Benjamin Eastman

Club Crawl San Diego – The VIP Gaslamp Quarter Experience

Club Crawl San Diego

Want to join Club Crawl San Diego on a nighttime journey to some of San Diego’s hottest nightclubs? Leave a comment on this blog post by 11:59 PM on Wednesday, July 8, 2015 for the chance to win two Club Crawl San Diego tickets.

Recently, my girlfriend and I decided we needed a night out on the town, but wanted to avoid as many lines and cover charges as possible. Most of our nightlife-loving friends were out-of-town for the weekend and we were indecisive about where we wanted to go. Gaslamp Quarter definitely, but where in the Gaslamp?

Enter Club Crawl San Diego

For just $25, you are included in a crawl that hits 4 nightclubs/lounges/rooftops in one night. You’re not paying cover at any of the stops, and Club Crawl San Diego has access to get you in through the VIP lines. The only waits you experience are at the first stop to check-in and when showing your ID at the door at each of the venues!

Stop 1: Analog

A little about our night: All Crawls begin at 10:00 PM at Analog (801 5th Avenue) where you check in with the Club Crawl San Diego staff, get your wristband and enjoy discounted drink specials. Make sure to get your photo taken (hey, there’s gotta be a “before” photo, right?!) and then get right out onto the dance floor!

After an hour or so at Analog, the Crawl hosts pull the group together and you walk to the next stop. The beauty of the Gaslamp Quarter is that everything is really close. Everyone get’s a little break on the short walk before skipping the line into the next club.

Stop 2 – Fluxx

FLUXX Nightclub

For us Stop 2 was FLUXX, my girlfriend’s favorite stop of the night. The constantly theme-changing, laser light blasting, pulse pounding nightclub continues to win award after award for the outstanding nightlife product they produce. We grabbed a couple of drinks and danced our hearts out amidst the lasers, cold fog and sparkler carrying VIP girls.

Stop 3 – Rooftop600

After a little over an hour it was on to the next stop: Andaz San Diego’s Rooftop600. While I enjoy a great dark, nightclub scene, there is just something about San Diego rooftop lounges that holds a special place in my heart. In this gorgeous city, with our fantastic weather, it just seems natural to enjoy your nightlife outdoors as well. And Andaz does it well – great music, fun vibe, awesome views of the city – this was a perfect addition to the crawl.

Stop 4 – Side Bar

Side Bar

Stop 4 was our last and it was on to the intimate lounge, Side Bar. A great spot to end the night with. Although it is a smaller venue, don’t mistake that for being slower or quieter. This lounge packs quite the punch and was a great way to end a night of crawling.

Looking back at the experience I can see that the Club Crawl San Diego is good for visitors and locals alike. What a great way to experience multiple venues on a busy Friday or Saturday night and not have to worry about finding out how to get on each of their VIP lists, getting there before a certain time, waiting in line, etc. And the beauty of the Crawl is that if at any point during the night you find your groove and just can’t see yourself leaving – you don’t have to. The Crawl is about having a fun evening of nightlife – so if you’re loving Stop 2 or 3 and don’t want to leave, there is nothing that says that there has to be a Stop 4.

San Diego Club Crawl Details

Club Crawl San Diego happens every Friday & Saturday night (and occasional Sundays during holiday weekends) and they mix up which clubs they go to each night. So make sure to check out their website to see what stops they’ll be making on the night you’re interested in going.

They’ve got a big 4th of July Crawl happening on Saturday the 4th where Crawlers are encouraged to wear red, white & blue and will receive some fun holiday swag at check-in!

> Find out more about Club Crawl San Diego

And remember kids…party responsibly! If you’re going to party your faces off and don’t have a designated driver, call up your friendly neighborhood Uber driver and get home safely – so that you can party again another day!

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Sarah Weinberg

A Hole Lotta Choices: Donuts Take Over San Diego

Great Maple Hillcrest Donuts

While San Diego reigns as America’s craft beer capital, there’s another delicious culinary trend brewing: upmarket craft donuts. Nowadays in San Diego County, diners can find just about any style of donut imaginable, including flavors previously not imagined. Here’s a scouting report of a few options, from tried-and-true original family bakeries to trendsetting storefronts with Michelin star pastry chefs.

