Candice

Farm Fresh Dining in San Diego’s North County

With 70 miles of coastline to the west and vast deserts and rolling hills to the east, the possibilities for enjoying the great outdoors in San Diego are limitless. Just in North County alone, visitors can hike, bike, surf, go for a trail ride on horseback, paraglide, and much more. Ask any local San Diegan and they’ll tell you that staying in shape is a big part of the San Diego lifestyle – hey, you have to be in tip-top shape to surf Swami’s Beach or hike Cowles Mountain – and eating right is a big part of San Diego’s healthy lifestyle. Fortunately, thanks to these delicious options, eating right doesn’t mean eating like a rabbit. The following North County farm fresh dining venues offer cuisine that’s conscious of your health (and the planet’s, too!).

Claire’s on Cedros

Claire's on Cedros - Green Dining in North County

Claire’s on Cedros is lean, green and adorable.

Set in an adorable home-like house in Solana Beach, Claire’s on Cedros knows that serving locally sourced, organic ingredients and hormone-free meat is the key to a wholesome and delicious menu. Plus, their building is LEED certified, and they are members of the Green Restaurant Association for their environmental practices.

Stone Brewing World Bistro & Garden

Make Stone Brewery and Bistro one of the stops on your San Diego Craft Brew Tour. Photo courtesy StudioSchulz.com

Stone Brewing Co.’s World Bistro uses fresh ingredients grown right on their farm. Photo courtesy StudioSchulz.com

Stone Brewing Co. is so committed to environmental friendliness that their CEO drives an electric car, and that commitment extends to the food at the Stone Brewing World Bistro & Garden, of course. As part of a $26 million expansion plan, Stone Brewing Co. added their own farm in 2011 in San Diego’s North County. Stone Farms provides organic, sustainable farm fresh produce to the Escondido bistro (and to the new Point Loma location as well), proving that pub food can be good for you.

Solace & the Moonlight Lounge

Solace & the Moonlight Lounge in Solana Beach will have you rethinking the definition of “healthy food” in the best possible way. The eclectic California eatery doesn’t serve anything that contains high fructose corn syrup – they even make their own ketchup! Chef and Owner Matt Gordon will soon open another North County spot sure to become a green-eating favorite: Sea & Smoke, An American Brasserie is slated to open this summer in Del Mar.

> Enjoy more farm fresh dining in San Diego

Know any other great farm fresh dining options in San Diego’s North County? Let everyone know in the comments below.

Candice

5 to Try: Be a Beer Tourist (but drink like a local)

With a casual, relaxed atmosphere and locals who take good beer seriously (but without taking themselves too seriously), San Diego is the perfect place to escape for a libation vacation. Craft beer is so much a part of San Diego, that Mayor Jerry Sanders officially declared June “Craft Beer Month.”

San Diego boasts an enviable 38 breweries (many of them award-winning) and a wide variety of pubs and restaurants catering to those who enjoy unique, locally crafted beers. Whether you’re visiting San Diego during Craft Beer Month or any other month of the year, head to one of these places to sample a local brew and feel like a local while taking in the sites and attractions of San Diego at the same time.

