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?

Rachel LaBarre

Designer + Coloring Book Artist,  Very Adult Coloring Books,  http://rachellabarre.com
Live: Normal Heights
How Long: San Diego Native

Rachel is a multi-faceted artist and designer who takes the adult coloring trend to beautiful nude heights with her Very Adult Coloring Book series. She’s also got a penchant for block print textiles, and routinely offers block printing workshops. 

I am a native San Diegan (from Mission Hills) and I have a serious appreciation for the sprawl of South Park-North Park-Normal Heights eateries that keep sprouting up and expanding San Diego’s awesome food scene. I usually like a light breakfast, so to start the day I would take my buddy to my new favorite spot Communal Coffee for a hot cup and their avocado toast (add egg). We can watch the girls at Native Poppy arrange floral bouquets while we eat.

When I want a little more substantial breakfast in the neighborhood, I really have a weakness for Cardamom Bakery and their croissant sandwiches. I love to take my morning coffee to the Grape St. dog park in South Park, to let my pup play and to get some exercise for myself walking around one of the biggest and prettiest dog parks in San Diego. Watching all the goofy dogs is pretty much the best way to get the day going.

Come lunch time we would head back up to Normal Heights for Ceviche House. I really like the “La Paz”, their Big Eye Tuna Ceviche with a side of chipotle chips & guac. Then we’d walk across the street to Señor Mangos, where I like the Green Juice blend or a Beet/Pineapple combo. More often than not though, I get larges of both. Their juice is my favorite pick-me-up in the afternoon.

Dinnertime is my favorite meal, so we would definitely get over to Trust in Hillcrest. They are killin’ it with their small plates– I want to get them all, every time. The portions here are perfect to share with a friend to try several different things together. The menu right now features an incredible Wood Grilled Octopus cooked perfectly. I really loved the Chicken Liver Toast, the Hamachi Crudo, and the Uni Pasta!! Seriously, get everything.

If we are going for a classic dinner out in my world, it’s almost always El Zarape on Adams Ave. It is steps away from my house, and when do chips and guac NOT sound amazing? I usually fill up on chips, guac, and the green salsa before real food comes out, and then I always end up ordering their Veggie Taco Salad. It doesn’t sound too indulgent, but it is seriously delicious, and it comes with more guacamole.

Sycamore Den is one of my favorite places to hang out for a drink. Thursday and Sunday nights they have live music, which is cool because the space is pretty intimate. In this scenario, my friend and I will score a table down by the fireplace, so we could cozy into one of the booths with the little TV tray tables and sip on either the Moonchild, Maritime Boundary, or a classic Negroni.