Coastal Classic

VG Donuts

One of the oldest and best shops is VG Donut & Bakery located in Cardiff-by-the-Sea in Coastal North San Diego County.

VG stands for Very Good and these outstanding donuts have been made by the Mettee family since 1969. With all the crazy combinations offered in today’s donut shops, I love the simplicity of a plain raised, glazed, and this is the place for that pure, traditional style. That doesn’t mean shoppers can’t find cake donuts with cherry icing and chocolate sprinkles or devil’s food, buttermilk, jelly-filled and even seasonal red velvet and pumpkin spice selections at VG donuts.

Where: 106 Aberdeen Drive, Cardiff, CA 92007
> Find out more about VG Donut & Bakery

Old School

Peterson's Donut Corner Escondido San Diego

Since 1981 Peterson’s Donut Corner in Escondido has been serving volumes of freshly fried delicacies 24 hours a day.

I grew up in San Diego’s North County and the place to be for late night or early morning post-club munchies was and is Peterson’s Donut Corner in Escondido. Still run by the Peterson family, this 24-hour small box shop serves all manner of fried and baked delights. The donuts are oversized, a great price and made by bakers who know their craft after 30+ years in the business. Peterson’s offers a huge range of flavors and styles, including the traditional bear claw and old fashioned, but also French crullers, crumb cake, croissants and cream cheese pockets. It was at Peterson’s that I had my first cro-nut, and I’m spoiled for their version ever since.

Where: 903 Escondido Blvd, Escondido, CA 92027
> Find out more about Peterson’s Donut Corner

Donut Bar

Donut Bar

The line out the door and the “Sold Out” sign painted daily on the storefront window attest to the popularity of this craft donut mecca in downtown San Diego. Specializing in large, cake style donuts, this trend-tackling donut group whips up a unique selection day to day and posts the menu daily on their website. Two favorites are the big poppa-tart donut and D.B’s Nutella. This cheeky group creates specialty treats such as French Ferrero Rocher eclairs or maple bacon cinnamon rolls with thick slabs of center-cut premium on the inside. Donut Bar also embraces holidays major and minor, such as May 4th with a Star War’s R2D2 donut and a “Mom” version for Mother’s day.

Where: 631 B Street, San Diego, CA 92101
>Find out more about Donut Bar

A Streetcar Named Desire

StreetCar Merchants' Donut Friend Chicken Sandwich

At StreetCar Merchants, diners get the best of both worlds: fried chicken on a donut bun.

Is it ok to admit in a donut blog that I actually like the fried chicken at Streetcar Merchants even more than their wonderful donuts? Yes, you heard right. There’s a place in San Diego’s North Park neighborhood called StreetCar Merchants of Fried Chicken, Doughnuts & Coffee. You can get both types of fried delicacies all day, but generally mornings are for fried dough and afternoons and evenings taste fried chicken made to order and made to perfection. My kids flipped over the square donuts with flavors such as Nutella, PB&J and wild berries, but they were even more impressed by the crispy-fresh fried drumstick, unlike anything the Colonel had ever processed. Or, go for the best of both worlds, fried chicken on a donut bun!  This concoction is called The Southerner and they also do a Nashville hot version and a Korean twice fried version called Seoul Bender.

Where: 4002 30th Street, San Diego, CA 92104
> Find out more about StreetCar Merchants of Fried Chicken, Doughnuts & Coffee

Nomad Donuts

Nomad Donuts

Just up the street from StreetCar Merchants in North Park, Chef Kristianna Zabala, who previously served as the Executive Pastry Chef at San Diego’s famed Mister A’s, Petco Park and the Michelin starred The Village Pub, works her magic at a little place called Nomad Donuts. Chef Zabala came to Nomad Donuts because she was seeking creative freedom and the donuts at Nomad win the creative prize. In addition to many flavors of vegan donuts daily, customers can try a blueberry cheesecake or blackcurrant chili donut. I had Coronado Brewing Co “Mermaid Red” custard with chocolate, black current and salted chipotle caramel on top. Nomad Donuts frequently partners at local breweries for pairings.