Stone Brewing Co. photographed by Studio Schulz

  1. Stone Brewing Co. in Escondido is recognized as one of the best breweries in the United States by the two largest beer enthusiast websites, Ratebeer.com and BeerAdvocate.com. Brewing more than 50,000 barrels of beer annually, it is also one of the fastest growing breweries in the nation.  Guests can enjoy big character beers like Arrogant Bastard Ale with its high quality ingredients and high alcohol contents. The Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens, a restaurant with a large outdoor patio and one-acre garden, serves a rotating organic menu. Keep an eye out for a Stone Brewing Hotel located directly across the street from their Escondido facility to open in 2013.
  2. The North Park neighborhood is bisected by 30th Street which locals like to call “the best street in the world for craft beer.”  More than a dozen restaurants and bars located along 30th Street proudly serve local craft brews including beer-havens like Hamilton’s Tavern, Toronado San Diego, The Linkery and Ritual Tavern. 30th Street is also a great place to find up-and-coming restaurants and hip boutiques.
  3. Pizza Port, a favorite San Diego North County restaurant with locations in Solana Beach, Carlsbad, and Ocean Beach, is a brewpub featuring hoppy Pizza Port beers and over 15 different pizzas served on the Port’s signature wholegrain beer crust. From their Solana Beach location, you can stroll the Cedros Design District’s funky shops and galleries or hop on the Historic Highway 101 for a coastal cruise through vintage surf culture.
  4. Head over to scenic Coronado to try family-owned Coronado Brewing Company. The brewpub features quality handcrafted beers and delicious food like woodfired pizzas and fresh seafood. Eight signature beers are brewed on-site including the popular Coronado Golden, the unfiltered Idiot IPA and the full-bodied Outlet Stout, Afterwards, take a stroll on the beach, try your hand at surfing or tour the historic Hotel del Coronado, famous for its appearance in the movie “Some Like It Hot” and possible ghostly resident.
  5. Enjoy a beer downtown. Karl Strauss Brewing Company is one of the largest craft breweries in San Diego, offering a core lineup of seven delicious beers, plus a variety of specialty seasonal beers, each perfectly paired with the restaurant’s menu of Southern inspired cuisine.  Karl Strauss also hosts monthly “firkin” parties in which kegs are tapped in the traditional way, by driving a spigot through the front of the keg with a wooden mallet. At their downtown brewpub, you’re just steps away from San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter, the Museum of Contemporary Art, the San Diego Symphony and Balboa Park – with 15 different museums – is just a short jaunt up the road.
Candice

San Diego Spas Get Top Honors by Travel + Leisure

Between the year-round mild weather, gorgeous scenery and the easygoing attitude of the locals, it’s hard not to feel relaxed in San Diego. But if you’re looking for the ultimate rejuvenating escape, San Diego County is home to some of the best destination spas in the world. Just ask Travel + Leisure magazine: they recently recognized four San Diego area spas with their 2011 “Worlds Best” award for top destination spas!

Here’s a peak at what makes these spas four of the best in the world:

Cal-a-Vie Health Spa's scenic setting

Nestled on 200 private acres in the rustic community of Vista, located approximately 40 miles northeast of downtown San Diego, Cal-a-Vie health spa and resort offers an unparalleled level of personalized attention with a 4-to-1 staff-to-guest ratio.  The resort combines luxurious European spa philosophies with the California concepts of fitness, health and nutrition.  Three-, four- and seven-night packages include gourmet spa cuisine, fitness classes, golfing, hiking, beauty and spa treatments.  Guests stay in private, luxuriously appointed Mediterranean-style villas featuring breathtaking views from private balconies.

The Golden Door's serene accommodations

The Golden Door, located on a winding country road five miles north of Escondido in San Diego’s North County, greets guests with a  jewel-encrusted entrance gate flanked by camellias and fuchsia. The facilities include three guest lounges, a dining room, kitchen, indoor/outdoor exercise studios, the Dragon Tree Gym, two swimming pools, two tennis courts and a private hillside for hiking. The bathhouse contains a steam room, sauna, showers, fan-shaped therapy pool and sequestered rooms for body scrubs and herbal wraps.  With a clientele that includes the very famous and ultra-rich, the Golden Door has earned a reputation for exclusivity, luxury and unparalleled relaxation and rejuvenation.

A relaxing Shirodara treatment at the Chopra Center for Wellbeing

Located in the beautiful La Costa Resort & Spa in Carlsbad, the Chopra Center for Wellbeing was founded by the internationally renowned Dr. Deepak Chopra.  The Chopra Center explores new frontiers in the expansion of human consciousness through programs, products and services that integrate the mind, body and spirit.  Here, spa guests can relax with an exotic mix of body massages, treatments and facials.

