Opening Day Fun & Festivities – 2014 Edition

Inside Petco - Courtesy Petco Park
Padres Opening Day - Courtesy Petco Park

Catch the Padres take on the Dodgers at the beautiful Petco Park

Spring is finally here and that means it’s time to put on the ol’ Padres baseball cap, pick up a box or two of cracker jacks and head downtown to the beautiful Petco Park for an afternoon or evening America’s pastime in San Diego!

Padres Opening Day

To kick of the 2014 season, the San Diego Padres will take on their heated rivals, the Los Angeles Dodgers on Sunday 30 March with first pitch at 5:05 PM.

While Sunday’s Opening Day game is already sold out, there is still plenty of fun happening around the park. Just pop into any one of the pubs/bars/restaurants in the East Village or Gaslamp Quarter to cheer on the Padres with plenty of fellow fans. Or you could enjoy the festivities at the East Village Block Party.

Tickets are still available for the Tuesday and Wednesday games.

East Village Block Party

At this free, family friendly event, enjoy local craft beer from Mission Brewery, Monkey Paw, and Stone Brewing Co., live music, local restaurants, line dancing on J Street brought to you by Bub’s @ The Ball ParkBlind Burro and Moonshine Flats, and much more. Also – The Moonshine Honeys & Friends will be leading a flash mob at 1:30 PM in front of Bub’s!

This family friendly event features East Village restaurants and hotels including: BASIC Kitchen & PizzaEast Village Tavern & BowlHotel Indigo, and more.

Where: J Street Between 6th and 10th
When: March 30, 2014
Time: 10:00 AM to 7:00 PM
Cost: Free
> Find out more about the East Village Block Party

What’s New in Petco Park

If you are one of the lucky few with opening day tickets or if you are attending a later game, there are a few exciting new things happening inside of Petco Park.

  • Rimel’s Rotisserie will open on the top of the Western Metal Union building
  • The famous Lucha Libre Taco Shop will open a stand on the field level
  • Hodad’s and Bumble Bee Tuna will have new food stands at the Park at the Park
  • The big screen is 50% larger for those watching the game from the Park at the Park

Don’t forget to compliment the new delicious food offerings with a cold local beer from either the Ballast Point Beer Garden (Toyota Terrace) or Craft Beers of San Diego (Sections 109, 213, and 301).

Hat Tip to Gaslamp Ball for news on the new additions.


9 Fun Stops For Kids Along Highway 101 in San Diego County

Moonlight Beach along the Highway 101
Moonlight Beach along the Highway 101

Moonlight Beach is just one of the places your kids will love along Highway 101

Growing up, my dad always wanted to “take the coast” home. In San Diego local speak, this meant driving along the Highway 101 versus taking the freeway. In fact, when my husband and I moved to Los Angeles for a brief four years, it was this exact stretch of road that had us asking, “Why did we ever move out of San Diego?!” Hence, we moved back. In other words, the coast highway is a gorgeously scenic route that is worth taking a drive. And if you feel like stopping along the way, here are some fun for the whole family stops to check out along Highway 101:

1. Harbor Fish Cafe

Let’s start at the north end of the Highway 101 in the town where I grew up, Carlsbad. Enjoy the very walk-friendly sidewalks along the ocean to work up an appetite and fuel your family at Harbor Fish while you catch the sunset. Go for the fish and chips while enjoying surfers and sunset views.

Where: 3179 Carlsbad Blvd, Carlsbad, CA

2. Moonlight Beach

Just as the hot weather hits, the snow cones start calling! Head to the recently renovated snack shack at Moonlight Beach in Encinitas to pick your favorite ice flavors, then enjoy pushing your kids in the swings or watch a volley ball game or two all the while seeing the waves crash along the shore. Locals Hint: Starting in October/November, the sand hills are usually back and San Diego’s very own version of “sledding” is to grab an actual snow sled or boogie board and watch your child’s delight as they glide down the sandy “mountain.”

Where: Encinitas Blvd, straight to the water.

