Each month we ask one of our favorite San Diegans the question:
If you only had 24 hours to show a friend the best that urban San Diego has to offer, where would you take them?
Live: South Park
Work: South Park
How Long: 8 years
Let’s start where all living things start, breakfast. We will keep it basic, but still awesome! Tobey’s 19th Hole in South Park on the golf course. Sit on the patio. You can’t beat the view of downtown and this is going to give our friend a general idea of how perfect the weather is here. Yes, perfect.
Basic breakfast — it’s a diner so nothing is going to knock your socks off — but it’s good food. Get a coffee, a mimosa, eggs, bacon, O’briens potatoes and some toast, or maybe an omelet if you feel crafty that day. The quirky waitresses are a great way to get a couple laughs in to start out right. The golfers sprinting in and out to grab a 6sixer of Bud and a bag of chips for their upcoming 18 is also entertaining.
After we lick our plates clean, we ping the Uber over to Shelter Island for one of my favorite spots, a tiki fortress called Bali Hai. We walk in and you immediately feel good about the day. We order a Mai Tai (best you’ve had) and we chill at the bar. Every friend, family member, tourist I come across I tell about this can’t miss spot. Best view of the city — it’s like sitting with a moving picture frame in front of you. The boats, the clouds, the birds etc. It doesn’t get more awesome than drinking a tiki cocktail and sitting in this epic structure. Experienced Bali Hai’ers know you can walk out back with your drink and sit down by the water in the restaurant’s patio area, which is mostly used for weddings. Do this, but spend 15 minutes at the bar first.
After, if you can handle it (careful, strongest drinks ever), we will hop over to Fathom Bistro, Bait & Tackle on the pier for a quick beer while we take in another epic view of the San Diego bay. We sit outside, watching two fisherman buddies trying to convince one another they aren’t bored, that pier fishing is a fun hobby.
Our lunch appetites just kicked in, and we are obviously getting some seafood, because you’re in San Diego and that’s what you want. We zip over to Point Loma Seafoods where we will sit up above on the deck and wait for our number to be called for our food order. We both have lemonades and another beer in front of us. Once again, you are impressed by the view of the boats, the water, the birds and yes beautiful downtown San Diego. We order two sandwiches: one smoked fish, the other scallop. They both come covered in tarter sauce with plenty of lemon on the side. We split a side order of the bay shrimp in cocktail sauce. It’s all amazingly delicious and so far you aren’t surprised how awesome the day is going. You’re starting to have that feeling like you couldn’t be in better hands.
Now we have time to kill until dinner. Drinks are the only way to kill time when you’re a bartender so let’s go do that. We barrel roll our way over the hill down to Ocean Beach where we catch a Moscow Mule on another upper deck patio — a place called South Beach. It’s an awesome restaurant that overlooks the beach and the pier of one of my favorite beaches in San Diego. You’ll likely see a drum circle or a hula-hooper on your way in. We’ll walk around all the incense, clothing and tapestry shops for a minute and then pop over to Wonderland for yes, you guessed it, another great view and a cocktail.
Depending on how inebriated you are feeling, we walk down to the water and watch the surfers for a bit until you decide we are ready for the next beer. Pizza Port!! Great beer selection, lively place, one of San Diego’s awesome beer and pizza spots. While enjoying your beer, you’ll likely hear some stoner come over the PA system telling Amanda her beer buddies are ready and then telling a quick one liner joke. You’ll enjoy this. We will gulp up the brew and be on our way.
Switching scenes now, still killing time until dinner, we head over to Old Town. Touristy? Yes, but you’re a tourist so we’re going! Old Town, for those of you who don’t know is a state protected historical park in San Diego. We walk around exploring many historic buildings, museums, graveyards, shops — catch a few mariachis. Likely we pop into one of the many Mexican restaurants for a margarita.
Just before leaving, we stop into the Churchhill Cigar Lounge. We pick out a cigar, pair it with a Duchesse De Bourgogne Flanders Red Ale, sit out back and watch horse racing on the single patio TV. We are attempting to fit in with the old guy regulars who are getting a moment’s break before heading home from their day jobs. We don’t succeed, but we’re drunk enough to think we do!
The sun starts going down and our bellies are ready for more grub. We cab back to South Park and head to dinner at Piacere Mio, a local Italian eatery with house made pasta. The Italian staff cannot get friendlier or more charming. Great vibe and the food is excellent! With the wine ordered, we start off with Bruschetta and the Melanzane Saparita (baked eggplant with mozzarella cheese and tomato sauce) yum! The main courses will be the Gnocchi Alla Sorrentina and the Salmone Al Melograno (salmon over risotto covered in a pomegranate sauce). I have yet to find a better salmon plate in the city. It’s delicious! We finish off with a cannoli and the tiramisu paired with two glasses of port. Everything was to die for and we can barely breathe now, so we decide to go get another beer. “Hamilton’s?”
“Yes!” And just like that, we are on our way to the greatest beer bar in the world. In less then 5 minutes walk we are there. We walk into warm smiles and friendly faces, pop a couple dollars in the juke box and sing Willie Nelson songs until we can hardly stand. We wake up in the morning and you thank me for the awesome San Diego day you can barely remember.