Rancho La Puerta's world-class views

The #1 pick in Travel + Leisure‘s poll, Rancho la Puerta, located just an hour’s drive southeast of San Diego in Tecate, Baja, Mexico, is a fitness-spa showplace featuring 84 handsome casitas set amongst 3,000 beautiful acres.  Active endeavors include hiking, Pilates, yoga and tennis, while the more indulgent pursuits include massages, hydrotherapy, herbal facials and body wrap treatments.  The riches of the earth are also celebrated at the six-acre organic farm that serves the Rancho La Puerta kitchen.  The farm is a vibrant tapestry of orchards, raised vegetable beds and herbs where the flavors of freshly picked produce are available year-round, as are the homemade honey and extra virgin olive oil.

Out of the four listed, which one would you pick for a relaxing getaway?

Brent Bernasconi

Stone makes San Diego an Even Better Beercation Destination

Yesterday Stone Brewing Co. made some awesome announcements.

Plans for Liberty Station

If you’re not already familiar with Stone, the San Diego-based brewer is mostly known for its “arrogant” beers. Regionally, it is the largest craft brew distributor in Southern California. It also operates Stone World Bistro & Gardens in Escondido. According to Stone, the bistro is the third most attend tourist destination in North County. I can say from first-hand experience that the food is amazing, topped only by the beer selection.

Luckily for me, Stone is opening a tasting room in South Park (I can now ride my bike for a growler fill!). Even better, they are opening up a second Stone World Bistro & Gardens  in Liberty Station, just a short drive from downtown in Point Loma. It will incorporate all the best parts of the north county location including a great selection of beer, good food, a relaxing garden area, and an outdoor movie section, plus the addition of a Bocce ball court. Continue reading

Suzzanne

5 to Try This Weekend in San Diego

Sicilian Festa in Little Italy

1. 18th Annual Sicilian Festival: The music, dance, culture and cuisine of Sicily come to the streets of downtown San Diego’s Little Italy neighborhood with four performance stages, a parade of costumed dancers, musicians and more, and best of all, it’s free! www.sicilianfesta.com

2. Old Globe Theatre: Thank Globe its Friday: Kick off the weekend in style with a pre-show bash. Includes hosted wine and martini bar, appetizers and dessert. This Friday you have your choice between August: Osage County or Life of Riley. www.theoldglobe.org

3. Wine, Blues and Brews Festival: Head up north to this annual event in Escondido that will feature live blues music on two stages, plus food and drink samples from local businesses. www.bonsallrotary.com

4. Western Days: Grab your boots and head up to Old Town Temecula as they relive the glory days of the gun-toting Wild-West. The event features a western art show, pony and stagecoach rides, chili cook-off, live music and high-noon shootouts. www.cityoftemecula.org Or head over to Rustic Ramona as it also embraces its Wild West roots with their annual rodeo. www.ramonarodeo.com

The Grand Del Mar

5. The Grand Del Mar Club M Wine Tasting: Head over on Friday night for complimentary wine tastings with Wine Director Jesse Rodriguez and Friends. Complimentary tastings will be offered 6:00 to 9:00 pm (while supplies last), along with music and dancing from 7:00 pm to 1:30 am.
www.grandedelmar.com

Kate

A Bevy of Easter Brunches

Hunt for Easter eggs in the gardens of Stone World Bistro!

Spring’s most decadent dining holiday is just around the corner and maybe you’re wondering where to get your eat on this Easter. Never fear my hungry little bunnies, this Easter Sunday San Diego restaurants are turning out egg-cellent brunches to tempt your taste buds. Hippity hop around town for these Easter day deals:

Coronado

  • Champagne buffet brunch in the Oceanfront Ballroom and Crown Room at the Hotel del Coronado from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm. $78.50 for adults, $34 for kids ages 6-10 and kids 5 and under eat free.