Where: 4504 30th Street, San Diego, CA 92116
> Find out more about Nomad Donuts

One Great Maple Donut

Great Maple Hillcrest Donuts

Great Maple offers three maple bacon donuts on their dessert menu.

Calling itself a “European Dinette,” Great Maple,  in the Hillcrest neighborhood, offers craft cocktails, local beers, seasonal, responsible produce, seafood and meat that arrives in large portions of comfort food, including incredible pies that change daily. My family experienced donut nirvana here one evening after my daughter ordered the maple bacon donuts for dessert. Maple bacon is not my favorite, but when the stack of three fluffy yeast donuts topped with a maple bacon glaze and fresh chopped bacon arrived at the table, I just had to try and was so glad I did. Tasting a donut made fresh and hot to order, not sitting in a case, was truly the way to go.

Where: 1451 Washington Street, San Diego, CA 92103
> Find out more about Great Maple


The Ultimate Waterfront Dining: Dock and Dine in San Diego

Dock and Dine - Bali Hai

With more than 70 miles of coastline in San Diego, finding a restaurant with a spectacular waterfront view is hardly a challenge. This is especially true around San Diego Bay, where breathtaking views can be found at local eateries serving everything from casual fish sandwiches to farm-to-table French fare. But for the ultimate in waterfront dining, arriving by car simply won’t do. That’s why 14 restaurants around San Diego Bay offer “Dock and Dine.” No need for a car, just dock your boat directly behind one of these restaurants for a uniquely San Diego dining experience:

Island Prime/C Level Lounge

Island Prime/C Level Lounge

Primo bay views and food at Island Prime restaurant and C Level Lounge

Known equally for steaks and seafood, Island Prime and the adjoining C Level Lounge along the water’s edge of Harbor Island offer panoramic views of the downtown skyline. Island Prime provides an elegant and upscale dining experience, while C Level Lounge has a casual, laid-back atmosphere.

Slip at Sunroad Marina: One at 60 linear ft.
 880 Harbor Island Dr, San Diego, CA 92101
> Find out more about Island Prime/C Level Lounge

Anthony’s Fish Grotto on the Bay

Dock and Dine at Anthony's Fish Grotto

Dock and dine at Anthony’s Fish Grotto and enjoy views of the bay and the catch of the day

Dock at Anthony’s Fish Grotto along downtown’s Embarcadero and choose between two restaurant experiences. Anthony’s Fish Grotto serves quality seafood in a home-style environment, while Anthony’s Fishette offers fast, casual meals for visitors on the go.  Dockside services also include assistance in cleaning and prepping visitors’ “catch-of-the day.”

Slips: Two at 60 linear ft.
 1360 Harbor Dr, San Diego, CA 92101
> Find out more about Anthony’s Fish Grotto on the Bay

Coronado Ferry Landing

Coronado Ferry Landing Bayside

Dock at Coronado Ferry Landing and enjoy a plethora of dining options

Can’t get everyone onboard to pick a place to eat? Sail on over to Coronado Ferry Landing for everything from burgers to barbecue to gyros. Savor dishes inspired by the sea along with a spectacular view of Downtown San Diego at Peohe’s.

Slips: Twelve at 40 linear ft. protected by wave attenuation; one at 150 linear ft. unprotected
Where: 1201 First St, Coronado, CA 92118
> Find out more about Coronado Ferry Landing

Vessel Restaurant at Kona Kai

Vessel Restaurant at Kona Kai Resort

Enjoy views of Point Loma and the harbor on the Vessel terrace

After you dock, make sure to request a patio seat and enjoy views of the marina while you dine on the catch of the day. Even inside you will be treated to amazing harbor views from either a table or the 360º center bar.

