Even though San Diego’s consistent favorable weather might make you think that we don’t shop for the latest fall and winter fashion trends; we certainly embrace the season’s ensembles that fit our active lifestyle and great weather!
Westfield Style Tour with Stacy London from What Not to Wear
At the “Westfield Style Tour,” Stacy London, from What Not To Wear, described San Diego’s style as healthy, colorful, and cheerful and that made me think that the jewel tones for fall and winter will fit perfectly! Some key pieces to buy while visiting San Diego would be, colored denim, a casual-chic jacket, or a gem colored holiday dress.
Some of these items can be found at various boutiques around San Diego:
One of my favorite to shop for jackets and on-trend colors for Fall is Poppy Boutique. This boutique features the current trends for every season and I especially love their faux leather leggings.
Fashion in the Heart of Mission Hills at Le Bel Age Boutique
The go-to boutique called Le Bel Age carries looks from bold-boho-chic to effortless -elegant-chic. I love their take on modern tunics with leggings (great for layering), to gorgeous holiday dresses and Chanel-inspired jackets. If the fabulous window displays do not entice you in then their price points sure will!
San Diego is home to some of the best tacos in the USA due to a world beyond Rubio’s world famous fish taco and Old Town’s bastion of Mexican eateries rarely seen by tourists. Out there, away from the prying eye of technology, is a stellar collection of succulent meats and robust salsas whose only digital existence is relegated to the near beatific ravings of Yelpers. Below are seven temples of taco worship (in no particular order) not to be missed on your food pilgrimage to San Diego:
Tacos El Gordowas famous in Tijuana long before it opened its second location stateside in Chula Vista. Without a doubt, you want the pork adobada tacos. I can’t even begin to describe how good they are. Just go eat one. It costs all of $1.75.
Las Cuatro Milpas holds down the lunch crowd in Barrio Logan. What to order? Anything that includes a tortilla. Tortillas are made on site and must be infused with love and magic, because there is no way just food tastes this good.
Cantina Mayahuel in Normal Heights is a beautiful spot with an insane tequila selection (side note: they make my favorite margarita). It is more expensive than its taco shop cousins, which pays for the lovely space and high quality food. Go Mondays for all-night happy hour including $5 margaritas and 3 tacos for $6. Carnitas tacos are my favorite. They are marinated in pineapple juice for extra umpf!
Lucha Libre in Mission Hills is our most notable mention of the seven, having appeared on Man vs. Food in 2010. But it makes the taco list for an unlikely featherweight contender: the Flaco Taco. Marinated chicken is wrapped in a lettuce “tortilla” with vinegary, pickled onions to provide a delicious, nutritious winner.
Puesto in La Jolla recently opened with an experimental take on traditional Mexican street fare. With a selection ranging from carne asada to soy chorizo potatoes, you get to choose any combination of grilled items and toppings – Chipotle style, for lack of a better term. I like to go with Huitlacoche (corn truffle) with grilled pineapple, and Jamaica salsa, but you can always go with pollo al pastor.
Karina’s Taco Shop, in Leucadia, might be further from the boarder, but it is no less authentic than Tacos el Gordo. The fish tacos are different from other restaurant offerings, so be warned, people tend to love them or hate them. The carne asada with guacamole is always a hit.
Well there you have it! Seven San Diego tacos not to be missed. But there are, of course, many more. What is your favorite taco in San Diego?
LeBelAge Boutique, located in the historic Mission Hills neighborhood, is a rare find when shopping for complete ensembles for any occasion making LeBelAge one of my favorite places to shop. Being a regular there I know that this boutique is always spot on with current trends while still being fashion forward for women. Just be sure to look in every case and corner for all of the treasures that you will find.
Cecilia Boutique, also in the historic Mission Hills neighborhood, is known for being a so-called “incubator” for rising local design stars. They feature ultra fresh brands for women evoking an overall contemporary feel with comfort. Their vintage inspired pieces and current trends of the season items can be easily mixed together for a fresh take on San Diego’s style.
When hanging out in Little Italy, I like to stop by Vocabulary Boutique. Whether you are shopping for women or men this boutique has multiple options for daytime or evening clothing and accessories to personalize your style at great price points. There is even a baby section!
Another must-shop in Little Italy is Be Beauty. This boutique not only offers current women’s fashions, many brought in from Brazil, but also specializes in beauty services. Get a facial along your nails and make-up done before selecting a chic outfit to go out in!
In the heart of the Gaslamp Quarter is Goga Boutique, owned by one of Project Runway’s alumni, Gordana Gehlhausen! This innovative designer not only offers her one-of-a-kind dresses but also features some unique brands that compliments her own pieces. Stop by for either an uptown-glam or urban-chic look.
Just around the corner from Goga Boutique is Dolcetti Boutique. I love this boutique for effortless combinations of either daytime or casual evening looks. There is also a wonderful men’s section offering the latest in jean trends. This is another great option to beautify yourself while shopping since there is a full service salon upstairs. Be sure to check out their accessories too!