3. Lumber Yard

No visit to San Diego would be complete without souvenirs! Check out this seaside set of shops, including every local’s favorite kid’s store: Magical Child. Pick up a unique gift that will entertain your child on the trip home, then grab some hot chocolate from Chuao and enjoy it next to the fountain as you toss coins to make their little wishes come true.

Where: 967 S Coast Highway 101, Encinitas, CA

4. The Self Realization Center

First stop at Java Depot for what my kids call “monkey hot chocolate” since they attach a plastic monkey to the cup or grab smoothies from Swami’s Café. Once finished, walk over to check out the amazing plants, Koi fish and views from The Self Realization Center. With so much to see and easy to navigate, it is often an afternoon favorite for our family to visit. Also, it’s great practice in learning to be quiet as they do ask that you “keep it down.”

Where: 939 2nd St, Encinitas, CA

5. Swami’s Tide Pools

Just a short distance down the highway from The Self Realization Center is one of the top surf spots. Even better for small kids than watching the waves is searching for sea urchins in one of the many tide pools at low tide.

Where: Coast Highway, Encinitas

6. Bull Taco

True, this is an eating spot on a camping ground, but it’s a family favorite for a spectacular sunset dinner. Perched high on a cliff, enjoy 360-degree ocean views, including of La Jolla. Grab an ice cream at the camp store to finish off your delicious tacos and burritos. Local hint: pull onto the campgrounds and let them know you just need temporary parking for dinner. Or park on the coast highway and enjoy a nice walk back to the car with ocean breezes after filling those tummies.

Where: 2050 S Coast Highway 101, Cardiff, CA

7. Fletcher Cove

A gorgeous beach just two blocks in from the 101,  start your day with breakfast at the ocean view restaurant Naked Café, followed by some play time at the Fletcher Cove park play structure, then head down to the beach to collect shells. Just when you start to feel you have sufficiently worn out your wee ones, finish off the day with some lunch at the popular Pizza Port. Oh! And if you have train lovers, be sure to check out the station across the street.

Where: Solana Beach, CA – where Lomas Santa Fe meets the water

8. Torrey Pines

For a great hike in San Diego with kids, check out the easy trails along one of the most beautiful stretches of coastline. Enjoy the wild flowers and the beauty of the Torrey Pine trees. Head to the ocean after to cool off while splashing in the waves.

Where: 12600 N Torrey Pines Rd, La Jolla, Ca

9. Birch Aquarium

It’s difficult to match the view from this fun for all ages aquarium atop a bluff overlooking the ocean. Stop by to see the Octopus and “hall of fishes,” then head to the hands on exploration area for kids. And when you are ready to have your breath taken away, step outside and enjoy the tide pool display all the while taking in the magnificent views.

Where: Birch Aquarium at Scripps – 2300 Expedition Way, La Jolla, CA

With so much to do and see along one of the world’s most scenic highways, your kids are sure to be requesting “let’s take the coast” and Highway 101 in no time, too.

> Discover more of Historic Highway 101 in San Diego

Sarah Weinberg

The Kids Are Alright – Family Friendly Dining Options in San Diego

Monkey Paw Beer at Stone Liberty Station

San Diego restaurants offer a surprising number of exciting family friendly dining experiences from beaches to breweries.

Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens

Monkey Paw Beer at Stone Liberty Station

Outdoor recreation and an adventurous menu mix well at Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens in Liberty Station.

Wait a minute, beer and kids? Yes! Both locations of Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens offer a dining destination, with an outstanding and challenging menu for adults featuring local meats and produce, and of course, local beers. They also have a kids menu that offers fresh veggies and their own house made soda (free of high-fructose corn syrup). You”ll find no frozen chicken fingers here. Kids can choose between chicken stir fry with noodles, carrots peas and broccoli; a cheese sandwich on freshly baked ciabatta bread and garlic mashed potatoes; chicken and cheese burrito with rice and beans on the side; or pasta in a cream sauce. Our family enjoys dining here because adults can enjoy a pint watching the kids play bocce ball at Liberty Station while we wait for the food to be served. Both locations offer outdoor gardens and paths and grassy lawns so older kids can wander and younger kids have somewhere to toddle (with escort) beyond the confines of a dining room.

