San Diego Successes and Failures


Did you miss me? Well, I’m back! We spent most of last week in San Diego before moving on to Las Vegas for a mere 36 hours. Truthfully, it wasn’t our best trip. Both husband and I have been so busy, we weren’t able to spend a lot of time researching like we usually do. (For our Italy vacation, we had it planned down to the hour — I scheduled in a siesta every day!) To save some cash, we also booked insane travel plans. We flew into LA (via Phoenix) and planned to catch the 5 o’clock train to San Diego from their Union Station. The Pacific Surfliner trails the coast for much of the journey, and we were both excited to see the sea.

But that’s not what happened. Instead, we sat on the runway at LAX long enough to miss our train out of Union Station. We waited till the 7:30 train pulled in the station, and that was another half an hour delayed in its departure. By the time we got to the coast, it was pitch black outside. We drowned our sorrows in bloody mary’s from the cafe car and did our best to enjoy the trip.

The other awesome thing we did was wait until the absolute last minute to book our hotel room. We used the Hotel Tonight app and booked a room at the Declan Suites while waiting for our train in Los Angeles. We were exhausted when our taxi finally dropped us off at the hotel. Unfortunately for us, they had overbooked the hotel, and were sending us OUTSIDE of San Diego to a hotel on Coronado Island. The Marriott resort was lovely, but it had been a long day.

NOT EXACTLY AN AUSPICIOUS START. The next day, we got back into San Diego to our hotel for the remainder of our stay, the Bristol Hotel. I won’t bore you with the details of our room-switching dance there, but soon we were ready to go out and enjoy the city. We quickly met up with some of husband’s friends (we were all in town for a conference) at Karl Strauss Brewery. We ordered beers and settled in for a good time.


The serving staff was superb. We must have looked bedraggled, because they took pity on us and offered many samples of their brews. We must have tried every one they had. My favorite was the Red Trolley Ale — full of flavor, but not bitter or heavy. They even gave our friend a pint glass for his birthday! So nice.

We ate our fill and hopped in a cab to continue our tour of San Diego’s brewery. (You can tell where our priorities are.) We ended up out by the airport at Stone Brewing Company. Husband was already a big fan of their IPAs, and another member of our party insisted they made one of the best beers of all time (that would be the Ruination). I went for the fruitier, more summery Saison, which I enjoyed.


The space was HUGE, and so neat! Bocce ball courts and several sections of indoor and outdoor dining. We took trips to the bathroom to wig out at the missing mirror over the sinks. For a few terrifying moments, husband was convince he was a vampire.

On Tuesday, a girlfriend and I headed out to the San Diego Zoo to do a bit of comparing, but mostly to see the panda bears. You guys, they’re just as cute as you want them to be!


See! The first one is the momma bear, and the sleepy one on the bottom is the baby. He was just snoozing away in the sun! Not a bad life! The zoo was beautiful. The climate is obviously more appealing, and we wandered our way through twisting, jungle trails, full of plants, birds and beautiful flowers. We cruised our way through and hopped back in the car to make our way to La Jolla.

La Jolla was my absolute favorite part. My girlfriend took me right to the cove, and the views were breathtaking.



The water! Those cliffs! I couldn’t believe it. I can see why people love California. Below you’ll see the cove, and a harem of seals.


I plan entire trips around views like this, and I was not disappointed. I could barely pull myself away.

That night, husband and I made our way into Little Italy and found a newly opened, local winery. We love drinking wine, but we don’t know much about it. The great staff at San Diego Cellars didn’t judge us at all, and gave us a crash course on wine tasting. My favorite was the petite syrah. Fun was had by all!


Later on, I dragged everyone out to a hidden wine bar in the Gaslamp Quarter. I had read the door to Vin de Syrah was hidden, and I couldn’t wait to try my hand at finding it! Apparently, I got myself too excited because I found the door in about ten seconds flat. (Hint: THERE’S A DOOR HANDLE.) Once inside though, my delight resurfaced. The whole place was Alice in Wonderland themed! Pitchers with wings floated from the ceiling, next to umbrellas and flowers from floor to ceiling.



I know it’s hard to see in these, but it was so neat. Alicia would have loved it!

That was our last night on the town in San Diego. We wanted to fill up before our flight to Vegas (didn’t plan much time for meals, either), so we headed to Cafe 21. We had a beautiful table on the patio, and ordered FAR too much food. I went for the feta omelet, which comes with spinach, pesto, and artichokes.


I loved it! It could have used more pesto (what couldn’t?), but it was outstanding. Husband went for the short rib omelet, and we split and order of the strawberry french toast.


I know you want a better look at that french toast. I’ve got you covered.


In the center there is agave cream cheese. I’ll never campaign for fruit, but this was so delicious. I wish we hadn’t shared it!

A few hours later, we boarded our flight to Las Vegas. San Diego was lovely, but truly we were hoping for more sea, and more sun. If we had done our research, we would have known we needed a car to get to the good beaches, but we didn’t. The Gaslamp Quarter was fun, but you only need a few nights there. Definitely get yourself a car, and get yourself to La Jolla and beyond. That ocean. It was everything.


5 thoughts on “San Diego Successes and Failures

  1. Alexis, it seems like you had a great trip after the initial hiccups! Your pictures of La Jolla are just beautiful. And since I am basically obsessed with seals, I made a delighted sort of shriek when I saw them.

    That French toast is wild. I want that right now. Is that kiwi puree on top?


    • La Jolla was stunning. The seals were so cute! They don’t smell great, but it’s neat to see them hopping in and out of the water — so clunky out of it, and so graceful in. Strange!

      YES! Kiwi puree! Good eye!


  2. I loveee the SD zoo. I think the red panads were my fave. Also, you should try Broken Yolk the next time you are there!


  3. Pingback: Looking Back on 2014 | Wander & Whine

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