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.

Alison

A Smart Way to Get Around San Diego – Car2Go

Car2Go San Diego
Car2Go San Diego

Car2Go San Diego

In San Diego and need a set of wheels for a quick run to a Balboa Park museum, or a hot new food truck – or simply to study the sunset at the beach? How about a car you can rent by the hour, park for free, drop off almost anywhere and don’t need to gas up?

Car2Go may be your answer. It offers a fleet of 300 two-passenger electric Smart cars that users can keep only as long as needed – then drop off pretty much in any legal parking spot within the Car2Go service area.

That area spans nearly 30 square miles in the heart of San Diego, stretching from Imperial Avenue on the South to Friars Road and Beryl Street in Pacific Beach in the North and from I-15 in the east. Users can drive outside the service area, but can’t end the rental there.

Car2Go Beach & Bike

Car2Go to the Beach

To play, you’ll need to become a Car2go member. Join online or at Car2go’s San Diego shop at 633 9th St. in East Village. There’s a one-time $35 registration fee (look for discount codes online). You’ll get your membership card in about five business days – so be sure to pre-register if you want to get going sooner rather than later.

Rental rates are 35 cents a minute, with a $12.99 per-hour maximum and $65.99 daily max. Rates include insurance, GPS navigation, 24/7 customer support and recharging at approved Electric Vehicle charging stations.

Car2Go with San Diego Skyline

Car2Go and see the San Diego Skyline

Users can reserve a car 24 hours in advance or check the Car2go website for the nearest available car and agree to use it within 15 minutes. (You’ll get a text confirming the location and providing the car’s license plate number.)  Hold your membership card up to an electronic reader on the windshield to unlock the car. Enter your PIN on the touch screen, answer a few questions – and you’re off.

When you’re done driving, park in any legal public parking space within the service area (metered parking is free) and once you have everything from the car, wave your membership card in front of the card reader on the windshield. The doors will lock and you are good to go.

Make sure to register now so you can Car2Go and explore San Diego.

Suzzanne

Staying Green at Port of San Diego Hotels

The Port of San Diego recently launched its first ever Green Business Challenge. The program, launched through the Green Port Program, aims to increase the energy efficiency of businesses around the Bay and reduce environmental impacts. The ultimate goal of the Green Port Program is to achieve long-term environmental, societal and economic benefits through resource conservation, waste reduction and pollution prevention.

So far, nearly 60 businesses are participating including the USS Midway Museum, San Diego International Airport and General Dynamics NASSCO. Additionally, the hotels on the Port’s property are already making great strides in their efforts to reduce waste.

Highlights of their accomplishments include:

San Diego Marriott Marquis and Marina
San Diego Marriott Marquis & Marina: recently installed energy-efficient lighting in its front drive, lobby, pool area, guest rooms, and meeting space. In all, the project has saved the hotel 130,000 kWh per year.

Hilton San Diego Airport

Hilton San Diego Aiport:Retrofitted all exit signs to LED lights and vending misers for vending machines. Recycled paper is used for toilet paper as well as copy paper.

Hilton San Diego Bayfront

Hilton San Diego Bayfront: They recycle both commingled commodities recycling and food waste in conjunction with the City of San Diego with an overall diversion goal of 75%.

Manchester Grand Hyatt

Manchester Grand Hyatt:The Hyatt installed low flow faucets as well as utilizes solar heat for their pools and are in the process of purchasing a composting unit to compost on their property.

Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina

Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina:The hotel utilizes fuel cell energy and composts food waste on the property. Additionally, the Sheraton recently finished a lighting audit and completed a retro-commissioning of the HVAC system.

Be sure to check out the Port’s Green Business Challenge website for more information on all businesses participating.

Suzzanne

5 To Try: Earth Day Edition

For those looking to connect with the environment this weekend, we offer you our 5 to Try: Celebrating Earth Day in San Diego.

1. On Sunday, April 17th, head down to Balboa Park to the annual EarthFair. Each year, EarthFair draws around 70,000 earth loving visitors making it the largest free annual environmental fair in the world. Produced by over 400 volunteers, EarthFair features more than 350 exhibitors, special theme areas, a food pavilion, a special kids’ activity area, three entertainment venues, the Children’s Earth Parade, the eARTH Gallery Art Show, and the Cleaner Car Concourse. It can get crowded so here are some transportation options to help you get to the fair.

2. From coral reefs to kelp forests, celebrate Earth Day with the Birch Aquarium at Scripps. On Saturday, April 16, meet Scripps Oceanography scientists who are working to understand and preserve our oceans, make a recycled craft and learn new ways that you can help protect our ocean planet.

3. Looking to really help make San Diego green? Join the San Diego Surfrider Chapter for a beach cleanup Saturday morning at Moonlight Beach in Encinitas. This is a great opportunity to help make San Diego’s beaches free from unwanted trash. All you have to do is show up and wear comfortable clothing. Surfrider will provide bags (or you can bring one from home), latex gloves and hand sanitizer. Moonlight Beach will appreciate your help!