Where: 1999 Citracado Parkway, Escondido, CA 92029
> Find out more about Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens Escondido

Where: 2816 Historic Decatur Rd, San Diego, CA 92106
> Find out more about Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens – Liberty Station

Corvette Diner

Corvette Dinner

Pinky Tuscadero and friends welcome your kids to The Corvette Diner.

For pure kid-pleasing pleasure, Corvette Diner has it wired. This place is all about celebrating fun, and they have a huge menu with options for everyone, so even the pickiest eater can be accommodated. Those looking beyond the “diner” experience can find options like the “Popeye” spinach salad. Portions are huge (although there”s an extensive kids menu here too) and the food is fresh and tasty. The wait staff wear 1950s-era diner outfits and toss straws and bubble gum on to the table when they come to take your order. The space is large with many car and music themed rooms and best of all, an arcade! Kids can play pinball, video games and the like and win tickets for small prizes they select. No wonder it”s a birthday party favorite in San Diego.

Where: 2965 Historic Decatur Rd, San Diego, CA 92106
> Find out more about Corvette Diner

Waypoint Public

Waypoint Public - Family Friendly Dining

Waypoint is a neighborhood joint that offers family friendly dining and a hip after 8:00 PM crowd in search of local and rare beers.

You know kids are welcome when a restaurant builds out an area just for the little guys to play. At Waypoint Public located on 30th Street, a thoroughfare with a reputation for craft beer and culinary excellence in the neighborhood of North Park, families can reserve a table next to a kids “corral” to watch their tykes while dining. This kids” zone offers toys, bookshelves, blocks and bean bags in a little area toward the back of the restaurant carpeted with artificial grass and surrounded by a white picket fence.

While the kids menu includes favorites like cheeseburger and fries, mac “n” cheese, grilled cheese and little chicken dinner, the restaurant”s philosophy of fresh, local ingredients result in healthier options all around. The regular menu offers charred Spanish nbso online casino reviews octopus and duck cassoulet as well as an amazing burger. The 30 beers on tap and close to 100 bottles to choose from mean mommy and daddy will be happy too.

Where: 3794 30th Street, San Diego, CA 92104
> Find out more about Waypoint Public

Station Tavern

Dining, family, burger, craft beer

Casual and fun, with a play area for the kids, Station Tavern in South Park is a must visit dining stop for families looking for great local experience.

Station Tavern, in the South Park neighborhood, is one of the most comfortable places for families to dine. It reminds me of a German beer garden with its indoor-outdoor picnic tables and quality beer and cocktail selection. The menu is simple with burgers, fries and tots, salads and a few other rotating items. “Station” as the locals call it, offers a place just for the kids as they crowd inside, and on top of, a mini trolley sitting within a fenced-off area in the outside dining space. A chalkboard and other sand toys offer youngsters distraction in this play zone. The restaurant sits on what was once a trolley track running through the neighborhood, thus the name.

Where: 2204 Fern Street, San Diego, CA 92104
> Find out more about Station Tavern

The Wave House at Belmont Park

Surfer - Wave House San Diego

Dine simulator-side at The Wave House at Belmont Park for a thrilling meal.

For a true escape from everyday dining, head to Mission Beach and get a table at Belmont Park”s Wave House. This entire area sits outside on the famed Mission Beach Boardwalk steps from the Pacific Ocean. The Wave House offers tropical palms, tiki style bars, a college crowd and also a sand pit for the kids to play in (including bean bag toss and giant chess board), all next to two giant wave rider simulators. My kids were fascinated watching beginning and expert surfers alike paddle in to the Wave House”s Flowbarrel and FlowRider wave simulators. No boredom at this restaurant! The menu is varied and extensive, featuring popular favorites from many cultures – taking into account the large tourist population that visits the area. While the kids dined on quesadillas and chicken satay, my husband and I enjoyed fresh sushi made to order and the real ocean views. The Wave House offers fun, action, great people watching and a dip in the ocean for dessert.

Where: 3146 Mission Blvd, San Diego, CA 92109
> Find out more about Wave House San Diego

> Enjoy more family friendly dining in San Diego

Where do you like to take your kids to dine in San Diego?