Slips: Two at 70 linear ft.
Where: 1551 Shelter Island Dr, San Diego, CA 92106
> Find out more about Kona Kai Resort

Bali Hai Restaurant

Dock and Dine - Bali Hai

Dock and Dine at Bali Hai for tiki inspired dishes and drinks

When opened in 1953, the landmark Bali Hai Restaurant on Shelter Island was a paragon of mid-century American tiki culture where the exotic atmosphere drew a swinging crowd. The tiki flare remains, as do the amazing harbor views and a mai tai that will really knock the wind out of your sails.

Slip: One at 90 linear ft.
 2230 Shelter Island Dr, San Diego, CA 92106
> Find out more about Bali Hai Restaurant

> Browse the Port of San Diego’s 14 Dock and Dine Options

With 14 to choose from, where will you set sail to?

Edna Gutierrez

It's Taco de Mayo in San Diego


Taco [tah-koh; Spanish tah-kaw] noun plural noun: a Mexican dish consisting of a tortilla, typically folded, filled with various mixtures, such as seasoned meat, beans, lettuce, and tomatoes. – Picture courtesy of Puesto

A recent study revealed that tacos can cause addiction…well, that”s actually not true, but if it were it could explain the recent boost of taco enthusiasts in San Diego. Don”t get me wrong, we have always been fans of the tortilla-wrapped delicatessen, but lately San Diego has seen a surge in gourmet taco restaurants like North Park”s Tacos Perla or the soon-to-be-opened Galaxy Taco in La Jolla. And now with Cinco de Mayo around la esquina, tacos are also playing the leading role at a couple of new events popping up in San Diego this May.

Tacos and Tequila Festival

Tacos & Tequila Festival

Tacos and margaritas unite forces for the Tacos and Tequila Festival

Tacos and Tequila Festival arrives to San Diego to celebrate the best margaritas and tacos in the city. Ten mixologists will be serving their signature margaritas while ten restaurants showcase their taco skills. Attendees will get to vote for the best of the best and the winning restaurant will take home the coveted “Golden Taco Award.” There will also be a beer garden serving local craft beers and live music to entertain the crowd. This is a 21 event.

Where: SILO in Makers Quarter – 753 15th Street, San Diego, CA 92101
When: May 2, 2015
Time: 1:00 to 5:00 PM
Cost: General Admission at $35 and VIP at $45
> Find out more about the Tacos and Tequila Festival


Headquarters Exterior 2 -Courtesy The Headquarters

Puesto will transform the plaza at The Headquarters at Seaport into a live music festival with CINCOTECA

Puesto, the popular all-natural Mexican eatery known for its tacos, will be taking over The Headquarters right on Cinco de Mayo. The free event will feature drinks, specialty made donuts by Donut Bar and Puesto”s famous tacos (of course), all available for purchase. Tacogoers will also get to enjoy the beats of modern Latin music courtesy of Los Master Plus, Buyepong, Orlando Music and the Grammy Award Winner; La Santa Cecilia.

Where: The Headquarters at Seaport – 789 W. Harbor Drive, San Diego, CA 92101
When: May 5, casino 2015
Time: 4:00 to 10:00 PM
Cost: Free admission, food and drinks available for purchase
> Find out more about CINCOTECA

Reader Tacotopia

reader tacotopia 645x340

We want YOU to help in the search for the best taco in San Diego.

Just when you thought Cinco de Mayo was over, the 1st Annual Reader Tacotopia will reunite 30 of San Diego”s yummiest restaurants on a quest to find the best taco in town. Attendants will get to pick the winner of the “San Diego’s Best Taco” award while live music from Tijuana local bands will set the scene. A cash bar with wine, cerveza and cocktails will be available to wash down all those tacos. This is a 21 event.

Where: Golden Hill Park – 2590 Golden Hill Dr, San Diego, CA 92102
When: May 16, 2015
Time: 1:00 to 4:00 PM
Cost: General Admission up to $35 and VIP up to $50
> Find out more about Reader Tacotopia

Three facts about eating tacos

  1. Tilting of the head is absolutely necessary
  2. You can”t NEVER have enough napkins
  3. Before the first bite, you must apply lime (NOT lemon)

About Cinco de Mayo

Let”s get our tacos straight…I mean facts straight, Cinco de Mayo is not Mexican Independence Day – that”s actually on September 16 – as a matter of fact, Cinco de Mayo is not observed in Mexico as a national holiday and is referred as “Battle of Puebla Day” to commemorate the 1862″s Mexican army”s victory over French forces in the city of Puebla. However, Cinco de Mayo is a great festivity to have in the United States because it has become a mean to celebrate Mexican heritage…and tacos.