Out of the four locations of Studio 1220 Boutique, I like visiting the one in Point Loma located in Liberty Station. This boutique focuses on casual-chic looks with fun accessory pieces. I know I will always be able to find just the perfect blouse or scarf or jacket there! Their footwear selection is also very enticing.
Another great shopping option is Chillers Showroom in Pacific Beach. Concentrating mainly on women, with a nice contemporary selection for the guys, the style here is a laid-back California-chic look offering effortless combinations. It is very easy to find some great layering pieces, tunic-style t-shirts and unique local jewelry designs.
Mimi & Red Boutique has a plethora of street-chic ensembles at fabulous price points. The selection of modern looks including jackets, accessories and blouses at affordable prices always seem to complete my shopping checklist. I never leave empty-handed when shopping at the North Park location.
Junc Boutique, a rustic-modern boutique for both men and women in the hip South Park neighborhood, offers some great finds conquering more of a bohemian-look. The boutique has an eclectic mix of clothing and accessories while showcasing some great local art. You can also pick up the perfect housewarming gifts!
The Parisian-inspired brick house where Capricorn Boutique resides is located in the Birdrock area of La Jolla. This boutique dedicates itself to carrying unique and special clothing lines and accessories for both women and men. The laid-back-luxe looks really inspire you to attempt to be a little bit more hip. The owners research unique and special lines to take on an effortless-chic approach.
My last top 12 boutique to visit in 2012 is Tucci Boutique in the Cedros Design District. This boutique has a coolness factor where you can find the latest styles for women’s clothing, accessories, jewelry and shoes. You can find everything for those unique date night ensembles or work-chic pieces. They carry hard to find brands that truly fit San Diego’s uptown-smart style.
Where will you be shopping in San Diego this year?
Because you can never have too much of a good thing, San Diego Restaurant Week has been extended for an extra 6 days. If you missed it this week, you can still get great values on meals at more than 130 restaurants around the county from January 22 – 27, 2012.
With the great savings offered during Restaurant Week, now is the perfect time to get out and try something new. These cozy neighborhood joints will have you rubbing elbows with the locals while you savor a three-course dinner for $30 or less:
Dinner – $20
This charming spot in Mission Hills may be unassuming on the outside, but their menu is full of bold flavors. During Restaurant Week, you can start with beer-battered oysters, follow-up with a slow-roasted tri-tip steak and finish the evening with decadent dessert of milk chocolate ganache with brown butter ice cream. Of course, the meal wouldn’t be complete without wine pairings, which can be added to complement the menu for an additional cost.
Lunch – $15
Dinner – $30
A meal at this warm and cozy South Park favorite is like a trip around the world. Try Southern-inspired lemon-garlic shrimp and grits for an appetizer, a classic French coq au vin for the main course, and an unexpected twist on Filipino food with Vagabond’s banana lumpia for dessert.
Dinner – $20
Fun and funky describe this Banker’s Hill restaurant. The hot pink color scheme will instantly put you in a good mood, and so will their delicious tacos. Whether you prefer the classics like carnitas with cotija cheese, onion and cilantro or the vegan-friendly soy chorizo option, Barrio Star’s Restaurant Week menu offers the comfort of Mexican cuisine served with a fresh perspective.
San Diego has an array of unique boutiques located throughout the different neighborhoods of the city. In most cases Haute would define the upper class but in this case it purely defines the effortless chic fashions of San Diego and just a glimmer of what the city has to offer.
Goga Boutique, Downtown San Diego
Downtown has Goga Boutique located at 401 Market Street, showcasing Gordana Gehlhausen’s clothing and jewelry designs. Gordana was featured on the 6th season of the reality show “Project Runway.” Not only does she create one-of-a-kind pieces (check out her gowns!) but she also carries other lines that have an edgy-elegant look to them.
Le Bel Age Boutique, Mission Hills
Just north of downtown in Mission Hills is Le Bel Age Boutique at 1607 W. Lewis Street. This exclusive boutique offers an abundance of must-have fashions, from exquisite statement jewelry to hard-to-find clothing brands and glamorous accessories. It truly is a one-stop-shop!
Capricorn Boutique, La Jolla
Continuing north to La Jolla is Capricorn Boutique at 5544 LaJolla Blvd. Capricorn offers ultra-fresh laid-back SoCal style. Carrying a variety of unique delicate jewelry, beach-chic clothing, yummy candles and hip urban-style’s for men!
Camellia Boutique, Solana Beach
A little further north brings us to Solana Beach and Camellia Boutique at 301 N. Highway 101. The openness of this boutique truly represents a relaxed ambiance with plenty of choices for casual pieces or date-night ensembles. Their stylish jewelry selection features many unique local designers.
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.
Next, get a preview of Mission Nights! a new open-house in the Mission Hills shopping district that kicked off in June and is scheduled for the third Wednesday of each month. With area shops and restaurants serving up live music, free food, dinner and drink specials, it’s a great excuse to truly travel like a local and explore one of San Diego’s most charming neighborhoods.
Finally, listen up for next month’s Tiki Oasis and all the surf city fun coming our way Aug. 13-16. A post on that is in the works but, in the meantime, maybe Mister Tiki’s Mai Tai’s happy hour will hold you over until next week’s Travel Like A Local.