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?


Lauren Chen

San Diego Boss,  Nerd Nite,  http://sandiego.nerdnite.com
Live: La Mesa
Work: San Diego
How Long: 4 years

In San Diego, the way to guarantee an excellent day is to start with a breakfast burrito. So after watching the spectacular sunrise over the East County hills (we’re starting from my place, and that means East County), we’ll go to Belinda’s Familia Cocina. If you’ve ever wondered what it felt like to be part of a giant, loving, nutty Mexican family, today you will find out. Belinda doesn’t just feed you; she adopts you. The food is casera-style (that’s home cooking) and it’s so good that I’ve gone there for lunch, gone home, and returned just a few hours later to eat the same daily special for dinner. When I’m not eating there, I’m thinking about eating there. It’s a problem, but since you’re from out of town, there’s no danger of addiction. Breakfast burritos!

Unless you want to tour Tijuana (which would be fun!), it’s time to go west! In true nerd form (if you’re spending a day with me, I’m assuming you’re a nerd), we won’t be visiting many of the popular tourist spots. Instead, we’re going on a street artist tour! Between now and lunch, we’ll check out: Slomo, the slow-motion rollerblading old man of PB; the Beast, the bare-chested, lucha libre mask-wearing, shake-weight wielding crazy old man of the Gaslamp District; the didgeridoo guys and the cosplay-wearing opera singer/violinist duo of Balboa Park; and finally, to the waterfront for Murrugun the Mystic, who holds the world record for sword swallowing and who scared the ever-loving daylights out of me the first time I saw him shove a SWORD down his THROAT.

After all that strangeness we’ll probably be hungry again, so it’s off to Napizza in Little Italy! It’s Neapolitan-style square pizza … but it’s so much more. The dough sits for three days and kind of ferments … Order the “Bapo” that has potato, rosemary, and an otherworldly bacon. Your blissful enjoyment could not be topped if Enrico Fermi himself hand-fed you this pizza (Fermi. Because he was from Naples. Nerds!).

Alright, we’ve had a lot of great food so far. Maybe bordering on too much. Time to get some exercise. We’re off to Black’s Beach! Yes, the naked beach. We’ll hike down the cliff and have an enthusiastic and picturesque swim and hike north up the beach and up through Torrey Pines. At some point, it’s not very clearly marked where, the clothing will have to go back on, but until then, we frolic! Torrey Pines is full of native plant and wildlife (and wealthy golfers, but we’ll skip that area), and some of the most beautiful ocean views California has to offer. In fact, we should reach the top of the cliffs just in time for sunset.

That was quite a workout. Time for a healthy, totally west coast dinner. Peace Pies! It’s the best raw (stay with me) vegan (for real, trust me) organic food in the entire county. I’m not a raw vegan and, statistically, neither are you, but the food here is nothing short of freaking magical. Pro tip: just look at the titles of dishes on the menu; do not read the descriptions. They are confusing and upsetting. Once we’re full of light and energizing vegetables, nuts, and legumes, we’ll order an horchata shake and a coconut creme-filled chocolate chip cookie for the road.

For the day’s awesome climax, of course we’re going to Nerd Nite San Diego. It’s like TedTalks, but with beer and socializing and trivia and a telescope! It’s held at 32 North Brewing Co., so this is also our bar for the day. We’ll try a flight or two of home-brewed delights on the nerd-tested, hipster-approved back patio as we enjoy irreverent presentations by southern California’s brightest minds. What a day! Come and visit again next month!