Edna Gutierrez

San Diego’s Gastronomy and Its Baja Influence

With a mild year-round climate, a proximity to the Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Cortez, a rich abundant soil and an unquestionable influence from its vicinity to Mexico, there is no wonder why San Diego has become a nucleus of hot spots to dine.

La Jolla Dining George's at the Cove 2 -Courtesy Erik Isakson -exp. 7_2015

Location, location, location: San Diego’s blooming dinning scene demonstrates the advantages the city has for its proximity to the Pacific Ocean, abundant rich soil and its vicinity to Mexico.

San Diego stands in the middle of two very powerful influences: the California fare, distinguished for its devotion of using fresh local ingredients and pursuit of constantly renovating its cooking techniques, and Mexico’s Baja Med cuisine, a food revolution that began in Tijuana, Mexico and is gaining worldwide recognition for combining traditional Mexican ingredients with those of Mediterranean. Thanks to the daring chefs who have created a dining experience that speaks to locals, San Diego’s culinary landscape blends these two influences into a delicious Cali-Baja scene.

These influences can now be found on the menus of the many restaurants that dwell in San Diego; like Juniper & Ivy in Little Italy and its Baja yellowtail tostada with shark sauce, or their famous carne cruda asada with quail egg, cotija cheese and jalapeno. Market Café in Coronado is another good example, featuring on their menu a Baja ceviche with cilantro, avocados and ginger beer and their Baja pulled pork with queso blanco (white cheese), avocado and lime cream.

J&I Carne Cruda Asada

Juniper & Ivy’s carne cruda asada is the perfect example of how Baja inspired ingredients: carne (steak), cilantro and cotija cheese, can be combined to make a ‘must have’ dish like this one.

Besides just being inspired on Baja ingredients some restaurants build their entire personality off this cuisine, like San Diego’s own Rubio’s who  became famous nationally for bringing Baja fish tacos to this side of the border or East Village’s The Blind Burro who specialized in Baja coastal cuisine and hosts Baja Tuesday featuring tacos and margaritas specials.

Coastal Cuisine -Courtesy The Blind Burro

You can have a taste of Baja with The Blind Burro’s Baja ceviche: Mexican white shrimp, bay scallops, tomato, onion, avocado, cilantro and lime.

Upcoming Baja Influenced Restaurants

Luckily for us in San Diego this is not just a trend, but an identity that continues to bloom with the opening of new restaurants that promise to submerge us even more on this experience. Some upcoming Baja influenced restaurants worth keeping an eye for are:

Bracero Cocina de Raiz

Bracero Cocina de Raiz by acclaimed Mexican Chef Plascencia, scheduled to open May 2015 in Little Italy. The 4,800 square-foot space will offer a casual and fine dining experience presenting modern Mexican food with both small and large plates and a bar featuring Mexican spirits and Baja wine.

Where: 1490 Kettner Blvd. San Diego, CA 92101
> Find out more about Bracero Cocina de Raiz


Coasterra by Cohn Restaurant Group, scheduled to open June 2015 in Harbor Island. The Coastal Mexican restaurant concept will include a wedding and event venue situated on the waters of San Diego offering panoramic views of the ocean.

Where: 880 Harbor Island Dr. San Diego, CA 92101
> Find out more about Coasterra

Galaxy Taco

Galaxy Taco by the team from George’s at the Cove, scheduled to open June 2015 in La Jolla. The indoor and outdoor eatery will feature Baja-inspired dishes like cold seafood dishes, salads and eight varieties of tacos. The bar will offer tequila and mescal.

Where: 2259 Avenida De La Playa, La Jolla, CA 92037
> Find out more about Galaxy Taco