4. Earth Day may be April 22, but SEA LIFE Carlsbad Aquarium wants to inspire kids to do their part in caring for our seas every day. Throughout the month of April, SEA LIFE will feature an Earth Month-themed show daily at 11:00 am as well as special green learning activities and crafting activities every Saturday from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm.

5. It might surprise some to know that San Diego is home to more than 6,000 farmers and #1 in the nation for small farms. While dining out this weekend, why not try a restaurant known that takes advantage of locally produced ingredients. A few of my favorites include Urban Solace and Cucina Urbana. Even better, stop by one of San Diego’s farmers markets this weekend and make your own farm to table meal!

Suzzanne

20 San Diego Green Facts

San Diego’s commitment to the environment and the protection of its most treasured resources – 70 miles of beautiful beaches and the best year round weather in the country – is far reaching.

Below are 20 Green Facts about San Diego. On your next visit to San Diego, be sure to check one of them out!

San Diego International Airport

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Suzzanne

Science and a Little Green Go a Long Way

We all love going to the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center to see the latest exhibits and experience the IMAX theatre. One of its latest exhibits is “Earth Exposed”. In this exhibit, visitors will see erupting geysers, crumbling mountains and wind driven waves. The collection comprises more than 30 exhibits and places visitors up close and hands-on with many of the forces that continually shape and re-shape the planet. Not only will visitors learn about the earth and the environment, but they can also rest assured that the Fleet Science Center takes its own impact on the environment very seriously.

Since 2005, The Fleet Science Center has implemented measures to reduce its energy and water consumption and recently it achieved LEED Silver Certification for existing buildings from the U.S. Green Building Council. The Fleet Science Center is the first building in Balboa Park to achieve such status.
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Suzzanne

Sheraton San Diego Officially Earns Green Seal Certification

Recently, Green Seal awarded its highest award certification: Gold level. After five months of preparation, a rigorous on-site audit followed by two months of follow-up and verification, they officially received the news on August 5th. This marks the first hotel in San Diego to achieve Gold status from Green Seal. At the time of their certification, there were only 97 hotels certified in 23 states and only 2 are at the gold level. The Sheraton San Diego is the largest Sheraton on the west coast to be certified.

Green Seal is a non-profit organization whose mission is to use science-based programs to empower customers, purchasers, and companies to create a more sustainable world. There are three levels of certification awarded: Bronze, Silver, and Gold. Their standards focus on waste minimization, energy conservation and management, management of fresh water resources, waste water management, pollution prevention, and organizational commitment like environmentally sensitive purchasing.

This certification marks the Sheraton San Diego’s true commitment to sustainability. Congratulations!

Kate

5 To Try New Restaurants

bandiniFrontMediumHungry?  Just a little?

Here’s five new eateries to whet your appetite:

  • Claire’s on Cedros, an eco-friendly bakery and café, opened in Solana Beach earlier this month as the first freestanding restaurant in the U.S. to receive Platinum LEED certification. The laid back, dog-friendly restaurant offers organic eats (natch) for breakfast and lunch. 
  • Also in August, The Red Door opened in Mission Hills with affordable New American comfort food for dinner daily, lunch on weekdays and brunch on weekends. Priced below $20, dinner entrees include cornmeal-crusted Cajun catfish with sweet potato-crab hash and a surf & “cheeky” turf with sea scallops, braised pork cheek, roasted garlic jus and crispy polenta.  Um, hello?  Yum. 
  • Here’s a double – Barona Resort & Casinoin San Diego’s East County opened two restaurants in July and both are great values (and good for those of us playing the penny slots).  Italian Cucina serves classic Italian dishes, pizzas, calzone and pasta all priced under $20 while Seafood Plaza offers grilled items, priced from $6.95 to $12.95, oysters at the raw bar and signature rolls at the sushi bar. 
  • In June, Cucina Urbana opened in Banker’s Hill adjacent to Balboa Park serving affordable Italian regional cuisine with a local farm-to-table ethos (no menu item tops $20). Crazy good starters include seasonal pickled vegetables, pate and other spreads served in mini mason jars and antipasti like amazing fried squash blossoms with ricotta, purple basil pesto and lemon aioli.  Innovative pastas and modern spins on classic Italian entrees round out the menu.  The restaurant is open daily for dinner. 
  • Also in June, a long-time San Diego favorite returned with the opening of Casa de Bandini in Carlsbad.  For more than 25 years, the restaurant was a fixture in Old Town and, once again, diners can enjoy the ambiance of Old Mexico with strolling mariachis, brightly colored umbrellas on a sunny outdoor patio, authentic regional cuisine and giant, frosty margaritas. Open daily for lunch and dinner.

Okay, I can’t stop at just five.  Just one more because, in San Diego you can never have too many great new restaurants.  Especially when they’re serving up frosty margaritas.

  • Casa de Reyes in Old Town State Historic Park reopened in May with a new chef, menu and bright cheerful design. The restaurant has always been popular for outdoor dining so they doubled the size of the patio and added a new shade arbor and dramatic fire pits.  Salsas are made fresh daily; each burrito is served with a specially prepared sauce, and chili rellenos are made the old fashioned way with a creamy, homemade cheese sauce. The restaurant is open daily for breakfast, lunch, dinner and – yes! – margaritas.