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Misadventures in San Diego – Gaslamp Edition

A sponsored post on Kirsten Alana's blog last week about the port of San Diego got me thinking about writing a post on this sensational city myself. Over the past year, I have been to San Diego several times for conferences, meetings, and for pleasure. With the upcoming Blogher conference and thousands of bloggers descending on the city, I thought I'd share my thoughts on San Diego.

No matter when I have visited, the weather in San Diego has been magnificent. Golden sunshine and beautiful skies are the norms. There has only been one trip when it was a bit on the cool side, but all it required was throwing on a sweatshirt to make it better.

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I have been told that it gets foggy there but I have yet to see it, and being a San Francisco girl, I am sure it can't compare to what we get in the city! (Take a look at the outfit I was wearing last week for lunch…)

As you can imagine I have indulged in my fair share of San Diego restaurants (hey, it's me after all!) and I have yet to be disappointed, I have had very good meals of all varieties, including some exceptional lunches and dinner in front of the water.

That is the thing about San Diego, there is water everywhere and there is nothing better for the appetite than a sea view and a sea breeze. As you can imagine, there are great seafood offerings as well as Mexican and some of the best darn locally brewed beer I have ever had.

I'll share a few places and things to do based on my experiences. Really, whether it is San Diego downtown, or the marinas and beaches, you cannot go wrong. But as Blogher is taking place in the Gaslamp/Downtown area, I have decided to focus this post on that neighborhood and save others for future posts.

San Diego Gaslamp Quarter, downtown

Gaslamp is the cool, hip downtown area revitalized with new restaurants and hotels, and shopping and is also the spot where the San Diego Padres play. (Read more about the area on this website dedicated to the Gaslamp.) It is super close to the airport making it extremely convenient to get to. Things are close together so I find if you are staying in the area you don't need a car.

I am not a big shopper but there is shopping for all types in the Gaslamp from small boutiques to several malls including the lovely Westfield Horton Plaza where you can find everything your heart desires!

And before you head out think about signing up for some location-based coupons such as Groupon or Living Social for the San Diego area, there are some great deals offered that you might be able to take advantage of during your visit.

In terms of food (my favorite part!), I have had some fantastic breakfasts at the Broken Yolk Cafe. The staff is friendly and the food is really good. You may have to wait in line but it's worth it, a great way to start [or end] your day! The omelets are too-die-for.

For Mexican in the Gaslamp, a co-worker recommended Pokez and they did not steer me wrong. It is actually really hard to get bad Mexican food in San Diego, you could try, but it would be really hard. There is even a whole website dedicated to San Diego Mexican food reviews!

Being a fan of sushi, I love the classic Nobu, it is not the same as New York or LA, but it is still Nobu! A little farther out of the downtown area, but still considered part of Gaslamp is the Fish Market (which has fine dining upstairs at Top of the Mark) and they are great for sushi (as well as other seafood greats).

There are several of them up in the San Francisco Bay Area where I live and I have eaten there many times. The food I had at the San Diego location was really fresh and made all the better by an excellent spot right on the beautiful harbor.

Nobu's famous sashimi tacos

If you want to go a little more upscale, there is always Searsucker, voted one of the best restaurants in San Diego for its new American fine dining and fabulous bar. Also on the more upscale side is Quarter Kitchen in the Ivy Hotel (this is a place to take a date or spouse) where chef Damon Gordon uses the finest ingredients to produce amazing food that will not only entice your taste buds but will please the eye.

Tuna Tartare at the Quarter Kitchen

There are two places on my Gaslamp bucket list: Donovan's which I learned about from watching The Food Network show “The Best Thing I Ever Ate.” They highlighted their Philly Cheese Steak sandwich which looked awesome! The other is a neighborhood favorite called Croce's (after singer Jim Croce) which according to Tiffany Romero of SITS has a “rockin' meatloaf!” I hope to get to one of these places during Blogher…

How about you? Got any San Diego Gaslamp suggestions?

Going to Blogher and feeling a little nervous? Check out my Introverts Guide to Blogging Conferences.

If you made it down to the end of this post, here are a few more things that might pique your interest.

  • I am part of a group of bloggers giving away an iPad you might want to check that out.
  • I am also giving away the new Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams cookbook
  • I am part of July's monthly 150-word writing challenge on A Dangerous Business travel blog, take a look and cast your vote!

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  1. Camels & Chocolate says:

    I’m so bummed I had to sell my BlogHer pass! Was looking forward to having an excuse to visit San Diego again!

    1. @Kristin, I have had to do that the last 2 years, but I am going this year!

  2. Carolyn Jung says:

    It’s been many years since I’ve been to San Diego, but I did like Croce’s in the Gaslamp district — owned by the widow of singer Jim Croce.

    1. @Carolyn, I want to try it out. Can’t say it would have ever been high on my list, but I think I should give it a shot once.

  3. My daughter went to San Diego last summer and she said it was beautiful.

  4. Allison Wilson says:

    I live right near San Diego and hadn’t really heard of any of the restaurants. I have a new reason to go back. Thanks!