Faves of the Best Coast

FFF tulips

Thanks, Susanne, for hosting us each with with your Friday Fave Fives!

Having been in Florida for a few weeks, I’m starting to notice the things I’ll miss most about living in SoCal.  So in honor of my home town, I’ll make my faves an homage to California, particularly San Diego.

1.  Freeways.   Oh man, do I miss these!  My love used to commute 60 miles each way- it was killer and took about an hour, sometimes more… sometimes less, depending on traffic.  Here he only commutes 10 miles each way… but it still takes nearly half an hour!  What?

2. Fresh Food.  I miss fresh produce.  There is one farmers’ market but it’s a good 40 minute drive from here (thanks to the fact that there are NO FREEWAYS) so we haven’t made it up there yet because it would cut into what precious ‘Daddy time’ we have.  In San Diego we had Sprouts and farmers’ markets which always provide us with fresh, organic, and affordable food.  And ya’ll know my obsession with Trader Joe’s.  Of course they have TJ’s on the East Coast too, but not where we are.

3, Restaurants.  We did try Whataburger.  It was delicious.  But I was so incredibly sick after.  There ARE tons of amazing seafood places here.  Unfortunately, salmon is about the only seafood I eat since shell fish make my throat swell up.  What I really miss are ethnic foods- Ethiopian, Indian, Thai, Mexican…  I’m salivating at the thought.  :o)  I look forward to visiting my favorite food haunts next time I’m in San Diego and Los Angeles! If you are visiting any time, you must try:

Rama– best Thai in San Diego and a great ambience! Their peanut sauce… oh my goodness!  I usually just get their satay and fresh rolls and Hubby always has the Gai Qua with a “Dirty Thai’ martini. Amazing.

La Carreta– best carne asada burrito.  Ever.  It’s in central Los Angeles so many folks are hesitant to venture through rougher neighborhoods to get there but it’s super safe and SO worth it.  I’m putting it on my SD faves even though it’s in LA because it it THAT. GOOD.  :o)

Lolita’s– best carne asada fries in San Diego.  Need I say more?

Ki’s Restaurant–  beautiful view right on the ocean at Cardiff-by-the-Sea and local, organic food. Super delicious and healthy.

Hodad’s– best burger, milk shake, fries AND onion rings.  Not often a place can win #1 ranking on all 4, but this place does.  Plus the vibe is awesome.

Here’s a bit of surf lingo controversy for you…  the conventional definition of a Hodad is someone who comes to the beach with a surfboard and hangs out but never actually surfs- considered a poser.

However, recently Urban Dictionary has come forward saying it stands simply for a greaser, not a poser.  People actually argue about this stuff.  Crazy, right?

4.  Weather.  There’s something to be said for 70 degrees and sunshine year round.  Without humidity.   Definitely miss this.  🙂

5.  Outings. San Diego has so many awesome places to visit.  Here are just a few of our favorites… there are so many more and I haven’t even gotten to our Los Angeles faves yet!

Balboa Park– different museums are free for residents on Tuesdays so we enjoyed visiting all of them many times.  The Natural History Museum and Reuben H Fleet Science Center are our favs.  Liam is so disappointed that he won’t be able to go to camp there this summer- it was the first year he’d be old enough.


San Diego Zoo and Safari Park– we have annual passes and used to go weekly.  It’s really the best zoo I’ve been to and has great programs. ZoeGrace went to zoo camp one year and Liam still obsesses about the sky tram there.

EL zoo1

Mema Zoe at Zoo1

The Living Coast Discovery Center– my friends’ kids fundraised like crazy and literally kept this place open with their efforts.  An amazing place to go and it was also fun to watch 7 and 8 year olds so passionately engage in something they care about- and actually make a difference!

Hotel del Coronado– staying here for a weekend was a treat I’ll remember my whole life.

hotel del view1

Birch Aquarium– always a fun place to learn about the ocean and watch surfers.  It has some great hands on stuff for kids too.

Mission Trails– we hiked here.  A lot.

mission trails1

La Jolla– We love kayaking there and seeing the leopard sharks up close! Pain in the butt to park, though.

Julian– amazing pie.  You-pick apples, pears, etc.  Fun pumpkin patches. The annual Grape Stomp (took the kids last  year and they loved it).  All worth the drive up from San Diego.  And on the way, you can always stop off at the Camel Dairy. For reals.

And of course, the beaches!  So many to pick from!  We tend to go to Coronado’s Silver Strand Beach for its close proximity and easy parking, but if I’m willing to make the drive, we also love the Encinitas and Cadiff-by-the-Sea beaches too.  Really, though,  you can’t go wrong with SoCal Beaches.


This commercial still comes up on our Hulu advertisements a lot and it makes us home sick every time…

Hope you all had a great week!  We’re headed West next week for the adoption, so the highlights of my week have been planning what special things from this list we’re going to fit in while we’re back.  :o)


6 thoughts on “Faves of the Best Coast

  1. I’ve never been to southern California, but you make me want to go! The food at Lolita’s sounds fabulous! And Hodad’s! I’d have to try the Blue Jay Burger.

    I know what you mean about freeways. We have a few here in NJ, but when we visit Kentucky, we’re always reminded of how fast we can get around.

  2. Sorry you are missing San Diego. Sounds like a great place.

    I grew up in Florida. I’m not sure what part you are in, but I lived about 30 miles from the Tampa, Clearwater, St. Pete area. I think you will find some great places in Florida, too. It just takes time. 🙂

  3. I’ve been to northern CA a couple of times, once northern and once in Sacramento – but you’re making me want to go visit San Diego! My son worked in a camp near there (Lucerne) for a few summers and loved outings to SD.

    It would be hard for me to live in a place without good Mexican food. I grew up in southern TX where that was a staple.

    My oldest son moved to RI a couple of years ago and every time he comes down to visit he has a list of places he wants to eat that they don’t have where he lives.

    It does take time to feel at home in a new place but I hope you can find some new favorites there.

  4. You are making my mouth water with all those delicious descriptions of the restaurants! I’ve never been to California but hope one day to get there.

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