Del Mar

  • Buffet brunch with complimentary champagne at Arterra Restaurant in the Del Mar Marriott from 9:00 am to 2:00 pm. $49 for adults, $15 for kids age 12 and under, kids 5 and under eat free.
  • A la carte brunch with bottomless mimosas at Pacifica Del Mar served until 2:00 pm. Entrees priced from $10.50 to $21.
  • Buffet brunch on the Ocean and Sunset Terraces or à la carte brunch in Kitchen 1540 at L’Auberge Del Mar from 10 :00 am to 2:30 pm.

Downtown

  • Prix fixe brunch with bottomless champagne at Urban Bar & Grill from 10:30 am to 4:00 pm. $30 for adults, $12 for kids.
  • Prix fixe brunch at Chianti from 11:00 am. $30 for adults, $12 for kids.
  • Prix fixe brunch at Bertrand’s at Mister A’s from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm. $35 per person.
  • Champagne buffet brunch with appearances by the Easter Bunny at Buster’s Beach House from 8:00 am to 3:00 pm. $23.95 for adults, $9.95 for kids ages 3 to 11 and kids two and under eat free.
  • A la carte brunch with live music and a free glass of champagne or dessert with each entree purchase at Croce’s Restaurant & Jazz Bar from 10:00 am to 2:30 pm. Entrees priced from $9 to $17.
  • Buffet brunch with live gospel singers at the House of Blues from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. $40 for adults, $18.50 for kids ages 6 to 12 and kids 5 and under eat free.

Escondido

  • Buffet brunch and Easter Egg Hunt in the Stone World Bistro Beer Gardens at Stone Brewing Company from 9:30 a.m. to 2:00 pm. $34 for adults and $12 for kids 10 and under.

La Jolla

  • Buffet brunch at The Marine Room from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. $55 per person.
  • Buffet brunch at The Shores from 10:00 am to 2:30 pm. $42 for adults, $20.50 for kids ages 6-12 and $3 per year of their age for kids 5 and under.

Continue reading

Stephenie

5 to Try: Beer+Food = Beerfood

If you haven’t heard, San Diego brewers are pretty much kicking Heineken these days in the craft beer scene as they continue to pump out award-winning brews and take home coveted titles like “World’s Best.” Our beer is so tasty, that local restaurants and brewpubs have joined in on the fun and are rounding out their menus with beer-infused foods to compliment our sophisticated beer palates.

Some of my beerfood favorites include:

  1. Hamilton’s Tavern in South Park – the oldest beer and wine licensed establishment in San Diego serving tasty pub food with a twist because almost every menu item is made with beer! Highlights include Hop Sausages (house-made sausages, made with hop leaves), Beer Cheese Soup, Beer Candy and beer marinated chicken wings.
  2. Karl Strauss, multiple locations in San Diego – the largest craft brewery in the county offering a core lineup of beers, plus a variety of specialty seasonal beers.  Beer food items include Lemon Hef Chicken, Beer Brined Pork Chops, Big Beer Burger, Beer Battered Fish and Chips and my personal favorite, a Beer Float made with vanilla bean ice cream, dark chocolate and Red Trolley Ale. Continue reading
Kate

A Night at the Museum…Zoo or SeaWorld

Ben Stiller is hilarious but, I’m not sure I’d be up for spending a night at the museum when he’s on duty.  For families looking to make amazing memories without risking ancient Egyptian curses, San Diego has cool sleepovers in unusual places like:

  • Ahoy, matey!  The San Diego Maritime Museum on San Diego Bay has family sleepovers aboard the world’s oldest active tall ship, the Star of India.  Sailors for the day can help set sail, haul cargo and stand watch at night.
  • Grrrr…get wild with family sleepovers at The San Diego Zoo in Balboa Park and “Roar & Snore” camping at the Zoo’s Wild Animal Park in Escondido.  Both include behind the scenes access and animal encounters.
  • Breakfast with the dolphins?  Over on Mission Bay at SeaWorld, the family sleepovers are just the beginning.  You can spend the whole following day exploring park’s rides, shows and exhibits – admission is included.   
    dolphin-pool-sea-world-no-border

    Good morning Mr. Dolphin!