A Quickie in San Diego

July 29, 2015
After weeks of Frank working extremely long days and me being cooped up in the apartment with a busted ankle, we were anxious to get away. We booked a trip to San Diego the first chance we got. Unfortunately, hotel rates were insane. The highest I've seen. It was a week after Comic-Con so I'm not quite sure why, but I turned to Airbnb as an alternative. I was able to secure a private room and bath in a charming house near the airport. The location couldn't be more centralized. In the past, I've only booked entire places so I was a little curious how this stay would go.

Getting to San Diego took ages, it was a 6.5 hour drive. Which is highly unusual especially since we left Friday morning. I expected little to no traffic, but it was stop and go the whole way. We were starved by the time we arrived at El Indio. We couldn't decide between taquitos, fish tacos or tamales. So, we got it all. It hit the spot.

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Thankfully, our host was flexible with our late check in. She met us at the house, showed us around and let us know she'll be staying at her daughter's so we'd have the place to ourselves. The accommodations were comfortable. It could only be better if it was a king bed, but we knew it was queen when booking. We spent a lot of time on the front porch, it offered nice views from downtown to the airport. We even could see the nightly fireworks at Sea World. Because we were blocks from the airport, the planes were noisy. They didn't disturb us, though, we enjoyed watching them fly overhead. Frank grew up next to Midway so it bothered him none, and I had no issue since flights were halted overnight.

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Friday night, we barhopped; beginning at Ballast Point. Sculpin IPA is what converted me into a lover of hops. I've loved everything I've tried from Ballast Point since, so I was most excited to check out the brewery. I tried 5 or 6 beers and not one was disappointing. At 9pm the patio closes due to a noise ordinance or something which is kind of ironic since planes are flying overhead. We bonded with a couple over beers, and learned we had so much in common we became fast friends. They recommended we go to Kettner Exchange, it was a trendy bar with a relaxed vibe. Plus, a nice beer selection. We snacked on a burger and tacos, which were really good too. Our last stop was The Waterfront, San Diego's oldest bar. It's more of a dive, but I like dive bars. We had a lot of laughs. It was a good time.

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Storms struck the next morning and lingered most of the day. So, no beach for us. We, of course, hit up Con Pane Bakery first thing. We stuffed ourselves silly. Hit up La Puerta for happy hour before the Padre's game. Thankfully, the clouds parted and skies dried up just before game time. It was my first ballgame this season. It was long over due. We were undecided on dinner for that evening, but ultimately we opted to make late reservations for Juniper & Ivy. We had no trouble securing a 10:30 reservation about an hour before.

The restaurant unexpectedly opens up into a cavernous space. It was a pleasant surprise. Delights continued, we were immediately drooling over the menu. I wish we had the appetite to try one of everything, but we reeled it in and chose a few items to share. We started with flaky light biscuits, followed by Baja Yellowtail, Baja Stone Crab, Duck Pastrami, Grilled Carrots and Rabbit Loin.

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Everything was really delicious, but the duck pastrami was the least favorite. The carrots and rabbit loin were the best surprises. And I'm still thinking about the yellowtail. These dishes were expertly executed it was so much more than flavor, texture and beauty were showcased. Nothing was by accident, every detail was considered. I really appreciate meals that entice diners in this manner. We chose great wines from the suggested list, too. It was a top notch experience in every way. I can see why Richard Blais achieved such great success with Top Chef.

We finished our night in the Gaslamp at the Cuban Cigar Factory. People watching on 5th street is always entertaining. Leaving, we walked a few blocks to avoid the madness when called for Uber. Unfortunately, our driver was stuck in it. So, it took a while for pick up. We had slow service in Little Italy too. However, pick ups were a breeze from the Airbnb house. Still, San Diego definitely provided the most sluggish ride sharing, we've encountered so far. Even so, it's incredibly convenient and I adore it. It seriously needs to get back up and running in Vegas!

After check out on Sunday, we loaded up with goodies to take home from El Indio and Con Pane. Then, hit the road for home, in hopes to avoid traffic on the way home. There was still a lot of stop and go, but we made it in about 5 hours. It is amazing how even the shortest getaways can recharge the batteries. Since we missed the beach, this time, we'll have to arrange another trip sooner rather than later.

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